A slice of cake need not be a guilty pleasure

A slice of cake is always a pleasure, but it doesn’t have to be a guilty one. When baking cakes, there are a few things you can do to give most recipes a healthy makeover.

By going with a few healthier choices in ingredients

A slice of cake is always a pleasure, but it doesn’t have to be a guilty one.

When baking cakes, there are a few things you can do to give most recipes a healthy makeover.

This pumpkin-cranberry spice cake, for instance, is an indulgent but healthy treat that uses tricks easily applied to other recipes.

First, half of the all-purpose flour is replaced with white whole-wheat flour, which significantly increases the cake’s whole-grain count without adding the astringent flavours some people associate with more conventional whole wheat.

White whole-wheat flour has the same nutrition as standard whole-wheat flour, but with a lighter colour and milder flavour.

It’s milled from a hard white winter wheat berry, rather than the hard red spring wheat berry of traditional whole-wheat flours.

Like standard whole-wheat flour, white whole wheat requires additional moisture and some recipes intended for all-purpose flour will require some adjustments if making a substitution.

Second, canned pumpkin puree does double duty by providing a classic flavour and replacing all but 75 ml (1/3 cup) of the oil.

This combination keeps the cake moist and tender while keeping down the fat.

For many cake and quickbread recipes, especially richly flavoured ones such as chocolate and gingerbread, you also can use fruit purees to replace up to three-quarters of the fat.

Apple butter or prune puree (which is available commercially in cans as prune or plum pie filling) work best because they add plenty of moisture and contain pectin, which like fat coats the starchy flour particles and prevents them from forming the glutens that make baked goods chewy.

Finally, the pumpkin cake is simply decorated with a dusting of powdered sugar rather than a heavy frosting which would add additional fat and calories.

For a fancier finish, you can make a glaze by whisking together 30 ml (2 tbsp) orange juice, 2 ml (1/2 tsp) orange zest and 300 to 375 ml (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups) powdered sugar.

Drizzle the glaze over the cake just before serving.

Pumpkin-Cranberry Spice Cake

300 ml (1 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour

250 ml (1 cup) white whole-wheat flour

15 ml (1 tbsp) cinnamon

10 ml (2 tsp) ground ginger

5 ml (1 tsp) allspice

5 ml (1 tsp) nutmeg

10 ml (2 tsp) baking powder

10 ml (1 tsp) baking soda

5 ml (1 tsp) salt

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) sugar

75 ml (1/3 cup) canola oil

3 large eggs

10 ml (2 tsp) vanilla extract

1 can (426 ml/15 oz) pumpkin

10 ml (2 tsp) grated orange zest

30 ml (2 tbsp) orange juice

30 ml (2 tbsp) water

250 ml (1 cup) dried cranberries

Powdered sugar, for dusting

Heat oven to 180 C (350 F). Coat a large Bundt pan with cooking spray or brush with oil. Add a small amount of granulated sugar and turn the pan to coat the inside, discarding any excess.

In a medium bowl, stir together both flours, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla.

Beat with an electric mixer on high until mixture is thick and pale, about 3 minutes.

Add pumpkin, orange zest and juice, and water. Beat on low until smooth.

Sift dry ingredients on top of pumpkin mixture and stir just until combined.

Stir in cranberries.

Using a rubber spatula, scrape batter into prepared pan, smoothing top.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted at the centre comes out clean.

Turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Makes 16 servings.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 205 calories, 54 calories from fat, 6 g fat (1 g saturated, 0 g trans fats), 48 mg cholesterol, 37 g carbohydrate, 4 g protein, 3 g fibre, 311 mg sodium.

Just Posted

More than $25k raised for Red Deer firefighter who is recovering in hospital

‘I think the support he’s getting is because of the person he is’

Lacombe backs Blackfalds stormwater plan

Stormwater management plan will open up more land for development in Blackfalds

Two men facing charges in alleged abduction

RCMP issued alert for woman on Wednesday morning who was found safe later that day

Red Deer RCMP seek public assistance to identify suspect in indecent acts

Red Deer RCMP are looking for a man believed to be responsible… Continue reading

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

Leon Draisaitl has overtime winner as Edmonton Oilers down Boston Bruins 3-2

EDMONTON — Connor McDavid set up Leon Draisaitl for the overtime winner… Continue reading

Edmonton girl guide sells out of cookies in front of cannabis store on first day

EDMONTON — She’s being called one smart cookie. As people lined up… Continue reading

New vacuum needed: Calgary family adopts three bonded St. Bernard buddies

EDMONTON — Three adult St. Bernards who couldn’t be separated because they’re… Continue reading

Film with Fan Bingbing, Bruce Willis cancelled after tax case

BEIJING — The director of “Air Strike,” featuring Chinese actress Fan Bingbing,… Continue reading

Michael Buble shuts down rumours of retirement from music

LOS ANGELES — Michael Buble is shutting down rumours that he’s going… Continue reading

After Canada legalizes pot, industry eyes rest of the world

MONTREAL — Cam Battley is a top executive at one of Canada’s… Continue reading

Facebook’s election ‘war room’ takes aim at fake information

MENLO PARK, Calif. — In an otherwise innocuous part of Facebook’s expansive… Continue reading

Military to overhaul morale-boosting trips after review finds serious problems

OTTAWA — Canada’s top general is overhauling military morale-boosting tours after an… Continue reading

Most Read