Potentially calorie neutral cakes?!

>> Tuesday, 13 July 2010

I wrote a few weeks ago that I was still trying to find my food love. It’s funny the amount of time I spend thinking, eating, cooking and writing about food that there isn’t one thing that comes to the fore.

When I look at a lot of the things I’ve been blogging about, the common theme appears to be vegetable dishes (e.g. Moroccan Vegetable Stew, Pea Soup) and cakes (e.g. Umbongo Cake, Afternoon Tea). I think I may subconsciously be off-setting cake calories with vegetable consumption! Seriously though, these are the things that time and time again I will cook for myself and others.

I love the freshness of vegetables and the ability to take an ingredient, that people regard as a side dish or force themselves to include in meals, and make something really delicious out of it. There is such variety that the recipe opportunities are never ending. With so many vegetables that I’m yet to cook (Samphire, Kohlrabi, Plantain to name but a few), there is some always something new around the corner willing me to experiment.

…and then there are cakes! Beautiful, moist, exciting, show-offy cakes! It’s oven-alchemy the way that a simple batter mix of flour, sugar, butter and eggs can be transformed into a golden sponge, filling the house with the smell of domesticity and a sense of safety and warmth. Most of my stresses can be soothed with a cup of tea and a slice of my favourite lemon cake (as featured in the Spring Feasting entry).

This led me to thinking about vegetables in cakes… I’ve seen some lovely recipes for chocolate and beetroot cake, pumpkin pie and of course the inimitable carrot cake but I’ve not really dabbled with them. Time to rectify things and combine my loves into easy, edible delights.

I decided to take my fail safe muffin recipe and experiment with the contents of my cupboard and vegetable basket….with the results as follows:

  • Beetroot and Orange
  • Courgette and Lemon
  • Carrot & Nutty Nutmeg

I’m very happy with the results, particularly the carrot mix, and could happily scoff my way through the whole lot! I have a theory (this is grounded in no scientific fact and quite illogical), that the vegetable content offsets the calorie content, thus making thus a calorie neutral cake...so scoff away!

All of these can be happily enhanced with a flavoured cream cheese topping (see below) for a more elegant finish or just served as is!

....topping made from cream cheese and icing sugar....

Muffin Mix (makes 18)

  • 350g plain flour
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs (beaten)
  • 120ml milk
  • 120ml plain yoghurt
  • 115g butter (melted)

Beetroot and Orange Mix

  • 100g grated beetroot
  • 1 Orange (zested and juiced - only 1/2 juice will be needed)
Lemon and Courgette Mix
  • 100g grated courgette
  • 1 Lemon (zested and juiced)
Carrot and Nutty Nutmeg Mix
  • 100g grated carrot
  • 50g mixed nuts (roughly chopped)
  • 1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg

Step 1: Combine all muffin ingredients into a large bowl (do not over mix - it should be a little lumpy)

Step 2: Add the ingredients for your chosen flavoured muffin and stir through

Step 3: Pour mix into muffin cases (use paper cases or squares of baking parchment), fill 2/3 full and place into oven 190c/GM 5 for 20 minutes until golden and springy to the touch

Step 4: Remove and leave to cool before serving or icing

...Courgette and Lemon Muffins served warm with Greek Yoghurt...
Hope you enjoy this way of getting to your five a day!
Helen x

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