Healthyish Carrot Cake Muffins!

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After seeing a flour free version of Carrot Cake in the winter Donna Hay Magazine, I’ve been dreaming about carrot cakes with creamy, fluffy, sweet cream cheese icing.

But as I’m trying to eat well, I had to find a healthier version, and potion controlled!

I found this  un -iced version by Generation Y foodie, http://www.generationyfoodie.com/2013/03/skinny-carrot-cake-muffins.html. 

I made some changes as follows:

  • Replaced some of the wholemeal flour with almond meal, which is what really attached me to the Donna Hay version.
  • Reduced the flour a little
  • Increased the rising agents
  • Added more spice (I love spices in cakes, it makes it seem sweeter) but add to your taste.
  • Used 1/2 a cup of dark brown sugar
  • Used Greek yogurt instead of Apple sauce
  • Used 1/2 cup of rice bran oil
  • Left out the other nuts
  • Made an icing

I really liked the muffins. Like Y generations, these Muffins are not overly sweet, if you prefer things sweet I would recommend adding more sugar to the mix and icing!

The carrots and almond made the texture lovely, soft and moist and they kept well in the fridge for 4 days!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cups of wholemeal  flour
  • 1/2 cup of almond meal
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp of ginger
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup rice bran oil
  • 1/4 cup skim milk approx.
  • 2 cup shredded carrots (approx 4-5 carrots, peeled and shredded)
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened raisins

Icing

1 tub of extra light spreadable Philadelphia cream cheese

1 tbs of lemon jucie

Sweetener of your choice to taste (icing sugar results in the best texture, I used granulated stevia to cut back on the sugar).

Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 180c. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper muffin cases.

2. Sift flours, meal, spices, salt, baking powder and soda (add any meal left from the wholemeal flour), into a bowl. Add raisins to the dry ingredients.

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3. In another bowl mix eggs, milk, oil,  vanilla and yogurt.

4. Add the wet ingredients to dry, mix. Add the carrots and mix well. Add milk until you reach the right consistency.

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5. Fill muffin cases 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 20 -25 minutes.

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6. Cool completely.

7. Mix icing ingredients in a bowl. Spread in muffins using a butter knife.

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If you choose not to ice the cakes they will keep in an airtight container, however refrigerate if iced.

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Delicious, not totally healthy but not that bad for you either!

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A very lemony, 2 Whole Lemon and 1 Mandarin Cake

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WARNING: ONLY FOR LEMON LOVERS!

This cake is based on this recipe for a flour-less orange cake http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/14822/flourless+orange+cake . I had a surplus of lemons  (and a Mandarin)  so used them instead.

I have made flour based cakes like this, I love that there is no waste and you get an intense citrus flavor  (you also get all the fiber from the fruit). It’s citrus season in Australia at the moment, so its a perfect time to make a whole citrus cake!

This version is gluten free, if you use gluten free baking powder, and if you use a cooking spray to grease it is also dairy free. Using the almond meal adds fiber, good fats and vitamin E, however there is lots of SUGAR in the recipe

If using oranges or another combination of citrus you may be able to reduce the sugar or use another sweetener (not sure about how it will effect the texture of the cake). However, to counter the pith in the lemons you do need all that sugar.

Feel free to try different citrus or combinations : Orange and lemon (st Clemens), lemon and lime, grapefruit etc. Just try to keep the quantity to the equivalent of two oranges.

I was worried this was going to be a heavy cake dry cake, but it has a lovely texture, and is very moist. However, the almond meal makes it filling!

Serve  alone, with a little cream or even plain yogurt.

Ingredients:

2 lemons

1 mandarin

3 eggs

1 cup of castor sugar

300gs of 3 cups of almond meal

1 tsp of baking powder (or gluten free baking powder)

Syrup

1 lemon

3/4 of cup of caster sugar

1. Preheat oven to 170c. Grease and line with baking paper,  a 22cm spring form cake pan.

2. Place fruit in a saucepan and cover with cold water, bring to the boil on high heat and boil for 15 minutes. Drain fruit, return to pan and cover with cold water, boil for another 15 minutes (This apparently helps remove some bitterness from the pith).

3. Remove the mandarin from the pan, but boil lemons for another 10 minutes. Refresh Mandarin under cold water. After 10 minutes drain lemons, and refresh under cold water.

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4. Coarsely chop fruit, removing seeds. Add fruit to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth.

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5. Add eggs and sugar to a bowl, and beat until pale and creamy. Add the orange, almond meal and baking powder and gently fold until just combined. Pour into prepared pan.

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6.  Bake for  appox, 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool (my cake was ready in 50 minutes).

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7. While cooling,  zest  and juice remaining lemon, add zest and juice to a pan with the remaining sugar. Stir over low heat, until sugar is dissolved and syrup thickens slightly.

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8. Turn cake onto a serving plate. Use a skewer to gently prick the top. Spoon over syrup. Serve.

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Easy, Healthy Red Berry Crumble

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I’ve had half a bag of mixed berries in the freezer for awhile, and tonight I finally got around to doing something with them.

Crumbles are quick and easy, and also easy to give a bit of a healthy makeover. There were lots of ‘healthy recipes’ out there: low fat, no sugar, diary free etc. Today I decided to do a dairy free version without white flour.

As the berries threw a a lot of water when I heated them I added about a tsp of  corn flour,  you could leave this out or use an alternative thickener, you could sweeten the fruit if needed, I like my berries a little tart.

You could also use butter or another alternative fat.

Ingredients for 4 small serves:

3 cups of mixed berries

1tsp corn flour

Handful of rolled spelt (or grain of your choice )

handful of almond meal

Handful of toasted coconut

1.5 tbsp of coconut oil

  1. Preheat oven to 180c .
  2. In an oven proof skillet, combine berries and corn flour ( and sugar if using), heat on low until berries lose their frozen look and are shiny, and the smaller ones break down a little.
  3. Meanwhile combine the rest off the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add  oil and rub into dry ingredients with finger tips until combined (if weather is hotter oil will be liquid and can be simply stirred in).
  4. Top fruit with crumble mixture and bake in over for 10-15 minutes until browned and fruit bubbles at edges.

Serve as is, with some yoghurt or if you want to undo the healthiness with cream or ice cream.

If you don’t have an ovenproof skillet, precook fruit in a saucepan and transfers into a baking dish. If using fresh fruit  you may need to adjust cooking times.