Would you believe it, if we, Cake Maker said that decadent cupcakes, fudgy brownies and delicious cookies could belong in your healthy diet plan? No???
Well, Yes! The secret here is to sneak in healthy ingredients to your list while baking. With just a few tweaks, you can move your desserts from guilt-inducing sinful pleasures to a part of your healthy, clean eating regime.
Curious? Let’s get started!
How to make your Desserts Healthy?
When you speak about healthy baking, it doesn’t have to be gluten-free or vegan. In fact, some vegan options have as many calories and sugar, like regularly baked goodies. The same applies for gluten-free and paleo baking.
The first step in making your desserts healthy is to cut down on the calories and saturated fat, without compromising on the texture, flavour and aroma.
To make decadent treats, that are high on the health factor, all you have to do is just swap out a few ingredients in your original recipe. How sweet is that from your your favourite Cake Maker?
There are four major components of healthy baking. Let’s take a closer look at each component.
Alternatives for White Flour
White flour is one main ingredient that makes a baked goodie fall on the wrong side of the goodness scale. Removing white flour is essential if you want to reduce the glycaemic index of a dish and to add in some fibre. If you are allergic to gluten, then you must eliminate white flour from the recipe.
Wondering what to replace white flour with? Here are a few swaps that work well.
Black Beans – If your recipe calls for one cup of flour, then you can substitute it with one cup of pureed black beans. The beans don’t alter the taste of the final product in any way but lend an excellent texture to the goodies.
Whole Wheat Flour can be utilised instead of cake flour or maida in all recipes. However, you must remember that whole wheat flour tends to alter the texture, flavour and density of the baked goodie.
o Where to use – Desserts like cake, cupcakes and muffins, where the final product is dense and fluffy, you can use whole wheat flour instead of maida.
Almond Flour can be used instead of white flour in pastries that are rustic and tangy. A naturally gluten-free option, this one adds extra protein and nutrients to your goodies.
o Where to use – Berry cakes, tart shells taste better with almond flour.
Coconut flour – It is soft flour that is produced from leftover coconut meat. This tastes good and is packed with nutrients. You can substitute regular flour with coconut flour. However, they are not equivalent. So, replace 1/3rd to 1/4th cup of coconut flour with regular cake flour.
o Where to use – Since, coconut flour is a bit tricky to use, make sure to use it in recipes that you are familiar with.
Alternatives for Dairy
After flour, the biggest ingredient you’re looking to substitute will be dairy products. Here, we are talking about the butter in your recipes. To go healthy, you need to switch out the high fatty butter with plant-based alternatives. Here’s what you can replace butter with.
Coconut Oil – It’s a great fat replacement and swapping it for butter is easy-peasy. Just replace the butter in a recipe with an equivalent amount of coconut oil. That’s it, you’re done! Cookies baked with coconut oil, have a crunchy texture and taste yummy. And guess what? You’re now on your way to vegan baking.
Avocado – It’s a great alternative for butter, especially when baking chocolatey treats. The rich brown colour of chocolate masks the green colour of avocado. Adding pureed avocado makes your baked goodies moist and soft.
Bananas – Bananas work pretty much the same way as avocados. But, the catch here is that masking the flavour of the fruit isn’t that easy. Use bananas for treats that you want the flavour of the yellow fruit, like a banana loaf or a muffin.
Alternatives to Sugar
This one’s a bit tricky. After all, no one wants a bland tasting cake or bread. Scientifically speaking, sugar not only sweetens your goodies but also reacts with the starch in your ingredients and helps to provide the structure and shape to your treats. It also tenderises the final product by absorbing extra water and other moist fluids. Swap sugar with these.
Coconut Palm Sugar – It has a slight coconutty flavour but is an excellent substitute for brown sugar. This adds a caramel flavour and colour to your goodies, just like dark brown sugar.
Raw Honey – Honey sweetens your baked goodies just like sugar. When substituting white sugar with honey, you can use the same amount or slightly less depending on your preferences. Since natural honey is a liquid; it makes the final product moist and dense.
Stevia – While this one has a bit of controversy regarding its usage, if you are a regular user of Stevia in your tea and coffee, you can substitute it for sugar in your baking. Since it’s doubly sweeter than regular white sugar, just use half the amount in your recipe.
Other sweeteners – maple syrup, palm sugar, jaggery. You can use any of these depending on your tastes and preferences.
Alternatives for Egg
If you want to take the vegan route or are baking for someone who has allergies, then you must replace the eggs in your baked goodies. Eggs aren’t just added for taste. Rather, they have a particular purpose. Eggs help in binding all your ingredients together and add moisture to your goodies. Before you substitute eggs in your treats, you must first identify the purpose of egg in the recipe. For instance, substituting eggs in a soufflé or pudding isn’t that easy, but skipping eggs in a cake or cupcake is quite easy.
Flax seed – Instead of egg, you can add powdered flax seeds in a recipe. For every egg, mix one tablespoon of flaxseed with three tablespoons of water. Add the mixture to your batter just like you would add an egg.
Chia seed – This is used in the same way as flax seed, except that there is no grinding involved. Also, chia seeds are naturally gelatinous. Hence, they act as an excellent binding agent in your recipes.
Switch to Healthy Baking
There is no need to shun delicious cakes and cupcakes just because they wreck havoc to your diet plan. Instead, substitute your ingredients with healthier alternatives and switch to healthy baking.
Have you tried any alternative, healthy baking substitutions in your recipes? Share your healthy baking journey with us in the comments.
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