Making a healthier birthday cake – or how I got my meat-and-potatoes dad to eat tofu
My sister is into eating healthily and her birthday is this week, so I volunteered to make her a healthy (or healthier, at least) birthday cake.
To do so, I found a carrot-maple cake recipe and made some changes to it. And I made a cream-cheese frosting, sort of. I used tofutti cream-cheese substitute (to up the protein and cut the fat in the frosting) using this recipe. The results were delicious. The cake was denser than I would've liked, but it was really flavorful, and actually pretty filling. I'll definitely make it again.
Here's my amended recipe:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
11/2 cups carrots
3/4 cup flaxmeal
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup chopped nuts and/or 3/4 cup chopped raisins or currants (optional)
To make the carrot puree, peel and cut carrots into small chunks. Steam (used my rice cooker for this) until soft, then puree in blender or food processor.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with oil or nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and eggs together. Stir in the carrot puree and maple syrup.
In another, smaller bowl, whisk together the flours, flax, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add this to the first mixture, beating thoroughly. You should have a fairly stiff batter by now. If you're using nuts and/or fruit, add them now and stir well.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Ice the cake after it cools.
Notes on the cake: The carrot puree can be made in advance. You can use baby food as the original recipe calls for, but I figured I'd use the carrots in my refrigerator instead. I used regular raisins, but next time will use golden raisins instead. And in the future, I might try substituting more flax for the butter in the recipe. However, because I knew several somewhat critical meat-and-potatoes men would be eating the cake, I kept the butter this time around.
Follow the link above for the frosting recipe. I used real butter in the frosting, since I'm not a vegan. In the future, I'll make a double-batch of the frosting for a thicker layer on the cake (and some leftovers. I'd love to make some chocolate cake-mix cookies and use this as the filling for homemade oreos.)
My dad, who said he's not sure he's ever eaten tofu, had no idea the frosting contained it until I told him. And Rob, who's been known to turn up his nose at the mere concept of tofu, wanted to eat the frosting with a spoon. He told me he'd be OK if I made a cheesecake with tofutti. I guess that's something to keep in mind.
Photo from this Flickr page.