Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Take on ABC Cake!

I am a passionate baker, always on the lookout for the slightest excuse to get baking. However, I'm also particular that my family eat healthy (for the most part ;D). So my usual everyday baking is not what I would call indulgent, with the heapings of butter and sugar that most baked goodies require.

I'm always browsing for healthier alternatives, but more often than not, the results are just so-so. They're not bad per se, but nothing worth mentioning, certainly nothing worth blogging about. So you can imagine my delight when one of my healthy baking attempts produced this gorgeously moist cake!

I came across this recipe for Low Fat Banana Cake, which was easy enough. One hitch: it called for three bananas, and I only had two at the time. So what to replace the missing banana with? The answer was right there in my fruit basket, next to the bananas: apples! Or more precisely, applesauce.

That issue settled, a vague memory surfaced: I'd read somewhere about an ABC cake, which had apples, bananas and carrots. I thought, there are two fruits in this already, do I really want to add carrots to this? No! There's only so much healthy eating you can do. Then it struck me, I could still do an ABC cake; only chuck the carrots, and bring on the choco-chips! And by using dark chocolate chips, I satisfied the health criteria too :D

Here are the stars of the ABC cake. I deliberately left one banana with the peel on. I know it looks unap'peel'ing (sorry, couldn't resist :D), but when you bake with bananas, the riper they are, the better. They mash up well, and the end product goes deliciously gooey.

Low Fat ABC Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup low fat milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup applesauce*
2 medium-sized ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup choc chips


1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C / 350 F. Grease and lightly flour a 9-inch round or 8-inch square cake pan (I used the square one), or coat with nonstick spray.

2. Whisk flour, baking powder and baking soda in a small bowl.

3. Place brown sugar, egg in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Add oil, milk, applesauce, mashed banana and vanilla extract and mix until well blended.

4. Gradually mix in flour mixture until just moist. Fold in chocolate chips gently, taking care not to overmix.

5. Pour batter into cake pan and bake for 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

* For the Applesauce

You can use store-bought sauce if you can get it, but it's easy enough to prepare yourself. I peeled, cored and diced two medium apples, placed them in a saucepan and covered with water. Bring it to a boil over medium heat and then simmer 15-20 minutes or till it's easily mashable with a fork. You might need to replenish the water in between, but add a little. You should end up with a thick, smooth sauce, not something too runny. With two apples, I got 1 cup of sauce. This cake recipe requires only 1/2 a cup, so once it's cool, you can refrigerate the remaining half in an airtight container. It should keep upto a week. I used my leftover sauce in pancake batter the next morning :)

Quite a homely looking cake, but don't judge it by its appearance. I had just managed to get one quick shot of it, before a couple of unexpected guests dropped in. As they themselves noted, their timing was perfect ..... there is nothing quite like walking into a home filled with the scents of baking. A third of the cake disappeared in the next few minutes :)