Sunday, January 18, 2009

Healthy Cake

Two words you don't usually hear together. That's okay though. Just because something is healthy, it doesn't mean that it has to taste bad.

I have an over abundance of pears in the house, so instead of letting them go bad (I can only eat so many pears for lunch), I thought I would make good use out of them. I looked everywhere for a good pear upside-down cake, but stumbled onto this recipe instead. I was intrigued. Pears, poppyseeds, ginger and stiff egg whites. It sounds like a strange combination, but it really works!

This cake sounds like it's a lot of steps and labor intensive, but it's really not. I just happen to have one mixing bowl for my Kitchenaid, so it took me a little longer than it would take most people. I had fun putting it all together, and it makes me happy to know that it's healthy. I don't have to feel horribly guilty if I have an extra piece. I was able to brush up on my skills for folding in egg whites, which I don't do often.

I didn't have almond extract so I substitued with vanilla and the cake was still very good. The end result is a moist cake that's airy because of the egg whites.

My oven runs really hot, so even with reducing the heat in the oven and cooking this for way less time than the recipe called for, the top still got overly brown. That's okay, it still tasted yummy.

Now, let's hope I don't have to take a drug test anytime soon. How in the world would I explain that it's poppyseeds in my system?

Pear Poppyseed Cake
from: Weight Watchers

2 large pears, peeled and cored
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp table salt
6 tbsp butter, softened
3 medium egg whites
1/2 cup sugar

Heat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch square cake pan with cooking spray; dust with flour.

In microwavable bowl, heat pears until tender, about 2 minutes on high.

Strain 1/4 cup pear juice into measuring cup. Add buttermilk and stir in almond extract.

Mash pears with fork until they're about the texture of applesauce.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, poppy seeds, ginger, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl, cream butter with a mixer on medium speed until light; add pear purée and mix to combine. Alternately add dry ingredients and pear juice mixture in three additions, starting with dry mixture.

In another bowl, whip egg whites with mixer until almost stiff. Add sugar slowly and whip until stiff. In three additions, fold whites into pear mixture. Pour into pan.

Bake until cake springs back in middle when lightly touched, about 45 minutes. Cool on rack and serve.