Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Art and Science of Baking.

Personally, I do not enjoy baking from scratch; all the precise measuring is tedious to me.  I enjoy cooking though; I measure by using my senses for the most part and preciseness is an option, not a must.  However, the measuring is part of the science of baking; how many parts of each ingredient that causes a reaction with each other to formulate a most delicious creation.

The art part comes along with decoration; you can leave your creation "au naturel", or add all sorts of d├ęcor that will either enhance  or totally cover up.  When someone buys a plain cake and decorates it, then this person is a "cake decorator", an artist in their own right.  Of course, this person is not a baker, so, therefore, only an artist.  The person who does both, well then art and science become unified in a common goal; create the perfect baked dessert. 

Purchasing baked goods, instead of creating your own, means you would rather not deal with either the art or the science; someone else did all the work and that is alright with you.  I am one of these people, I admit it; but lately I have found that labels on baked goods contain ingredients that I do not want to eat, nor can even pronounce.  I also notice that my body does not react well with store purchased baked goods, and I bet those strange ingredients are the cause. 

So, I gave in, and decided to bake something, but used ingredients that are considered "more healthy" than regular baking ingredients.  Instead of real sugar, I used Splenda for Baking; I am diabetic and shouldn't be using real sugar in the first place.  Egg substitute and low fat sour cream to keep the cholesterol down; applesauce instead of milk for moisture; whole grain stone ground flour instead of enriched white flour (batter will look denser).  Sounds so yummy...NOT!  Surprise, surprise though; the cake came out moist and so delicious, I was hard pressed not to keep eating more and more of it.  How did my body react to it; wonderfully, none of those "oh boy, shouldn't have eaten that" feelings at all. 

I guess playing with science in the kitchen can be fun at times, and tasty; I still don't like all the measuring though.



Cinnamon Swirl Sour Cream Cake (a healthier version)

Ingredients:

Cake Batter

3 cups "flour" (cake flour or Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Stone Ground Flour)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup (8 Tbsp) softened butter
1 and 1/4 cups Splenda Sweetener for Baking
1/2 cup egg substitute (equals 2 large eggs)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup (4 oz container) natural, no sugar added applesauce
1 and 1/2 to 2 cups low fat sour cream (1 and 1/2 for cake flour, 2 cups for stone ground flour)

Filling

1/3 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
1 and 1/2 Tbsps ground cinnamon

Preparation:





Preheat oven; 350F for light colored bundt (8 inch diameter) pan, 325F for dark colored. Spray interior with nonstick baking spray, or use cooking spray plus dust with flour.















Sift flour, baking powder and baking soda into a medium sized bowl; set aside.












In a large bowl, cream together butter and sweetener until smooth; add egg substitute and vanilla extract, beat together for one minute. Add in applesauce and half of the sour cream, beat on medium speed until smooth.











Add in dry ingredients, beat until smooth; add other half of sour cream, beat until well incorporated.














In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup of the batter with the brown sugar blend and cinnamon with a firm spatula or spoon until a smooth paste forms.



















Spread half of the batter into bottom of the bundt pan; spoon the filling around center of batter layer and use a knife to swirl filling into the batter (avoid getting too close to the sides). Spread the other half of the batter over the filling; tamp the pan down on the counter slightly to allow the batter to fill in any open spaces.

 

















Bake the cake for 50 minutes; test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into center of the cake; if it comes out clean, it is done, otherwise bake another 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven, place cake platter over pan and flip over; the cake will slip out of the pan and onto the platter.





Serve warm or cold; makes 12 servings.

Mary Cokenour

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