Friday, March 26, 2010

Experiments with No-Fat Pineapple Cake: Frugal Food Friday

Writing for The Skinny is good for me because it's helping me think about healthier recipes, and the more I share, the more I need to come up with more material.  Our youngest "Sweet Pea" is turning 1 this weekend, so I'm starting to get ready.  I thought I'd pull out my favorite cookbook with easy, healthy recipes "Quick and Healthy Recipes and Ideas" by Brenda J. Ponchtera, pg. 218.  She's got several ideas for cakes that are a lot healthier than regular cake.  They still have sugar, but little or no fat.
I first made this recipe for mine and my husband's 1 month anniversary. He tried it and said, "Yum! But it's not very sweet." "Yes," I said, "That's the great thing about it! It's sugar-free!" Then I looked at the recipe and realized it's not supposed to be sugar-free. I'd just forgotten the sugar. We've joked about it a lot, but dubbed it pineapple if you're looking to make this even lower calorie, you can leave out the sugar and it is still enjoyably edible.

Canned pineapple can be a bit expensive, but if you watch for sales, I can often find it for $1 a can or a little less and I stock up.  That's about the same as a cake mix on sale and this is a lot healthier, and I will say yummier.  These stand on their own without a topping better than typical cupcakes, in my opinion.

The recipe calls for egg substitute, and I used 2 whole eggs instead.  A healthier option without buying substitute could be to use just egg whites.  If you try that you'd want to use 4 egg whites.  I might try that when I make these for Sweet Pea's Big Day.

I'm planning on making a cupcake-cake for Sweet Pea, so I thought I'd better try out making this into cupcakes rather than baking it in a dish.  (And of course I needed pics earlier for my Frugal Food Friday post.)  The verdict:  It cooks up great as both a cake and as cupcakes.  If you don't have a particular need for cupcakes, I'd go with the cake though.  (The cupcakes look a little burned in the picture and they were in fact browner than typical cake, but they were not burned at all.)
If you make them as cupcakes, they stick to the paper quite a bit when still warm, but once they cool, they peel out pretty easy.  (Here's a hint as to what Sweet Pea's cake will be.  Any guesses who the character is?  You can see the finished cake here.)
And most importantly, Sweet Pea approves. so this is a go for using them for Sweet Pea's birthday. 

Pineapple Cake
1 can (20 oz) unsweetened crushed pineapple, in juice (undrained)
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup egg substitute (equal to 2 eggs)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients and pour into a 9x13 inch pan that has been sprayed with non-stick coating.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Cool before adding a topping.  For cupcakes, I baked them for 25 minutes and might even do it a few minutes less next time.  Also, I mixed things in this order...pineapple and juice, sugar, eggs (whipped), flour, and baking soda last.  I put the baking soda in last, so it wouldn't immediately react with all the acid in the pineapple juice.  It's kind of fun when you stir it in to see the trails of little bubbles.

She recommends serving this plain, dusted with powdered sugar, or topped with lite whipped topping.  This got the kids' stamp of approval just fine, without any topping.

Nutrition Info (although this will be slightly differnet if you use whole eggs):
16 servings (If you make cupcakes out of this recipe, you would get more servings that are fewer calories each.)
One serving: one piece 2''x3''
Calories per serving: 130
Fat: 0 grams
Exchanges: 1 fruit, 1 starch
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Kathy Haynie said...

Yum! Mark loves pineapple cake - I will definitely be giving this a try! Thank you Polly.

Katie said...

Mmm... that looks really yummy. And I think I could totally justify eating it since it's fat free. I will have to give it a try. :) Happy Birthday to the little munchkin! :)

Polly said...

Yes, just remember, they're not fat free if you use whole eggs...

Kathy Haynie said...

Mmmmm...this IS delicious! We got to sample a piece when we visited Polly & family yesterday! We thought it tasted great, and didn't need any frosting at all. (Of course, it will need frosting for a 1-year-old's birthday...) It was rich and moist, kind of like a bar cookie.

angie said...

The Pineapple "Bread" sounds perfect! I am on a extremely low sugar diet so will for sure give it a try w/o the sugar! Thx!

MrsJenB said...

Wow, this looks great! I'll have to give it a shot the next time I see pineapple on sale - I'm always up for a new muffin or cupcake recipe! :-) Thanks!

The Thriftress said...

I read your recipe and jumped right up to stir up a batch! i had all the ingredients on hand - I used splenda & egg beaters. It was ready to go in the oven in literally 3 mins! Can't wait to taste it.

BLJ Graves Studio said...

I have never tried pineapple cake... sounds good.

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