Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Gingerbread Cakes

When I'm invited to a party and asked to bring a dish, I always bring something I know will fit into my food plan. This weekend, we will be attending the best Christmas party of the season hosted by a couple of our best friends! We look forward to their gathering every year because we know the company of our friends will be wonderful and the atmosphere will be festive. As always, the food will be abundant and delicious as everyone brings something to share. This year, I will be making these moist, spicy gingerbread cakes that weigh in at only 11.2 net carbs each! As for their taste, no one will ever know that they are a diet dessert.

You can certainly bake these in an ordinary muffin pan, as is suggested in the recipe. For an extra special touch, I have in my bakeware collection a mini bundt cupcake pan that takes the same amount of batter as a traditional muffin tin but the end result are adorable little molded cakes! When I present these at the party, it may look as if I've been baking all day, but you and I will know it was as easy as making a cupcake.

Gingerbread Cakes
(Makes 14 servings)

½ cup water (or boiling water)
1/3 cup molasses
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup all-purpose flour
1¼ cup almond flour (or finely ground almonds)
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
6 tablespoons butter, softened
½ cup Splenda granular (not baking blend)
1 egg
¼ cup ginger ale (not diet)

1. In a 2-cup measuring cup, mix together the water and molasses. Microwave until very hot (if you do not have a microwave, boil the water first). Add baking soda and stir. Mixture will foam and bubble, so be certain your container is at least two cup capacity or it might bubble over. Allow to cool for about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, assemble the rest of the ingredients and bring to room temperature.

2. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Spray a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray; set aside. In a small bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, salt and spices; set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened butter until fluffy. Add Splenda and beat until creamed with the butter, about 2 minutes. Add egg and beat well. Alternately add the dry ingredients (in ½ cup increments) with the molasses mixture and ginger ale, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat well after each addition, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally.

4. Measure ¼ cup into each muffin cup (do not overfill) and bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for about 12 minutes. (Cakes will be very delicate while hot. To prevent breakage, do not rush this step and try to remove from pan prematurely.) Carefully turn cakes out onto a wire rack and allow to cool. Allow to cool for another 15 minutes. Can be eaten warm or at room temperature.

Serving suggestion (optional): To serve, top with a tablespoon of unsweetened applesauce with a sprinkle of cinnamon or real whipped cream laced with ginger and cinnamon. To make whipped topping, beat ½ cup of whipping cream, 2 tablespoons Splenda, ¼ teaspoon ground ginger and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon until light and fluffy (do not overbeat). Serving size of whipped topping is 1 rounded teaspoon: 26.5 calories, 1 carbohydrate, 2.5 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 g fiber, 0 g protein.

Nutritional Information per serving (no topping): 148 calories, 12.5 g carbohydrate, 10.2 g total fat, 3.4 g saturated fat, 1.3 g fiber, 3 g protein

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2009

How does this recipe compare with traditional homemade gingerbread? Traditional gingerbread usually contains 1 stick or more of butter, 1 cup molasses, an additional ½ to 1 cup sugar, 1-2 eggs and 2½ cups white flour. All that sugar and flour makes even one small piece a carb overload! My recipe has only ½ the calories and 1/3 the amount of carbohydrate, plus it has more than twice the amount of fiber and more protein. For comparison, the nutritional information for the same size piece of traditional gingerbread is 288 calories, 37.4 g carbohydrate, 15 g total fat, 4.6 g saturated fat, 0.6 g fiber, 2 g protein.

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