Monday, March 24, 2008

Pear and Almond Yogurt Cake (Low-Fat Snack Cake)

How does a low-fat pear & yogurt cake sound for today? As we herald spring in California, seasonal fruits and vegetables can be seen in all their glory, and a trip to the farmer's market can turn out to be a visually delectable experience! This weekend I decided to bake a delicious and Healthy Pear Cake. Belonging to the apple family, pears are packed with a lot of health benefits. It has antioxidants that protects our body from free radicals, promote cardiovascular health, and are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, copper, and vitamin K. And best of all, these fibrous fruits are a great way to naturally sweeten your cakes and muffins as well as provide them with shape and texture. I combined my pears with almonds and whole-wheat flour to make an almost fat-free and healthy yogurt cake/muffin that can be used as a snack any time of the day!

I did not use any butter in this recipe. The all-purpose flour was substituted by the whole-grain one; the recipe uses only 1 egg and some oil; the yogurt provides texture to the cake, but as there is no butter, this cake will not be as soft and moist as the others. If you are not looking for a healthy version, feel free to modify the ingredients to use 3/4 cup butter instead of yogurt and add 2 eggs instead of one with all-purpose flour.

Ingredients
1-3/4 cups whole-grain pastry flour
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt
1-1/2 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn baking soda
3/4 tspn ground nutmeg (optional)
1/2 tspn salt
1 large egg
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tspn vanilla extract
2 ripe medium pears -peeled and cut into 1/2" chunks
2-3 tbsp slivered almonds

Method
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 9" x 9" baking pan with cooking spray. Instead, you can also use individual ramekins like I did.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, egg, and oil until smooth. Whisk in the yogurt and the vanilla essence. Finally, stir in the cubed pears.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir just until blended. Scrape into the prepared pan or the ramekins. Sprinkle the slivered almonds on the top.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes (about 25 mins if you are using the ramekins), until the cake is springy to the touch, shrinks from the sides and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. This cake will not be too dark on the top, so if you like the color, change oven setiting to BROIL and bake for another 40 seconds, not more. Let cool for 20-30 minutes on a wire rack, then slice and serve!

Tip: Roasting the almonds a little can add more flavor to the cake. If your pears are not too sweet, increase the sugar in the recipe as this recipe tends to be a little less sweet compared to others.

This light and low-fat pear and almond cake can be relished for breakfast or snack any other time of the day without feeling guilty. The pears make it soft while the almonds add a crunch to each bite.

Related Recipes:
Low-Fat Blueberry Muffins
Healthy Cranberry-Pistachio Biscotti
Eggless Cranberry-Walnut Scones

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