Saturday, 19 May 2007

Healthy Zucchini & Apple Loaf: An experiment

Adjusting savoury recipes to make them healthier and lower in fat is usually never a problem because the flavours are not compromised. However, low fat baking is more challenging. Quikong doesn’t like me baking low fat cakes or muffins. However, once in a while I succeed in converting him to the light side, such as a reliable muffin recipe I have been using that uses low fat yogurt (more about that in a future post).
I love zucchini and use it frequently in Chinese stir-fries, grilled or with pasta. I was curious to see if I could make something sweet with it. I came across this recipe, which is supposed to be healthier because it is low in fat uses whole-wheat flour. I’ve made low fat cakes before and I worry about the texture, so I added chopped up apple and some walnuts. Since I added walnuts, I reduced the oil to ¼ cup. The loaf looks a little flat because the pan I used was too big.
The Verdict: Lovely flavours! I would make this again but with some changes. The cake was overly moist (almost wet – I noticed some water dripping underneath the cooling rack!). So next time, I will squeeze the excess liquid from the grated zucchini. I’m glad that I added in the apple and walnuts because it improved the texture. Adding raisins instead of apple and reducing the amount of sugar could also be a good adaptation.

Zucchini and Apple Loaf

3/4 cup whole-wheat flour

3/4 cup white flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

2 eggs

1/2 cup soft brown sugar, lightly packed

1/3 – 1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 1/2 cup grated zucchini*, lightly packed

1 granny smith apple, peeled and chopped into small cubes

1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped

(* I peeled the skin, but you can leave it on)


Preheat oven to 160°C (fan-forced).


Sift all dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and mix well.


In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar until foamy, about 1–2 minutes.


Add oil, zucchini, apples, walnuts and vanilla and beat to combine.


Fold in dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stir until combined. Batter will be thick and a little lumpy.


Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for 45–50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool loaf on a cooling rack.


Anh said...

Good try Nora! For me though, I prefer to bake less than compromising the flavours. Having said that, some baked healthy recipes are really nice. I guess I just have to be more open. :D

Janet said...

Hi Nora, I'm with you on the light baking. I love baked goods so much and I am always looking for light versions that don't compromise taste and texture. I'm thinking that recipe would make good muffins for my kid's lunch bags!

Freya and Paul said...

Sounds great! I love the combination of the apple with the courgette (zucchini)! Some coconut thrown in there would be yummy too!

Nora B. said...

Anh, there are just somethings I won't compromise though, like when making molten choc cakes or brownies. I rather go for the real thing! :-)

Janet, if you do try this recipe & make adjustments to it, do let me know how it turns out. I think the rcipe is still a work in progress. Making it into muffins is a good idea.

Freya, yes - coconut - that would have been a good addition. I'll give that a go for next time, thanks!

Em said...

I really liked it! Especially as a treat after the half-marathon!

Nora B. said...

Glad that you liked it, Em. But I'm sorry that we had to share that one slice... I should have brought more.

Eva said...

I think that's something to try with my new heart-shaped mini-tins - thank you so much, Nora! And I'd love to think that it's something a little bit healthy...;-)

Patricia Scarpin said...

Nora, I think the cake looks yummy! The color and the flavors... really good.
You're quite a scientist! ;)

I love zucchinis too but have never used them in baking.

Nora B. said...

Eva, hmmmm, I think that your new sillicone mini cake pans deserve a chocolate destiny ;-)

Patricia,I've had some disasters with my cooking/baking experiments. Still edible, but I wouldn't serve it to anyone. It's all fun though!