La Sobremesa is the brainchild of the talented writer and food connoisseur, Carola Smits. With a deep passion for exploring the world of cuisine, Carola’s journey has led her to create La Sobremesa, dedicated to celebrating the joys of food and dining.
Today, we delve into a delightful dessert spotlight, where Carola shares a delectable recipe for festive cakes with a twist – incorporating healthier ingredients without sacrificing on taste.
In the spirit of the festive season, Carola has a treat in store for us all. In this article, we’ll explore the art of creating exquisite Christmas cakes with a healthier twist. While traditional recipes often boast generous amounts of sugar and butter, Carola introduces us to a world of alternatives that not only satisfy our sweet tooth but also prioritize our well-being. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the kitchen with Carola as she unveils her recipe for a festive Christmas cake that’s both scrumptious and health-conscious.
December, a month of festively laid tables, eating together, extensive meals, and, above all, delicious Christmas cakes and sweets. Most baking recipes contain a lot of butter, sugar, and other ingredients, not all of which are equally healthy, no matter how tasty. You can also enjoy high-calorie foods in moderation, and there are certainly options to make your baking recipes a bit healthier by choosing a more nutritious flour such as whole wheat flour or oatmeal. Sugar is an easy sweetener, but also try fruit such as a ripe banana. Dates, dried fruit, and a little honey, agave syrup, or maple syrup are also good options. Other alternatives are the sugar substitutes. My favorite is Erythritol, a natural sweetener that occurs naturally in fruit, mushrooms, and fermented products such as cheese. It delivers the same sweet taste as normal sugar and is virtually calorie-free. This makes it an excellent sugar substitute. Erythritol tastes and looks the same as sugar but provides virtually no calories.
In addition, it has a glycemic index (GI) of 0 and therefore has no influence on blood sugar levels. Granulated sugar, for example, has a GI of 70. Erythritol is therefore also very suitable for diabetics. Erythritol is less sweet than, for example, stevia, another widely used sweetener and has no aftertaste. While stevia is known for the bitter aftertaste in your baked goods, erythritol does not have that. Erythritol is less sweet than normal sugar. When baking, you can follow the “regular recipe” with sugar but add 30% more erythritol. The structure of your baked goods may be slightly stringier and drier. You can remedy this by not baking the cake or biscuit at too high a temperature. When you bake your cake or biscuit in the oven, moisture inevitably evaporates from the batter. Logically, of course. It may sound contradictory, but a temperature that is too low will result in a drier result because you may have to bake a little longer to get the color and doneness. So, it remains balancing and trying. Baking in a steam oven also helps or place some water in a container in the conventional oven.
You can also replace butter with olive oil, especially in sweeter cakes. Cakes with oil instead of butter also remain juicier than with butter. 100 grams of butter contains 51 grams of saturated fat and 215 mg of cholesterol. Olive oil contains ‘only’ 14 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, and it contains 0 mg cholesterol! Since a cake often contains 200 grams of butter, you can also cut back considerably on saturated fat and cholesterol if you use olive oil. You cannot replace butter 1:1 with oil because butter contains more water than oil. It works with the following calculation: (x) grams of butter x 0.82 = (y). (y) ÷ 0.92 = the amount of oil required.
A sponge cake, a standard component for many cakes with cream and fruit, does not use any oil or butter at all. With biscuit dough, you can vary endlessly with multiple layers.
Here is the recipe for a festive Christmas cake with the alternatives mentioned. Have fun baking and happy holidays!
For the biscuit dough with a diameter of 20 cm and a height of approximately 10 cm:
- 265 grams of egg
- 200 grams of Erythritol
- 1.5 teaspoons vanilla essence
- 115 grams of flour
- 40 grams corn-starch
Mix the eggs and Erythritol until foamy and airy for at least 10 minutes and add the vanilla essence at the end. Sift the flour and corn-starch and add to the mixture. Carefully fold this into the mixture; you don’t want all the air you knocked in to disappear again. You can then pour the batter into a greased baking pan. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes at 175 degrees, keeping a close eye on the biscuit. The biscuit is done when you press gently on the surface, and it springs back. Cool in the cake tin for 10 minutes and then on a cake rack.
Cut the cake into 3 equal parts using a cake cutter when it has completely cooled.
For the filling:
- 750 grams of strawberries
- 750 ml whipped cream
- 120 grams Erythritol
- 3 bags of whipped cream stiffener
- 150 g strawberry jam without sugar
- Optionally some roasted almond shavings and pistachios, coarsely chopped.
Keep a few beautiful strawberries aside for the top decoration layer. Cut the rest into thin slices. Beat the whipped cream with the sugar and whipped cream stiffener until stiff. Place the bottom slice of biscuit on a plate and spread the strawberry jam on it. Spread whipped cream generously over it and cover it with the strawberry slices. Place the second biscuit layer here. Spread a layer of whipped cream and strawberry slices over this too. Cover with the last biscuit slice and cover the entire cake with the remaining whipped cream. Garnish the top of the cream cake with strawberries. Finally, sprinkle the chopped pistachios and lightly browned almond shavings over the whipped cream cake with strawberries and add some Christmas chocolates if desired. Erythritol is also available in powder form, just like with powdered sugar, you can also sprinkle the top layer with it for a nice snow effect instead of just using whipped cream.
This recipe not only serves up a delectable Christmas cake but also exemplifies the art of crafting healthier desserts that don’t compromise on flavor. So, why wait? It’s time to indulge in the joys of festive baking and savor the holiday spirit with a delightful, health-conscious twist.
Rada de Moraira, Alicante – Spain