What do you do when your heart calls for cake, but your body demurs? If what you need is a strapping substitute that is meekly sweet, but still satisfying, skip straight to the recipe at the bottom. This is an easily switchable, muddle and mix bake that may be the answer to your prayers.
This has been a week that has called for cake. The weekend saw the worst storms in 40 years pummel Sydney. Coupled with a king tide, some of our favourite beach side haunts have been leveled and our backyard looks like a hoard of Wildlings used it as a site for an epic rumpus.
Will and I took refuge inside for all of Sunday, listening to the rain lash the walls and the wind sting against the windows. At 3 pm we slunk into the kitchen (still in our pyjamas, much to the toddler’s delight) to discover a great puddle in the middle of the kitchen island and a trail of water snaking down from a cold damp ceiling, all along the chain of the pendant lights.
We’re flying solo at the moment and I was feeling all sorts of Helen Reddy as I braved the elements and deduced how to reignite the pilot light so we once again could luxuriate with hot water in the house . ‘Oh no Mummy. Wet!’ was Will’s favourite statement over the course of the weekend.
It was a day that called for cake. Except, there’s been quite a lot of cake being consumed at the moment. So what we needed was a simple joint baking project that a) didn’t call on bananas (we’d eaten them all for breakfast on pancakes that morning) b) was sweet enough to be morale boosting, but not so much cause issues and c) would distract the stir crazy toddler for half an hour.
Hence, these raspberry flax cakes were born. Instead of mashed banana for body and sweetness they rely on grated apple. Grated apple or apple sauce works fairly well as a substitute for bananas (and a;so eggs) in simple baking projects, largely because of the binding properties of the pectin housed in the flesh and the skin. I used my favoured oat flour as a base, but plain flour, gluten free flour or spelt flour would also work. The rich nuttiness in the flavour comes from a generous quantity of ground flax, which along with the benefits of omega threes has a lovely caramel note in baking. These are dense, fibre rich little muffins which get a pleasing pop of brightness from the frozen raspberries within. Of course you could easily substitute blueberries, blackberries and cherries for the raspberries, but there’s something about the fuschia twang of a raspberry against the mellow heft of flax which pleases me.
These work well as breakfast on the go for grown ups and rambunctious toddlers alike. They’re studious little muffins, squat and serious, but also charming in their healthful sort of way. They fit the bill for something to snack on with a cup of tea at 3 pm. And they’re also fine for that meditative ‘I need to be slowly eating something while I stare into the middle distance’ fog that sometimes descends for no discernible reason.
I like them slightly warm, but split in half, toasted and smothered in butter or cream cheese would also prove delightful.
Luckily for all of us the sun has come back out, and there’s still a few of these left to fuel me through the days of clean up to follow.
Raspberry Flax Cakes
Makes 12 squat muffins
1 apple, cored and grated (or 1 banana, mashed for FODMAP, or apple adverse)
4 tbsp yoghurt or coconut yoghurt (for dairy free)
1 tbsp honey/ rice malt syrup (for fructose free)
½ cup/ 65 g ground flax
1 ½ cups/ 150 g oat flour or gluten free flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 cup/130 g frozen raspberries
Here’s how we roll
1) Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and grease a 12 hole muffin tin well.
2) Combine the apple with the wet ingredients and stir to combine.
3) Fold through the dry ingredients and the raspberries and gently stir to combine.