I’ve been very surprised that my most popular recipe is one which I just threw together on a whim: Coconut Chai Breakfast Cake. The recipe is actually a complete overhaul of a coffee cake recipe that included (you guessed it) coffee. I didn’t want to use coffee; though I drink it, I don’t allow my daughter to, and I know that a lot of people who try to eat healthy don’t do coffee, so I came up with the idea of using chai instead and making it more of a spice cake (the original had a chocolaty taste). So that’s how the recipe was born, if you were wondering.
Today, in the comments for the recipe, someone asked about making the cake with stevia instead of sugar. I use stevia in moderation (in the aforementioned coffee) and have dabbled in using it in recipes, but I’ve never completely removed the sugar from a cake recipe and replaced it with stevia. So, in order to give an informed answer to this question, I went back to the kitchen this morning and performed an experiment: I made the recipe exactly the same, but I left out the sugar. After the liquid and dry ingredients were mixed, I began adding stevia, tasting after each 1/8 tsp., until it tasted sweet enough to me. It seemed a little dry, so I added a little more apple sauce. And then I baked it in these cute daisy-shaped silicone molds:
Silly me: I forgot that when they were unmolded, the bottom, with its fancy design, would be on the top, so the sprinkle of coconut gets hidden on the bottom. So to make up for that, I ground up some more coconut in the blender and dusted it on the top of the inverted cake:
But the big question on everyone’s mind is not how it looked but how it tasted. In a word, okay. It was less sweet than the original because I was very careful with the stevia, not wanting to make it taste artificial or bitter. The good news is that I completely succeeded in that–it doesn’t taste fake-sweet, just a little less sweet than most people would like. I will post below exactly how I made the recipe, but you may opt to add more stevia if you like things sweeter. I used KAL brand Pure Stevia Extract Powder, which contains 80% steviosides; if you are using another brand or form of stevia, your best bet is to do as I did and add it to taste at the end of the recipe. I found that it tastes less sweet after it’s baked, so add a little more (like 1/16th of a teaspoon) once it’s reached the desired sweetness.
Sugar-Free Coconut Chai Breakfast Cake
1 cup strong chai tea
1/3 cup uncooked quick (not instant) oatmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger (use more for a spicier cake)
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup flaked coconut, 2 tbsp reserved
3/4 tsp pure stevia extract (adjust to taste)*
*I used KAL Pure Stevia Extract Powder, but you can use whatever brand you like, as long as you taste the batter as you add it.
Prepare the chai ahead of time by steeping two teabags (I used decaffeinated Tazo Chai) in one cup of boiling water until cool.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
Combine the dry ingredients (oatmeal through ginger) in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the chai, applesauce, vinegar, extracts, and all but 2 tablespoons of the coconut. Mix well and add the stevia, adjusting it to taste.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the reserved coconut and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Cut into 9 pieces, each piece has the follow (amazing, if I do say so) nutritional breakdown: 106 Calories; 2g Total Fat; (16% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 20g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 260mg Sodium; 3g Fiber; 1.5 Weight Watchers Points.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go enjoy a piece of cake with my afternoon coffee.