Trawling through volumes of recipes on the internet can be fun, and it can be frustrating. I love living in New Zealand, but there is a cost to being ‘Down Under’ in a comparatively small nation. One of these is the availability of certain items, ranging from ‘never heard of’ to ‘readily found in most places’. When it comes to a low carb life, several regularly used ingredients in online recipes are hard to find and excruciatingly expensive if bought via the internet from an overseas supplier. Others are found easily in the aisles of the local supermarket, but again the price makes one wonder whether a low carb lifestyle is financially sustainable without feeling deprived of the wondrous good things everyone likes to eat. That even extends to butter, which at a now hefty $6.00 per 500 grams makes one very careful with its golden goodness. For a country that has a proportionately large dairy industry and produces mountains of butter, I am appalled at the cost, but also feel for the dairy owners who strive to make a fair income. It’s a dilemma for sure.
So I as wander through the alleys and sheltered halls of the internet searching for recipes that are achievable with the ingredients I have, or for which workable substitutions can be made, I often find myself frustrated. Too many times I come across a great recipe I’d love to try, but it contains ingredients which are hard to find or prohibitively expensive within the New Zealand market.
The further I delve into my new lifestyle and try out new things, the more I am becoming aware of the necessity for recipes which are reasonable for my fellow kiwis, or any other nation which finds sourcing specialist ingredients difficult.
That brings me to this recipe I am sharing today. I started out by making a Healthy 1 Minute Classic Coffee Cake from The Big Man’s World. I love it when I find a recipe that has no extra fancy ingredients. I consider coconut and almond flour, although pricey, a must have for any low carb household. However I did not have the ingredients for the streusel topping, so I subbed it for a cream cheese icing instead.
It was nice, with great texture, easy to make and served two people – I shared it with my Mum. It really needed the streusel topping, however, as it just felt lacking in flavour. That is to say, by leaving off the streusel, I did the cake a disservice as it is a fine recipe. As a side note: I am still not sure how a coffee cake can be a coffee cake with no coffee flavouring. But that’s a riddle for another time. 😉
I used that recipe as a basis for constructing my own. I’ve made my cake version twice. The first time I used 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger. I loved the warmth and gentle flavour it imbued. My husband thought it had too much heat, though. He would have liked it served with whipped cream to counter the spice.
So I made it again, this time with 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger. My husband was at work so I visited the neighbours and asked if they would be taste testing guinea pigs. They were only too happy to oblige. They loved the flavour of the cake, but found the ginger was barely noticeable. They requested a try of the spicier cake so one day soon I will take them another one to try.
They were surprised when I mentioned it was gluten and grain free, saying how light and lovely in texture it was. There is an unfortunate truth that many pre-made gluten free foods in New Zealand are on the denser and often ‘cardboard like’ side, which again is a reflection on the cost of specialist ingredients that help make healthy food good in every aspect of the eating experience.
The other alteration between the two versions I’ve made is the dish used for cooking. The first one was made in one of those huge bowl-like coffee cups (more like soup cups, really). It produced a taller cake with a nicely rounded top – think mini bombe Alaska. The second time I tried it in a cereal bowl. It cooks more quickly in the cereal bowl and produces a flatter, wider cake. Either way works fine, so use whatever you have and adjust cooking times – I suggest bursts of 30 seconds after the first 1 1/2 minutes.
This microwaved cake is quick to whip up for unexpected visitors, a last-minute dessert, or when you just want a healthy sweet treat.
I hope you’ll give it a try and let me know what you think.
Lemon Ginger Cake
♥ Ingredients ♥
zest of one lemon
1 large egg
2 t lemon juice
1/2 t lemon essence
1/4-1/2 t ground ginger
2 T erythritol/stevia blend
2 T unsweetened almond milk
1/2 t baking powder
2 T coconut flour
1 1/2 T almond flour
butter for greasing
Cream Cheese Icing
1 heaped T cream cheese
1 t powdered sweetener (I use Splenda)
1 t lemon juice
♥ Method ♥
Put egg, almond milk, sweetener, ginger, lemon essence, zest, and juice in a small bowl. Whisk with a fork until well combined.
Add in coconut and almond flours and baking powder. Give a good mix with the fork, making sure to break up any lumps of coconut flour. You could sift it first, but I like simplicity. 😉
Butter a large mug or cereal bowl. Pour the cake batter in and microwave at 100% for 1 1/2 minutes to start with. Check and keep cooking in bursts of 30 seconds, testing in between, until the top of the cake is dry. Test the cup version with a skewer to check the center is cooked through. The cooking time required will vary depending on each microwave oven.
Turn the cake out onto a rack or plate to cool while you make the icing.
To prepare the icing add lemon juice and sweetener to the softened cream cheese. Mix thoroughly until smooth. Taste and adjust flavouring and sweetness if desired.
When the cake is at room temperature (only a few minutes for the bowl cake; longer for the cup one), spread icing over the cake with a knife or back of a spoon. Cut into halves for a dessert for two, or into quarters for an afternoon tea to share with visitors.
Happy, healthy eating,