A heart friendly, homemade sweet treat for your valentine

I confess: baking from scratch has never been my forte.

Until recently that is.

I’m still not adventurous enough yet to try the kind of layer cake my grandma would have turned out or the cream puffs that were the signature pastry of my great Aunt Catherine. Those, I can only dream about. But I’m working up to it.

Right now, it’s baby steps with homemade dessert breads.

Bishop O’Connell was the catalyst for this new culinary learning experience. His recipe for date nut Christmas bread (made from scratch) was the inspiration. After whipping up Christmas breads from mixes for years and passing them off as my own (mea maxima culpa), I decided to give his recipe a try. The results were so tasty that baking from scratch, as Mom used to call it, seemed the way to go.

Since we’re all trying to keep our New Year’s diet resolutions here at KTF,  it seemed like a good idea to go in search of dessert bread recipes that mixed great taste with a lower-fat, less-sugar approach for Valentine’s Day.

This recipe for Raspberry Lemon Dessert Bread fills the bill. Adapted from several on the internet, it’s terrifically adaptable. You can substitute strawberries or blueberries for the raspberries and exchange orange zest for lemon.

Leave the top plain or dust it with powdered sugar or serve it with a dollop of low-cal whipped topping.

Rasbperry Lemon Dessert Bread 

Ingredients: 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour; 2 teaspoons baking powder;  1 teaspoon baking soda; pinch of salt; 3/4 cup low fat (2 percent) Greek yogurt; 2 large eggs (free range if possible); 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract; 3/4 cup sugar; zest of one large lemon; 1 cup raspberries; 1/3 cup canola or good quality vegetable oil.

Directions: preheat the oven to 350 degrees; spray an 8 1/2  x 4 1/2 – inch loaf pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt, eggs, vanilla, sugar, and lemon zest. Lightly whisk in the dry ingredients until incorporated. Using a robber spatula, fold in the raspberries and slowly pour in the oil, folding it into the batter. Transfer the batter into the baking pan. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the batter is golden. Cool on a rack. When cool, flip the cake out of the pan and serve on a platter.


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