Saturday 11 April 2015

Baobab Cupcakes

   I talked recently about superfoods and what they really are, and more recently about one such superfood, baobab. It's amazing because of its high nutrient content, but also because it's the only fruit in the world that dries on the branch rather than ripening, dropping and spoiling, which means that it's the only 100% natural fruit powder available, needing just a good sieve rather than added chemicals or processes. This makes it perfect for adding to...well...anything! But I wondered how the amazing African fruit would go in a cake - you know me, I love my cake!

   Well, if I do say so myself, baobab goes very well in cake! But I will mention right off the bat that just because this batch of cakes contains 10g of this super fruit doesn't suddenly make it healthy. Playing diet amnesia with these still won't work as cake is still cake, but at least these have more nutritional value than typical cakes, and making tiny ones like I did helps control portion sizes - and when you eat these tasty things in moderation, neither your health 'nor your waistline will be affected in a negative way.
   That's not to say that these are as bad as other cakes, though. Replacing butter with coconut oil will give it more nutritional value again as coconut oil is one of the healthiest dietary oils there is, packed with good fats (yes, there is such a thing) and perfect for people who can't consume dairy, while the baobab adds its own benefits which I've mentioned before, as well as decreasing the need for sugar in the recipe and eliminating the need for any vanilla extract or other flavourings, natural or not. The fruit contributes massively, adding vitamins, sweetness and flavour, while keeping the calories down at the same time.

1 cup/100g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 stick/100g butter or coconut oil
1/2 cup/50g sugar
2 medium eggs
10g Baobab fruit pulp (I used 2 sachets of Aduna's Baobab powder)

1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180 C/350 F and fill a cupcake tray with paper cases. I used a petit four/mini muffin pan for more bite-sized cakes.

2. Combine the flour and baking powder (alternatively use self-raising flour)

3. Mix together the flour/baking powder with the butter, eggs and sugar in a bowl and mix until smooth.

4. Add the baobab fruit pulp powder to the mixture and combine. Using this in place of vanilla extract brings out the fruit's flavour, and using only 50g of sugar means that the sweetness will come more from the fruit. Baobab dries on the branch and goes through nothing more than grinding to become a powder. Nothing is added to it, therefore it's the same as mixing in actual strawberries or vanilla beans.

5. Mix until the powder has been combined into the mixture and then spoon into the cake liners.

6. Transfer the tray into the oven for 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Too long in the oven will compromise the fruity taste.


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