By Integrative Nutrition
When the holiday season rolls around, for many of us, our first instinct is to bake! Nothing evokes the comfort and nostalgia of the holidays like a warm kitchen full of the scent of cinnamon and sugar. However, many people find it hard to stick with healthy habits because they miss the tradition and ritual associated with less-than-healthy treats. Rest assured that you can have your holiday treat and eat it too! You just need to know a few simple swaps.
This rustic and homey cranberry cake is made with whole wheat flour and sweetened with honey, but it will still nourish your soul on snowy afternoons spent indoors. It’s just sweet enough to satisfy your cravings without spiking your blood sugar or giving you a headache. Thanks to white whole wheat flour – which is as much of a nutritional powerhouse as typical whole wheat flour, but offers improved taste and texture thanks to a special type of wheat berry – this cake is light and kid-friendly.
Honey seamlessly replaces white sugar in this recipe. If you’ve never baked with honey before, you’re missing out! It adds flavorful complexity to baked goods and offers its own unique set of health benefits. Raw honey is an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and it can even help you combat seasonal colds and flus. Use it as your go-to sweetener during the winter months and watch your health improve.
You’ll also be pleased to hear that cranberries, a popular and universally-available holiday ingredient, are a superfood in and of themselves. They offer a wide variety of amazing health-promoting properties: They’re anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-cancer, and they’re rich in antioxidants as well.
They provide many of the same benefits as other berries that aren’t typically in season during the winter months, so use them as often as possible in your holiday recipes. Fresh cranberries give baked goods a welcome tart and juicy crunch that is the perfect foil to sweet flavors. Add them to muffins, loaves, and cakes wherever you would use other berries.
This cake freezes well and holds up, when wrapped airtight, for 4-5 days at room temperature. It makes for a tasty grab-and-go breakfast when cut into hearty wedges.
If you’re celebrating an extra-special occasion, try splitting this cake in half and frosting it with a simple cream cheese or coconut cream frosting. Decorate it with dried cranberries and you’ll have a spectacularly delicious and nutritious cake.
Whole Wheat Honey Cranberry Cake (Makes one 9” round cake)
1 cup organic grass-fed butter, at room temperature
¾ cup organic raw honey
3 organic eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups white whole wheat flour (King Arthur Flour is a high-quality, widely-available brand)
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup plain 0% Greek yogurt
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- Preheat oven to 325º F and spray 9” round springform pan with coconut oil baking spray. Set aside.
- Working with a stand mixer or handheld mixer, beat butter and honey together until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and eggs, one at a time, waiting for the mixture to emulsify before adding the next egg.
- Sift flour, baking powder and baking soda over butter mixture and begin to fold dry and wet ingredients together. Add Greek yogurt and completely combine all ingredients. Once the batter is cohesive and there are no visible spots of flour left, lightly fold in cranberries.
- Scoop batter into prepared pan, tap the pan against the counter a few times to break up any air bubbles, and bake the cake for 50-55 minutes, or until golden brown and set in the center (a knife or toothpick should come out clean when inserted in the center).
- Cool cake completely on a wire rack, then slide a thin knife around the outside edge to separate the cake from the pan. Unclasp the springform, remove the ring, cut the cake into wedges, and serve.
- This cake is good both warm and at room temperature. For a festive dessert, top slices with scoops of cinnamon or butter pecan ice cream. For a homey afternoon treat, pair cake with coffee or tea.
- If you don’t have fresh cranberries, dried will work as well. Or experiment with other berries – raspberries and blackberries both pair wonderfully with the flavor of honey.
- If you prefer, you can bake this cake in a 9” x 13” pan or a 9-cup Bundt pan.
Integrative Nutrition is the world’s largest nutrition school and Health Coach Training Program. Through our innovative, one-year online course, students learn the principles of health coaching, business skills, and over 100 different dietary theories with lectures by the world’s leading experts.