Here in the Midwestern United States, the signs of spring are everywhere, subtle but unmistakable. Flocks of robins rustle in the bare trees, crocus push through the soil, and the slightest hint of green colors the low brush. As the seasons change, a time of anticipation and preparation is upon us, of looking inward and turning small changes into regular habits, and regular habits to a new way of life.
Over the next six weeks, I'd like to share six small, positive steps to healthier eating. Six little suggestions that can add up to big benefits in the long run.
Years ago, I made some small changes to develop a healthier sour cream coffee cake recipe. It's become a favorite at my house; everyone always wants it for their birthday cake. Although low in fat, remember it is still a sweet treat. Moderation in all things!
In honor of Mardi Gras, decorate the cake with green, purple, and gold sugar.
Cinnamon Streusel Mardi Gras Cake
Filling: 2 Tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons sugar
¼ Teaspoon cinnamon
Topping: ¼ Cup powdered sugar
Green, purple, yellow colored sugar sprinkles
6 1/2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 ½ Tablespoons water
¼ Cup sugar
½ Cup fat-free or low fat yogurt, plain
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Egg whites
1 Cup flour
½ Teaspoon baking soda
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease an 8-inch round cake pan. (If you prefer to serve the cake turned out onto a plate, also flour the pan or line with parchment paper.)
Combine the filling ingredients and set aside.
Beat egg whites with electric mixer until frothy and light.
Cream oil, water, and sugar together, beat in yogurt and vanilla, and fold in egg whites.
Shift together flour, soda, and salt,and fold into batter.
Spoon half the batter into cake pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle filling over the batter, then cover with rest of batter. Smooth carefully over the filling.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in 350 degree oven until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
While cake bakes, mix together the powdered sugar with enough water to make a thin glaze.
Let cake cool on a wire rack for 10 or 15 minutes. Drizzle glaze over the warm cake, then sprinkle with the purple, green, and yellow sugar in whatever design you like.
Serve warm or cold.