Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Strawberry Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf (eggless)

(If the word "xylitol" scares you, don't be skittish - read on!  This recipe can also be made with regular granulated sugar.)

[UPDATE: Since initially writing this post, I have looked into xylitol further.  I am not 100% convinced of how much better it is than sugar for those with diabetes.  For more info see the definition for sugar alcohols by the ADA and this informative article about sweeteners from the CDA.  I didn't have any issues cooking with the xylitol and it does provide other benefits, but I am personally going to stick to cooking with sugar in the future - mostly because it is far less costly!  Bottom line: both sugar and xylitol need to be eaten in moderation to maintain a healthy lifestyle, particularly for those with diabetes.]

Does anybody else out in the blogosphere get intimidated by the unusual ingredients found in many ultra healthy recipes?  I mean things like xylitol, arrowroot powder, sorghum flour, erythritol, etc.  I bring this up not to scoff at the use of these ingredient in recipes, but because I am jealous.  Jealous that I don't understand these mystical products - not to mention that it's hard to pluck up the courage to request them in a health food store only to balk at the cost!  However, I took a brave first step this week when I baked a loaf cake with xylitol in place of sugar. 

I decided to try out xylitol after my father and I were provided free samples of a xylitol-sweetened treat at a grocery store.  The taste overturned my first fear about xylitol - that it wouldn't be sweet enough or that it would leave an unpleasant aftertaste.  I did not find that the taste differed greatly from sugar in this loaf, although my sister claimed she could detect a difference immediately.  However, she still managed to enjoy more than one slice of the cake ;)  My second motivation for trying it is that it reportedly produces a "lower glycemic response" (check out this site for more information, although take what it says with a grain of salt as it's purpose is to promote xylitol). Since my father is diabetic, I thought I'd give it a shot.  So I made this:

Mmmm..don't you just want to dip a spoon into this?  (Actually, no - you don't.
Take it from someone who found out the hard way.  This baby needs to be baked!)

That, my friend, is the batter for an eggless lemon poppy seed loaf with a strawberry balsamic sauce swirled into the batter.  The above picture demonstrates one way to incorporate the sauce ripples by laying it in stripes and then swirling with a knife.  However, this loaf bakes up in such a way that any attempt at pretty patterns will not be greatly visible in the baked loaf.  The lemon/strawberry/poppyseed flavours go very well together and the swirls of sauce introduce nice pockets of moistness in the cake.  The sauce was a gift and I have a feeling that it is not readily available in stores - but any fruit sauce of your preferred flavour (I would recommend strawberry, raspberry, or orange) can be used :)  Just choose a lighter, whipping-cream-consistency sauce so that it doesn't all sink to the bottom of this rather fluid batter.

Can you see the flecks of zest and puddles of sauce peeking out of the loaf?

Strawberry Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf (eggless)
Adapted from Aromatic Cooking blog.

Makes 8-10 servings
  • 3/4 cup xylitol or granulated sugar (note: I have not made this recipe with granulated sugar, but it should produce similar results)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil (canola is my preference)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sieved all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 3-4 tbsp fruit sauce of choice
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together millk, oil, vanilla, xylitol/sugar and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  3. Add baking powder and soda, then add flour in small portions and mix in each portion before adding the next.  If batter seems lumpy, blend out lumps with a hand blender or food processor.
  4. Mix in poppy seeds, lemon juice, and zest.
  5. Pour half of the batter into the prepared loaf pan.  Then drizzle or stripe half of the fruit sauce on top - swirl with a knife if desired.  Repeat with remaining batter and sauce.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown in colour.  Warning: this batter is easy to overbake!  It will seem a bit more liquid than your standard cake batter when you pull it out of the oven.  Use the toothpick test to confirm doneness.
  7. Let cake cool to room temperature.  Cut into slices (perhaps top with extra fruit sauce...yum) and serve!
I hope you enjoy :)


  1. I've been reading a lot about diabetes, blood-sugar, alternate sweetener, etc. lately and recently came across the following...A piece of whole grain bread has a higher glycemic index than a tablespoon of sugar. ( may find it interesting to know that oats aren't so healthy for diabetics - they have a tendency to raise blood-sugar levels. I know this is hard to believe, because of how healthy oats are claimed to be and that is why I suggest doing your own research and not taking what I say word-for-word.) I guess it should be added that although a food may have a high/higher GI, it can be balanced with the addition of fibre and fat; nonetheless, all this information has made me reevaluate providing diabetics with lots of grains. Something to think about...

    1. I wouldn't say GI is more important than glycemic LOAD though, which is how your body processes the food. Even then, a piece of steak causes a greater insulin spike than a can of pop!

    2. Both of you have made some very interesting comments. There is a lot of interesting research out there about blood-sugar and glycemic theory. I for one had never realized how complex the diabetes issue was until my father was diagnosed.

      P.S. Sarah, thanks for sharing the sauce recipe! I might try it out myself so that I can get my preferred balance of acidity versus sweetness compared to the the store-bought version.

  2. That looks fantastic! I found a recipe to make strawberry balsamic sauce too ( so I'll be able to get it all in!

  3. Ran across your blog from a Blisstree post, great looking recipes!

    I am also working on a new recipe search engine, and I thought, as a food blogger, you might be interested. We have started a Kickstarter campaign that explains our project, I hope you’ll check us out :)


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