While maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle requires you to cut back on the indulgences a bit, there’s going to come a time when you want to enjoy some cake. Perhaps it’s for a birthday, wedding or office party. Maybe it’s just because. Whatever the occasion, you should try to make your cake as healthy as possible. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can do this without sacrificing flavor or texture. Here’s how to bake a healthy cake.

Sugar Substitutes

The biggest problem with cake is its considerable sugar content. A average standard-size cake contains at least two cups of sugar, which adds up to a whopping 1,548 calories. Refined sugars enter your bloodstream rapidly, causing imbalances in blood glucose that stimulate weight gain and contribute to diabetes. Therefore, it’s best to use something less volatile than white sugar. Fruit juice concentrates, especially those from apples, pears and white grapes, make excellent natural sweeteners. They still contain nutrients and their structure prevents them from entering the bloodstream as quickly. Another option is coconut sugar, which is made from dried coconut nectar. Besides being rich in nutrients, it has been shown to have very little impact on blood glucose.

Healthier Fats

Although the use of vegetable oils is widespread, they’re not a healthy choice. Emerging research on vegetable oils is revealing that they promote inflammation and cancer due to their polyunsaturated fat content. They’re also completely rancid by the time they leave the production plant. This negatively affects both the flavor and texture of your cake. Even the oh-so-popular hydrogenated vegetable shortenings are terrible for you because they’re loaded with trans fats.

Coconut oil is an alternative that is strongly recommended. It’s common, it’s inexpensive and its chemical structure makes it perfect for baking. It has long been known that coconut oil promotes increased energy and fat loss. Decades ago, farmers who fed it to their cattle to fatten them up found that it did the opposite. Butter is another good choice. Despite the bad reputation it has received, it is much healthier than vegetable oils, especially hydrogenated shortenings. Furthermore, it will really do a lot for your cake’s flavor.

Better Flours

The flour you use has the most bearing on how well your cake turns out. Good texture is important, so many people usually choose all-purpose or cake flour. These so-called white flours have been highly refined to remove all of their fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. By your body’s standards, they’re the exact same thing as refined sugar.

Instead of falling into this blood sugar nightmare waiting to happen, choose a flour that’s been processed less. There are whole-wheat flours that are ground more finely to make them suitable for cake-making. There are also many flours made from other nutritious things, such as quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, corn, millet, spelt and sorghum. Quinoa and buckwheat, in particular, are known for their high protein content, a feature that will help reduce blood glucose spikes.

Finding a Frosting

A cake isn’t a cake without some sort of frosting. However, this can leave you in a bind. Most commercially-available frostings are made almost entirely from sugar and soybean oil, two ingredients that can be detrimental to your health. As if soybean oil’s status as a vegetable oil wasn’t bad enough, soy is also a potent disruptor of the endocrine system.

One way to have healthier frosting is to use real whipped cream. This is a great option for individual slices or on ice cream cakes. For some cakes, a light sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar might suffice, especially if your cake is delicately flavored. Cream cheese is also a fantastic choice if you’re making chocolate or carrot cakes. In addition, you might consider using a regular canned frosting, but only spreading on half of it.

Cakes are a fun and delicious way to commemorate many occasions, even if all you’re celebrating is the cake itself. Because many people feel that entirely giving up cake would be a tragedy, they often try to find ways to reduce the negative health impacts of indulging. Try some of these suggestions when baking your next cake or try to come up with some of your own.

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