Gluten-free and Gooey Butter(less) Cake for Spring Celebrations

Gluten Free Gooey Butter(less) Cake is also low in sugar and makes a healthier dessert option for everyday and celebrations.
Today I’m sharing my healthier (but just as heavenly) version of a Gooey Butter Cake – I’m calling it Gluten-free & Gooey Butter(less) Cake. Before I dive into the recipe (uh . . . figuratively and literally), let me tell you how this sweet treat came to life . . . ‘cause I usually don’t make a lot of cakes.

banana foster butter cakeSo, last week I celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary with the super decadent Banana Foster Butter Cake at Eddie V’s Seafood Restaurant– it’s loaded with fat and sugar (as the name more than hints) and was topped with caramel, whipped cream and butter pecan ice cream. It didn’t take long to remember just how delicious this style of ooey, gooey, butter batter sticky cake actually is – in the past I had made Paula Deen’s version – she’s the Queen of Butter, y’all!Gluten Free Gooey Butter(less) Cake is also low in sugar and makes a healthier dessert option for everyday and celebrations.

Not that I have anything against butter or cream cheese or even a bit of actual sugar in moderation – but, there is absolutely no moderation in these traditional recipes — a modest sized piece with no toppings is pushing 600 calories!  That’s fine every 25 years (haha), but not every weekend. I surfed the internet looking for a healthier butter cake, a preferably one that was gluten-free and lower in sugar so all my family and friends could partake in the cake partaaaay!   I found a reasonably good-sounding Bobby Flay riff (however, not gluten-free) and a few other “meh” makeover recipes as well.  Naturally, in the end, I did my own thing based on the concepts and am more than pleased with the results.

Gluten Free Gooey Butter(less) Cake is also low in sugar and makes a healthier dessert option for everyday and celebrations.

butterless gooey cake nutritionApparently everyone else was pleased too, not a single slice from this Gluten-free & Gooey Butter(less) Cake I made over the weekend for my Mama’s birthday.

And, according to calculations, my version has 188 calories per serving and 8 grams of fat while the, ahem, Southern Lady version has 545 calories and 28 grams of fat for the same size serving! Both nutrition counts are calculated without toppings or a la mode!

Today my gluten-free cake is shown with strawberries to keep it lighter, but I’ve also done bananas and caramel sauce.

Gluten Free Banana Foster Upside Down CakeI’m also a big fan of this gluten-free Banana Foster Upside-Down Cake from Cooking Light! Check it out!

What would you put on top of your Gooey Butter Cake? What is your go-to dessert for celebrations? How many years have you been married, if you’d like to share! XOXO — Jennifer

 

 

Gluten Free Gooey Butter(less) Cake is also low in sugar and makes a healthier dessert option for everyday and celebrations.
Gluten-free and Gooey Butter(less) Cake
Print Recipe
Gluten-free and gooey, this healthier take on the super rich and decadent Butter Cake is also lower sugar and fat. Perfect for spring celebrations!
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Gluten Free Gooey Butter(less) Cake is also low in sugar and makes a healthier dessert option for everyday and celebrations.
Gluten-free and Gooey Butter(less) Cake
Print Recipe
Gluten-free and gooey, this healthier take on the super rich and decadent Butter Cake is also lower sugar and fat. Perfect for spring celebrations!
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Servings Prep Time
12 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes
Ingredients
For crust:
For filling:
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. For the “crust” mix together gluten-free flour blend, xanthan gum (if needed), flaxseed, sugar substitute, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Add milk, oil and egg to dry ingredients and use a spatula to mix until smooth. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and spread around evenly.
  3. For “filling,” beat the Neufchatel cheese until smooth. Beat in the yogurt, butter, vanilla and sugar. Spread over the cake mixture. Place springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet (in case of leakage) and bake on center rack for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven with filing is mostly set, but center still looks a little gooey.
  4. To serve, remove side of springform pan and dust with powdered sugar. Serve with preferred toppings, recommendations include berries, candied nuts, caramel sauce or fruit preserves and syrups.
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Not-So-Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte (with Protein)

Scary Pumpkin Spice LatteSince 2013, Starbucks has peddled hundreds of millions of their Pumpkin Spice Lattes making it the unofficial drink of the Fall season. I’ve served up . . .errr, dozens and dozens of my “not so scary” version, but drinking one gets you membership in a much more exclusive club – a club where members care about what their dumping down their bodies.

Did you know that a typical 16-ounce (“grande”) Pumpkin Spiced Latte has more than 50 grams of sugar coming mostly from sweetened condensed milk and 14 grams of fat.  Oh, and another surprise, the original coffee shop drink doesn’t even have real pumpkin in it! You can google all the other unhealthy benefits, but these are some that bother me the most!Not So Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte

You can still enjoy a steamy, sweet mug of creamy cinnamon-nutmeg-clove goodness without popping the buttons off your jeans with this pop-culture addiction. My Not-So-Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte can be made two ways – either with your milk of choice . . . or I often like to use a Vanilla Core Power to get a little more protein in the morning.

Core Power Pumpkin Spice Latte

My 16-ounce Core Power version Pumpkin Spice Latte is so much better with 252 calories, 27 grams sugar, 3.5 grams fat (with no whip) and 26 grams of protein. If you don’t use Core Power, the calories are likely to be a bit less . . .but, also less protein. You can stock up on Core Power High Protein Shake here. 

Sugar Free Pumpkin Protein Donuts with Cinnamon FrostingAlso, would you like a Sugar-Free Protein Pumpkin Muffin with Cinnamon Frosting to go with your muscle-making PSL?  I can hook you up with my recipe here!

Are you a pumpkin spice addict (anything), or sick of the trend? Do you make coffee at home, or hit a coffee shop daily? Have you ever been to a pumpkin chunkin’ or hurled your jack-o-lantern? Just wondering! Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Not So Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte
Not So Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte
Print Recipe
Optional: light whipped cream (just a dollop, it adds calories and fat) Directions: Pour prepared espresso and Core Power in tall microwave-safe mug and microwave on medium for approximately 1 ½ minutes (without overheating). Remove and stir in pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice until dissolved. Top with light whipped cream, if desired. Serves 1.
Servings Prep Time
1 2 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 2 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Not So Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte
Not So Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte
Print Recipe
Optional: light whipped cream (just a dollop, it adds calories and fat) Directions: Pour prepared espresso and Core Power in tall microwave-safe mug and microwave on medium for approximately 1 ½ minutes (without overheating). Remove and stir in pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice until dissolved. Top with light whipped cream, if desired. Serves 1.
Servings Prep Time
1 2 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 2 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Pour prepared espresso and Core Power in tall microwave-safe mug and microwave on medium for approximately 1 ½ minutes (without overheating). Remove and stir in pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice until dissolved. Top with light whipped cream, if desired.
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Kale & Quinoa Casserole Recipe + The Running Event

It was a busy day visiting with old friends (like Altra, Nuun Hydration, Pocket Fuel, and others) and meeting new folks in the running industry at THE RUNNING EVENT conference right here in Austin. I have lots of new running gear and race fuel products to update you on —   and perhaps a giveaway or two coming up soon!

Bart Yasso & Jennifer Fisher at TRE14It was also fun to bump into Bart Yasso (aka the “Mayor of Running) who I threatened to track down if his world-famous “Yasso 800s” don’t pay off in my upcoming Dallas Marathon.In the meantime, I wanted to share a nutritious comfort food recipe that is perfect addition to a holiday potluck party or just as a make-ahead and bake later meal for a busy night – Ranch Kale and Quinoa Casserole.  Originally created for the Litehouse Food blog (please visit), this home-style dish a hearty yet healthy riff on broccoli rice casserole, one of my favorite Christmas side dish (but most versions I’ve seen have tons of butter, cream, or “cream of” soups).

Ranch Kale & Quinoa Casserole - TheFitFork.com

Ranch Kale & Quinoa Casserole Recipe

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 cups chopped kale
  • 1 large white onion (chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa (from 1 cup dry)
  • 1 cup ranch dressing
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (divided)
  1. Add olive oil to 12” to 14” cast iron skillet and bring to medium-high heat.
  2. Add chopped onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until softening. Add half of kale and cook down for about 2 minutes. Add a couple tablespoons of water, if needed.  Add remaining kale to skillet and sauté for 2 -3 more minutes until completely wilted.
  3. Add garlic, salt and pepper to kale and continue to sauté for 1 minute.
  4. Remove skillet from heat and stir in pre-cooked quinoa, ranch dressing and ¾ cup of parmesan cheese.
  5. Sprinkle top with remaining cheese and bake in 350 F degree oven for 30 minutes or until bubbling and cheese browning on top.
  6. Serves 8.

 

cheesy quinoa bake

Using quinoa instead of rice or pasta in a casserole adds extra protein and can often stand alone as a vegetarian or Meatless Monday meal – check out another favorite of mine, Lightened Cheese Quinoa and Cauliflower Casserole.

 

 

What is your favorite comfort casserole?

What new running gear do you have your eye on?

Skinny Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe

sugar free banana chocolate muffins

Fall baking season is upon us! While I strive to eat nutritiously, I can still enjoy a little lovin’ from the oven thanks to a few healthy recipe swaps.  My recipe for Skinny Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins will satisfy any sweet tooth but without nearly as much sugar as bakery shop treats. Because these healthy muffins are sweetened with just a bit of Stevia and the natural sugars found in bananas, the only real naughtiness is in the chocolate chips. But then, who ever said chocolate is bad for you? Quite the contrary with the company I keep.  Also, to keep these muffins light, I omitted oil for Greek yogurt (extra protein) and unsweetened applesauce.

Tips, I like to use “mini” chocolate chips because they spread out better in the batter and also allow fewer to be used with still the same indulgent effect.  Also, you’ll want your bananas to be as ripe as possible – I’m talking so ripe that the banana peel is black. When the bananas on my counter get to this state of super sweetness, I just peel them and toss them in the freezer for future baking and smoothie recipes. Another tip, if you’re using paper liners, set the liner in the muffin tins and then spray the paper with a mist of baking spray – the muffins will fall out effortlessly when ready to eat.

close up banana chocolate chip muffin

Skinny Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe

  • 4 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¾ cup plain Greek yogurt (6-oz carton)
  • ¼ cup milk of choice
  • 10 packets Stevia (or 1 tsp. liquid Stevia)
  •  1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips*

*Save extra chocolate chips in bag to sprinkle on top before baking, if desired.

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  2. In large bowl, mash together bananas. Mix in applesauce, Greek yogurt, milk, stevia vanilla and egg whites until combined.
  3. In separate bowl, stir together salt, baking soda, baking powder, all-purpose flour, and whole wheat flour.
  4. Beat dry ingredients into wet ingredients a little at a time.  Once combined, pour in chocolate chips and stir in by hand.
  5. Spay muffin tins with baking spray or use paper liners. Fill muffin cups 2/3s the way up and sprinkle top of batter with a few extra mini chocolate chips, if desired.
  6. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until tops are turning lightly golden brown and center is set with prodded with a toothpick. If using mini muffin pans, reduce baking time 5 – 7 minutes.
  7. Makes 2 dozen.

banana bread chocolate chip - photo by 'Taste of Home' If this recipe appeals to you, you’ll probably like my “Better For You” Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, a delicious take on everyone’s favorite quick bread.  I had this one published a while back in Country Woman magazine.

“Nutrish” Caramelized Banana Bread Recipe

You’re going to love this delicious recipe I adapted from Cooking Light magazine; it’s been “chimped out” to be even more healthy and nutritious. Relying on the sweetness of super, ultra ripe bananas, I reduced the sugar by a third, cut out some of the butter in the caramelizing process, used part whole eggs/part egg white, and substituted whole-wheat flour and ground flax seed for half of the all-purpose flour. Oh, and I skipped the buttery sugar glaze. But that’s okay because this makeover banana bread recipe is delicious, moist and just sweet enough; gunking it up with icing is totally unnecessary.  Another tweak; I doubled the recipe, because in my book, when you’re baking banana bread it’s a must to  whip up at least two loaves at a time – one loaf for today, one loaf for tomorrow (it’s always better the next day).  At 145 calories per slice (compared to 190 for the original recipe), this recipe also has 1.5 grams less fat and double the dietary fiber.

“Nutrish” Caramelized Banana Bread

  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 6 medium very ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1 cup fat-free buttermilk
  • 6 tablespoons canola oil
  • ¼ cup amber or gold rum
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup egg white
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
  • ¼ ground flax seed
  • 1 ½  teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Baking spray with flour (such as Baker’s Joy)

 

Preheat oven to 350°. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar and bananas; sauté 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool 10 minutes (so that eggs don’t “cook” when you mix them in later.” Place banana mixture in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.

Combine buttermilk, oil, rum, whole eggs and egg whites. Combine all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, ground flax seed, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately to banana mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat at low speed just until combined. Split batter evenly between two 9 x 5-inch metal loaf pans coated with baking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool for 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan, and cool on wire rack.

Each loaf serves 16 (32 total servings)

 

‘Better-For-You’ Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Looking for a quick banana bread recipe that is not too fat-laden yet moist and tasty enough to go ape over? Several years ago, I gave a makeover to my favorite banana bread recipe by replacing some of the fat with applesauce and a fat-free sour cream substitution. The success of the swap was as clear as the crumbs left in the pan – it was a winner with my family for a breakfast treat and afterschool snack. Plus, I’ve even been known to sneak a piece on occasion– hey, it might be a cheat on the Paleo, Zone and other low-carb diets, but you have to live a little people! Recipe written by yours truly, Jennifer Fisher, and originally published in Country Woman February/March 2010, p34.  Enjoy!

 

‘Better-For-You’ Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
  • 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Add eggs; mix well. Beat in the bananas, sour cream, applesauce and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to butter mixture just until moistened. Fold in chips. Transfer to two 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pans coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 2 loaves (16 slices each).

Nutritional Facts: 1 slice equals 155 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 16 mg cholesterol, 148 mg sodium, 28 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 starch, 1/2 fat.