It’s that time of the year again! The Great British Bake Off is back to help us gently ease into the autumn. We’re looking forward to binge-watching for all the fun and camaraderie, but of course, it’s those culinary masterpieces that inspired us to put together this list of desserts worthy of any Star Baker.
We know the Bake Off contestants usually take the sugar and fat content in their recipes to the next level, but we 8fit recipe developers firmly believe baking can still be indulgent and healthy at the same time. Healthy baking doesn’t have to be a bland affair. Even the show claims that they’ll have some healthy and alternative weeks, like “the vegan week”, to remain current and challenge the participants.
If you can put together a delicious-tasting dessert that’s also nutritious and healthful, then that’s what makes a Star Baker in our eyes! So if you want to experiment like they do on the Bake Off but you’re not sure how to lighten up that calorie-dense pastry or have a limited healthy-bake repertoire, then keep reading.
Ways to make baking a little healthier
Let’s talk about all you ‘knead’ (yes, we went there) to make the Great British Bake Off recipes that little bit more nutritious. Next time you’re in the mood to bake, put these tips to the test and see if you can create something delicious, beautiful and nourishing!
Easy tweaks for a healthier cake
- Where you can, opt for whole grain flour instead of white. The texture may come out a little denser, but it’s full of flavor and goodness. Not only will it increase the fiber content and give you a more filling cake, but it will also give your bake a more nutty taste.
- Using fruit and veg in your cake is a smart way to reduce the amount of added sugar. Plus it adds flavor, moisture, color, and fiber. What more could you ask for? Experiment with fruit like bananas, berries, apples, pears, and pineapple. Or try sweet veggies like beets, pumpkins, and carrots.
- To top off your sweet treats, you can replace whipped cream with nutrient-rich Greek yogurt or ricotta mixed with vanilla extract. Or if you want a boost of protein use vanilla-flavored whey protein instead. If cream isn’t your jam (yes, we went there again), use a low-fat cream cheese to spread over your tasty treat. The fact that it’s not just healthy but tastes great is simply the icing on the cake!
Lighten up your pastry
- About a third of shortcrust pastry and puff pastry is made of fat. But you can lower the saturated fat content by using a sunflower spread instead of butter. Make sure you scan the label to avoid purchasing any products that contain added trans fats.
- Adding just a top layer of crust on your crumbles and pies will considerably lighten the calorie load of your dessert, without compromising on the look or flavor. So you can still have a traditional-style finish, minus the excess calories. We call that having your cake and eating it too!
- Go for filo pastry instead. It lends your baked item that crunchy crust and looks stunning too. The advantage of this type of pastry is that it’s simply a mix of flour and water, no fat added. The butter or oil is brushed onto the layers during the cooking stage, so really, it’s all up to you.
Enjoy nutritious bread
- Shop-bought bread can be packed with all sorts of ingredients, including extra salt and lots of preservatives. So try making your own, you’ll get to pick what kind of flour you want (barley, oat, spelt, rye), and you can add veggies, seeds and nuts to it too!
- If you’re not a fan of spending hours in the kitchen making a loaf, wholemeal soda bread is a speedy alternative. Using soda instead of yeast makes the process much quicker and hassle-free.
- Make flatbreads instead of bread so that you need fewer ingredients and mixture at a time. Here’s a foolproof dough that we sometimes use for a quick, spontaneous brunch: 100 grams whole grain flour, 4 Tbsp yogurt, 1 Tbsp olive oil, and 1 tsp salt. Et voila!
The Great British Bake Off recipe ideas from the 8fit app
And now, five simple healthy desserts that will make you feel like you’re Star Baker!
Strawberries with “cheesecake” filling
Is there any dessert more British than strawberries and cream? Go for that yummy cheesecake flavor, without all the fuss or the added calories. The secret to the creaminess is the ricotta that’s whisked with chopped almonds, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon, it’s just like a cheesecake but without the bloat!
These perfect little British-style muffins are made with banana, eggs and ground almonds. If you have a microwave, you’re in luck – these bouncy muffins will be ready in five minutes. So you can dig into your baked treat while you watch the contestants sweat under pressure on the show.
Berry crumble bake
Our list wouldn’t be complete without this decadent-tasting berry crumble! It’s made with a blend of berries, which are one of the fruits with the lowest sugar content and also lend the crumble it’s balanced sweet and tart flavors. Add chopped dates, walnuts, vanilla and cinnamon for the topping and bake until golden.
4-Ingredient protein brownies
If you’re trying to cut down on sugar, but every part of your being still craves chocolate cake, these brownies are made for you. They’re naturally-sweetened and only contain four ingredients – peanut butter, banana, cocoa powder, and protein powder. You can leave the protein out if you’re having this as a dessert.
These scrumptious crêpes are made with wholesome buckwheat and oats. Not only does it mean you have a flour that’s packed with fiber and protein, but these ones will keep you satisfied for longer. Our favorite trick is to add sparkling water to the batter to make it that much fluffier and lighter. Get the recipe here!