Hello! It’s Suzanne, Rebecca’s Momma, happy to be back on the PPP. Today, I’m taking a little detour into the kitchen. At the start of the new year, everyone is feeling like it’s time to get healthy, so I thought I’d try to modernize one of my Mom’s tried and true recipes to make it just a little healthier.
The original recipe for Apple Squares is a simple one that makes a delicious cake-like treat. Beat 1 cup of sugar, 2 eggs, ¾ cup of vegetable oil and I teaspoon of vanilla until smooth. Add 1 ½ cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and some cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Mix in 2 cups of chopped apples and 1 cup chopped nuts (if desired) and bake in a 9 X 13 pan in a 350-degree oven for approximately 45 minutes.
The 1st thing I did was to peal, core and chop up two apples. The recipe calls for two cups, but a little more than that has never been a problem in the recipe.
Next, I substituted apple sauce for the oil and creamed together the wet ingredients. Apple sauce can be substituted 1 for 1 for oil, meaning you use the same amount of sauce as you would oil.
For the dry ingredients, I wanted to cut down on the flour and add some protein, so I added one cup of flour and replaced the other ½ cup with unflavored protein powder.
Some online research suggested replacing each cup of flour with 1/3 of a cup of protein powder and to not exceed 1/3 of the flour content of the recipe overall. Since I needed to replace ½ a cup of flour, I need 1/6 cup, which is the same as 2 2/3 tablespoons. A tablespoon is 3 teaspoons, so I needed 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of protein powder. And that, my friends, is more math than I have done in a really long time! I sifted the flour and protein powder together with my spices to make sure everything would mix in well.
My first concern was that the batter was much thinner than the original recipe makes. After mixing in the flour, you are usually left with a very stiff batter. I’m not sure why, because all my research indicated that the protein powder is denser than flour would be, but I’d come this far, so I decided to forge ahead.
I mixed in the apples and some chopped pecans and turned everything into my 9 X 13 pan that had been prepared with some baking spray. It went into the oven and took only about 35 minutes to cook.
I was suspicious of the results because the cake did not rise as much as the original recipe. Some additional research after the pan was in the oven baking (when it was too late!) suggested that the leavening agent (baking powder) should be increased when baking with protein powder. Ah ha!
The cake was also much darker that the original recipe. I can’t find any reason why that might be, but perhaps it is just because the cake didn’t rise as much.
The real test, though, was a taste test. Rebecca and her husband had both had cake made with the original recipe, so they had a good basis for comparison. They said this cake was very moist (thanks to the apple sauce substitution) and much denser than the original. They said the flavor was good as well – no discernable taste difference from the original due to the substitutions.
I brought half into the office to share with my coworkers and the cake got good reviews there as well.
Overall, I think my experiment was successful and created a delicious, if not identical to the original, apple cake. Taken on its own, I’d call the experimental version more of a bar than a cake, since it was quite dense. I will try again – next time increasing the leavening agent and perhaps seeking out a protein powder expressly meant for baking (if there is such a thing).
If you have ever tried to update a recipe, I’d love to hear about your results in the comments. Until next time, happy baking!
Thanks to my mother for the lovely spin on a dessert that's been made quite often in our family! I hope to be back next time with a part 2 to the floral card sets. Talk to you soon everyone and don't forget to check out the Etsy shop if you are looking for any Valentine's Day gifts for that special someone or for yourself ;)
P.S. Today's photo on the homepage is from Pexels user Mareefe:
I am a 27-year-old crafter and baker from New Hampshire!