Healthy Baking Competition

Jemma over at Celery and Cupcakes has organised an amazing baking competition. You have to create a recipe that uses margarine, but make it a healthier recipe. I got my thinking hat on and decided that one of my favourite recipes is my cherry, almond and marzipan cake.

To make it a little healthier I made a few changes: I used coconut sugar instead of regular sugar. I increased the ground almonds and decreased the flour, and added in another egg (this helps the ground almonds to bind). I also reduced the amount of marzipan used, and used natural dried cherries instead of glacΓ© cherries. I am really pleased with how it turned out and actually prefer it to the original!

Most of my ingredients:


175g margarine (I used Pure spread)

175g coconut sugar

4 free range eggs

200g ground almonds

50g plain flour

2 heaped tsp baking powder

1 tsp almond extract

90g dried cherries

Optional: 20g marzipan

Flaked almonds, to sprinkle


Preheat the oven to 180C and line a brownie pan with baking paper. Cream together the margarine and coconut sugar. Add the eggs and almond extract and beat well. Add in the ground almonds, flour and baking powder, and mix gently to combine. Finally add in the dried cherries.

Pour the mixture into the pan. At this point if you are using marzipan, tear it into little pieces and dot over the top. Feel free to omit this. Then sprinkle with the flaked almonds.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean (be sure not to test by a piece of marzipan as this will be liquid at oven temperature).

Leave to cool in the pan on a cooling rack before dusting with icing sugar.

The coconut sugar means that the cake does go a little darker than when using normal caster sugar.

Leave to cool before slicing. The ground almonds means that it may stick a bit more to the baking paper, so be gentle!

This cake has a gorgeous light texture, and a delicious almond flavour. Of course the “normal” dried cherries don’t stand out as much as the fake red glacΓ© ones, but they still add a lovely burst of sweetness.

What cake would you like to be healthier?

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14 thoughts on “Healthy Baking Competition”

    1. I hope so- I love cherry and almond flavours together, but not such a pastry fan so I suppose it could be seen that way πŸ™‚

  1. This sounds really tasty. It’s funny how different flours change the consistency (well not funny I guess, but interesting!) Like coconut flour is the world’s biggest sponge.
    Looking back to your previous cherry cake I think it looks almost identical (but then I’m not a great baker so my knowledge is fairly rubbish). I love that it has marzipan in it too…though less than before, but still there! πŸ˜‰

    1. Yes it is hard because you can’t swap between all flours that easily- I am sure if I played around a bit I could make it grain free by using all ground almonds but they are hard to use in recipes so have kept some flour in there for the gluten. I love marzipan too πŸ™‚
      I can just about make coconut flour pancakes now but I still don’t like them as much as normal ones- it is good to try other flours but I just find coconut flour so dry- like you say!

  2. That looks fab, I love anything with cherries and almonds! I can’t say I’m a huge fan of margarine, I used to think it was ok in moderation but I’m definitely pure butter girl now! Sticky toffee pudding has to be my ultimate cake, but I think some things should just be enjoyed full sugar and fat and that is one of them!

    1. I am not a huge dairy fan so prefer the Pure stuff, but it is free from trans fat. I do agree that full fat things are generally better (eg hummus). I can’t make a healthy fudge recipe- none of them have the right texture so a little bit of real fudge is better than alternatives πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Jemma πŸ™‚ I usually use that as I am not a huge dairy fan, plus it is free from trans fat, and it works really well in baking. Although I do use real butter when I made fudge.

    1. Butter would work well (if you prefer that?), but you had to use margarine for the competition (and I tend to use Pure spread anyway). Glad you like the sound of it, the flavour combination is one of my favourites.

  3. This looks lovely. I’m always trying to think of ways to make meals healthier, but don’t yet know enough about what works and what doesn’t when swapping ingredients in a recipe. Time to practice I guess! πŸ™‚

    1. Yes things don’t always work- spelt flour is great in baking I find- especially Dove’s, as it is not too heavy like other wholemeal flour. You can half sugar in a lot of recipes, but I find it hard using liquid sugar replacements (eg honey) as of course them being liquid makes them react differently in the baking. I did use to use apple sauce quite well to replace half the butter in recipes too. It is fun to try really πŸ™‚

  4. I am going to have to put a self-imposed ban on reading your recipe posts during lunch time!! That sounds amazing, and I love the idea of trying to make old favourites healthier.

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