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Published: Wednesday, January 2, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Use up ripe bananas in healthful cake that freezes well

This healthy version of banana cake has soft, tender batter, lightened with egg whites.
Make it whenever you have a ripe banana on hand; the cake freezes well.
Banana snack cake
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour, plus more for dusting the pan
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
1 large egg, plus 2 (large) egg whites
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (1 small banana)
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 teaspoons powdered sugar, for dusting
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking oil spray, then dust with flour, shaking out any excess. Line the pan with a sheet of parchment paper long enough so that it overhangs 2 sides of the pan; this will be used to help lift the cake out.
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl or on a sheet of wax paper.
Separate the egg, reserving the yolk and placing the egg white in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer. Add the remaining 2 egg whites. Beat on high speed for about 2 minutes or until the whites are foamy. Add 2 tablespoons of the sugar; beat for 1 to 2 minutes or until firm peaks form. (Do not wash the beaters.)
Combine the oil and the remaining 6 tablespoons of sugar in a separate mixer bowl; beat on medium speed until smooth. Beat in the following ingredients one at a time, incorporating well after each addition: the egg yolk, banana and buttermilk. Make sure no large lumps of banana remain.
Reduce the speed to low, then gradually add the flour mixture; beat until smooth. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
Fold in a large spoonful of the egg white-sugar mixture, then gently fold the rest of the mixture into the cake batter. Pour into the prepared pan, spreading so the top is even. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then use the parchment paper to lift the cake from the pan and place it on the rack to cool completely. (The cake may fall slightly; that is OK.)
Combine the powered sugar and cocoa powder in a small bowl. Put the mixture in a fine-mesh strainer and sift over the top of the cooled cake. Cut into squares and serve.
Makes 9 servings. Per serving: 174 calories, 3 g protein, 25 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 24 mg cholesterol, 141 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber.
Adapted from "Diabetes Diet Cookbook," from the editors of Prevention magazine with Ann Fittante

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