Blueberry Gingerbread Cake for Health and Great Taste

The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 8 No. 4 • October 2005


Blueberry Gingerbread Cake for Health and Great Taste

This recipe is fabulous for its heavenly taste and for its healthful components: blueberries, resistant starch, cinnamon, and ginger. It’s also easy to make.

We use a powdered resistant starch flour made from high-amylose cornstarch that contains 60% dietary fiber and only 1.6 kcal/g (carbohydrate and protein contain 4 kcal/g). Resistant starch has a number of beneficial effects in humans, including increased production of fecal short-chain fatty acids (such as butyrate1), which protect against colon cancer and improve insulin sensitivity.2 Resistant starch was also found to improve the plasma glucose and triglyceride responses to a meal in patients with type 2 diabetes.3 In another human study, the addition of resistant starch to white bread reduced the glycemic index (100 without resistant starch to 55 with resistant starch). In fact, 11 human clinical trials have been published testing resistant starch from high-amylose cornstarch (the type we use) and finding improvements in glycemic response.4

Blueberry Gingerbread

  • 3/8 cup vegetable oil (preferably extra virgin olive oil or high-oleic sunflower oil)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-grain flour (we use rye)
  • 1 1/2 cups resistant starch
  • A little extra flour for dusting baking pan
  • 1 cup sorbitol (this sugar alcohol takes up water, helping to ensure a moist cake)

Or (if you prefer a drier cake):

  • 1/2 cup sorbitol plus 1/2 cup erythritol
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger (or you can substitute ground ginger)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg (or you can substitute dried ground nutmeg)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3–4 cups fresh blueberries (or you can use 2 or 3 15-oz cans of blueberries, draining juices before use)
  • 1 cup buttermilk

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 12" x 7" baking dish and dust with flour.

    Using an electric mixer (ideally, fitted with a whisk attachment), beat together the oil, sorbitol, salt, and molasses until blended. Add the egg and ginger, and beat to blend. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, resistant starch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda. In a medium-sized bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the sifted mixture with the blueberries, stirring gently to coat. Add one-third of the remaining flour mixture to the oil mixture, and blend together. Add half of the buttermilk, and continue to blend. Repeat with the flour and buttermilk, mixing all. Gently fold in the blueberries.

    Pour the batter into the greased and flour-dusted baking pan. Bake in the center of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until the center is firm and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry.

    Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. If desired, you can heat leftover cooled pieces for a short time (20–30 seconds) in a microwave.

    This cake is a pure delight, and knowing that it is probably one of the healthiest cakes you could possibly make only adds to the pleasure of eating it! Sandy makes it often. (Adapted from the recipe on page 89 of Linda Dannenberg’s True Blueberry, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, New York, 2005.)

    References

    1. Jenkins et al. Physiological effects of resistant starches on fecal bulk, short chain fatty acids, blood lipids and glycemic index. J Am Coll Nutr 17(6):609-16 (1998).
    2. Robertson et al. Insulin-sensitizing effects of dietary resistant starch and effects on skeletal muscle and adipose tissue metabolism. Am J Clin Nutr 82:559-67 (2005).
    3. Giacco et al. Metabolic effects of resistant starch in patients with type 2 diabetes. Diab Nutr Metab 11:330-5 (1998).
    4. See, e.g., Howe et al. Dietary starch composition and level of energy intake after nutrient oxidation in “carbohydrate-sensitive” men. J Nutr 126:2120-9 (1996).

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