Tofu to the Rescue

When it comes to satisfying a sweet tooth, we all know that the incredibly decadent flourless chocolate torte is definitely a “sometimes” food, right? Knowing that an item is composed of primarily butter, sugar, eggs and chocolate is a decent incentive for keeping the stuff out of the house, generally speaking. But when it comes those gray area sweets like coffee cake, which we often treat like breakfast, it’s a lot easier to fall off the mindful eating wagon. I know how that story goes, which is why I’ve worked tofu into this Blueberry Coffee Cake to give you a treat that will do a little less damage to your nutritional plan.

Jodi’s Blueberry Tofu Cake

When you’ve got leftovers from the family brunch sitting on your counter and you have no idea how you’ll get the kids to school on time, that fruit-filled cake starts looking a lot more like an honest breakfast than dessert. But we all know it’s called “cake” for a reason; we just justify its use because someone, somewhere, decided that if a cake is scheduled to be served at breakfast, it must be okay, right? Not so much.

I’ll be the first to tell you that treats in moderation are an absolute must. Food feeds more than our bodies, and sometimes our brains want something from food that our bodies don’t have much use for. Enjoy that torte on your anniversary or in celebration of a milestone at work. But don’t get it twisted: if you’re making a coffee cake that you know is going to end up being breakfast for a few more mornings, make a few changes to the recipe to maximize the benefits that your rushed family will get out of the experience. Done well, your coffee cake just might be the perfect antidote for last night’s chocolate extravaganza.

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: tofu (yes, tofu in your coffee cake) is the game changer.

So let’s talk tofu.

A good silken tofu, like Nasoya Organic Silken Tofu, has no saturated or trans fats. It has none of the sodium traces found in eggs and definitely none of the cholesterol. Did you know that one egg can provide 70 percent of your daily value of cholesterol? As a snack on its own, an egg might be fine a few times a week, but most baked goods include other forms of fat as well as eggs, making a combination of fat and sugar that’s a doozy for your body to handle.

On the positive side, tofu has more calcium than eggs, and a decent amount of protein and iron to boot. It’s neutrally flavored and it acts as a pretty decent egg replacer in many baked goods as long as you know the basic limitations it has:

Eggs act as a leavener in recipes such as souffles, angel food cakes, and flourless chocolate tortes. Tofu is not your friend in these egg-heavy recipes. In fact, it’ll do precisely the opposite of what you want, so just step away from the tofu.

Replace some or all of the eggs in your baked goods with tofu. Stick with recipes for dense and/or moist items such as brownies, quick breads like banana and pumpkin bread and coffee cakes. Your vegetarian and vegan friends will love you for it.

Chuck a hunk of silken tofu into your smoothie in the morning. It’s barely noticeable, but the huge boost of protein added to your drink will keep you satisfied for much longer.

To substitute tofu for eggs in a baked recipe, all you have to do is whip silken tofu in with your liquids, 1/4 c. for each replaced egg. If you don’t enjoy the outcome the first time you sub it into a recipe, don’t give up. Next time you’re asked to bring the coffee cake for Sunday brunch, try a combination of eggs and tofu and take notes on the results. You’ll be improving the nutritional quality of brunch with no complaints about the end product before you know it. In the meantime, here’s a recipe from my friend Jodi that I tweaked to earn Guiding Stars. I promise, you’ll love it.