Strawberry Apple Rhubarb Sweet Potato Cake – Low Sugar, Naturally Sweetened


On my recent trip to Minneapolis to meet my beautiful new granddaughter, I reconnected with a favorite cousin.  Like most of us, she loves sweet baked goods.  We were talking about the difficulty of baking a low calorie sweet treat.  I offered to try to come up with some low sugar treats, and asked her to text me a few of her favorite baked goods.

Rhubarb was on her list.  Inwardly, I groaned.  How on earth do you sweeten the tangiest of fruit/veggie (did you know it is considered by some as both a fruit and veggie?), without copious amounts of sugar?  In fact, I have avoided cooking  with rhubarb, for this very reason.

Okay, I can do this.  This recipe is what I came up with.  Instead of sugar, I used strawberries, apples and sweet potato.  Yes, I said sweet potato.  It is called “Sweet” for a reason.  I wondered if I could it could provide a sweet to the Rhubarb tart.  And it worked!  The only sugar in this recipe is the sprinkled topping.  The cake itself is naturally sweetened.  And it took a typical 340 plus calorie serving down to 192 calories.  And I’m not talking a little two inch square serving.  Those are a joke.  If a Barbie Doll ate a two inch square, she would burp politely and tell Ken to get her another piece.  This is a nice sized chunk, so you can feel like you ate something and feel good that a serving has less than 10 grams of sugar, compared to 38 – 40 grams of a typical recipe.

Top it with some sliced strawberries, and zap with a bit of whipped topping or sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.



So let’s make it!  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Dice 1/2 cup and steam for three minutes in microwave. This softens them and helps release the sweetness.


Dice 1 medium apple (use a sweet variety) and 1 cup of sliced strawberries. Combine with the sweet potatoes and 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Apple pie spice would be nice, or you could add spice that sounds good.


Dice 2 cups of rhubarb, which was about two nice sized stalks.  Combine with the apples, sweet potato, and strawberry mix.


Beat one egg with one tablespoon of vanilla in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup softened butter and whisk. It will be lumpy, but give it a good beat!
IMG_2487 2
To egg mixture add 1 cup plain non-fat greek yogurt and 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce.


In a separate mixing bowl, combine 2 1/3 cups flour with 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a mixing bowl. Add the egg/yogurt mixture and beat by hand until well combined.


Batter will be thick. This does NOT look like a commercial boxed cake mix! This is full of healthy goodness you can taste with every bite!


I always opt for easy to clean, so I lined a 10 x 12 pan (or a 9 x 13) pan with parchment paper. You can always oil the pan but go lightly or you add calories.
Time for the topping. This is the only processed sugar in the recipe. Add 1 teaspoon nutmeg and 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or more if you like) to 1/3 cup sugar. Sprinkle over top of cake batter.  I forgot the cinnamon when I took this picture and ended up sprinkling the cinnamon over the top after adding the sugar and nutmeg.  The cinnamon adds deeper dimension.  Remember Cinnamon is also a good flavor substitute for sugar, as is vanilla.  It fills the mouth with flavor.  Adding sugar to the top of the cake (rather than in the batter) also gives a sweet flavor as the cake hits the mouth, and fools us into thinking the cake is sweeter. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes, until knife inserted comes out clean and a bit moist.
Recipe makes ten generous portions. Each serving has 192 calories; 4.3 grams of fat; 32.2 grams of carbohydrates 9.8 grams of sugar and 5 grams of protein.  That’s a lot of protein in a sweet treat!



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Baking time is 45 – 55 minutes.  Serves 10.


1/4 cup butter

1 large egg

1 tablespoon vanilla

8 ounces plain non-fat greek yogurt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt (I use kosher)

2 1/3 cups all purpose flour

4 ounces unsweetened applesauce

2 cups rhubarb

1 medium apple

1 cup sliced strawberries

1/2 cup diced steamed sweet potatoes

1 tablespoon cinnamon, divided



Dice sweet potatoes and steam in microwave for three minutes.  Dice apples, rhubarb and slice strawberries.  Combine all and set aside.

Beat egg, vanilla and then add butter.  Whisk to mix (it will still be a bit lumpy); Add yogurt and applesauce.  Beat well by hand and set aside.

Combine salt, baking soda, flour and one teaspoon of cinnamon in a mixing bowl.  Add egg/yogurt mixture and mix well.  Batter will be thick.  Add mixture of apples, rhubarb, strawberries and sweet potato.  Stir well to combine.

Oil or line with parchment paper a 10 x 12 or 9 x 13 baking dish.  Fill dish with batter and smooth to edges.  It will be thick.

Combine remaining cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar.  Can add more spices to sugar!  Sprinkle over batter until well coated.

Bake 45 – 55 minutes at 350 degrees.  Serves 12 nice servings (192 calories) or 10 really good ones (230 calories)!



Author: Traveling Grandma

As an aging mother of six and grandma to seven, travel was always a dream. Diapers, work and an eccentric high-maintenance husband just seemed to keep those trips a distant desire. Eventually, however, the kids potty trained, lived through the teenage angst years and left the nest to start their own families. Work still gets in the way for my husband, but it does help pay for the trips! Can't do much about the eccentric, high-maintenance husband; after 36 years I have reconciled that he will never pick up his underwear. He's my partner for life, travel companion and can always be counted on to do something totally odd. It makes for a good story, and besides - without his major financial contribution, we would sitting at home year after year, watching yet another rerun of NCIS. Due to a major health scare, I recently retired - and love retirement! I have always LOVED to cook. My love of food, and birthing those babies, led to an 85 pound weight gain. After joining a weight loss program, I shed the weight, went to work for them and found a new career. For me, it was a dream job. How many people can say they loved their job? I got to work together with people and help them live a healthy lifestyle, and lose weight. And it changed the way I cook! Instead of coating foods with fat and/or sugar, I've learned to bring out the real flavor in foods and keep them healthy. It's a joy to travel the world and explore new foods. I'm always on the lookout for different foods and willing to try almost anything. George, my husband, is always aghast at my choices. He's looking for a McDonald's while I'm trying to find the best local eatery. Checking out grocery stores and food forums in different countries is endless fun. Bringing back cooking ingredients keeps the memories alive every time they are used in a recipe back home. Paprika from Budapest, Sumac from Turkey, dried squid from Japan....what a lucky person I am to experience it all. Life is interesting everywhere, and there is always something humorous to be found, even in my own backyard of Mt Hood, Oregon. I love to journal and people have been telling me for years to become a writer. As Medicare is now a prominent part of my life, I figured this was as good a time as any. If I don't do it now, I'll be writing stories about my neighbors in the nursing home. A big trip will probably be whacking along in my walker to the day room to watch the Travel Channel. I take heart that Colonel Sanders started his finger lickin' fortune late in life because he wasn't afraid to try something new. So here I go!

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