January 8, 1997 in Food

Minor Changes Transform Good Cake Into A Great One

Charlotte Balcomb Lane Knight-Ridder/Tribune

In terms of fat content, there are good cakes and there are bad cakes.

Generally speaking, if a recipe for an unfrosted cake calls for 1/2 cup or less of butter, margarine or shortening and produces at least 12 servings, then it is a “good” cake because it contains a low percentage of calories from fat.

If a recipe calls for more than 1/2 cup of butter, margarine or shortening, then the cake will contain a very high percentage of calories from fat. It may taste great, but it isn’t a good choice for those trying to reduce fat in their diets.

The original recipe for North Dakota Molasses Cake was already pretty low in fat and calories, at just 7 grams of fat per serving, or 30 percent of calories from fat.

However, by making just two simple changes, we lowered the amount of fat and calories, as well as the sodium content. Substituting 1/4 cup of canola oil for 1/2 cup of margarine and using fat-free liquid egg substitutes instead of whole eggs saves 3 grams of fat, 30 calories and 75 milligrams of sodium per serving.

These minor changes don’t alter the deep molasses flavor or the moist, pleasant texture, but they do transform a “good” cake into a “great” one.

Light Molasses Cake

1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup fat-free liquid egg substitutes

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup molasses

1 cup buttermilk

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup raisins, chopped

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Coat a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Dust lightly with flour. Set aside while preparing batter.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar and fat-free egg substitutes. Beat on medium speed until the sugars have dissolved and the mixture no longer looks grainy, about 2 minutes. Add the salt, molasses and buttermilk and beat about 1 minute longer to blend ingredients.

Add the flour and baking soda and beat on low speed just long enough to incorporate the flour. Do not overbeat, or cake will be spongy. Stir in raisins with a flexible spatula or a wooden spoon.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until surface of the cake is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a rack. Cut into 2- by 2-inch pieces.

Yield: 16 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 177 calories, 4 grams fat (20 percent fat calories), 2 grams protein, 35 grams carbohydrate, 175 milligrams sodium.

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN, RECIPE - On the Light Side

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