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Low Fat Cakes

Posted 24/01/2007 by Anna Hollisey

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Perhaps you’re trying to slim down for your holiday, are on a pre wedding diet, or you simply want to cut down on fat. The good news is that low-fat cakes can taste good! What’s more, they give you that smug, healthy feeling – and you get to cut the pieces bigger. Made with ingredients like fruit, low fat margarine, and 0% fat yoghurt, these cakes will cheer you up on the very bleakest diet day!

Making Substitutes

Since its invention, margarine has become the low fat baker’s closest ally. Swap butter for margarine in almost any recipe and you’ll be amazed how close the results are. Look at our Easiest Sponge Cake Ever for an example. But if you want to take the low fat theme even further, here are some more options to try out.

Yoghurt is a great substitute for cream, sour cream, or crème fraiche – make a straight swap in any recipe calling for full fat creams, and you’ll reduce the fat content quite significantly. You can also reduce a recipe’s sugar content by substituting some of it with fruit: try mashed banana in Tea-loaf Recipes, puréed prunes or dates in fudge, toffee or chocolate cakes, and dried fruit or berries in muffins and cupcakes. Golden syrup and molasses can be replaced with honey or maple syrup and milk chocolate with dark chocolate – every little bit helps!

Low Fat Muffins

Muffins are very easy to make, and you can even turn them into a low fat breakfast. This recipe can take all kinds of tinkering: use pecans, dates, raspberries or apricots instead of blueberries, or swap a tablespoon of flour for cocoa, and fold in some dark chocolate chunks. When making muffins it’s very important not to over beat the batter, which will exclude the precious air – the batter should be lumpy when you spoon it into the cases.

Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 250g (9oz) self raising flour
  • 1.5tsp baking powder
  • 50g (2oz) margarine
  • 75g (3oz ) caster sugar
  • 1 punnet blueberries (washed)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 large free range eggs
  • 235ml (8fl oz) milk

To Make:

Sieve flour and baking powder twice. Add the margarine and rub gently until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and berries.

Whisk together the eggs, milk and lemon juice. Add this to the dry mixture and stir briefly (enough to combine but leaving it lumpy). Dollop the mixture into 12 muffin cases and bake at 180ºC (160ºC Fan Oven / 350 F / Gas Mark 4) for 20-25 minutes. Eat warm with cappuccino!

Banana Muffin Cake

Ingredients:

  • 250g (9oz) self raising flour
  • 1.5tsp baking powder
  • 50g (2oz) margarine
  • 3oz (75ml) caster sugar
  • 2 bananas (mashed)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 free range eggs (beaten)
  • Up to 200ml (7fl oz) whole milk

Topping Ingredients:

  • 75g (3oz) self raising flour
  • 25g (1oz) butter
  • 75g (3oz) Demerara sugar
  • 2oz (50g) pecans (chopped quite finely)

To Make:

Sieve flour and baking powder twice. Add the margarine and rub gently until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and mashed banana.

Whisk together the eggs and lemon juice. Add this to the dry mixture and stir briefly (enough to combine but leaving it lumpy). Add enough milk to loosen the batter – it should drop slowly from a spoon.

Now, make the topping. Rub the butter into the flour, then stir in the sugar and nuts. Sprinkle it evenly over the uncooked cake and bake for 50-60 minutes at 180ºC (160ºC Fan Oven / 350 F / Gas Mark 4).

Check the cake with a skewer – it’s ready when the skewer comes out clean.

Fat Free Sponge

Sounds like an impossible dream, but this sponge really is fat free. Spread with jam and topped with fresh fruit and a sifting of icing sugar. It’s a wonderful treat that you can enjoy even when you’re on a diet! The eggs keep the cake light and fluffy: make sure you whisk them thoroughly, or whisk over a pan of hot water for extra air. For a change, you can swap some of the flour for cocoa, and fill with cherry jam and grated dark chocolate.

Ingredients:

  • 4 free range eggs (beaten)
  • 110g (4oz) caster sugar
  • 110g (4oz) plain flour (or 3oz flour and 1oz good cocoa)
  • Pinch salt

To Make:

Spray an 8” round tin with light cooking oil to make the cake easy to turn out. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (160ºC Fan Oven / 350 F / Gas Mark 4). Now whisk the eggs and sugar until the mixture is pale, fluffy and doubled in volume.

Sift in the flour and salt from a good height, and fold using as few strokes as possible. Tip the mixture gently into your greased cake tin and bake for 30-35 minutes. Fill and top with a low fat cream cheese icing (beat with icing sugar and lemon juice to taste), fresh fruit, or low-sugar jam.

Low Fat Alternative

If you loved these low-fat cake recipes, why not try our Low-Fat Biscuits, too? They offer a great healthy snack option for those with a sweet tooth.

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