Trying to eat healthy can be complicated when your brain wants to indulge on cakes, but all you need to do is reduce the kilojoules and ingredients that contain fat. Read on to find out how easy it is to renovate your favourite sweet recipes.
Although most of us no longer regularly take High Tea, we still enjoy a cup of tea and a slice of cake. Almost all cakes contain high proportions of fat (usually butter) and sugar, making them delicious but rendering them one of the worst culprits when it comes to losing weight. However, there are ways of reducing these kilojoule-laden ingredients without suffering loss of flavour or change in texture.
To start with
- Look at the fat you are using. Try a low-fat margarine, checking the pack to ensure it is suitable for baking. This will reduce the saturated fat content and thus the kiloujoule values.
- How about a fat-free sponge; remember Swiss roll? It contains no fat and, if freshly made with reduced-sugar raspberry jam, is delicious!
- Many tea breads are fat-free, too. Soaking the fruit overnight in tea or apple juice adds moisture as well as flavours.
- With cheesecakes, substitute low-fat cream cheese for ricotta and make the base from low-fat biscuits (milk arrowroot biscuits, for example).
What about texture?
Taking out some of the fat will change the texture of the cake, making it drier and more crumbly, and reduce the keeping qualities. To restore this, try:
- adding a couple of tablespoons of ready-made apple sauce
- adding a handful of dates, boiled and pureed
- adding fruit, such as chopped banana, grated carrot or zucchini to bring moisture and extra flavours
A note about sugar substitutes:
- Generally, sugar cannot be completely substituted in a cake recipe, unless using Splenda.
- Splenda is a sweetener made from sugar, which has zero POINTS value.
- Avoid using Splenda with citrus and chocolate flavours.
- Cook at a slightly lower oven temperature as Splenda burns easily.
- Cook for slightly less time.
- Add extra moisture, as it does not dissolve in the same way as sugar.
Adding other flavours:
If you are reducing both fat and sugar in a cake, some flavour will be lost:
- Try adding spices such as cinnamon or ginger to boost flavour.
- Brown sugar and brown flour both add extra flavour and texture.
- Citrus flavours such as orange, lemon or lime go well in sponge mixtures or cheesecakes.
Other substitutes, such as the addition of prune juice or apple sauce, adds sweetness and moisture but cannot replace sugar completely in a recipe.
Of course, one of the best ways to lower the POINTS values in cake is to eat less of it – easier said than done! But if you portion out treats such as cake then you are less likely to overindulge:
- Make smaller portions; use mini muffin cake papers to make individual cakes.
- Slice a tea loaf and freeze individual slices.
If you are trying to adapt your favourite recipe, it is really about experimentation. You never know, your innovation might be an improvement!