Flan cake provides two desserts in one

October 25, 1992|By Minnie Bernardino | Minnie Bernardino,Los Angeles Times

Flan cakes seem difficult to make. If you've never baked one before, it's a little scary to find yourself pouring cake batter right onto the top of a flan mixture. But because the two mixtures have different viscosities, they will not blend. And in baking, the flan and the cake both retain their textures.

But if making a flan cake is easy, trying to come up with a low-fat version was not. We couldn't give you a rich flan made of eggs, heavy cream or condensed milk, and, of course, no true chiffon cake can be made without lots of egg yolks and lots of oil. But we've come up with a unique compromise, a combination of a maple-tapioca flan and a corn cake that has only a fraction of the fat of the original.

Maple-corn flan cake

Makes 12 servings.

THE FLAN:

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup thawed non-fat egg substitute (equivalent to 3 eggs)

2 cups non-fat milk

1 teaspoon maple flavoring

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons instant tapioca

THE CORN CAKE BATTER:

1 (8-ounce) can whole-kernel corn

1 cup sifted cake flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon corn or canola oil

3 egg whites

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

To make the flan, heat 10-inch-round 2-inch-deep baking pan in 350-degree oven while caramelizing sugar. Heat 1/2 cup sugar in heavy 10-inch skillet over medium heat until bottom starts to melt. Stir and reduce heat to medium-low. Heat just until golden brown caramel, stirring occasionally. Quickly pour into hot pan (use oven mitts to handle hot pan), tilting pan to spread caramel evenly over bottom. Cool.

Whisk egg substitute in bowl with non-fat milk, maple flavoring, vanilla and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until smooth. Stir in tapioca and set aside.

To make corn cake batter, drain corn kernels and add water to liquid to make 1/2 cup. Reserve 1/2 of corn kernels and puree remaining half, adding 1/4 cup corn liquid. Combine puree with remaining corn liquid and corn kernels.

Re-sift cake flour with 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in bowl. Make well in center and add corn mixture, vanilla and oil. Stir until blended.

Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Slowly add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until soft, smooth peaks form. Add half of whites to batter and fold until completely blended. Fold in remaining whites just until blended. Use batter immediately.

Stir tapioca mixture again to blend, then pour into caramel-lined pan. Carefully pour in corn cake batter. Place pan in large, shallow baking pan and place in 350-degree oven. Pour hot water into larger pan to reach about up side of round cake pan. Bake about 45 minutes or until wood pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes on rack. Loosen sides and turn flan cake upside down onto large serving platter. Serve with 1 cup non-fat plain yogurt sweetened to taste (optional).

Each serving contains about 187 calories; 242 milligrams sodium; 1 milligram cholesterol; 2 grams fat; 39 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 0.14 gram fiber.

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