Low-fat cupcakes are a great alternative to regular cakes

June 09, 1993|By Kit Snedaker | Kit Snedaker,Copley News Service

Cupcakes take the cake. They can be served so many more ways than regular cake, are so much more portable, so much more attractive than a wedge of cake that I don't know why we don't make them more often.

I was reminded of them recently leafing through a new book, "Cholesterol-free Cakes and Cookies" by Mabel Cavaini (Henry Holt). She not only lauds cupcakes but explains they can be made from regular cake batter. Ingredients for a 9-inch cake will make a dozen cupcakes; a 9-by-13-inch cake makes 24.

But this doesn't mean much if the little cakes are stuffed with fat. Ms. Cavaini's are not. She's developed batches with acceptable cholesterol and calories, but managed to keep the flavor and texture.

Here are three examples:

Brownie cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup cocoa

2 tablespoons instant non-fat dry milk

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup egg whites or liquid egg substitute

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup water at room temperature

1/4 cup chopped English walnuts

1/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12-cup muffin tin or spray it with non-stick coating or drop in paper liners.

Put flour, sugar, cocoa, dry milk, baking powder and salt in bowl of electric mixer and mix at low speed to blend. Beat egg whites or liquid egg substitute, oil, vanilla and water together with fork to blend and add along with nuts and raisins to flour mixture. Mix at medium speed until shiny.

Spoon about 2 1/2 tablespoons of batter into each of the muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean. Don't overbake. Cool on wire rack.

Honey tea cakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine

1/4 cup egg whites or liquid egg substitute

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cardamom

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup water at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12-cup muffin tin or spray with non-stick coating or line with paper muffin cups.

Place honey, brown sugar and margarine in bowl of electric mixer and mix at medium speed until creamy. Add egg whites or liquid egg substitute and mix at medium speed for 30 seconds, nTC scraping bowl before and after addition. Stir flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, cardamom and cinnamon together to blend well and add to honey mixture along with water.

Fill prepared muffin tins with batter about two-thirds full. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned and cake tester inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

White cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup egg whites

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups cake flour

1 tablespoon instant non-fat dry milk

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup water at room temperature

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 12-cup muffin tin with margarine or spray with non-stick coating or line with paper muffin cups.

Using electric mixer at medium speed, cream margarine and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg whites and vanilla to creamed mixture and mix at medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping bowl before and after addition. Stir flour, dry milk, baking powder and salt together to blend well and add to creamy mixture along with water. Mix at medium speed until creamy.

Fill prepared muffin tins with batter about halfway. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned and cake tester inserted in middle of cupcake comes out clean. Cool on wire rack. Frost if desired.

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