Where's the party without the cake? Dessert: Cakes take celebrations from ordinary to outstanding, and they don't have to be loaded with fat to do it.

June 10, 1998|By Marie Piraino | Marie Piraino,EATING WELL

What is it about cake that casts such a spell over us? Think of a birthday, a wedding, a graduation dinner - it's not really a party until the cake's brought out. With the cake comes a chorus of oohs and aahs, as well as those inner feelings of anticipation and anxiety - secretly, everybody wants the biggest piece. Cake is the essence of both joyful festivity and childhood desire.

We are entering the season of celebrations, occasions that call for cakes as genuinely glorious to eat as they are to look at. Why, then, consider making a low-fat cake for a party? Well, why not? If it's possible to serve a gorgeous layer cake filled with fresh strawberries and rhubarb and iced with a gooey-rich cream-cheese frosting - and it just happens to have a reasonable nutritional profile - a better question is, why choose a recipe that is laden with fat? All of these cakes are fabulous and low-fat. These are most certainly cakes to show off: Bring one out and let the party begin.

Fresh Orange Cake

Makes 16 servings

CANDIED ORANGES:

2 medium seedless oranges, scrubbed

3 cups water

3 cups sugar

CAKE:

3 cups sifted cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 medium seedless orange, scrubbed and cut into eighths

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs, separated

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large egg whites

fresh mint sprigs for garnish

To make candied oranges:

Cut oranges into paper-thin slices.

In a wide pan, mix water and sugar. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add orange slices and poach, keeping syrup at a bare simmer and ladling it over oranges

occasionally, until skins are translucent, 1 1/2 to 2 hours (handle gently to avoid tearing). Carefully transfer oranges to a sheet of wax paper; let cool. Reserve about 1/2 cup syrup. (The candied oranges will keep, covered, for up to 2 days.)

To make cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 10-inch angel food cake pan or coat it with nonstick spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a food processor, pulse orange until finely chopped. Add 1 1/2 cups sugar; process until smooth. Add 2 egg yolks, buttermilk, oil and vanilla; pulse to combine. Transfer to a large bowl.

In a clean bowl, beat 4 egg whites with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff and glossy.

In 2 additions, add dry ingredients to orange mixture, folding with a whisk until just blended. Whisk one-quarter of the beaten whites into the batter. With a rubber spatula, fold in remaining whites. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Tap the pan on the counter to release air bubbles.

Bake cake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen edges and invert cake onto rack. Remove paper and let cool completely.

Place cake on a platter and brush with reserved 1/2 cup orange syrup. Arrange candied orange slices on top and garnish with mint sprigs.

Per serving: 245 calories; 4 grams protein; 4 grams fat (0.5 gram saturated fat); 50 grams carbohydrate; 145 milligrams sodium; 27 milligrams cholesterol; 1 gram fiber

Nutrition note: Only 1/2 cup of the sugar used to candy the oranges goes into the finished cake.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Layer Cake

Makes 12 servings

CAKE:

1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, separated

3/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 large egg white

FILLING:

1 1/4 cups diced fresh rhubarb

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon cornstarch

pinch of salt

pinch of ground cloves

3/4 cup diced fresh strawberries

FROSTING:

12 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

strawberries for garnish

To make cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9-inch springform pan or coat it with nonstick spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk 2 egg yolks, yogurt, 1/2 cup sugar, oil and vanilla.

In a clean bowl, beat 3 egg whites with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff and glossy.

Make a well in the dry ingredients. Fold in yogurt mixture with a whisk until just blended. Whisk 1/4 of the beaten whites into the batter. With a rubber spatula, fold in remaining whites. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Tap the pan on the counter to release air bubbles.

Bake cake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen edges and invert cake onto rack. Remove paper and let cool completely.

To make filling:

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.