If you love baking and anything cake-related, you might be worried about the healthiness of your favorite treats at some point or another. (Above Image credit: Pexels)
Of course, anything in small quantities is fine, but if you’re baking on a regular basis or your whole office is obsessed with the Great British Baking Show
and keeps bringing in fresh home-baked goods every week, then it can be a little disconcerting.
After all, most cakes are essentially made up of sugar, butter, eggs and a whole variety of other things that aren’t great for you — yes, we’re looking at you, buttercream, jam fillings and chocolate ganache.
But baking doesn’t have to mean putting your healthy morals and diet to one side every time you pick up a mixing bowl and a whisk. Instead, there are some healthy options — such as reduced-fat cakes.
If you’ve never heard of reduced-fat cakes, then you might have some questions about how they work — and what they even are.
That’s why we’re here: to cover five of the most common questions you might have about making reduced-fat cakes. Read on for the answers you’ve been waiting for…
Recommended reading: Helpful Hacks for Eating a Low-Carb Diet
1. What exactly is a reduced-fat cake?
A reduced-fat cake does exactly what it says on the tin: reduces the amount of fat in your cake to make it healthier.
That means instead of the traditional fatty ingredients you would usually put in (such as butter or sugar), you can either use healthier, lower-fat substitutes or vary the ratios of classic recipes to ensure that they create lighter, more wholesome cakes. You could even rethink your traditional baking techniques.
Overall, this means that your cake, or whatever else you’re baking, is much healthier — with a way lower fat content and fewer calories. So if you find yourself reaching for an extra slice, you won’t be feeling as guilty!
2. Are reduced-fat cakes really good for you?
With this question, it’s all about perspective really. Is a reduced-fat cake healthier than a snack like kale chips or celery sticks? No, it’s not. Obviously.
But is a reduced-fat cake healthier than a normal cake? Certainly. The fat content you’re putting into your body is much lower, which is way healthier for you.
As we know by now, too much fat in your diet can cause all sorts of health problems
— such as an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, dangerous cholesterol levels, and diabetes.
And by using unsaturated fats like olive oil or avocado as alternatives in your recipe, you’re actually giving yourself some much-needed healthy fat in your diet.
3. Will reduced-fat cakes help you to lose weight?
Not if that’s the only thing you eat, is the short answer!
However, if you replace the high-fat cakes you’re currently eating with lower-calorie, reduced-fat bakes, then the calories you’re putting into your body will reduce — which is a step towards safe weight loss.
Of course, you need to balance this with plenty of other healthier lifestyle choices, such as maintaining a fitness regime, eating a healthy and balanced diet, and sticking to a set daily calorie intake. What you have to do to lose weight is different for each individual depending on current weight, gender, age, and amount of exercise you do, but at the end of the day, it’s all about moderation.
Reduced-fat cakes are a much healthier alternative to classic baking, and if you enjoy them as part of a balanced diet, they could help you to lose weight.
4. Which substitute ingredients do I use in a reduced-fat cake mix?
There are a million different substitute ingredients you can use to make your baked goods reduced-fat. In fact, there are even some healthy ingredients you can throw in for good measure which will even add to your recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables!
First things first: your cake mixture. When it comes to your cake mix recipe, you can swap out your usual butter for a lower-fat or unsaturated fat substitute such as rapeseed oil, olive oil or even greek yogurt or avocado.
If you want to replace the egg in your recipes, you can use egg whites or egg substitute instead of the whole thing (which includes the fat-rich yolk). Just be warned — if you go down the egg white route, you need to add enough to offset the volume of the missing yolk.
As for your sugar, you can experiment with natural sugars like honey, maple syrup, molasses or sweet fruits like dates or apples.
Normal white flour is pretty easy to swap out too, and you can have a lot of fun trying out different textures and flavors with wholegrain flour, spelt and polenta.
5. How do you make your cake topping reduced-fat?
Who doesn’t love frosting? There’s something so satisfying about a freshly-baked cake, beautifully topped with generous lashings of frosting or buttercream.
But cake doesn’t always have to be like that, and a good thing too — standard cake toppings can increase the fat content of your cake exponentially, and cause your calorie-count to skyrocket. Ouch!
Swapping out your usual sugar-heavy frosting for alternative toppings is a great way of reducing the fat content of your cake.
If you want to give the appearance of frosting, then you can top your cake with low-fat whipped cream, and finish off your decoration with some walnuts or pistachios.
Fresh fruit also makes an attractive topping; cherries, strawberries or raspberries always make a cake look super appetizing — and they’re good for you too!
Reduced-fat cakes are a great way to indulge in your love of baked goods without going totally overboard and exceeding your weekly fat intake in one sitting.
Although they’re still not the healthiest snack in the world, reduced-fat cakes are a great classic baking alternative, and can make a big difference to your diet if you’re used to eating a lot of sugary, fat-rich, calorie-high baked goods. Just remember to enjoy in moderation, and you can indulge in reduced-fat cakes without feeling guilty!