Cake is one of life's simple pleasures, and with nutritious ingredients and healthy substitutions, you can transform a sugar- and fat-laden cake into a celebration food that you and your children can enjoy with fewer qualms. To keep the cake on the healthy side, whether you transform it from the inside out or just add flavorful and healthy toppings, keep the portions small and avoid thick layers of sugary icing.
Heavenly Angel Food Cake
Light and airy, angel food cake contains no egg yolks and no fat of any kind, making it one of the lowest-fat cakes around. Brighten up the cake itself with some lime or lemon zest, peppermint extract, or a few mini chocolate chips added to the batter. Make the cake even healthier by using fruit puree or sliced fruit macerated with 1 teaspoon of sugar as a topping for the cake instead of a buttercream frosting with lots of calories and saturated fats.
A Serving of Fruit or Vegetables
If you have the choice, choose a cake with healthy ingredients over one without. For example, some red velvet chocolate cakes get their color from pureed beets, carrot cakes typically contain both carrots and pineapple and some apple cake recipes call for two apples, peels included. If your children like the taste of pumpkin, look for a spice cake with pumpkin puree as one of the ingredients.
Substitutes That Work
Some substitutes for making a healthy cake are easy, such as switching out the whole fat milk in your recipe for the 1 or 2 percent milk or with low-fat buttermilk. It may take some trial and error before you perfect other switches, such as replacing all the fat in your recipe with fruit puree. Ingredients that work well for substituting include using unsweetened cocoa powder for most of the higher-fat chocolate in a chocolate cake and replacing one or two eggs in the recipe with egg substitutes.
Keeping the Cake Healthy
Even a healthy cake becomes unhealthy if you serve too much to the children. Depending on how many children the cake needs to serve, consider baking only a single layer instead of a double layer cake -- you'll save the added calories and fat from a frosting layer, you'll keep portion sizes small and you won't have enough cake for second helpings. Instead of piling on frosting, top any cake with a thin layer of frosting and use sliced fruit or non-edible toys or candles for decoration.
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