Daily Archives: January 23, 2011

The Wonderful Shrink Me Cake

The White Rabbit announces a new cake for the tea party!

I love finding recipes that are not fattening and still taste great, hence this “shrink me” cake, with a nod to Alice in Wonderland and the tea party. I love to eat and I love to cook and if I can find something that lets me do both without expanding my waistline even better!

I was idly watching the telly and drinking my morning coffee last week when Hungry Girl showed up with some sensational tips on removing calories and fat from food. I sat up and took notice. I knew I had to try to put my own spin on this impossible sounding cake. My personal problem with removing calories and fat from treats is that the process usually involves removing taste as well so I had some serious doubts. To the kitchen White Rabbit!

The claim is that you can take any cake mix and dump in a single can of diet soda in place of milk/eggs/oil and come up with a cake that cuts calories in half. Note: I also left out the extra water as the “recipe” was unclear about leaving out that part. The first cake I tried was chocolate with diet pepsi. It turned out great, much to my surprise so it was time for the next level. I had the cake part down, what about the frosting and yummy-on-top part?

I baked a yellow cake mix with a can of diet cherry 7 up. Turned out nicely again and tasted great. That’s the good part. The bad part is that the top of these cakes look like the surface of a dry river bed that’s been baked by the sun.

All baked up

 A little more appetizing, but you get the idea–cracks/fissures in the mud, er…cake.  This means when you slice the cake and dish it up, you will need to be really careful when you slide that nice sharp spatula under the piece and lift it out. It does crumble easily so be careful if you want to eat more than a fistful of really big crumbles.

Cake Cracks Mean Take Care in Cutting

It also has a small artificial sweetener aftertaste; thankfully, not bitter like a Starbucks skinny caramel macchiato. In a fit of behaving myself last week I tried one and it was nasty-metallic-bitter. I think I’d rather drink paint but it did make me wonder about chemistry and cakes.

I can live with the aftertaste, especially when I added 1/3 cup of lite Cherry pie filling and two fat tablespoons of extra creamy Cool Whip to the top of my piece of cake. Now this is a tasty treat.

You could do this with any combo: Chocolate cake with fresh sliced strawberries. White cake with blueberries, carrot cake with sliced bananas. The possiblities are endless. If you avoid frosting you eliminate unnecessary fat pills from your diet. If you can’t stand cool whip, splurge and add real whipped cream–just factor in the calories. Better yet, get a spray can of aerosol whipped cream at the store. Better flavor than Cool Whip and still low in calories. I just happened to have a tub of Cool Whip in the freezer, and what I have on hand is what gets used when I have a baking bee in my bonnet.

Let’s do the math: My yellow cake mix said on the side of the box that the dry mix had 190 calories in a serving. They calculate 12 servings to a 13X9″ pan, which is still a nice sized chunk. If you add a can of diet pop you are not adding a single calorie to the dry mix calculations. If you make that cake according to the instructions on the box adding oil/eggs/milk your piece of cake just went up to 270 calories! And get this: the dry mix calculations with your can of pop have 4.5 grams of fat. The regular cake baked? 14 grams of fat per serving. Holy Fat Cow Batman!

Toss on two tablespoons of extra creamy cool whip and add just 25 calories and 2 grams of fat. 1/3 cup of lite cherry pie filling has 60 calories–and no fat. If you use regular cherry pie filling you are looking at only 85 calories. I think the difference is in the amount of sugar, which works me because the lite stuff tastes great. If you use home whipped cream you are looking at 100 calories in two tablespoons. The LIGHT (as in less calories) cream in a spray can has about 15 calories in a tablespoon. That’s a tablespoon kids, not a heaping, enormous overstuffed tablespoon for measuring and dining purposes. 

Shrink Me Cake with lite cherry filling and non-dairy topping: 255 calories and 6.5 grams of fat

Regular Expand Me Cake with cherry filling and real whipped cream: 455 calories and 20 grams of fat.

Make the tea party better with a Shrink Me Cake!

I like finding things that I can enjoy cooking and even better, share. Nice to know cake can still be in my future and its soooo easy to make. Bonus! (By the way, thanks for the tip Hungry Girl)

Leader of the Pack

No, No, No Napping according to the Baby's rules...

We now have three dogs. Okay, if you stacked up all three they wouldn’t make up one German Shepherd or even half a Rottweiler in gross weight, but I now have my own “pack”, as the Dog Whisperer would put it. I do love that guy, I catch his shows once in a while and I always learn something from them. Something like the fact that I am now the alpha “dog” and expected to lead the choir.

My choir consists of one grouchy old lady dog, Nellie the Rat Terrier, who thinks tennis shoes, mail men and cardboard boxes should be her personal attack and destroy mission in life. She has mellowed considerably with her  increasing years and waistline,  but I still don’t trust the blockhead with packages left on the porch by well-meaning delivery people. The mail man knows her up close and way too personal. He lives just four houses down from us but out of pure spite  and previous encounters he takes our packages all the way to the post office. I’m ready to bite him myself but that’s a whole other story.

Top: old lady naps, middle left, armed neutrality, bottom, fatty in the baby bed

 Nellie has a throw and fetch complex. She’ll fetch until she passes out and she carries balls everywhere. She leaves old dead tennis balls  all over the yard like hairy old neon puffballs with dog slobber embedded in them. The newest dog likes balls too, and wrests them from Nellie at every chance. Misha weighs just four pounds at the age of three months and he is either incredibly bright or fatally dumb in taking balls from the mailman eater. Nellie knows better than to snap at the baby dog at this point, but we have had one snap and raised hackles resulting in a stern chat with the Alpha dog (me) and a few time outs.

Misha is a baby Shih Tzu. He is in people years about two years old and boy, is he ever in the terrible twos! He looks like a demented midget panda bear with furry white legs and fluffy black hair everywhere else. He’s so fluffy you can’t tell how slim he actually is. He looks really odd when I stuff him in a sweater. Piano legs and toothpick body. Yes, I do stick the dogs in coats and sweaters. I’m too big for Barbies but I can still  get away with Hawaiian shirts on dogs. This horrifies my son Torin who refuses to be seen with me if I am accompanied by a nattily dressed dog.

Misha is teething on me, all of his toys, the other dogs, chewy pig ears, the stairs in the studio–the cat–once, and wicker if he can find it. We still have a bottle of bitter lime spray from Uncle Mushka’s baby days so I am hopeful we can save the furniture and the cat with early intervention. Mish is a delight and overflowing with manic puppy energy. The older dogs are not digging it at all…JUMP up in their faces, JUMP, bite their ears, JUMP bite their legs and run in circles around them. We are loving the puppy months but still, the mellow months ahead look very attractive from here. He got his name Misha to go with Mushka, a Russian Shih Tzu, go figure. Misha is the name bears  wear in Russian fairy tales so it fits his tiny panda person nicely.

Who wouldn't love that face?

Mushka is Misha’s uncle and he came to live with us when Terry was brain injured a few years back. Our dear friend Tone got Mushka’s sister and we went with her to visit the breeder. That was it. Tor and I got Moosh to bring back a little joy in our lives in November of 2006. Tor named him after a Russian space dog and we only found out later the first Mushka burned up on re-entry. Oops. He’s always been a serious little dog. Actually, I have come to the conclusion that he’s as dumb as a stick but he has a great personality and a good heart.

Mushka, basking in front of the fireplace, avoiding the puppy

He also has dreadful allergies and gets bathed every two days. He has learned to love the hair dryer and put up with baths. All three dogs love the hair dryer, they come running and vie for who gets “heated” up first.

So we have Nellie, Mish and Moosh. Nellie and Moosh are staid and restrained. Their idea of a good time is sleep 22 hours, nap one hour and the eat the other one. Mish coming to live with us was like downing a power pole with live wires in the living room. Potty training, arguments, raising a baby. I’d forgotten what its like!

The dog cyclone going strong, Play!

I like to watch the elders watching the infant tear around the house and you can see they want to get in and play so bad they can taste it. Tonight when I got down on the floor with them they could no longer resist. Everybody played! Three dogs,  each one with  a toy or three and sometimes they would tug o’ war on two ends of the same toy. By the end of the evening there were toys everywhere. It looked like an explosion in a stuffed animal factory. Moosh unbent sufficiently to run around in circles and jump in the air until he was dizzy and panting. Nellie and Mish chased thrown toys endlessly and my hands are full of puppy nibbles from the young Doctor Teeth who is still learning about not chewing on humans.

So Cesar, Dog Whisperer guy, I’m spending my evenings on the floor surrounded by my pack and they are actually beginning to play nice together. We aren’t there yet but we’ll get there.

And then there’s the bad pun…Mishka, Mushka, Mouseketeer. How could I resist? I mean, really?