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.
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.
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.
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.
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)