A couple of weeks back I had a request from a friend, trying to provide healthier food for her family, asking me if I had any recipes for low fat, low calorie cakes. Cake and low fat, low cal seems somewhat contradictory but it got me thinking of how we might achieve that.
The obvious thing to start with for me was a fatless cake, so I got thinking about angel food cake and what could be done with that. I did think about making it with coffee but Hannah, the friend in question, has very small children so I quickly dismissed that idea.
Yesterday, I headed over to Hannah’s place and we had some fun experimenting with these lime and vanilla angel food buns. This recipe makes quite a lot of buns which was great whilst we were experimenting but you might want to cut down on the quantities. To be honest we made so many because we used a carton of ready prepared egg whites and it was the easiest way of working it all out!
If you made it as one big cake, then you would be best to use an angel food cake tin so that when it comes to cooling the cake you can do so in the pan, upside down, to prevent the cake from sinking, which is why the pans have little legs! I use a Wilton pan that I bought from Amazon. You would also need to increase the cooking time to about 55 minutes.
We made one third of the buns with stevia, one third half stevia half normal sugar and one third with all normal sugar. The stevia ones weren’t good – really doughy and heavy – might be a good pudding with custard though. The half and half were still quite heavy and overly sweet. The all proper sugar ones were really nice and actually, because they make so many more volume wise, seems the egg whites need real sugar to properly puff up – they weren’t significantly higher in calories. So I’m not going to use Stevia in a fat free cake again – will have to give it a go in a butter cake though to see how that works.
On doing some reading on stevia after the fact, it seems that it actually isn’t a sugar at all, it just tastes sweet. So I guess the eggs in this cake must need the sugar crystals to properly “support” the volume, as you would have in meringue. The pack seemed to suggest that you would use the same volume of the product to the required sugar so we used American style cup measures. It seems that was misleading too – I’ve been told by friends on Facebook that I should use about a quarter of the volume of stevia than would be required of sugar and make up the bulk with skimmed milk powder. I still don’t think that would work with angel food cake though.
15 egg whites (1 carton 2 Chicks Egg Whites)
200g plain flour, sifted twice
200g caster sugar
Zest and juice of 3 limes
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Pre-heat the oven to 150C and line a 12 hole and an 18 hole muffin tin with muffin cases. Do not grease your tins – this counts also for the large tin if you are making one big cake.
2. With an electric whisk or using the whisk attachment in a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until they are really foamy and almost at soft peak stage.
3. Add in about a quarter of the sugar and whisk until really full and shiny.
4. Add in the lime juice and vanilla and continue whisk in.
5. Add a further quarter of the sugar and whisk again. The mix should have a lot of volume and be very thick and shiny by now.
6. Add the remaining sugar to the flour and sift half of that onto the egg whites, whisk it in to just combine it and then sift in the remaining sugar and flour mix together with the lime zest and then whisk for a few seconds more so that it is all combined. Using a spatula, preferably a silicone one, scrape in any undissolved flour/sugar from the sides of the bowl and gently fold into the egg white mixture.
7. Using and ice-cream scoop, scoop the mixture into the muffin cases and then bake for 20 – 25 minutes. The buns will be quite “blonde” in appearance but they are cooked when a cocktail stick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
8. If you are making buns, remove them from the tins and leave to cool on a wire rack. If you are making a full sized cake, leave it to cool completely, inverted, in the tin. When you remove it, use a pallet knife to coax the cake away from the sides of the tin.
9. These buns are lovely just on their own but you could drizzle some icing sugar, mixed with the juice and zest of a further lime over the top!