Now you CAN have your cake and eat it!

Now you CAN have your cake and eat it!

Low fat cooking is becoming a part of our everyday lives, and fashion in cooking methods have changed enormously; most of us now (or at least know we should!) grill instead of frying, cut off excess fat off meat products, and use less fat, salt and sugars in our cooking. But when it comes to baking, even the most confident of cooks is left somewhat bewildered and unsure how to make healthier substitutions whilst still turning out the perfect looking cake which has retained all its flavour. After all, if you are going to have a treat, why compromise on taste?

There are however some simple steps to cut down the fats and sugars in our baking. The fats are easier to substitute with many recipes using vegetable oil instead of butter or, better still, 0% fat yogurt, as in these banana honey and cinnamon muffins Another good recipe is the light and fluffy chocolate mocha cake  where Greek Yogurt  is used instead of cream cheese or cream. This brings the fat to around 7g per slice and just 180 calories which isn’t too bad for a chocolate cake! 

Sugar is trickier, and looking around at most ‘low-fat’ recipes it does appear that the sugars are still rather high and is used to replace the fat in some instances. Sugar prevents the flour proteins from joining and making gluten; gluten development would make a cake or cookie tough. In this way sugar acts as a tenderiser and can replace some of the fat in the recipe.

But, there are a few changes that can be made. Sprinkling cinnamon can cut down the sugar considerably.  Or consider using vanilla extract instead which has as much flavour but significantly less sugar. You can't substitute this one in equal ratios, but next time you're whipping up some cookies, try cutting 2 tablespoons of sugar and adding an extra 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Apple sauce can also be used to cut out some or all of the sugar; have a look at the chocolate apple sauce cake  and almost no fat banana bread  Imagine tucking into them whilst enjoying your garden relaxing in your Room Outside!

Another healthier substitution is using cocoa nibs for chocolate chips. In fact those chocolate chips actually started out as cacao nibs—the roasted bits of cocoa beans that then get ground down and turned into chocolate. Opting for these unprocessed (or at least less-processed) morsels cuts out the additives and added sugar in chocolate while also delving out a healthy dose of antioxidants.

So, with a bit of tweaking and thought, you can indeed have your cake and eat it as a treat alongside a healthy balanced diet. Grab your aprons and let’s get baking!