It's that time of the year when I make a cake specially for my husband for his special day. Last year's cake was Apple Spice Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese and Salted Caramel. This year, in keeping with our new resolution to be more heart healthy (and not joke about it like I did last year), I decided on a moist butter cake (with less butter and less sugar), filled with no butter lemon curd, and iced with yogurt-cream cheese.
Butter Cake with Less Butter and Less Sugar
I decided to make a low fat butter cake when I came across Super Moist Low Fat Butter Cake recipe from www.bakingtaitai.com. That intrigued me. I have always loved Butter Cakes. Making a moist buttery butter cake is challenging enough; using less butter and still achieving the same results is something I just have to try.
The method used by www.bakingtaitai.com for this recipe is the combination method. (for more information about the three methods of making butter cakes, see my previous post My Butter Cake Experiment: What's The Best Method.)
The most important part of making a butter cake is the creaming. This is just one step in most recipes, and most do not specify it's importance or how long to cream the butter and sugar. More details in point 4 of Success Factors for a Good Cake.
In a combination method, eggs are separated. Egg yokes are added to the butter and sugar mixture, and egg whites are beaten separately. In this recipe, beat eggs until they are frothy (photo below), then start adding sugar gradually while beating, until the meringue reaches stiff peak stage.
Fold the meringue into the butter-egg yoke mixture until just incorporated. Do this gently and do not overfold. This is how it should look like when done.
This recipe makes one 8 inch cake, but I wanted a small, multi-layered cake, so I used the Wilton Easy Layers! 6 inch Round Cake Pan Set. Before I got this cake set, I would bake two or three 6 inch cakes, then tort them into separate layers. This pan set just simplified that - I now separate my batter between the five shallow cake pans.
Bake it at 150 deg Celsius for 30 minutes (for 6 inch shallow cakes). If you plan to bake an 8 inch cake, you will need a longer baking time.
I know, the cake layers are bumpy (not a technical term, by the way). This is due to air bubbles rising to the surface during baking. I was not concerned about it as I plan to layer and ice the cakes, so the bumpy layers will not show. If you wish to reduce that, gently tap the filled cake pans gently on the counter a few times so the excess bubbles will raise to the surface and pop. You may not get a completely smooth surface, but it should be less bumpy.
Nutrition for Low Fat Butter Cake (estimated amount per cake slice)
I based the nutrition on 12 servings per cake slice. Comparing the nutrition facts of low fat butter cake with standard recipe for butter cake (using my previous butter cake ingredient as standard), it's clear that the low fat butter cake has less calories and fat, but cholesterol and sodium is higher than standard butter cake. This is due to the higher quantity of eggs.
Low Fat Butter Cake: 202 calories, 10.7g fat (6.1g saturated fat), 104mg cholesterol, 143mg sodium
Average Standard Butter Cake: 247 calories, 14.8g fat (8.9g saturated fat), 77mg cholesterol, 113mg sodium
Nutrition Facts for Low Fat Butter Cake
Lemon Curd with No Butter
Butter is a standard ingredient for lemon curds as it provides texture and creaminess. However, I read about this recipe "Lighter Lemon - Lime Curd (no butter)" from www.geniuskitchen.com and I had to try it. For purposes of filling a cake, this recipe does the job admirably. The texture is similar to softened jam and it tastes amazing. My family loved it. Making it is also incredibly easy - just heat together lemon juice (or lime), zest and sugar or stevia, whisk egg and slowly add lemon and sugar mixture slowly while whisking, then finally heating the mixture and add vanilla.
Nutrition for Lemon Curd (estimated amount per cake slice)
I compared nutrition facts of no butter lemon curd with standard recipe for lemon curd with butter. Ingredient amounts for sugar, lemon, vanilla extra, eggs remain the same. Quite a big difference in calories, fat and sodium - enough to convince me that no butter lemon curd that tastes just as tangy and delicious as regular lemon curd, will do very well for me and my family, even if the texture is not as creamy.
Without Butter: 49 calories, 0.7g fat (0.2g saturated fat), 27mg cholesterol, 10mg sodium
Similar Recipe With Butter: 81 calories, 4.1g fat (2.4g saturated fat), 36mg cholesterol, 34mg sodium
Nutrition Facts for Lemon Curd Without Butter
Cream Cheese Icing With Greek Yogurt instead of Butter
I researched and tested a low fat alternative to buttercream and cream cheese. I found a keeper in this cream cheese recipe that substitutes greek yogurt for butter, from How To Make Greek Yogurt Frosting www.chocolatecoveredkatie.com. The recipe was specific about the proportions of course, but I adjusted according to taste to get my icing. The good thing about this recipe is that it's only 4 ingredients and so simple to make - just put together greek yogurt, cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla and beat together in a mixer. I then adjusted according to taste and got the final results exactly the way I wanted it - not too sweet, good creamy texture - simply awesome.
Nutrition for Cream Cheese Icing with Greek Yogurt (estimated amount per cake slice)
I switched greek yogurt for butter in my nutrition comparison of low fat cream cheese using greek yogurt in place of butter with standard recipe for cream cheese icing with butter. Again, quite a big difference in calories, fat and sodium. I would take this version over regular cream cheese icing anyday! The main downside is that the icing is too soft to pipe, so I guess my next test will be to tweak this to a pipe-able version.
Low Fat Recipe With Greek Yogurt: 96 calories, 6.1g fat ( 3.9g saturated fat), 20mg cholesterol, 54mg sodium
Standard Recipe With Butter: 184 calories, 17.2g fat (10.8g saturated fat), 54mg cholesterol, 49mg sodium
Nutrition Facts for Greek Yogurt-Cream Cheese Icing
Putting It All Together
Piping bag is ideal for piping a "wall". If you don't have a disposable piping bag, a clean plastic bag will do. Just put the cream cheese icing in the piping or plastic bag, snip the end off, then press to pipe around the perimeter of the cake.
Place another cake layer on top of the filled and iced layer, then repeat. Lay the final layer on top.
Fill the gaps in between the cake layers by piping over them with the cream cheese icing, then tidy up by using a spatula to even out the icing.
Then use a spatula to spread the cream cheese icing on the top of the cake.
I use a flower spike to insert flowers into the cake because it is highly unhygienic to stick anything inedible into a cake. A flower spike is like a mini vase with a pointed end that you push into the cake until the top is flushed with the cake surface. Then you insert and arrange the flowers into the spoke. What I prefer to do is to arrange the flowers before inserting the spike into the cake. Once I have the arrangement just as I like it, I carefully take the flowers out and insert the spike, then re-insert and arrange the flowers accordingly.
Low Fat Butter Cake
(from Super Moist Low Fat Butter Cake recipe from www.bakingtaitai.com)
Serves 12 to 16
170gm all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
125g unsalted butter
¼ tsp salt
95g caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp full cream milk
6 egg yokes
6 egg whites
35g caster sugar
Mix together Group A and set aside. Sifting them together is best to ensure the flour and baking powder is mixed well.
Cream together Group B ingredients until creamy and pale. This should probably take 8 to 10 minutes. This is an important step and must never be cut short, especially for butter cakes.
Add in Group C. For egg yokes, add them in one at a time, beating well in between. Set mixture aside.
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites on medium speed until frothy. Then start adding in sugar, a little at a time, and beat until mixture reaches stiff peak.
Add the egg white and sugar mixture to the butter and egg yoke mixture, and fold carefully. You want to make sure you don’t burst the air bubbles by mixing too vigorously.
Gently pour batter into lined and greased cake pan and pop into the oven, set at 150 deg Celsius. (an oven thermometer is essential to make sure temperature in the oven is right. Usually it takes about 15 minutes for the oven to get to the right temperature)
Baking time varies depending on your cake pan size, shape and depth. For best results, check after 25 or 30 minutes, and then at every 5 to 10 minute interval. (I needed 25 minutes to complete baking the batter in my five 6 inch shallow pans.)
Leave in pan for about 5 minutes, then lift cake out of pan and cool completely on a grid.
No Butter Lemon Curd
(from Lighter Lemon - Lime Curd (no butter) from www.geniuskitchen.com)
Serves: Fills 4 layers of 6 inch cake
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
Zest from 2 lemons
10 Tbsps caster sugar (you can vary the amount according to your preference)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine lemon juice, zest and sugar in a saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves.
Whisk egg lightly in a mixer, then while whisking, pour the lemon mixture slowly into the mixer. Whisk for about one minute.
Pour into saucepan and heat on medium until bubbles start to form. Then switch off and add vanilla.
Put aside to cool, then transfer into a container and refrigerate. If stored properly, it can last about one month.
Cream Cheese Icing with Greek Yogurt instead of Butter
(from How To Make Greek Yogurt Frosting www.chocolatecoveredkatie.com)
Serves: Ices one 5 layer 6 inch naked cake (and then some)
Note: the proportions here follow the recipe from www.chocolatecoveredkatie.com. I prepared the icing according to my own taste preference, so the proportions I used differed with this recipe.
200gm cream cheese
170gm Greek yogurt
10 Tbsp (around 70gm) icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Using a balloon whisk, whisk together all ingredients in a mixer until well combined and creamy.
It’s recommended to ice the cake just before serving, but I left the iced butter cake out in 20 to 24 deg Celsius temperature and it was fine for 3 days (we finished the cake by then!)
If not using, put in a container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. You need to give it a good stir when you wish to use it.