We radically slim down one of the most egregiously over-the-top cakes in the universe. By Sidney Fry, MS, RD
Some time back, carrot cake became the poster child for a healthy-sounding food that is actually a fat and calorie disaster. But we'd forgotten how much of a disaster it could be until we looked at an online recipe from a celebrity chef who shall go unnamed. There it was, in all its splendor, weighing in at 1,460 calories and 28 grams of saturated fat in one gargantuan three-layer slice.
Few are the recipes that have been made over quite this dramatically. We shaved about 1,000 calories and 89 grams of total fat. Yet, it's delicious: Creamy butter and smooth buttermilk create a perfectly moist, tender texture. Earthy brown sugar brings out the warm cinnamon spices. Real-deal cream cheese and butter maximize frosting flavor. Low-fat fromage blanc and a light sprinkle of toasted pecans make it a special, vastly lighter treat.
1,460 calories per slice
99 grams total fat
28 grams saturated fat
24 tablespoons of oil for moisture
Frosted with one stick of butter and a pound of cream cheese
284 calories per slice
9.7 grams total fat
4.9 grams saturated fat
6 tablespoons butter and a rich splash of buttermilk
Frosted with a hint of butter, cream cheese, and fromage blanc
A perfectly toasted sprinkle
Cooking Light Carrot Cake
10 1/10 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 cups)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated carrot
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 ounce fromage blanc
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. To prepare cake, weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add 2 cups grated carrot, tossing to combine.
3. Place granulated sugar, brown sugar, and 6 tablespoons butter in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until combined. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Spread batter into a 13 x 9-inch metal baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 28 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake completely on a wire rack.
4. To prepare frosting, place softened cream cheese and next 4 ingredients (through 1/8 teaspoon salt) in a medium bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at medium speed until combined (don't overbeat). Spread frosting evenly over top of cake. Sprinkle evenly with toasted pecans.
Recipe: Kathy Kitchens Downie, RD