Eat your cake--stay skinny too

By: Jessie Price  |  Monday, February 16, 2009

There’s something about layer cakes that I just can’t resist. Sure, those homey sheet cakes taste good, but a layer cake is cause for real celebration. And I love banana in any dessert recipe.
Many banana cake recipes are a butter-and-cream bonanza with just a bit of banana. Luckily this yummy cake already has a jump-start on being healthy. Bananas are one of the best dietary sources of potassium. So we set out to develop a banana cake recipe that kept the healthy ingredients and cut or reduced the less healthy ones to yield a cake that is low in cholesterol and sodium. Many of the healthier cooking tricks we used can be applied to other healthy cake recipes.
Here’s what we did to give this recipe a healthy makeover:
* Increased the bananas, which helped keep it moist and rich after we cut the fat.
* Replaced the butter with a smaller amount of canola oil.
* We used whole-wheat pastry flour in place of some of the white flour. Higher in trace minerals than white flour, it contains as much of the fiber-rich bran and germ as regular whole-wheat flour.
* We reduced the amount of whipped cream—the second-highest contributor of saturated fat in the recipe—by stirring together a thick, stable base of nonfat milk, sugar and gelatin and then folding in half as much whipped cream.
The resulting banana cake is only 300 calories per serving and is so delicious it was gone in a matter of minutes from our test kitchen.
Get the recipe: Banana Cream Layer Cake.