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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Friday, December 15, 2006

Low fat egg nog cake

Yeah, back on the low-fat delights again. And it's definitely Christmas. I can tell because there's about 3,000 people outside out house, checking out the lights on the street where I live, preventing me from getting home after rehearsal. Aiee! Yes, it's Christmas again.

I thought this cake was another success from Alice Medrich's Chocolate and the art of low-fat desserts, from which I've made a few things. And if you're looking to make something for a Christmas function, but hoping not to totally blow out the calories, this is a suggestion.
It's just a variation of her basic pound cake recipe, adding fresh grated nutmeg, a liquor soak of brandy and rum and an alcoholic glaze.
If you haven't made an Alice Medrich low-fat recipe before, here's a tip: she's totally pedantic and tedious. You'll end up with 4 bowls around the benches and going crazy wondering whether the last blend was on fast or medium speed, muttering to yourself about insufferably bossy recipes. She's a perfectionist, and with low-fat recipes like hers, I guess you need to be. Just be prepared. This is no just-add-water cake mix!
She notes that this cake is slightly moister the next day. I can't vouch for that as we ate it a few hours after baking, but I think she'd be right. It was still a bit dense and a tad dry; the liquor soak was appreciated. But if you're organised, do make it before hand (and then do leave me a comment letting me know if she was right).
PS - Don't use pre-grated nutmeg. That's missing the point! Whole nutmegs are on the same shelves as the other ground spices at the supermarket. Get some of those.
Read on for the recipe:

Low Fat Egg Nog Pound Cake
from Alice Medrich's "Chocolate and the art of low-fat desserts" (out of print)

1 1/2 cups sifted plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 bicarb of soda
3/8 teaspoon salt (I use a pinch)
1 egg
2 egg whites
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
5 tablespoons unsalted butter (70 grams)
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Liquor soak:
3 tablespoons brandy
3 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 tablespoon brandy
1 tablespoon rum

Serves 10-12. Best if baked 1 day before serving
1: Preheat oven to 325F (170C). Spray 5-cup loaf pan, or 5-6 cup Bundt pan.
2: Whisk to combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift together. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the whole egg with the egg whites. Set aside. Combine the vanilla and buttermilk. Set aside.
3: Cut the butter into chunks and place in an electric mixer bowl. Beat to soften, about 1 minutes. Add sugar and nutmeg gradually, beating constantly for about 3 minutes. Gradually dribble beaten eggs into sugar/nutmeg mixture, beating a medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes. On low speed, beat in a third of the flour mixture, scraping the bowl as necessary. On medium-high speed, gradually dribble in half of the buttermilk mixture, scraping the bowl as necessary. On low speed, beatin half the remaining flour. On medium-high speed, beat in the rest of the buttermilk, always scraping the bowl as necessary. On low speed, beat in the remaining flour mixture until well combined. Batter may look slightly curdled; this is OK.
4: Scrape batter into pan and bake until the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, the top is golden, and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. In a tube pan the cake will bake in 35-40 minutes; in a loaf pan, 65-70 minutes.
5: While cake is baking, prepare liquor soak: Simmer brandy and rum with sugar for 2 minutes. Set aside to cool. Also prepare a glaze: combine icing sugar with the brandy and rum.
6: Cool cake for 10-15 minutes on a rack over a plate to catch drips. If using a tube pan, run a knife around the tube if necessary to release cake. Invert the pan and unmold to cool completely.
7: Plunge a skewer into the cake all over. Spoon the soaking liquid slowly over the cake. Remove the plate from beneath the rack and collect the excess liquid. Replace plate under rack and spoon the liquid over the cake again. Repeat as often as necessary until all syrup has soaked into the cake. Brush the glaze over the top and sides and centre core of cake. Cool cake completely before storing or serving. Cake is slightly moister the next day.

Calories per serving: 171
Fat: 5.44g
% calories from fat: 28%
Protein: 2.96g
Carbohydrates: 28g
Cholesterol: 30.9 mg.
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