This is a cookbook that promises to allow you to have your cake and eat it too, but with significantly less fat and fewer calories.
There are very few pictures in this cookbook – only a couple of pages of “thumbnail” pictures in the front. Ordinarily, I prefer them, but really, with cakes, I could see how you wouldn’t see all that much. Besides, it’s just a matter of my liking food porn.
The author basically takes a number of good recipes and uses substitutes to lighten the calorie load. She also provides nutritional information at the end of each recipe. So, for example, she may use fat-free milk, or egg whites, or fat-free vegetable shortening. She does talk about the use of refrigerated egg substitute, but doesn’t mention that the substitute for whole eggs instead of egg whites usually contains bizarre additives – even garlic, that will affect the taste of the cake. (I always use boxed egg whites for health reasons, and have never had a problem with taste.)
She begins with tips on how to lighten recipes and provides examples of foods that work for substitutes (for example, using fat-free ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese). Sometimes she uses “reduced fat” products instead of fat-free, depending on the recipe.
Categories of recipes include “favorites,” bundt cakes, layer cakes, cupcakes, cheesecakes, and “frostings and other extras.”
I found that in cases in which there is a strong flavor in the baked item, like banana bread, and not much of a requirement for butter or cream cheese, it doesn’t affect the quality so much to use substitutes. It all depends on the recipe.
Evaluation: In my opinion, most of these recipes are the equivalent of using no butter and “light syrup” on pancakes. To me, if you’re going to have pancakes, you might as well have butter and maple syrup, or else it’s just a waste of calories. But this book will be excellent for those who have the proper incentive to change their lifestyles toward something more healthy.
In addition, if you have health issues or weight issues and are unable to exercise portion control (note the use of the word “exercise” as a double entendre in the sentence), this book will be helpful. I, for one, am not so good at portion size control. Still, I would rather have a small piece of something fantastic than a bigger piece of something not quite as good. But my willpower is non-existent, so when I start my New Life (which I do faithfully every January 1st), I will be whipping out this cookbook.
Published by Cumberland House, 2008