Lightened up for your Independence from Unhealthy Choices!
This stunning red, white, and blue American flag cake recipe is a healthier version, with less saturated fat and calories than traditional versions. By replacing some butter in the yellow sheet cake with oil, and using reduced-fat cream cheese and low-fat Greek yogurt instead of full-fat cream cheese and butter in the cream cheese frosting, this recipe provides a great alternative to the usual high-calorie, fat-laden offerings. For decorations, use fresh blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries dusted with confectioners’ sugar instead of loads of piped-on frosting, and you even add fiber and vitamin C!
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Zest and juice from 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Frosting & Decoration
- 12 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), at room temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar plus 2 tablespoons, divided
- 3 tablespoons low-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups raspberries
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 2 cups strawberries, sliced
- To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper; coat the paper and sides of the pan with cooking spray.
- Beat granulated sugar, oil and butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until just incorporated.
- Whisk whole-wheat (or all-purpose) flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Combine buttermilk, lemon zest, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons vanilla and almond extract in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl alternately with the buttermilk mixture, beating just until incorporated after each addition, scraping down the sides as necessary. Spread the batter in the prepared pan.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 28 to 34 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn out onto the rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour.
- To prepare frosting: Beat cream cheese, 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, yogurt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a mixing bowl until smooth.
- To decorate: Invert the cake onto a platter. Spread the frosting over the top and sides. Mark 3 horizontal lines for the white stripes and a rectangle in the upper left hand corner for the blue rectangle. Gently pat berries with a paper towel to dry. Make 3 stripes of raspberries on the marked lines. Place half of the blueberries in the blue rectangle, leaving space between each berry. Sift the remaining 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar over the raspberries and blueberries to make them the white “stripes” and “stars.” Fill the rest of the “blue rectangle” with the remaining blueberries. Place strawberries between the rows of raspberries as the red “stripes.”
Cakes and treats that have an abundance of sugar and fat should be eaten in moderation, of course, but this festive cake offers an alternative to many of the unhealthy desserts that will be out there at those Independence Day parties. Take this as your dish to share, and you will know you are making a relatively healthy choice for your treat!
Nutrition information: Per serving: 264 calories; 11 g fat (4 g sat, 4 g mono); 57 mg cholesterol; 35 g carbohydrates; 16 g added sugars; 5 g protein; 2 g fiber; 212 mg sodium; 113 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (24% daily value)