What Is Low-Fat Chocolate Cake?

Dan Harkins
Dan Harkins
Applesauce can be used as a substitute for butter or oil some recipes.
Applesauce can be used as a substitute for butter or oil some recipes.

Chocolate cake does not have to be a dieter's nemesis. Instead of high-fat choices like eggs, oil and butter to keep the batter moist and airy during baking, a low-fat chocolate cake can be had with ingredients like egg whites, applesauce or bananas instead. Some versions go so far as to make chocolate cake actually low in calories too. These recipes replace the sugar with artificial sweeteners or honeys and the all-purpose flour with alternatives like oat or whole-grain flour.

A slice of chocolate cake does not have to destroy a person's diet.
A slice of chocolate cake does not have to destroy a person's diet.

With an average calorie count of anywhere north of about 250 calories per slice, regular chocolate cake does not get its fatty reputation from the cocoa powder used to flavor its batter. It is everything else that goes into the recipe, from the eggs, oil and butter in the batter to the milk chocolate, sugar and even cream cheese or sour cream that is used to make the frosting. Some cooks will attempt to substitute for only some of these high-fat or high-sugar ingredients, while others attempt to find replacements for them all.

It's not the cocoa that makes chocolate cake fattening; it's the oil, eggs, and butter.
It's not the cocoa that makes chocolate cake fattening; it's the oil, eggs, and butter.

An example of a recipe that replaces just some fatty ingredients might have the cook separate the yolks from the egg whites and just use that latter ingredient. Skim milk or skim yogurt might be used instead of whole dairy products to make any low-fat chocolate cake even more fat-free. Another type of binding material like bananas or applesauce could take the place of eggs and even butter or oil all together, placing this dessert comfortably in any vegan diet.

Many recipes for low-fat chocolate cake also use artificial sweeteners in place of granulated sugar, since simple sugars are prone to convert to adipose tissue if not quickly used as fuel. When unsweetened chocolate chips are used in a recipe, it is especially important to compensate with honey, sugar or artificial sweetener, even if fruit has been used for binding and sweetening. Otherwise, the final product will not have the flavor characteristic of chocolate cake.

Many try an established recipe that comes highly recommended, since precision is needed with any cake to produce satisfying results. Taste of Home magazine uses all-purpose flour and real sugar with its low-fat chocolate cake recipe to preserve the dessert's characteristic flavor. The recipe simply uses corn syrup instead of oil or butter and only the egg whites, to remove the fattiest contributors. Another recipe uses low-fat yogurt and applesauce instead of corn syrup to create a creamier cake.

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    • Applesauce can be used as a substitute for butter or oil some recipes.
      By: rimglow
      Applesauce can be used as a substitute for butter or oil some recipes.
    • A slice of chocolate cake does not have to destroy a person's diet.
      By: Michael Gray
      A slice of chocolate cake does not have to destroy a person's diet.
    • It's not the cocoa that makes chocolate cake fattening; it's the oil, eggs, and butter.
      By: razmarinka
      It's not the cocoa that makes chocolate cake fattening; it's the oil, eggs, and butter.