Healthy Oven White Cake

  • Serves: Makes one 8- or 9 x 2- inch layer or 12 cupcakes
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 350
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  • Comments: 11

Variation: Sarah's White Cupcakes

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An old-fashioned white layer cake is a favorite special-occasion dessert. My Healthy Oven customers kept asking me to come up with a reduced-fat version -- and there weren't any recipes. I used my mother's family recipe as a template, baking and adjusting it more than one hundred times (I counted) before I was satisfied with the results. It's even moister than the original! The timings are very exact. Just follow them and don't overmix the batter, and you'll have sweet success. Make these into cupcakes for a kid's birthday party and they'll love them. This cake can be used in the Healthy Oven Espresso Tiramisu.

2 cups bleached cake flour, not self-rising (spoon into measuring cup and level top)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup 1-percent milk
1 large egg
2 tablespoons instant nonfat dry milk powder (do not reconstitute)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

Suggested Frosting: Healthy Oven Low-fat Buttercream

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray an 8- or 9- x 2- inch round nonstick cake pan with oil.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt until well combined. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, using a hand-held electric mixer (stand mixer is too powerful) set at high speed, beat the butter and sugar until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, about 1-1/2 minutes. (Note: The mixture will be coarse and sandy; not light and fluffy because you are using very little butter.)

4. In a small bowl, beat the milk, egg, instant dry milk powder, vanilla and almond extract, if using it, to combine. Pour into the butter / sugar mixture. Starting on low speed and increasing to high, beat until the mixture is frothy, about 1 minute.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the milk mixture. Using a wooden spoon (do not use a mixer), stir until the flour disappears. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat just for 3 seconds. Do not overmix. Using a gentle touch, spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.

5. Bake until the top of the cake springs back when pressed gently in the center and the sides are pulling away from the pan, about 30 minutes (do not open the oven until the cake has baked for at least 25 minutes). Do not overbake. Cool in the pan on a wire cake rack for 10 minutes. Unmold onto the rack, turn right side up, and cool completely.
Place the cooled cake on a serving platter. Spread with the frosting and serve.

Sarah's White Cupcakes: Place paper cupcake liners in twelve 2-3/4 x 1-1/2-inch muffin cups. Divide the batter equally among the liners. Bake until the tops of the cupcakes are lightly browned and spring back when pressed in the center, about 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire cake rack for 10 minutes before removing from the cups. Cool completely on the rack. Frost (optional) and serve.

Nutritional Analysis: (Unfrosted, each serving or cupcake) About 180 calories (6 percent from protein; 72 percent from carbohydrates; 22 percent from fat), 3 grams protein, 33 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 29 milligrams cholesterol, 97 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber

The Healthy Oven Baking Book, by Sarah Phillips, Doubleday, 1999. Healthy Oven is a registered trademark of Sarah Phillips.

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