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PARTY CAKES SACRIFICE FAT, STAY FESTIVE

Dear Jeanne: Can you make these fun and delicious party treats more healthful? My family would certainly appreciate it.

- Mrs. Ann Gergel, Olean, N.Y.

Dear Ann: These are fun treats to serve for parties. All I did was substitute light cake mix and a packaged light frosting to make them more healthful and even easier to make. My kids loved them!

- Each cake contains approximately: Original Recipe: 155 calories; 16 mg cholesterol; 4 gm fat; 84 mg sodium. Revised Recipe: 120 calories; no cholesterol; 1 gm fat; 124 mg sodium.

Dear Readers: There are many good brands of sugar-free apple butter available, but I still prefer making my own. It is tastier, less expensive and it will keep for weeks in the refrigerator. You usually have to go to a health-food store to find unsulfured dried apples, but it is well worth the trip because they are so much more flavorful than the lighter-colored, sulfured variety and they make a much better quality apple butter.

This recipe ran in my column about five years ago and it has been the most frequently requested recipe reprint ever since. I decided it was time to run it again for all of my readers who may have missed it

Also, it is the perfect spread for all of the wonderful new fat-free rice and corn cakes. I particularly like it on cinnamon rice cakes, but I have had several readers write and tell me they just love apple butter on the cheese-flavored ones. Whatever your favorite combination may be, it will make a tasty and healthy brown-bag dessert and a great after-school or work snack.

- Each 2-tablespoon serving contains approximately 35 calories; no cholesterol; negligible fat; 5 mg sodium.

Recipes

ICE CREAM CONE CAKES

1 box yellow cake mix

3 dozen flat-bottomed ice cream cones

1 pound box powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup soft butter or margarine

Decorative cake sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare the cake mix according to package instructions. Fill cones about half full with cake batter and place on baking sheet, not allowing them to touch one another. Bake in preheated oven approximately 25 minutes or until a pick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

While cakes are cooling, prepare frosting. In mixing bowl combine sugar, salt, milk, vanilla and butter. Beat with mixer or heavy spoon until smooth and creamy; scrape bowl often. If necessary, thin with a few drops of milk. Frost each cake and sprinkle with decorative cake sprinkles. Makes 36 cakes.

DELIGHTFUL ICE CREAM CONE CAKES

1 box light yellow cake mix

3 dozen 3-inch flat-bottomed ice cream cones

1 (1-pound) can light frosting, OR about 11/2 cups homemade frosting

Candy sprinkles or other cake decorations

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare cake batter according to package instructions. Fill each cone about half full (approximately 2 tablespoons batter per cone) and place on a baking sheet without allowing cones to touch each other. Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of one comes out clean. Cool completely.

When cool, frost and decorate as desired with sprinkles or other cake decorations. Makes 36 cakes.

APPLE BUTTER

1/4 pound (2 cups) dried, unsulfured sliced apples

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

2 cups unsweetened apple juice

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, spoon into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Cool to room temperature, spoon the mixture into a container with a tight-fitting lid and store in the refrigerator.