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Cook it light: Fat cut from chocolate pumpkin cake

SHARE Cook it light: Fat cut from chocolate pumpkin cake

Dear Jeanne: Can you reduce the fat in this recipe? —Celia Feccia, Fresno, Calif.

Dear Celia: The clipping you sent me did not have the frosting recipe included (it said to go to another page), so I used a standard recipe in the calculations for the nutritional profile. I did, however, include a recipe in my revision. It is very sweet, but there is enough for only a thin layer. This is moist and delicious, and has the extra benefit of pumpkin.


1 1/2 cups flour

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 cup canned pumpkin

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened

1 cup dark-brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs, plus one yolk

Heat oven to 375 F. Line the bottoms of two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and lightly butter. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Stir the buttermilk, pumpkin and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Beat the butter and sugars together using an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and yolk, one at a time. Reduce mixer speed to low and alternately beat in the flour and buttermilk mixtures in thirds. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool layers completely before icing.

Makes 12 servings.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups canned pumpkin

1 cup low-fat buttermilk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar (dark or light)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup liquid egg substitute


4 ounces ( 1/2 cup) tub cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line two 8- or 9-inch cake pans with parchment or wax paper (trace the outline of the pan on the paper and cut slightly inside the line to fit inside the pan). Spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray, place the paper inside, then spray the paper and the sides with cooking spray. Sprinkle with flour and knock out the excess. Set aside.

2. Sift together (to remove lumps) the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

3. In a medium-size bowl, mix together the pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla. Set aside.

4. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the butter and add the sugars, mixing until it appears sandy. Add the egg substitute in 3 ( 1/4-cup) additions, beating for 30 seconds after each.

5. Add the flour and pumpkin mixtures alternately, in thirds, each time beating on low briefly until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the top.

6. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a sharp knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool layers for 10 minutes in the pans on a rack, then turn out of the pans and remove the paper. Cool completely.

7. To make frosting: Beat together the cream cheese, cocoa and vanilla. Add the powdered sugar, beating until completely mixed and smooth. Frost cake by placing one layer on a serving platter and spreading 1/2 cup of the frosting over it. Top with the second layer, and use the remaining frosting on the top and sides.

Makes 12 servings.

Each serving (with frosting) contains approximately: Original Recipe: 684 calories; 35 gm fat; 144 mg cholesterol; 590 mg sodium; 94 gm carbohydrates; 6 gm protein; 3 gm fiber. Revised Recipe: 378 calories; 7 gm fat; 18 mg cholesterol; 359 mg sodium; 76 gm carbohydrates; 6 gm protein; 4 gm fiber.

Jeanne Jones is the author of 33 cookbooks, most recently "Cooking From the Cupboard" (Rodale Press). For more information, you can go to her Web site, jeannejones.com.

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