Tried and true fat-free baked dessert recipes that don't suck?
July 9, 2009 1:21 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for fat-free (or super low-fat, like under a gram per reasonably-sized serving) recipes for baked goods that you've personally made and enjoyed. Cookies, cakes, quick breads, etc. are all fair game. Bonus points for chocolate stuff.

I've heard all the usual tips about using apple sauce, prune baby food, black beans, instant fat-free pudding, etc. in place of the oil. I'm not averse to those things, but I'm having trouble finding any recipes using these techniques that aren't followed by 150 reviews saying how disgusting the results are. So: I'm not looking for general low-fat baking tips, I'm looking for specific recipes that you've actually had good results with. I don't expect the results to taste exactly like the real thing, I just want a non-gross approximation, and I trust the taste of my fellow MeFites more than a slew of random complainers on the internet cooking sites.

(Also, I understand that 2 bites of the real thing may be more satisfying than a huge piece of some nonfat substitute. And that adding sugar to make up for lost fat yumminess doesn't reduce overall calories. And that low-fat diets aren't a cure-all. I'm hoping to head off any derails here at the pass - just recipes, please! Thanks!)
posted by vytae to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh, and I did see this and am planning to try a few of the options given there.
posted by vytae at 1:24 PM on July 9, 2009

Do things my mom has made count? I remember her (fat-free) angel food cakes and meringue cookies very positively.
posted by grobstein at 1:24 PM on July 9, 2009

If you haven't tried No Pudge Fudge Brownies yet, you really must. They're even more delicious than the regular full fat version, IMHO.
posted by ohyouknow at 1:28 PM on July 9, 2009 [3 favorites]

I have no specific recipes, only to say I've baked with apple sauce (and even sour cream) in place of the oil and have NEVER noticed a difference in texture or taste.
posted by royalsong at 1:30 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

I love these gingerbread muffins. I must have made 4 or 5 batches this winter. (And never bothered with the whipped topping.)

1 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1 cup(s) whole-grain wheat flour
2/3 cup(s) sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice
1 1/2 cup(s) unsweetened applesauce
1 cup(s) molasses
3 large egg white(s)
3 cup(s) lite whipped topping


Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat two 12-cup muffin tins with cooking spray.

Combine flours, sugar, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and allspice in a large bowl; mix well. Add applesauce, molasses and egg whites; stir until mixture is moist and well-combined. Fill each muffin tin 3/4 full with batter.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cupcakes to room temperature and serve each topped with 2 tablespoons of whipped topping.
posted by JoanArkham at 1:38 PM on July 9, 2009

Our family chocolate cake recipe is moist, subtly sweet, tasty and easy. It has no banana, applesauce or other substitutions and doesn't taste like a lowfat cake (sticky/oversweet/dry/heavy banana flavour). Depending on how you slice it:

- 9 pieces: 185 calories/5.2 g fat
- 12 pieces: 139 calories/3.9 g fat
- 16 pieces: 105 calories/2.9 g fat

Anything made with fruit can also be moist and good without being either over-dry or sticky. I adapted a lemon-zucchini muffin recipe from Anne Lindsay's New Light Cooking to use either apple or carrot. Her original recipe for 12 muffins works out to 164 calories/5 g of fat each. My substitutions wouldn't change the values significantly.

[fruit/veg] Muffins with Lemon (makes 12 small muffins)

Preheat over to 375 F and lightly grease or spray nonstick muffin pans.

Combine these DRY ingredients in a LARGE bowl:
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup shredded [zucchini/carrot/apple] (If I'm a little short of a cup, I throw in some berries to make up the volume)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Coarsely grated rind from one large lemon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt

In a separate SMALL bowl, combine these WET ingredients
- Lightly beat 1 egg
Whisk in:
- 3/4 cup [buttermilk/sour milk/yogurt]
- 4 tablespoons oil
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice (from one lemon, although you may need to top off with bottled lemon juice)

Pour WET ingredients into DRY, stirring just enough to moisten without overmixing.

Spoon batter into muffin tins and bake for 25-30 minutes or until they pull away slightly from the sides.
posted by maudlin at 1:47 PM on July 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Since you asked for recipes we've specifically made and enjoyed, here's a few self-links to low-fat recipes I have made and loved!

Low-Fat Oatmeal Blueberry Applesauce Muffins (Fat content: 1 whole egg and 2 Tbsp. of oil for the entire batch of 12 muffins)
Low-Fat Lemon Yogurt Cake (Fat content: Variable. Lowest is 1 whole egg and 1/3 cup of oil for the whole loaf.)
posted by geeky at 1:49 PM on July 9, 2009

Applesauce is your friend. In most recipes you can replace half, or 2/3rds of the oil with it, and it will still be moist and delicious.
posted by tybeet at 1:52 PM on July 9, 2009

Response by poster: Do things my mom has made count?

Absolutely, as long as you ate it and you've got the same recipe she used! I'm just trying to avoid responses like "this recipe I googled looks similar to something I had at a potluck once..."
posted by vytae at 2:45 PM on July 9, 2009

I've made the chocolate yogurt loaf recipe on this page a couple of times and it's pretty yummy. Not sure if you mind the bit of butter in there, though.

Also, seconding the applesauce tip. I often replace half the oil in a recipe and it works like a charm. I say this as an avid baker with very high standards! It's an especially nice substitution in things like banana bread (or zucchini bread, carrot bread, etc.).
posted by katie at 3:10 PM on July 9, 2009

I'm sorry I don't have any online recipes to point to, but back during the 90s fat-free everything craze I bought Baking Without Fat and had good luck with a number of its recipes, especially the "cheesecakes" made with drained yogurt.
posted by jocelmeow at 3:21 PM on July 9, 2009

Jocelmeow reminded me of a book I like, too: Perfect Light Desserts by baking guru Nick Malgieri. It's worth checking out.

Also, if you like meringues (the cookies), just about any recipe will be super low fat. You can make chocolate ones, too.
posted by katie at 3:28 PM on July 9, 2009

I have no experience with this, but apparently a secret Weight Watchers recipe involves making a box of cake mix with a can of Diet Coke. It's a "1 point cupcake". My WW friend does it and says they're actually not awful, but YMMV.

One thing I HAVE tried is replacing the oil with pumpkin puree - works especially well on white and yellow cakes, and add a dash of cinnamon. The pumpkin keeps it moist and adds a good flavor, a nice pumpkin cake.
posted by kerning at 4:41 PM on July 9, 2009

I love the Betty Crocker angel food cake mix, the one with the colored sprinkles. A homemade angel food cake would also be fat-free, I guess, but I have never bothered making one from scratch because I love the BC so much.
posted by lakeroon at 9:03 PM on July 9, 2009

We tried the cake mix + Diet Coke thing just recently. The cupcakes turned out fine; a little sticky but I think my helpers took them out of the oven early. You can do other cake mix + soda pop combinations, of course.
posted by lakeroon at 9:05 PM on July 9, 2009

Rice Krispie squares are fat-free if you don't add butter. Use 1/4 cup more marshmallow & 1/4 cup less cereal than the recipe demands for extra-good ones, and a teeny pinch of salt will also be good since you lose some of the complexity of flavour you'd get from the salt in the butter.

Melted marshmallow on Bran Flakes is pretty good, too. Sometimes I make a small batch in the microwave for a quick treat- microwave a large plate of marshmallows until they're puffy (15 seconds? probably less than 30) and then stir in 2 large handfuls of Bran Flakes. Consume while warm (they tend to stiffen up a lot because there's no butter to keep them gooey). Yum.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 10:33 PM on July 9, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for all the ideas, everyone. I'm not going to mark best answers since I'm planning to try each of them. I really appreciate it!
posted by vytae at 1:40 PM on July 12, 2009

« Older How to record live music on my iphone 3GS?   |   12 Gauge Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.