Week of: October 25, 2010
Download 300 dpi photo
Contact: Alice Bender, (202) 328-7744
How to Make a Perfect Pumpkin Bundt Cake
By Dana Jacobi
for the American Institute for Cancer Research
Low-fat baking can be a minefield. Recipes that look good on paper may turn out well or they may produce disappointing results. A perfect example of a recent flop was a pumpkin bread recipe that I came across in a magazine.
The eye-catching virtues of this recipe were using whole-wheat flour, skim milk, egg whites only and the good amount of fiber found in canned pumpkin. The resulting loaf had wonderful spice flavor. It also was weighty as a doorstop and so wet that the center had the texture of bread pudding. (I will not reveal the name of the magazine since this flop was the rare exception; their recipes nearly always produce outstanding results.)
Reevaluating the recipe, I identified two prime issues – too little fat and incorrect leavening. Fat helps make baked goods tender and light as it coats the grains of flour, which helps them stay separated so as not to clump together in a soggy, saturated dough. Separated, the grains of flour rise more easily as the batter bakes.
To keep calories and saturated fat down and not bring in the big guns of butter and oil, I used a whole egg to include the fat in its yolk, added buttermilk and increased the amount of sour cream – this was enough fat to benefit the batter.
To understand the role of leavening in baking, this webpage, http://www.joyofbaking.com/bakingsoda.html, gives a good explanation of how each works and when to use each of them. In this case, adding baking soda and reducing the amount of baking powder proved to be the correct fixes. I also baked the new batter in a bundt pan so heat in the oven could reach more of the batter to help it rise and bake through, but any 8-cup tube pan will do.
The result you see here is perfectly moist and has a fluffy, large crumb and intense flavor.
Pumpkin Bundt Cake
- Canola oil cooking spray
- 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1½ tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4tsp. ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg white
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
- 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
- 1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
- Confectioners’ sugar, optional, for decoration
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 8-cup bundt cake or tube pan liberally with canola oil cooking spray.
In large mixing bowl, combine two flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Make a well in center and set aside.
In another bowl, whisk egg and white to combine. Add sugar and whisk until dissolved. Add buttermilk, sour cream and pumpkin, whisking to combine all wet ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into center of bowl of dry ingredients and, using flexible spatula, mix until they are just combined and still slightly lumpy. Scoop batter into prepared baking pan.
Bake cake in center of oven for 70-75 minutes, until surface is browned and straw inserted into center comes out clean and nearly dry. Do not worry about cracks on the surface.
Set baked cake on wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Run thin knife around center post and inside edge of pan. Set plate over pan and, holding in place, invert so cake drops onto plate. Cool completely.
If desired, sprinkle cake lightly with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
Makes 12 servings.
Per serving: 170 calories, 2.5 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 33 g carbohydrate,
5 g protein, 2 g dietary fiber, 210 mg sodium.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $96 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.All active news articles