Healthy Cake Mix Experiment
I was always skeptical of the recommendations for healthy substitute ingredients on the back of the cake mix box. I thought they would sacrifice the taste and texture of the cake. Especially applesauce for oil -- because applesauce is nothing like oil. But I decided to give it a try. :)
For this experiment, I substituted unsweetened applesauce for oil in the box cake mix recipe. If it tasted good, this would be a decrease in calories by almost 1,000 calories!
Conveniently, 1 little applesauce container is 3.9 oz. and about the same as the 1/2 cup (4 oz.) of applesauce they recommend for substituting for the 1/2 cup of oil.
Wednesday, November 6, 2019: Attempt #1
I made the batter the same as I had previously; the only difference was I substituted applesauce (1 little container; 3.9 oz.) for 1/2 cup of oil.
I used 3 whole eggs; I did not substitute egg whites for 3 whole eggs. There isn't that much real calorie or nutritional difference between whole eggs and egg whites (a little cholesterol). The incredible edible egg is healthier than you think anyways. I will test using egg whites another time. :)
I noticed that the batter seemed fluffier and lighter than when using oil. It also seemed to be thicker and less liquid-y. I poured the cake into these pans. A lot of times I bake; I use two 9" round baking pans. I used these springboard pans I got in place of one of the 9" round because I was going to use the little one (4") to experiment with making chocolate ganache (Stay tuned!) and I didn't think the rest of the batter would be enough for another 9" round pan. [Side note: I got the springboard pans (they came in a set of 3), especially the cute little one 4" to work on making easy mini-versions of the epic foods and epic desserts I see in all these YouTube videos. While a whole Bundt pan or 9" springboard pan of cake or lasagna or scalloped potatoes looks delicious, I don't want to eat that much. Haha. :) Stay tuned!]
RESULT: Success! :)
We are good at this! The cakes tasted good and looked good! (Photos below) They seemed to rise higher than cakes made with oil. At the bottom of the post, I also included a comparison photo comparing what healthy cake (applesauce) looked like coming out of the oven vs. original cake (oil).
The texture of cake is slightly different: still very moist, but lighter -- a slight angel food cake-like texture (not all the way like an angel food cake).
I would definitely suggest you try it!
1 container of applesauce has 50 calories; the recommended amount of oil has 960 calories. ** That's a big decrease in calories and it doesn't sacrifice taste or texture of the cake!
They also seemed to take less time to cook. All 3 cakes took about ~25 minutes. I used the toothpick test to see if they were done (sticking the toothpick in & making sure no uncooked cake batter sticks to the toothpick).
Before I started, I had planned to use the cake to see if healthy cake could bind and make cake pops and to learn about making a chocolate ganache. [Reusing ingredients for different projects / posts like I wrote about before. https://www.wearegoodatthis.com/post/getting-the-most-bang-for-your-buck-planning-content ]
My observations from making healthy cake also piqued my interest to see if it would be better at constructing black & white checkerboard cake; it seemed to be sturdier and more structurally sound than cake made with oil. Stay tuned for all these posts! :)
Healthy cake (applesauce) on the left vs. Original cake (oil) on the right