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Low-fat Lemon Cake Rings are the exception

Summit Daily/Brad OdekirkLemon Cake Ring
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I want a dessert that makes you smile and say “mmm” when you take the first bite. Anything less is a disappointment. So, I’m wary of recipes for low-fat baked goods. It’s not easy to reduce fats in most recipes and attempts to do so with baked goods usually don’t fare well.

I’m delighted to report that this recipe is an exception. It is a lovely, satisfying dessert with only 4.3 grams of fat per half-cup serving! A lot of salads have a higher fat content than that!



Vera Dawson lives in Summit County, where she bakes almost every day. Her recipes have been tested in her home kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude.

Note: While I used raspberries and blueberries, the cake can be served with just about any kind of berry or cut-up fruit.



(Adjusted for altitude)

Cake Ingredients

1 cup sugar

2 cups bleached all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup of skim milk

4 tablespoons (half of a stick) of unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten

Lemon Syrup

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Fruit Sauce

1 10-ounce package of frozen sweetened berries (the same kind you plan to serve with the cake)

1 (tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in two tablespoons of water

– Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with the rack in the center position. Spray Baker’s Joy all over an eight cup ring mold and wipe it into the pan. Make sure to coat the entire mold well, including the inside ring.

– Combine the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Use a whisk or electric mixer to blend them thoroughly.

– Add the melted butter, beaten eggs, milk, lemon zest and vanilla to the dry ingredients and beat with an electric mixer until the batter is smooth and creamy. This takes about 3 minutes with a standing mixer, a little longer with one that is hand-held.

– Pour the batter into the ring mold and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

– While the cake is in the oven, make the lemon syrup: Put the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and stir it over medium heat until the sugar is totally dissolved. Remove it from the heat.

– When the cake is done, take it out of the oven and place it on a cooling rack. While it is still hot, pierce the cake bottom with a fork at one inch intervals. Brush the lemon syrup generously over the cake, letting it sink into the holes. Stop when the cake seems saturated even if you haven’t used all the syrup.

– Let the cake cool in the ring mold for about 30 minutes, until the cake is just warm and no longer sticky to the touch. You want the lemon syrup to be absorbed before you unmold the cake.

– Invert the cake onto a serving plate, remove the ring mold, and let it cool completely. It can rest until the next day, if well covered, and the lemon flavor is more pronounced when it does.

– Make the fruit sauce: Thaw the frozen berries, whirl them in a food processor until smooth. Strain them through a fine strainer to remove the seeds. Heat the strained puree until simmering, add the dissolved cornstarch and water, return the mixture to simmer and stir until thickened and shiny. Add more cornstarch diluted in water if the sauce isn’t thick enough; add a little water if it is too thick. If you are not planning to devour the whole cake at one time, you can make less of the fruit sauce. The sauce can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator for several days.

– When you are ready to serve the cake, fill the center with the fruit or berries of your choice and dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar. Cut the cake into slices with a serrated knife and serve them with a drizzle of the fruit sauce.

” This recipe is a variation of one from Light and Easy Baking by Beatrice Ojakangas

Living in Summit County is pure joy. Baking in it isn’t. High altitude makes cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips to make baking in the high country successful.

If your business or organization would like to sample and review one of the baked goods featured in the Life Is Sweet column, contact Vera Dawson at veradawson@aol.com


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