"But of course," says food chemist Carole S. Setser. The proof is not in the pudding, but may be in the patent she's received for a low-fat and low-calorie cake formula.
The Kansas State University researcher has invented a method for preparing a pre-formed emulsifier that's to be added to other cake batter ingredients. No extra shortening needed.
Cakes made with the emulsifier will have up to 200 calories for a typical serving portion size; that's about 100 grams of cake. By comparison, a traditional layer- type cake will have from 350 to 450 calories per 100- gram serving.
Setser's analysis shows that cakes made with the emulsifier were -- to a crumb -- lower in fat and lower in calories than traditional cakes. Controlling the proportions of the ingredients, including the pre-formed emulsifier, is what determines a cake's structure, which can be varied from the denseness of pound cake to the airiness of sponge cake.
This invention gives bakers a method to create low-calorie cake batters that still produce high-quality cakes.
Even with some low-fat baked goods now available on the market, there's still a niche for more choices among the reduced calorie products, she notes. "When you read the labels of many of the low-fat products, you'll see that the calorie count is largely unchanged."
This patent is the outgrowth of much basic food chemistry research that was designed to understand what it takes to make cakes with less shortening and also with less sugar, the foods and nutrition professor explained.
"As a food chemist, I try to understand what chemical balance is needed to modify structure while still retaining the texture, flavor and appearance of the desired product."
Setser is hopeful the commercial baking industry will adopt the patented pre-formed emulsifier for new products, and she foresees at least one possible use in frozen bakery goods.
U.S. patent No. 5534285, "Low calorie chemically leavened cakes and surfactant systems therefor," was issued July 9, 1996. The patent is held by the Kansas State University Research Foundation, which is responsible for licensing and commercializing university-based discoveries. Setser completed the basic food chemistry investigations leading to the emulsifier formulation and pursued the patenting process beginning in 1992.
Her current research is developing low-calorie yet sweet and very high-fiber snack foods and other foods made from whole grains.
Prepared by Kay Garrett, office of research and sponsored programs, (913) 532-6195
For more information contact the inventor Carole Setser at (913) 532-5508 or the KSU Research Foundation at (913) 532- 5720.