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Cutting Fat—and Calories—from Cakes and Frostings

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By Marcia Wood

Delicious new cakes and frostings may someday contain less fat and fewer calories, thanks to work by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists such as Mukti Singh. She's based at the ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) in Peoria, Ill.

In experiments at her Peoria laboratory, Singh is formulating low-fat cake mixes and frostings with Fantesk—microdroplets of trans-fat-free cooking oil, encapsulated in cornstarch or wheat flour. Fantesk was developed in the 1990s by NCAUR chemists George Fanta and the late Kenneth Eskins.

Singh’s experiments have shown that, whenmaking a cake with a mix that contains Fantesk, cooking oil doesn’t have to be added. And, the mixes containing Fantesk produce low-fat cakes that have better texture and a higher volume.

What’s more, the lower-fat frostings that Singh and Peoria chemical engineer Jeffrey Byars are creating with Fantesk have the smooth texture and spreadability of buttercream favorites, yet contain up to 50 percent less fat.

Read more about this research in the March 2010 issue of Agricultural Research magazine, available online.

ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Originally published on ARS USDA on March 29, 2010

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