Healthier sweets for your sweet

By: Clemson University Cooperative Extension

(Columbia) Jan. 30, 2007 - February 14 is Valentine's Day and January is Healthy Heart Month. Is it possible to celebrate Valentine's Day while recalling the lessons of January?  You can if you do your own baking. Here are some tips for heart-healthy baking:

  • Look for recipes that use vegetable oil rather than butter or margarine. A few recipes are formulated for soft margarine, and even that is a better choice than stick margarine or butter.
  • Use canola oil or olive oil in your cooking and baking, which are the healthiest types of oil because they contain the highest amounts of monounsaturated fat and the lowest amounts of saturated fat.
  • Look for recipes that include whole wheat flour for extra fiber. Or substitute half of the white flour with whole wheat flour in any of your favorite recipes.
  • Use nonstick baking pans, nonstick cooking spray, or paper muffin liners to reduce the use of fat or oil for greasing bakeware.
  • You can reduce the sugar in a recipe for quick breads or cookies by one-fourth to one-third the amount listed and then increase the amount of sweet spices - cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, or vanilla extract. The sweet spices give the effect of sweetness without all the sugar.

Deep Chocolate Cake is a delicious dessert for Valentine's Day and is especially good when made with Dutch process cocoa. Bake this cake for your sweetheart rather than buying a box of chocolates.

For more information on food safety or making healthy food choices, contact your local office of Clemson University Extension Service, or the Home and Garden Information Center at or 1-888-656-9988.

Deep Chocolate Cake

1 cup                cocoa powder
3/4 cup             granulated sugar
1 cup                water
1/3 cup             extra light olive oil
1 whole            large egg
1 large              egg white
1 tsp.                vanilla extract
1 cup                all-purpose flour
1/4 cup             cornstarch
1 1/4 tsp.          baking soda
1/4 tsp.             salt
powdered sugar

Heat the oven to 325°F.  Lightly spray a 9-inch spring form pan with nonstick cooking spray.  In a large bowl, combine cocoa and sugar; stir until blended.  Whisk in water until smooth then whisk in the olive oil, whole egg, egg white and vanilla.  In a separate bowl combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt; whisk into cocoa mixture until smooth.  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake 45 to 50 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on wire rack.  Loosen cake from side of pan with small spatula.  Transfer cake to serving plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  To serve, cut into 10 wedges.

Nutrition information per serving: 180 calories, 8 g fat, 188 mg sodium.

Recipe Source:  Bertolli Olive Oil


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