I was skeptical when I first read a recipe for a Low-Fat Lemon Pudding Cake in my new favorite cookbook, Moosewood Restaurant Favorites. I trust the Moosewood cooks implicitly, but they claimed that the ingredients for this cake were mixed together all in one bowl, and then magically separated during baking, leaving a fluffy cake layer on top and a smooth pudding layer on the bottom. “Okay,” I thought. “If you say so….” So I followed their directions to a letter, and lo and behold, the layers DID separate. Of course I had to try it as soon as it was cool enough to eat, and was impressed by the separation but underwhelmed by the overall taste. And THEN I let the cakes sit in the fridge overnight. Oh. My. Serve them chilled, I implore you, and their magic will multiply – they’ll disappear before your eyes!
These are perfect for a dinner party – you can make them hours (even days) ahead of time, and garnished with berries and mint, they look super impressive. But once you try these, you won’t want to save them just for special occasions – they are so good, so easy, AND healthy to boot – each serving is under 200 calories! I bet these will become a part of your recipe arsenal, just like they have for me.
Magic Lime (or Lemon) Pudding Cake
adapted slightly from Moosewood Restaurant Favorites cookbook
Serves 8 Time: 1 hour (active time 25 minutes) + chilling time
174 calories; 2g fat; 35g carbs; 5g protein
- 4 large eggs, separated (you’ll use all 4 whites and only 2 yolks)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1.5 cups 1.5% buttermilk
- a dash of lime (or lemon) zest (optional)
- 1/2 cup fresh lime (or lemon) juice
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (I bet almond extract would work great as well)
- 1 drop green food coloring, if making lime cakes (optional)
- 1/2 cup white flour (Moosewood says use pastry flour of you have it. I don’t and mine turned out fine).
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- berries and mint, for garnish (optional)
Eight 8-oz oven-proof ramekins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set a pot of water to boil. Spray eight 8-oz ramekins with cooking spray, and arrange in a baking dish at least 2 inches deep.
Bowl 1: beat the egg whites
In bowl 1, beat the 4 egg whites and salt with an electric mixer on medium-high until stiff, 5-6 minutes. Make sure ALL the whites get beaten – I found a bunch of liquid whites hiding on the bottom of my bowl. Set aside.
*Pro-tip: when separating egg whites, always separate each egg into a small dish, not directly into the mixing bowl. If one of the yolks bursts, you won’t ruin your bowl of egg whites
Bowl 2: combine the other ingredients
In bowl 2, beat the 2 egg yolks, sugar, buttermilk, juice, zest, extract, and 1 drop green food coloring until smooth. Add in the flour and baking powder; beat until well combined.
*Pro-tip: SHAKE THE BUTTERMILK! Trust me, you do not want what comes out if you don’t.
Gently (gently, I say!) fold the egg whites into the rest of the batter. Even better than folding, think of caressing the egg whites into the batter. Do NOT use the mixer – you will ruin all those wonderful air bubbles you just beat into the egg whites. At first it will look like curdled clouds of egg white in the light green batter, and you will think you’ve botched the whole thing. Don’t worry, just patiently caress the whites in – it will all come together.
Divide batter evenly between the 8 ramekins, and then carefully pour the boiled water into the baking pan, so it reaches about halfway up the ramekins.
Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes (mine are usually done after 30), until the tops are puffed and lightly browned. I put a piece of parchment paper on top of the baking pan to prevent too much browning.
Remove from oven and carefully take the ramekins out of the water to stop the cooking. (I used my handy canning jar grabber for this tricky task.)
Let cool on the counter, and then place in the fridge so they chill nicely. They will keep for several days… if you can keep your spoon out of them for that long, that is! Garnish with berries and mint; I chose raspberries for the lime cake and strawberries for the lemon.
“Now Rachel,” I know you are saying. “These look amazing… but what am I supposed to do with all that leftover buttermilk?” I found myself with the some question, so I would suggest making these fluffy biscuits, or pancakes. Or, you know, another batch of magic pudding cakes. =)