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Lemon cake normally consists of flour, eggs, butter, sugar, and lemon flavoring. It is generally topped with a cream cheese frosting. A low-fat lemon cake recipe replaces some of the butter and one egg with a low-fat ingredient to create a version of the traditional lemon cake with less fat content. The cream cheese frosting can be eliminated, or replaced with a sugar glaze or fresh fruit.
To create a low-fat version of lemon cake, half of the butter in a recipe for regular lemon cake can be substituted with nonfat sour cream, plain yogurt, or applesauce. A mashed banana can also do the trick. The butter in the recipe is used to add creamy texture and taste. Replacing half of the allotted fat with an acceptable alternative will produce a delicious cake with no discernible difference in taste.
The eggs that are part of a traditional lemon cake recipe also contain fat. One egg contains 4.8 grams of fat. Replacing one egg in a lemon cake recipe with a fat-free egg substitute can eliminate some of the unwanted fat. Egg whites can also be used in place of a whole egg without affecting the texture or taste in a low-fat lemon cake. Egg whites are an almost fat-free food item with only 0.06 grams of fat per egg.
Anyone considering replacing all the eggs with an egg substitute or egg whites should be cautioned. Some yolk is necessary to the composition of the lemon cake. An egg is a necessary ingredient in the chemistry of baking because it acts as an emulsifier. The lecithin found in the egg yolks is necessary to bind the ingredients in the cake together. This is why only one egg in a low-fat lemon cake recipe can be replaced with an egg substitute.
As part of a low-fat diet, a small piece of low-fat lemon cake can be used as an occasional treat for a snack or dessert. A low-fat diet is generally used as part of a program prescribed by doctors to lower the amount of cholesterol found in the blood. A fatty diet can contribute to heart disease.
Lowering the fat content in lemon cake also serves to lower the overall calorie content. One gram of fat contains nine calories. Replacing some of the butter and egg in a cake recipe can significantly reduce the calories in a low-fat lemon cake.