For some, indulging in King Cake on Mardi Gras is well-worth the calories, particularly if sweets are something one is giving up for Lent. However, there are some creative ways to save on calories that are in keeping with the festive spirit of the holiday. Below are some ideas and lower-cal recipes to consider before you bake a cake with 250 to 500 calories per serving.
Calorie Saving Swaps
Former Biggest Loser contestant Heba Salama suggests having a healthier Fat Tuesday by making your King Cake with an angel food cake and frozen low-calorie whipped topping. “To make it a layered cake simply slice the cake in half, spread whipped topping down the middle, re-stack and keep cool until ready to serve,” she recommends. You can use food coloring to add the right colors without adding more sugar.
If King Cake just isn’t right to you without puff pastry and cream cheese, use these healthy swaps in any King Cake recipe. “You could replace nonfat Greek Yogurt for the sour cream and use four egg whites instead of the two eggs and use skim milk in the icing,” says Alison Lewis, cookbook author and president of Ingredients, Inc. “If a recipe calls for cream cheese, the light one-third less fat cream cheese is a great substitute.”
Reduced Fat King Cake – This recipe cuts down the butter to just two tablespoons.
Lighter King Cake – Another healthy twist is to substitute apple sauce for butter, like this recipe from She Knows that features coconut in the filling.
Shrink the Size
Portion control can be the real issue when it comes to the slicing of a giant cake, so why not avoid this problem by making mini cakes or cupcakes? By using pre-made cinnamon roll dough, these recipes require much less prep time. Plus, mini cakes are easier to send home with guests, so you won’t have to worry about tempting leftovers on Wednesday.
Mini King Cakes – This recipe skips the filling but looks just like the full-size version.
King Cake Cupcakes – These cupcakes have a texture that’s more like a cinnamon roll than cake, and look extra pretty in shiny purple, green and gold wrappers.