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Today, let’s take a look at finding a recipe that isn’t ketofied and how I go about converting it to something we can eat and not spend the next 3-4 days in hell. Once you get comfortable with ingredients and how they work together, doing stuff like this gets easier and the results are solid. If you pull off something, guess what? Who is the hero? YOU are. You feel successful. You are proud. More importantly, you are empowered to dive back into the keto pool, this time going for the deep end instead of the wading section. You are setting the path for your own success. You just kicked my butt :). I like that.
Moving forward to the cake, I love to bake and I get a perverse thrill out of taking something “regular” and seeing if I can make it keto-friendly. The more choices we have, the more likely we are to keep on the good path. How did I go about making the modifications? Let’s look at the original ingredients in this very non-keto Pink Champagne Velvet Cake. We are going to start with concentrating on the cake batter itself:
For the Champagne Reduction
2 cups (480 ml) champagne, pink champagne or sparkling wine
For the Champagne Velvet Layer Cake
2½ cups (280 grams) sifted White Lily® Self-Rising Flour
2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
½ cup (1 stick/113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup (48 grams) organic palm shortening, such as Spectrum® brand
¼ cup (56 grams) organic almond oil, or favorite vegetable oil
½ cup (120 ml) champagne reduction
½ cup (120 ml) organic buttermilk, at room temperature
¾ cup (180 grams) egg whites (about 6), at room temperature
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) pure almond extract
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) pure vanilla extract
The reduction I’m going to skip. Why? Reducing 2 cups of champagne down to 1/2 cup means I’m going to boil off all the alcohol (not a bad thing) but be left with all the sugars (not a good thing). Since I’m going to use oat fiber as part of my flour replacement, I’m going to have to add liquid to the recipe, preferably not a thick, sugary mess. What I want from the champagne is a little bit of the taste. The original recipe wants me to reduce 2 cups to 1/2 cup, so instead, I’m just going to add 1/2 cup of champagne right out of the bottle when indicated while making the cake. Liquid for the oat fiber, 1/4 the carbs, still the taste. Make sense?
The cake batter takes some experience with keto-safe ingredients, which is why I always recommend people start off slow, use some established recipes first, work up to changing things around in dishes you know already, before attempting to do a ketofy from scratch. Knowledge is power. From my experience, I know that I will need about half the amount of keto flours as I would wheat flour because of how the flours react in a recipe with liquids. In this recipe, we have 3 options with three different potential results. None of them are wrong, just different. For the 2.5 cups of wheat flour, I have the below options:
~1.25 cups of oat fiber. This will result in a light, crumbly, slightly dry cake.
~1 cup oat fiber, .25 cup almond flour. This will result in a slightly more dense and moist cake.
~1 cup oat fiber, .25 cup whey protein isolate. This will result in a firm, spongy, slightly dry cake.
~3/4 cup oat fiber, .5 cup coconut flour. This will result in a course texture, slightly dry cake with a hint of coconut flavor. We will also need to adjust the liquids by increasing the eggs by two for this last one.
We wanted option number two. Any of the four options will work, three of them are nut-free if you have that need. Outside of the last option where I’ve noted the egg increase, the rest that follows will be the same regardless of the “flour” option chosen. The sweetener I used half. Most of our keto-safe sweeteners are much sweeter than sugar. I used Pyure for the better half so 2 cups I dropped to one cup. Adjust according to what you have to use.
The original recipe has a CUP OF FAT in it, and that is just the cake, the frosting is even more fat. Ouch. While I have no issues with having a special treat, I planned on making the a 16oz sirloin for dinner so I didn’t want all the calories for the day to be just in cake (yeh, I know that sounds AWESOME but it would only be one piece and where’s the fun in that??). You should already know that I don’t drink the “EAT ALL THE FAT” Kool Aid , so we gotta do something about that. over 2800 calories just in oils with the frosting, for 8 slices that’s 640 calories just in fat? Not gonna cut it. No. Thank you. Who wants to eat one slice when you can have 3??? This means I get to drag out my favorite replacement in baked goods – kabocha (but you can use pumpkin puree if you can’t find kabocha). Kabocha (or pumpkin) makes a nice replacement for some of the fats. Fats in baked goods are for moisture, density, binding, and to prevent “damnit, it’s stuck on the bottom of the pan again!” I don’t want to replace all of the fat with kabocha because I want some for taste, some for non-stick, while the kabocha will make up the lost density and moistness. My rule of thumb is 1/4 cup of cooked and pureed kabocha is equal to 1/4 cup of oil\fat. The original has a liquid oil, shortening, and butter. I want to keep the butter because of flavor so I’ll replace the oil and shortening with kabocha. I could have gone the other way, replaced the butter with kabocha and kept the oil (avocado, liquid coconut oil, or a nut oil) and shortening (replace Crisco with palm kernel shortening), but I wanted that flavor that only comes from buttah :). Buttermilk could be used if you want, it will up the carbs some and is expensive. I decided to go with almond milk instead, using the same amount as written.
I detest separating eggs and prefer the smooth, moistness you will get with using the full egg over just the whites. If you want to have a lighter, drier cake (and hammer your head on the counter after separating a half dozen eggs, be my guest :D) use just the whites. I’m not masochistic so I used the whole egg. Oh. Wait. Not the whole egg. I left out the shells :D.
There. Batter converted. What about the filling? I’m not going to use berries because of fructose and I happen to like my liver. What do we do instead? My choice… tea. Yup. Berry tea. Gives me that natural berry taste (unlike an extract which no matter how much you spend on one, they still taste a little “off”) without any carbs. Add some xanthan gum to make a jelly and BANG. “Berry” filling without the carbs. If you use Red Rose Sweet Temptations, it already has stevia in it :).
The frosting is easy, you can make frosting with the original recipe by subbing in your keto-safe sweetener (blend granulated sweetener to make powdered). Since our cake is going to be a bit dense out of choice, I went with a whipped coconut cream frosting instead. Lighter in weight, all the same sweet, creamy, fun :). Oh, and now we dropped from over 400 calories a slice to just over 200 🙂
I know for some of you this sounds a bit overwhelming. It really isn’t once you get the hang of things. Again, if you are kinda new to this rodeo, start off making established recipes with positive feedback. Check out the food groups and see what others are making and sharing results. Watch out for comments under recipes in blogs, read them all. See what people report, if you see a lot of negative results, keep looking for a better recipe. Once you can consistently recreate others’ recipes, start changing things up, swapping out different flours in small amounts. Learn how they work, as some keto-safe ingredients have unique properties you just cannot recreate easily with another (oat fiber, protein isolate, and glucomannan are the biggies in this segment – if you see a recipe using them, 9 times out of 10 you aren’t going to replace them with something else and get decent results).
Ready to put it all together?
Keto Pink Champagne Velvet Cake
1/4 cup almond flour
1.25 cup oat fiber (NOT OAT FLOUR)
8 Tbsp butter. melted
1/2 cup (cooked), Kabocha Squash
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup champagne
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 cup sweetener of your choice or equivalent
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1.5 cups boiling water
2 Raspberry tea bags
1/4 cup sweetener of your choice
1/4 tsp glucomannen or 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 13.5-15oz can of coconut cream
1/2 cup sweetener
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp glucomannen or 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (as stabilizer)
Pre-heat oven to 350F. Grease 2 cake pans to make a layer cake (I used two 9″ round pans). Prepare filling by steeping tea bags in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove bags, whisk in sweetener and gum. Let stand while making cakes.
Mash up the kabocha until it is free of chunks, I like to zip it in the blender quick. Combine the butter, kabocha, sweetener, extract in a bowl and mix well with mixer until smooth. Add liquids to bowl (including eggs) and continue to mix with mixer until smooth and creamy. Add dry ingredients. Mix on low to medium speed until you have a thick batter. Pour into your cake pans. Smooth out top, put in oven for 30-40 minutes or until sides start to brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Move to cooling rack to cool. Once cool enough to handle without oven mitts, remove from pans and cool to touch. Once cooled, spread berry filling over top of one cake. Place other cake on top of filling. Make the frosting. Whip cream until smooth and starts to resemble whipped cream. While whipping, add extract then slowly add sweetener. Whip until smooth again. Sprinkle gum on top of cream, whip for 30 more seconds. Move to refrigerator for 15 minutes. After cream has set, frost cakes, starting with sides first, then frost top. DONE!!
Nutritional info per slice (based off my ingredients, check yours!): Calories: 221, Fat: 18g, Protein: 2g, Carbs: 7, Fiber: 6, Net Carbs: 1