Friday, August 30, 2013

Not so angelic baking

I just came across a recipe that, in my opinion, exemplifies what is wrong with our culture of baking.

The caption "WW Peach Angel Food Cake - only 2 ingredients!" piqued my interest.

I don't think I have made angel food cake since I was a teenager, but off the top of my head I would have thought at a minimum that it would need egg whites, sugar, flour and peaches.

"WW" usually refers to Weight Watchers, so this should be a good one, I thought.

Imagine my surprise when the recipe listed the two ingredients as a 16 oz package of angel food cake mix and a 15 oz can of peaches, with juice. Technically these may be two ingredients, but in reality, you'd probably be getting a whole lot more than if you were to bake an angel food cake from scratch.

Canned peaches are relatively simple. For example, a can of Del Monte sliced peaches in 100% juice contains:

Peaches, Peach Juice, Pear Concentrate, Water, Natural Flavors.

Note that the pear concentrate is probably there as a natural alternative to sugar. Technically it's natural, but in reality is just as sweet as sugar.

And here is the lengthy ingredient list on a box of Duncan Hines angel food cake mix:

Sugar, Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour (Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Wheat Starch, Powdered Egg Whites (Egg Albumen, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate [Whipping Aid]), Leavening (Monocalcium Phosphate Monohydrate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Potassium Bitartrate). Contains 2% Or Less Of: Corn Starch, Maltodextrin, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Modified Cornstarch, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oil

That's not bad for a two ingredient cake!

But wait, there's more! Take a look at the nutrition label for one tenth of this fluffy light cake, and please be honest, do you think you would stop yourself after such a small piece, or like me, could you easily polish off a quarter or more?

If you were a nutritional angel, you might be content with an 87g sliver. But trust me, that's not much.  
Then there's the carbs. They are another matter altogether: you would be consuming 42.6g in that one slice! And when you're eating something that's as light as air, it's hard to resist the urge for seconds.

But just take a look at these gushing comments:

WOW - great, easy, low fat dessert recipe.

Fabulous! Easy, low in fat and very delicious!

Thanks so much for a great low calerie (sic) dessert.

Do you see why I think this recipe epitomizes what's wrong with a baking culture that reveres low fat concoctions while disregarding other nutritional measures, especially one that loves recipes conveniently made from purchased and processed mixes?

Could we get any further from eating real food?

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