Posted in Holiday Cuisine, Home Baking

In Which Classic Yellow Cake Becomes Healthier and More Portable…

Fluffy yellow cupcakes...

It is said that the average baker who insists in delving into the whole business of cakes and biscuitry has to be able to bake and master three fundamental recipes: white cake (more commonly known as angel’s-food), chocolate (specifically the decadently moist devil’s-food), and yellow cake, a delectably buttery confection that borders on being pound cake but is more fluffy rather than dense-textured.

Classic yellow cake is usually served as a round layer cake, about eight or nine inches in diameter, milky custard or creme anglaise spread between the layers and the top either dusted with powdered sugar or drizzled with a rich chocolate frosting.  The classic recipe is equally decadent, using whole milk, butter, and plenty of white sugar.

Possibly one of the most battered cookbooks at our house!

Such was the recipe featured in our now heavily battered, beaten, torn, yet still dead-on useful copy of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook; it called for two eggs, two cups of sugar, a cup and a half of full-cream milk, and half a cup of softened full-fat butter.  As deliciously decadent as it sounds, it’s the kind of dessert that cannot be enjoyed by people with certain health or dietary conditions.

While we’re all still pretty much in the pink of health at our house (though both my parents are now on maintenance meds – ah, the trappings of age…), our rather portly figures demand that we cut down on certain treats.  This conclusion led to a bit of kitchen tweaking on my part and I am pleased to say that the resulting cakes were healthier than the conventional sort and were not short in terms of either toothsome texture or flavor.

Madeleine to go with your tea (or coffee)?

I also took the liberty of not baking the batter as a layer cake.  Instead, I made a half-batch of cupcakes (an even dozen) and baked the rest up as madeleines.  Baked thus, these treats can be carried out of the house more easily in lunch-boxes or brown bags.  You may choose to bake the batter up as full batches of either cupcakes or madeleines.

Incidentally, frosting or a dusting of powdered sugar is absolutely optional.

Healthier Miniature Yellow Cakes

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated Splenda
  • 1-1/2 cups low-fat milk (not skimmed milk; you still need the 2% milkfat)
  • 1/2 cup soft margarine
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest or 1-1/2 teaspoons lemon flavoring

Preheat oven to 375 degrees / Gas Mark 5.  Line the cups of a standard 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake papers or grease the cups of a 12-shell madeleine tray; set aside.

Cream together the margarine and Splenda till fluffy.  Add the eggs, baking powder, and lemon zest (or lemon flavoring) and mix till well combined.  Add the flour and mix well.  Pour in the milk in 1/2 cup measures, mixing well after each addition.

For cupcakes, pour three tablespoons of batter into the prepared muffin cups.  For madeleines, pour two tablespoons of batter into each greased shell.

Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven immediately and allow to cool for 3 – 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 18 cupcakes or two dozen madeleines.

Sweet pretty shell cake!

Incidentally, seeing how Christmas is coming up, these also make pretty and delicious Holiday giveaways.  😉



Midge started her career in PR writing at seventeen when she began drafting documentaries for a government-run television station in the Philippines. Since then, she made a career in advertising and public relations which ended in June 2016 These days, she works full time at Philippine Tatler as a features writer under the nom de guerre Marga Manlapig. Aside from what she does for a living and her poetry, she has turned her home kitchen into a personal culinary lab and is currently working on another novel. Follow her on Instagram at @midgekmanlapig.

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