Fat plays such an important role in baking that it’s not easy to reduce the amount used and still maintain the flavor and texture that it supplies. Here, however, are some tricks I’ve come up with to replace some of the fat normally used in baking.

  • Use egg whites for some of the whole eggs. My fresh fruit cake calls for two egg whites instead of a third whole egg.
  • Replace some of the butter or oil with mashed or pureed fruit, such as bananas or dates. In my banana cake, the fruit puree stands in for about 50 percent, or four tablespoons, of butter.
  • Substitute unsweetened cocoa for most of the unsweetened chocolate called for in a recipe. My chocolate cake uses the unsweetened cocoa plus the buttermilk and some of the butter in place of about three ounces of unsweetened chocolate.
  • Punch up the flavor of diced or sliced fresh fruit that’s added to the batter by tossing it with a little cinnamon-sugar.
  • Add low-fat buttermilk instead of cream or whole milk; use it also in place of some of the butter and oil.