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America's Test Kitchen 7x26

Lighter Cheesecake

Join us as we uncover the secrets to low-fat desserts that you’ll really want to eat.

While a crisp apple or bowl of juicy berries makes an admirable end to a meal, there’s an allure to baked desserts that is hard to resist. But many desserts carry a lot of fat and calories; for most of us, they should be more the occasional indulgence than regular weeknight fare. We wanted to come up with recipes for two classic desserts, carrot cake and cheesecake, that would make them both light enough and good enough to enjoy most any day of the week. Many light carrot cakes look like the real thing, but one bite quickly dispels the notion. Not only dry but also heavy and dense, these cakes may be “light” when it comes to fat and calories but not when it come to texture. We wanted tender cake, sweet and lightly spiced. And we wanted our cake to be slathered in a thick, creamy frosting. The recipes we tested for light cheesecake were no better than the carrot cakes — in fact, they were worse. Most were plagued by a rubbery texture and pasty, Spackle-like consistency. And in place of the lightly sweetened, tangy flavor of a full-fat cheesecake, these lightened cakes were tinged with off, artificial flavors. We would have to do some serious testing to come up with a lightened cheesecake that would pass muster among tasters.

Recipes:

Light Carrot Cake

Light Cream Cheese Frosting

Light New York Cheesecake

Light Fresh Strawberry Topping

Tasting Lab: Coffee–Tasting Supermarket Whole Bean Coffee

America’s Test Kitchen: 7×26
Jun. 30, 2007

America's Test Kitchen season 7