Eating Well: Yule Log Cake

IMG_1898I don’t make a living as a photographer for a reason…

Technically, this is just a two egg yellow cake baked in a pan shaped like a log. The recipe is pretty much my go-to recipe for making cake, and has been since I was… twelve? I don’t remember, exactly. I do remember it was the foundation of the cakes my mom would make when I was little, though, so it’s flavored by butter and sugar and vanilla and happy memories.

The “yule log” aspect of the cake comes from the fact that we have the log-shaped cake pan. So, every year on the solstice, I like to bake the cake. Let’s find out together just how bad it is for us.

Two-Egg Yellow Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour, 910 calories
1 1/2 cups sugar, 1161 calories
3 tsp baking powder 15 calories
1 tsp salt, 0 calories
1 cup milk, 105 calories (assuming 1% milk)
1/2 cup shortening, 906 calories
1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 calories
2 eggs, 160 calories

  1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add Milk, shortening, and vanilla extract, mix at medium speed for two minutes.
  3. Add eggs, mix at medium speed for two minutes.
  4. Pour into greased and floured baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes (until a fork or skewer inserted comes out clean).
  5. Cool, frost if desired, and serve.
  6. The cake as written comes out to a whopping 3,259 calories for the whole thing. I’ll note that I generally substitute a stick of butter for the shortening, which is “only” 814 calories. This exotic situation, one in which butter reduces the calorie count, takes the cake down to 3,167 calories. You can also pretty much substitute in any other flavorless cooking oil (I strongly recommend against olive oil, though), which is about the only way I can think of to significantly modify the calorie count of the recipe.  I’m up for suggestions, though, if anyone has them.
  7. Because I’m lazy, I use canned frosting – one of these days, I really need to take a stab at making my own. The cake in the picture above used 1 1/2 cans of Duncan Hines Home-Style Milk Chocolate Frosting, adding another 2,730 calories to the total (making it 5,897 calories in total, since I used the “healthy” butter option). Growing up, though, we’d often either split a slice in half and butter it, or we’d put jelly on it. Calorie counts vary for that option, depending on the topping.
  8. Serving sizes vary, of course. I brought this one to work to share out with my team, so the serving size runs about 1/15 of the cake. That’s… hang on, doing math… 393 calories for the frosted cake I made. Hefty, but not a deal breaker as long as you don’t go back for seconds (and thirds, and fourths).

So, that wasn’t as bad as I was afraid it would be. Not for, you know, cake. The calorie count is higher than the cake-from-a-box I had for my birthday, but I also think it’s a better tasting cake. And most of the time, I’d rather eat a smaller piece of a better tasting food.

There’s no way the leftovers – if any – are coming home with me, though. I don’t need that level of temptation in the house.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s