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Video: Heavenly shortcuts to perfect desserts

  1. Transcript of: Heavenly shortcuts to perfect desserts

    AL ROKER reporting: This morning in TODAY'S KITCHEN , a heavenly dessert, angel food cake . Delicious on its own but hot chef Elizabeth Mayhew has five easy ways to step it up and keep it relatively low-cal. She's the editor-in-chief of Woman's Day magazine. Elizabeth , good to see you again.

    Ms. ELIZABETH MAYHEW: Good to see you.

    ROKER: All right, here we go. So you buy the cake, saves you time right off the bat.

    Ms. MAYHEW: Let me tell you, the one thing you can count on buying anywhere in any grocery store is an angel food cake .

    ROKER: No fat.

    Ms. MAYHEW: It tastes delicious.

    ROKER: Boom.

    Ms. MAYHEW: No fat, healthy. And it's impressive in its height.

    ROKER: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. MAYHEW: So all we're doing is taking a few things that step it up just a tiny bit so you put your own flavor into your angel food cake .

    ROKER: OK.

    Ms. MAYHEW: We're going to start with a raspberry lime angel food cake .

    ROKER: OK.

    Ms. MAYHEW: You're going to buy your store-bought angel food cake .

    ROKER: Right.

    Ms. MAYHEW: Here we've already taken one layer. You're just going to cut it horizontally. When you cut angel food cake , always always use a serrated knife.

    ROKER: Right.

    Ms. MAYHEW: Because that's basically the -- even when you're serving it, that's the only thing that's going to get through it. You separate it out.

    ROKER: Yes.

    Ms. MAYHEW: Then just take away some of the little pieces.

    ROKER: All the crumbies.

    Ms. MAYHEW: Right. Then what we're going to do is we're going to just add a layer of raspberry preserves...

    ROKER: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. MAYHEW: ...on the bottom.

    ROKER: Yeah.

    Ms. MAYHEW: Then we're going to take -- we took pudding, just store-bought packaged pudding...

    ROKER: Right.

    Ms. MAYHEW: ...like the mix...

    ROKER: Sure.

    Ms. MAYHEW: ...added some sour cream and milk to it. You're going to spread that on top, add the raspberries. Then you're going to take your next layer...

    ROKER: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. MAYHEW: ...put that on top. You put the jam...

    ROKER: And you put some...

    Ms. MAYHEW: Put some of the cream, go for it, just put it on there. You see how easy. Your kids -- my kids could do this in, like, two seconds, you know?

    ROKER: Me, a little longer.

    Ms. MAYHEW: Yeah.

    Ms. MAYHEW: And then you're just going to add your raspberries.

    ROKER: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. MAYHEW: All right? Then go ahead -- here -- we're doing the really fast version.

    ROKER: Right.

    Ms. MAYHEW: Go ahead and put your next layer. And then we took a glaze of lime juice and confectioners' sugar, just pour that over the top. There you go. Let it drip down the sides. You want to kind of cover the top. And the drips are really pretty. And then if you want, you can garnish it with some raspberries on the top. OK?

    ROKER: OK, let's keep moving.

    Ms. MAYHEW: The next one is -- all we did -- this is a Creamsicle cake.

    ROKER: Right.

    Ms. MAYHEW: You take your angel food cake , you fill it with orange sherbet.

    ROKER: Yes.

    Ms. MAYHEW: Like that.

    ROKER: Mm-hmm.

    NATALIE MORALES reporting: Great.

    Ms. MAYHEW: You're going to stick it in the freezer.

    ROKER: Let it freeze up. It's frozen.

    Ms. MAYHEW: Freeze up. Cover it with Saran Wrap .

    ROKER: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. MAYHEW: You can do this a few days before. Top it with some -- there you go -- whipped cream and then garnish it with some candied orange rind.

    ROKER: Right. Then up front here! Come on!

    Ms. MAYHEW: And then take...

    ROKER: Quick! Faster, faster !

    MORALES: Come on. Here. Over here. Over here.

    Ms. MAYHEW: Please taste.

    ROKER: Mm-hmm.

    MORALES: Oh, coconut.

    Ms. MAYHEW: So what we have here -- here's the sherbet one. Ann , if you want to try that.

    ROKER: Right.

    ANN CURRY, anchor: OK.

    Ms. MAYHEW: This is the chocolate mocha.

    ROKER: OK. Very nice.

    MORALES: And what's this one?

    Ms. MAYHEW: This is -- that is my favorite, that is Coconut Cream Dream .

    MORALES: Has me all over it.

    ROKER: See, you lost me, I don't like the coconut. But that's good.

    CURRY: So you just put the coconut inside and then you just cover it on the outside. That's beautiful.

    MORALES: Mm. Oh, my goodness.

    Ms. MAYHEW: It's whipped cream and big flakes of coconut. And then this one is honey...

    MORALES: Great.

    Ms. MAYHEW: ...with peaches and sugared pistachios.

    MORALES: This is to die for.

    ROKER: Fantastic. All right.

    Ms. MAYHEW: Isn't it good?

    MORALES: Amazing.

    CURRY: Yay, Elizabeth .

    ROKER: Elizabeth Mayhew , thank you so much .

    Ms. MAYHEW: Thank you.

    ROKER: And of course, we've got Kathie Lee and Hoda coming up next. But first, your local news and weather.

    MORALES: Bye, guys.

    Ms. MAYHEW: Thank you.

    ROKER: You did it.

TODAY recipes
updated 6/1/2010 3:28:55 PM ET 2010-06-01T19:28:55

Recipe: Raspberry-lime cake

  • 1 box (3.4-ounce) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 store-bought 8-inch angel food cake
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp raspberry preserves
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • Garnish: grated lime zest and raspberries, optional

In a medium bowl, whisk pudding mix, sour cream and milk for two minutes until blended and thickened.

Invert cake onto serving plate; cut horizontally into three equal layers.

Spread bottom layer with 1/4 cup raspberry preserves; top with half the raspberries. Spread 3/4 cup pudding on top. Place second cake layer over pudding; spread with remaining preserves, raspberries and 1/2 cup pudding. Top with remaining cake layer.

Stir confectioners' sugar and lime juice in a small bowl until blended and smooth. Spoon on top of cake, letting some drip down sides. Garnish with lime zest and additional raspberries, if using.

Per serving: 216 calories; 4 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat)

Serving Size

Serves 12

Recipe: Orange creamsicle cake

  • For the whipped topping:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tbsp confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • For the creamsicle cake:
  • 1 store-bought 8-inch angel food cake
  • 2 cups orange sherbet
  • 2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed, or fresh whipped cream

Invert cake onto serving plate. Fill center hole with sherbet, packing in. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze at least 4 hours or overnight.


Unwrap; transfer frozen cake to a serving plate. Frost sides and top with thawed whipped topping or whipped cream. Sprinkle candied orange peel on top, if using.


Once the cake is frozen, it can be wrapped and stored in freezer up to two weeks.

Per serving: 142 calories; 3 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat)

Serving Size

Serves 12

Recipe: Honey-peach cake with sugared pistachios

  • For the honey-peach cake:
  • 3 firm-ripe peaches, pitted and sliced
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 store-bought 8-inch angel food cake
  • For the sugared pistachios:
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pistachios
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Toss peach slices, honey and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Let stand at least 15 minutes.

Mix confectioners' sugar and yogurt in another medium bowl until well combined. In a small bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form; fold into yogurt mixture, cover and refrigerate.

Invert cake onto serving plate. Cut horizontally into two equal layers; remove top layer. Spoon half the juice and peaches over the bottom layer, then spread with half the yogurt cream.

Top with cake layer, cut side down, then remaining juice and peaches. Sprinkle with some sugared pistachios.

Serve with remaining yogurt cream and sugared pistachios.

For the sugared pistachios:
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil. Slightly whisk an egg white in a small cup. Transfer 1 tablespoon to a medium bowl; whisk until frothy (discard remaining egg white). Add 1 cup coarsely chopped pistachios, 3 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon; toss to combine. Spread on lined baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes or until dry and toasted.

Cool; break apart.

Per serving: 225 calories; 9 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat)

Recipe: Mocha-chocolate cake

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 6 Tbsp coffee-flavored liqueur or coffee-flavored syrup
  • 1 store-bought 8-inch angel food cake

Microwave cream in a medium glass bowl on high 1 minute until it simmers.

Add chocolate chips; let stand 1 minute. Whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth. Whisk in 2 tablespoons coffee-flavored liqueur or syrup.

With a skewer, poke numerous holes into bottom of cake; brush with 2 tablespoons liqueur or syrup. Invert onto serving plate, poke holes into top of cake and brush with remaining liqueur or syrup.

Pour half of chocolate sauce (about 1/2 cup) evenly over top of cake; spread with a spatula so that some drips down the sides. Serve with remaining chocolate sauce.

Per serving: 203 calories; 8 grams fat (5 grams saturated fat)

Serving Size

Serves 12

Recipe: Coconut cream cake

  • 1/2 pint (1 cup) heavy cream
  • 3 Tbsp confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 store-bought 8-inch angel food cake
  • 11/4 cups unsweetened flake coconut

Put heavy cream, confectioners' sugar and extract in a medium bowl. Beat with electric mixer until soft peaks form when beaters are lifted.

Invert cake onto serving plate. Using a small offset spatula, spread whipped cream all over cake.

Gently pat coconut onto whipped cream. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 1 day.

Per serving: 205 calories; 13 grams fat (9 grams saturated fat)

Serving Size

Serves 12


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