Dear Jeanne: Could you lighten this recipe for me? — Lois K., La Vernia, Texas

Dear Lois: This is a lovely light-green cake. I thought that a sprinkling of chopped pistachios on top would make it even better. Lightening a cake-mix recipe is actually very easy. Just reducing the oil is enough; it isn't necessary to add anything to make up for it.

I also eliminated the lemon-lime soda and replaced it with water. Adding sugar-free lemon-lime soda isn't needed, as you don't need the extra sweetness, the bubbles or the slight lemon-lime flavor. I cut the amount of milk in the frosting to keep it firm. This revision saves you 21 grams of fat, and you won't even miss them.

PISTACHIO CAKE

1 box white-cake mix

1 small package instant pistachio pudding

3 eggs

1 cup oil

12 ounces lemon-lime soda

Frosting:

1 package instant pistachio pudding

1 1/2 cups milk

8 ounces Cool Whip, thawed

1. Heat oven to 350 F. Line bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans with wax paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In large bowl, beat cake mix, pudding, eggs, oil and soda on a medium-high setting for four minutes. Scrape down side of bowl after two minutes.

3. Equally divide batter between pans. Bake 35 minutes. Turn layers out directly onto rack and cool completely.

4. Frosting: In large bowl, beat pudding and milk for 2 minutes on medium-high. Fold in Cool Whip.

5. Place one layer on plate and frost top with 1 cup frosting. Place second layer on top and frost top and sides. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Store in fridge.

Makes 12 servings.

REDUCED-FAT PISTACHIO CAKE

1 box white-cake mix

1 package (3.4 ounce) instant pistachio pudding mix

1 egg

2 egg whites

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 1/2 cups water

Frosting:

1 package (3.4 ounce) instant pistachio pudding mix

1 cup nonfat milk

8 ounces fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottoms of the pans with wax paper and spray again.

2. In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, pudding, egg, egg whites, oil and water for 3 to 4 minutes, scraping the bowl as you go. Divide the batter equally between the two pans and smooth the top.

3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the edges start to pull away from the pans and the cake springs back when touched lightly on the top. Turn out on a rack to cool completely. Remove the wax paper.

4. To make frosting: Beat the milk with the pudding mix for 2 minutes. Fold in the whipped topping until thoroughly mixed. Place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to thicken.

5. Place one layer on a serving plate and frost the top with 1 cup of the frosting. Place the second layer on top and frost the top and sides. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Store in the refrigerator.

Makes 12 servings.

Each serving contains approximately: Original Recipe: 500 calories; 28 gm fat; 51 mg cholesterol; 558 mg sodium; 57 gm carbohydrate; 4 gm protein; 0 gm fiber. Revised Recipe: 324 calories; 7 gm fat; 16 mg cholesterol; 562 mg sodium; 55 gm carbohydrate; 4 gm protein; negligible fiber.


Jeanne Jones is the author of 33 cookbooks, most recently "Cooking From the Cupboard" (Rodale Press). For more information, you can go to her Web site, jeannejones.com. Send your recipe for revision to: Cook It Light, Deseret Morning News, P.O. Box 1212, La Jolla, CA 92038. Please include a stamped (63 cents), self-addressed envelope. © King Features Syndicate Inc.