Indulging in better-for-you cakes and muffins

Bill Gilbert
Bill Gilbert
Principal food technologist

Reduced-fat muffins and cakes that taste as good as full-fat versions? Eating is believing when it comes to baked goods made with Cargill's CitriTex® blends. CitriTex blends are a mixture of citrus pulp fiber and other ingredients that allow you to reduce the oil in muffins and cakes by 50% — without sacrificing the indulgent taste or texture consumers expect in these products.

Cargill understands what customers want in their baked goods and, increasingly, that includes healthier versions. Until recently, there was no product able to mimic the characteristics of fat in baked goods. The most food scientists could achieve was a 20% to 30% reduction in fat without a drastic decline in eating quality.

CitriTex changed that, even converting skeptical customers — who, when blinded, could not tell the difference between full-calorie and CitriTex versions. CitriTex is a drop-in solution: it requires no change in formulations or manufacturing processes. It can be added any time during mixing, and doesn't need to be pre-hydrated. What's more, it costs less than the oil it's replacing, solving one of our customers' biggest challenges when it comes to reduced fat.

CitriTex blends debuted in 2010 at the Institute of Food Technologists' Annual Meeting and Food Expo in Chicago. Now, three of our customers are going to market with baked goods made with CitriTex, two with reduced-fat muffins for food service and in-store bakery sales and one with fiber-added low-fat muffins for sale in a large retail coffee house chain.

Here at Cargill, we've also used it to formulate cake and muffin prototypes with 50% less fat and sugar than their conventional counterparts, for a 25% calorie reduction.

Not only do the goodies made with CitriTex have an eating quality and texture indistinguishable from the full-calorie versions, they also have superior moisture, equal spring and a longer shelf life. CitriTex cracked the conundrum of the cardboard-like texture of low-fat products by providing lubrication for the gluten in baked goods.

Word about the CitriTex quality has spread. I'm proud to have been asked to consult with customers interested in feeding the pickiest eaters of all: kids. These customers are looking to create products that meet the requirements of the California state school system for nutritional content such as fat, calories and carbohydrates — that kids will still eat and parents will approve.

We've always eaten baked goods because of their taste, not their nutritional content. Today's consumers are no longer content with that: they're demanding great taste with fewer calories and less total and saturated fat, too. Now we can give them that.

Bill Gilbert is a principal food technologist and master baker at Cargill. He has more than 35 years of experience in the business. He learned to bake from scratch bakers in Chicago and worked for a large bakery manufacturer before joining Cargill 3 ½ years ago.