Abstract: The effects of several fat replacement levels (0%, 35%, 50%, 70%, and 100%) by inulin in sponge cake microstructure and physicochemical properties were studied. Oil substitution for inulin decreased significantly (P < 0.05) batter viscosity, giving heterogeneous bubbles size distributions as it was observed by light microscopy. Using confocal laser scanning microscopy the fat was observed to be located at the bubbles’ interface, enabling an optimum crumb cake structure development during baking. Cryo-SEM micrographs of cake crumbs showed a continuous matrix with embedded starch granules and coated with oil; when fat replacement levels increased, starch granules appeared as detached structures. Cakes with fat replacement up to 70% had a high crumb air cell values; they were softer and rated as acceptable by an untrained sensory panel (n= 51). So, the reformulation of a standard sponge cake recipe to obtain a new product with additional health benefits and accepted by consumers is achieved.
Practical Application: In this study, fat is replaced by inulin in cakes, which is a fiber mainly obtained from chicory roots. Sponge cake formulations with reductions in fat content up to 70% are achieved. These high-quality products can be labeled as “reduced in fat” according to U.S. FDA (2009) and EU regulations (European-Union 2006).