The study was designed to evaluate the nutritive value, thermal stability and consumer acceptance of cupcakes baked with red palm olein compared to palm olein. Thermal stability was evaluated for acidity, peroxide, p-anisidine and total oxidation value (cumulative between peroxide and p-anisidine values), as well as fatty acid composition. The concentrations of phytonutrients including tocopherols and tocotrienols, alpha- and beta-carotene after baking were also determined. Acceptance of the cupcakes was assessed using a structured hedonic scale of five points by 29 panelists. As compared to initial test oil (red palm olein), acidity (red palm olein, 0.07±0.01% vs cupcakes containing red palm olein, 0.09±0.01%; P=0.0232), peroxide value (red palm olein, 0.33±0.05 meq O2 kg–1 vs cupcakes containing red palm olein 0.73±0.06 meq O2 kg–1; P=0.0011) and total oxidation value (red palm olein, 2.24±0.13 unit vs cupcakes containing red palm olein, 3.09±0.17 unit; P=0.0012) were found to be higher in cupcakes containing red palm olein, which is within the acceptable rancidity range (peroxide value < 7.5 meq O2 kg–1) for snack food category. No changes were found on oxidative parameters (acidity, peroxide, p-anisidine values and total oxidation value) in cupcakes containing palm olein. Cupcakes made with red palm olein retained nearly 100% of alpha- and beta-carotenes upon baking. Tocopherol homologues were stable in both comparisons, with 95% retention as compared to tocotrienol homologues (~85%). Cupcakes made from red palm olein received higher score (mean=3.29) in sensory evaluation as compared to cupcakes containing palm olein (mean=3.07). The study, therefore, encourages the inclusion of red palm olein in the formulation of bakery products.
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