Healthier Birthday Cake RecipeApril 13, 2011 Written by JP [Font too small?]
One of the most frequent questions I’m asked with regard to my diet is whether or not I miss eating certain “restricted” foods. When addressing this issue I always begin by clarifying that I can eat anything I want. However, I choose to avoid certain foods that I think are counterproductive to my good health. It’s a fine distinction, but an important one. It emphasizes a personal decision or will power rather than simply adhering to a defined restriction or following a dogmatic rule lockstep. Getting back to the initial question, yes, I do occasionally crave foods from my past which I now choose to avoid. And I’m not the only one. Recently, I noticed that Mrs. Healthy Fellow had been longing for something special that we both hadn’t indulged in for a very long time – cake. It just so happened that Mrs. HF had a birthday this past weekend. The following is the exact birthday cake I made for this glorious celebration.
If you’re a new visitor to this site, allow me lay my cards out on the table. Every recipe I post on this site sticks to certain principles. Nutrient density is chief among them. I also avoid using select ingredients, such as artificial colors and flavors, glutenous grains and sugar, which I believe are detrimental to good health in general. But there’s another factor that needs to be considered when implementing any of my recipes into your wellness program: proper context. The birthday cake recipe I’m about to share with you is very rich and calorically dense. My intention is for it to be enjoyed on special occasions and not as an everyday dessert. After all, the term “birthday cake” was coined for a reason.
A primary difference between this cake and most others is that I use almond flour or meal as a substitute for wheat flour. Almonds are a much better source of fiber, healthy fats, nutrients and phytochemicals than refined wheat flour. Recent publications in prestigious medical journals reveal that regularly consuming almonds can reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol concentrations by up to 19%. These tree nuts are also loaded with cardioprotective substances including arginine, an amino acid, as well as copper, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin E, all essential minerals and vitamins. What’s more, adding almonds to your daily routine may help reduce subsequent food intake by decreasing blood sugar levels and increasing the sensation of fullness or satiety. (1,2,3)
Healthy Fellow Yellow Cake Recipe
1 1/2 cups almond meal
1 cup Truvia (stevia)
5 organic, omega-3 eggs
4 oz organic butter
4 oz organic cream cheese
the zest of 1 organic lemon
1 1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract
1 tsp non-aluminum baking powder
Allow the butter and cream cheese to soften at room temperature. Place both ingredients in a large mixing bowl and add the powdered stevia (Truvia) and vanilla extract. Use an electric mixer to cream the ingredients. Then add the eggs and continue to mix until fully blended. Pour the dry ingredients, the almond flour and baking powder, into the wet ingredients. Finely grate the peel of the lemon into the bowl and mix everything together, once more using the electric mixer. When the batter is fully integrated and smooth, transfer to a greased, non-stick and/or parchment lined 9″ cake pan. Bake at 350° for approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Cake is done when toothpick comes out clean from center of the cake. It should be nicely browned on top.
No birthday cake is complete without frosting. I decided on a cream cheese, vanilla frosting for the lemony cake. I began by placing one 8 ounce package of organic cream cheese (softened) into a clean mixing bowl. To that, I added: 2 oz of organic heavy cream, 1/2 cup of Truvia and 1 tsp of organic vanilla extract. Use the electric blender to cream the ingredients until silky smooth. Taste for sweetness and adjust accordingly. Refrigerate if you don’t use immediately. Frost the cake when cooled.
Nutritional Content: Calories: 340. Protein: 8 grams. Fat: 33 grams. “Net” Carbohydrates: 6 grams. Fiber: 2 grams. Servings per cake: 10.
Lemon Polyphenols May Suppress Diet-Induced Weight Gain
Source: J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2008 November; 43(3): 201–209. (link)
An unfortunate reality about many common fruits is that some of their best parts, namely the peels or rinds, are often discarded without being used. Citrus fruits provide an excellent example of what’s often lost in the compost bin or trash. Modern science informs us that the rinds of grapefruits, lemons and oranges are incredible reservoirs of antioxidant potential. Substances such as ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), carotenoids, flavonoids, phenolics and reducing sugars are largely responsible for the free-radical fighting activity attributable to citrus rinds. But there’s even more to the lemon peel story than that. Certain valuable components of lemon rinds, such as d-limonene, possess anticancer potential and are quite special in that they tend to find their way into the fatty tissue of the body. This may be of particular value in managing breast malignancies “that are comprised of a significant fat fraction”. In addition, lemon polyphenols have been shown to discourage body and liver fat accumulation, and weight gain in animal models of obesity. All told, this illustrates a solid justification to incorporate citrus peels in recipes wherever possible. (4,5,6)
And lastly, I have a confession to make. I was really quite nervous about how this recipe would turn out. My goal was to make a gluten-free, low-carb cake that would compare favorably to the birthday cakes of Mrs. Healthy Fellow’s past. It would have been mortifying if the cake had turned out to be a disappointment. So, as a back up plan, I also baked a flourless chocolate-pecan cake. Thankfully, both cakes were received very well by my wife and the whole family. Of the two, the yellow cake was the bigger hit. It reminded everyone of a traditional birthday cake. The fact that it was considerably healthier than the dessert it was based upon was just “icing on the cake”.
Tags: Almonds, Eggs, Gluten
Posted in Food and Drink, Nutrition, Recipes