I wanted to try a new cake for my birthday this year. In the past I've ranged from the classic cake--yellow cake and chocolate frosting--to a light angel food cake to no cake to I-don't-care-you-decide cake to chocolate caramel nut cake. Cake seems to feed a range of emotions for me. I've also had a haunting desire to try a blueberry and banana cake that I read about several years ago--but I've never found a recipe I really liked so it hasn't happened.
This year I just wanted something yummy and chocolately and on the far side of decadent with just a hint of nutrition.
Don't laugh. Yes, nutrition. Not the dense nutrition of the "I-only-eat-organic-raw-foods" kind but more light nutrition of the "at-least-throw-a-vegetable-in-there" kind. I had heard about Jessica Seinfeld's new book Deceptively Delicious on this Oprah show. In the book, Ms. Seinfeld describes feeding vegetables to her kids by pureeing foods like spinach, squash, broccoli, and carrots and then adding those purees to food the kids love. She did this after fighting constantly with her children to eat their vegetables at dinner. I thought the concept was brilliant.
Dr. Memhet Oz said that it makes sense that kids have a harder time with vegetables because they have about 10,000 taste buds compared to an adult with about 3,000. Those extra taste buds make children much more sensitive to any bitter foods--what might have been a poison in prehistoric times. By pureeing vegetables and hiding them in her children's food, Ms. Seinfeld was increasing the nutrients her children were receiving without all the dinner table drama. (Just an aside: She continues to serve steamed, raw or cooked veggies to her children, but now she doesn't harp on them to eat every last bite. The kids are then exposed to vegetables daily, they are able to try them without a bunch of pressure from mom, and they watch mom and dad eat their own plates of vegetables too. All a great set up for children to grow into adults who love vegetables.)
Ms. Seinfeld adds purees to desserts as well. She said it actually makes the desserts more moist and yummy. That's what I wanted to try. A moist, yummy cake with just a bit of nutrition. I checked out her book but didn't find a recipe that appealed to me for a birthday cake so I went to two of my favorite food bloggers--Elise at Simply Recipes and Clotilde at Chocolate and Zucchini. Elise has a great chocolate and zucchini cake that she inherited from her grandmother and is much like Clotilde's cake. I took both recipes and did a bit of a combination cake.
Mostly what I used was whole wheat pastry flour--it's supposed to make a lighter cake than just whole wheat flour--and pureed zucchini and dehydrated cane juice crystals as my sugar. We topped it off with chocolate syrup and nuts as you can see in the picture and everybody ate it. The cake was very rich, dense and moist and yummy enough that I was just fine after one slice.
Call it an experiment, an adventure or a choice. I just call it chocolate and have now found that I can have my cake and eat it too.