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Eat Better Cakes

Cakes have been made and eaten around the world in celebrations for many ages. Birthday cakes are an annual custom that sprang up around the 19th century as did more widespread consumption of cakes, according to food historians. Although they have changed a lot from their introduction they are now considered a dessert staple, either in their most basic form or decorated beyond the imagination. Whether supplying the cake for the party or just wanting to serve up a better one at home, you can have smarter celebrations starting with the edible centerpiece.

If you bake a lot of cakes, then it is a good idea to stock your pantry with some basics. Buy better ingredients like unbleached organic flours, unrefined oats, unprocessed cocoas, wheat germ and organic free range eggs to use in cake bases. Also, keep things like blackstrap molasses or maple syrup on hand, which adds calcium, iron and other nutrients and minerals. These can be used as healthier alternatives to sweeteners. It may be a little investment up front, but if compared to the cost of a bakery visit for a party cake or sweet treat fix, you will save in the long run.

All fruit preserves and fresh fruits are also great choices in boosting the health content of your cake. Slice a cooked, cooled layer cake in half and spread it with all fruit filling in place of icing layers. Skip the oils called for in a recipe by using pear or applesauce instead. This makes it moister plus increases the antioxidant content. Pineapple or orange juices can even be mixed in to naturally sweeten batter. Additions like organic yogurts or cheeses, such as mascarpone or ricotta, can also be folded into your batter to make it creamier while adding protein and calcium.

Vegetables like zucchini and carrots are easy to sneak into cake batters and contain extra nutritional benefits like vitamins and fiber. It was actually around the 20th century when carrot cake gained popularity as a healthier treat, but carrots in sweets really surfaced earlier when they were utilized for sweetening cakes and other treats due to their availability, since they were easier to come across than sugars or spices. Pumpkins and sweet squash purees are also good to mix into cake recipes.

You can even make the color of your cake better by using Mother Nature as your coloring supplier. Try using pureed beets, carrots or any natural food that will add a colorful hue to your batter. This is a genius way to sneak in many different vitamins while at the same time avoiding chemical food colorings. You might have to experiment with the temperature and cooking time when altering your recipes by adding to the batter mixture.

If you are up for a bit of food play, you can make different types of fondant to decorate with from ground nut pastes and fruit extracts. Drizzle a cake with a dark chocolate melted ganache or pure fruit glazes in place of thick, sugary icing.

If you don’t have time to bake and prefer to order, just ask your baker if they offer healthier alternatives suited to what you are looking for. Often they will be willing to work with you and use substitutions if necessary. Additionally, look for bakeries that support charitable organizations or donate their end of the day rations to local food pantries. Also, check for cake suppliers who use fair trade and local ingredients in their desserts.

In an over-processed world, taking control of the little things, like the simplicity of a smart indulgence, is a reason to raise your fork.


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