Healthy Cake

Cake used to be bad for you, it had sugar, and eggs, and wheat flour (the horror), candied fruits, and butter — loads, and loads, of butter — all manner of unhealthy ingredients. But it’s made an amazing alt-cake comeback, kicking and screaming into the second decade of the 21 Century as an all-new, completely reinvented, ‘fake news’ cake — the original post-truth treat. What am I taking about? Why, the healthy cake, of course.

The great thing about a healthy cake is that you literally can have your cake and eat it, and suffer absolutely zero repercussions, because a healthy cake is good for you. Right?

It must be true, that if you dump a load of natural, hopefully ‘plant based’, ingredients into a bowl, you can only get something super-healthy when it magically appears out of the oven. Twenty-five organic pitted dates... Sure no problem. How about maple syrup, or agave, with its low GI... Perfect! Half a kilo of blitzed almonds for the base. Delicious, and so easy. Just mix it with coconut oil, and hey presto… A healthy cake with no sign of processed sugar or saturated fat.

Of course, there are benefits of a natural, 'plant based' diet — but a bowl of dates, coconut oil, and handfuls of almonds, is loaded with sugar and fat. It will be high in calories, and may not even taste as good as the ‘real thing’. That's the problem with so-called healthy cakes, the substitute ingredients are not particularly healthy.

Then there’s the even-healthier cake, the raw vegan cake: which hasn’t had all the natural bacterial goodness cooked out of it by having a stint in that nutritional torture chamber, the oven. Food is a living thing, and being full life you’ll end up murdering it if it goes above 33°C or 48°C!

At least, if you make a cake, you know what went into it. It should be free of Enumbers, colourings and preservatives. But, so many of the claimed health benefits of expensive, ‘healthy’ ingredients (usually the ones with exotic sounding names) are exaggerated. It turns out that the answer is painfully simple — simulating a traditional cake with substitute ‘healthy’ ingredients will probably create an almost equally unhealthy cake. It will be sugary, fatty, and high in calories.

So you might as well enjoy yourself and have the real thing, to some extent. Cakes are, by their very nature, a special treat, something to enjoy every once in a while. They’re not the kind of thing you should have every day, and that's part of the problem with so-called ‘healthy cake’, because it legitimises over-indulging on the false grounds that you’re eating something that’s good for you.