The candles spluttered out in a blast of air, as 9-year-old Krista blew across her birthday cake and made a wish.
“What did you wish for?” asked Vinny. “A unicorn for the backyard shed? A chest of gold Lego?”
“No… and no,” said Krista. “I wished I was skinny!”
“What? No!” Vinny was aghast.
“Declan told me I was fat,” Krista said. A frown creased her pretty brow. “Don’t give me any cake, Vinny. I need to be skinny!”
“Rubbish!” said Vinny. “Why waste a wish on a dumb thing like that? You’re awesome, Krista. Strong. Beautiful! And a piece of my cake on your birthday will make you even better.” With that, Vinny began slicing.
For Vinny knew that his cakes were loaded with great foods… like whole-grain flour, milk, eggs, and nuts. Best of all, his favorite cakes were laced with chocolate. And as everyone knows…
Chocolate has its own food group
Dark chocolate rules
Would it surprise you to know that chocolate contains all kinds of things that do your body favors? The good stuff is in the pure dark chocolate, not so much in milk chocolate and not at all in white chocolate.
No getting away from the fat and sugar in chocolate, though. That’s how the calories sneak in. For best nutrition, chocolate or chocolate liquor should come first or second in the ingredient list. Most of the healthy minerals and cancer-fighters hang out in there, in the chocolate molecules themselves.
Better yet, bake your own treats with unsweetened cocoa powder. Cocoa powder has all the fat beaten out of it! You can add back as much or as little fat in your cocoa recipes as you want. And you can use the best kinds of fat to suit your own nutrition requirements.
Ditto for sugar. Vinny uses Stevia Sugar as the main sweetener. Then he adds just a little of another sweetener, like honey, to give his desserts a familiar taste.
Cocoa powder contains more minerals than any other form of chocolate. The list reads like the Periodic Table – calcium, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus… potassium, sodium, iron and zinc… It also has more flavinols than most other foods, a powerful antioxidant that protects you from chronic diseases. Finally, its caffeine and theobromine boost metabolism and suck out extra water to protect your heart.
Chocolate makes the perfect gift for your sweetie because it works on the happy centers in people’s brains.
Finally, chocolate has a surprising amount of fiber —more than 3 grams in 1 ounce of dark chocolate.
So enjoy, but remember—with chocolate treats, a little goes along way.
Here’s a great way to enjoy chocolate, whenever your mood needs a boost in a hurry.
Quick Cake Cups au Chocolat
- 1/4 cup whole-grain flour
- 1/8th teaspoon salt (a shake or two)
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 5 teaspoons Stevia Sugar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons almond milk (or skim milk)
- 2 tablespoons almond oil (or another nut oil)
- 1 teaspoon nutella (optional – if you want to, you can use it either in the batter or as icing on the baked cake)
- Combine all dry ingredients in a small bowl.
- Combine all wet ingredients in another bowl. Then, add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
- Mix well with a fork until the batter is even in color.
- Split batter between two small microwave-safe mugs. I filled two 4-ounce mini-mugs three-quarters to the top.
- Microwave the two mugs together on high for 1 minute or until the top is firm to the touch. Don’t overcook. Less is best. Allow to cool.
- Top off with Greek yogurt sweetened with stevia sugar, if you want. Or ice your mini cake cups with Nutella (if you can afford the extra sugar and more calories). Delicious!
1. When you bake with stevia sugar, best results happen when you use enough stevia to equal three-quarters of the sugar called for in the original recipe and one-quarter sugar or another familiar sweetener, like honey or maple syrup. If you want to use sugar in this recipe, replace the stevia and honey with 4 tablespoons sugar.
2. I thought the cake came out a little dense for my taste. So I tried separating the egg and whipping the egg whites as a first step. Then I made the cake as before, saving the egg whites to fold in at the end. The cake was fluffier and even more delicious! If you have time, do it this way :).
Nutrition in each cup: 260 Calories, 18 grams fat, 8 grams protein, 22 grams carbohydrate (of which 4 grams are fiber and 7 grams are sugar), 100 mg calcium, and 230 mg salt. Excellent source of iron and B vitamins. Good source of vitamins D and E, as well as folate.
Vinny liked his cake warm with Greek yogurt, sweetened with stevia and cinnamon. When he tried the cake after the cups had cooled, he liked it even better. The flavor seemed to intensify and the cake tasted moister. Krista liked hers with Nutella. As soon as she finished, she ran outside to give her soccer ball a workout.
Vinny’s cake cups make a great snack when only something sweet and chocolatey will do!
Tell us about your own adventures, baking with stevia?
- Black Magic: Homemade chocolate syrup on ice – An easy and delicious recipe with just two ingredients.