B for Banana cake and the search for other ‘healthy’ baked treats

‘Make it short & snappy’

B for Banana Cake.

We start the year with healthy intentions, but the bitter cold calls for tea and cake. Is there a healthier cake out there? I went on a cake safari through Broadway Market to find out the healthiest cake option on offer.

‘Just the facts please’

  • Broadway Marketwww.broadwaymarket.co.uk/ @Broadway_Market
  • Open Saturdays only, other shops along the street open throughout the week.
  • Sadly Brewode’s Cornucopia which was a favourite café of mine has now shut.
  • Floris Foods@Florisfoods
  • Gluten and wheat free bakery with winning mini fruit tarts

‘I’ve got a cup of tea, tell me all about it…’

What does a blackened banana say to you? To me it is synonymous with the launch of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ coming back again for Comic Relief, i.e. baking!

The over ripe banana's friend

The over ripe banana’s friend

You might also associate ‘B’ for baking, but I’m going one step further and linking to my most usual baking inspiration: the rescue operation of a bunch of bruised and bashed bananas. The immediate link between over ripe blackened bananas to the squidgy, sticky banana cake, banana bread or banana muffins sends a little thrill through me. A little like the initial sadness of stale bread leading to the joy of thick steaming bread and butter pudding. The naughtiness of using the thinly veiled excuse of ‘reducing waste’ to add sugar and butter and creating a whole new delight!

Here's one I made earlier!

Here’s one I made earlier!

Thinking about making unhealthy food a smidgen healthier by introducing one of your five a day got me thinking about any other healthier cakes. I once had a cookery demonstration where, I kid you not, they included radishes and raw cabbage in the recipe for the chocolate cake! True you couldn’t taste it, but a little odd none the less. It took it just a step too far.

Instead, I arranged a cake safari of the buzzing Broadway Market with my friend, Cake Queen Connie Viney from Connie Viney Cakes, to search for the healthiest cake on the market. I chose Broadway Market as I fondly remembered a few trips to Brewode’s Cornucopia to do crafty activities (for a future post on Roman lamp pottery) and indulging in their impressively large home-made moist lemon and courgette, and chocolate and beetroot cakes. Where better to start our search?

Here’s how it went!

I started with a healthy bowl full of fruit to fool my stomach into what it should be looking for, namely: nourishing nutrients, not fatiguing fat. I could keep telling it that, but the bustling row of stalls full of baked goods called to us.

A healthy start

A healthy start

Our criteria was set: any cake that contained fruit, or preferably veg. I was looking forward to Brewode’s being the pinnacle and I suspected my winner already. One by one, we valiantly bought and “assessed” the goods. As we worked our way down the market, I was sure I had passed Brewode’s and so backtracked. It was only on questioning a nearby shop that I learned the devastating news that Brewode’s was no more! Nooooooooo! Sadly there were no replacing beetroot or courgette containing cakes on offer, not even carrot in sight on that day! Unbelievable! This left a very fruit focussed offering.

From the cakes available we selected a strudel, cake and tarts.

Even here the apples were in hiding

Even here the apples were in hiding

The most apparent thing was the size of the slices on offer was far too big. If you’re in a market, you’d like to sample, nibble and compare. Once you spend a good few pounds (both money and waistline) on a gigantic slab of sponge, you’re done for the day. I asked if the stall holders would do half slices to be met with looks of confusion. The cakes although on the whole lovely, were mainly heavy, stodgy and ultimately got harder and harder to plough through. My comrade surrendered after a particularly huge hunk. I appreciate you’re meant to select one and be done with it, but with such a selection of choices, it is hard. A pick and mix or tapas style offering is so much more appealing.

IMG_0237The winner was given the crown based on three factors:

1. Size – small morsels to pop into your mouth, enjoy and decide if you want another or not.

2. Real fresh fruit that retained it’s texture and flavour, not mushed into an unrecognisable jam sludge.

3. A novel jelly layer which like a little paperweight or pendant, highlighted the fruit within to produce pretty gems offering the fruit as the hero laid on light fluffy sponge. That is was gluten free wasn’t a particular plus point for me, but I can see it being a 4th winning point for many out there. Most importantly, it certainly didn’t detract from the taste!

Winner and gluten free!

Winner and gluten free!

An attractive assembly of tarts

An attractive assembly of tarts

Needless to say dinner was a bowl of lettuce!


One response to “B for Banana cake and the search for other ‘healthy’ baked treats

  1. Pingback: Full on February Alphabet Challenge – Complete! | MishMashTash·

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