Since deciding to tackle the size of my backside, I've adopted the Six Million Dollar Man's tagline and with every meal and journey I make at the moment, I'm seeking to make everything stronger, better & faster.
Trips to the supermarket are being done on the bike, not by car, (very slow) runs in the park have replaced a slow walk to the local town centre and a lot more thought is going into everything that I eat. All this is being done with the zeal of the newly converted and I imagine my enthusiasm will subside in a few months.
But for now, if I feel like eating some nuts as a snack, I start thinking, 'what's the best nut I can eat to get the most from my snack? Potatoes have been replaced with sweet potatoes or lentils. I'm only eating meat once a week on average and when I do, it's the nicest piece of pork or beef I can buy, divided up so I get two meals from it. I've had to make an extreme cutback on the amount of sugar I eat and specifically, the amount of cake I eat.
With the above in mind, I've been looking everywhere for ideas on how to make cake, but better.
I hate low-fat, or light versions of food that do a poor, tasteless impression of the original product. A company launched 'healthy' cupcakes in the UK a couple of years ago, which were greeted with derision because they were awful and expensive. The common (and sensible) reaction was, why would I eat three crap cakes, when I could have one delicious cake for the same amount of calories and fat?
So to be clear, I'm not seeking low-calorie cake - low calorie is not automatically healthier. However, if I can swap out some of the butter in a cake for almond butter, which is still quite high-calorie, but has less saturated fat and still get a cake that tastes amazing and has me reaching for a second slice, then I'm going to do it.
These blondies are happy to stay in an airtight tin for about 5 days and benefit from 2 days maturing. They also freeze well (what I've done to avoid eating them all in the space of three days).
Raspberry & Almond Butter Blondies
(adapted from a recipe by Rachel Allen)
100 grams plain white flour
50 grams wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
120 grams unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing tin
130 grams almond butter
175 grams light brown soft sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
75 grams white chocolate, chopped
90 grams frozen raspberries
1. Remove the raspberries from the freezer, chop any large ones in half and leave to thaw slightly while preparing the batter.
2. Grease and line a 23" round Springform cake tin (alternatively, use a 20" square tin).
3. Preheat the oven to 170C (150C fan-assisted) and arrange racks so your cake tin will be placed right in the middle of the oven.
4. Sift the flours and baking powder into a medium bowl and set aside.
5. Using a large bowl, cream together the unsalted butter and almond butter, until well-mixed and soft (it will be quite a runny batter at this point). Add the sugar, egg, vanilla extract and a tablespoon of the flour mixture (this will prevent curdling) and beat slowly, until well-mixed.
6. Add the rest of the flour mixture and the chopped chocolate and mix with a spoon or spatula until well-mixed and all flour has been absorbed. The mixture will be a dough, not a batter.
7. Fold in the raspberries. Do not worry if they break up slightly.
8. Place the dough into the cake tin, pressing out with a spatula or spoon, so it is spread evenly (it doesn't need to go right up to the edge of the tin, it will spread out further in the oven).
9. Place in the middle of the oven. The total advised cooking time is 25-30 minutes. Test the middle of the cake at the 20-minute mark with a skewer. You want a slightly squidgy finish, so the cake is ready when the skewer comes out with some cooked batter on it, . If the batter is still wet and uncooked, continue to bake and check at further 5-minute intervals, up to the 30 minute mark, until the desired texture is achieved.
10. Remove from the oven and cool in the tin, on a rack, before removing and slicing.