The importance of splurging: part one

In my last entry, I wrote about the evils of sugar, but this week I’m turning a blind eye and splurging! My husband’s birthday and mine are eight days apart. They are close enough that, if we celebrated in the middle of the week, we could share a cake. But then where is the fun in that? We each wanted our own, which meant two cakes in eight days.

I love baking cakes. While my husband has made many delicious cakes for me, this year I wanted to bake my own. I find it very indulgent and an excellent way to celebrate yourself, something everyone should do.

My cake needed to fit the following criteria — no white flour, no white refined sugar and no canola oil (or other polyunsaturated vegetable oils).

My husband’s pleas, I mean, requests, were white flour, white sugar and strawberries.

For my cake, I did a healthy take on a recipe my mom always uses for chocolate cake. You can find it right on the box of Hershey’s cocoa mix and it is easy and delicious, though my version uses honey, olive oil and white-wheat flour.

A healthy version of Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake

1 3/4 cups white-wheat flour (or half white-wheat and half white)
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups of honey
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
3/4 cup boiling water


  • Heat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  • Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.
  • Add honey, eggs, milk, yogurt, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed for about two minutes. Stir in the boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
  • Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely before frosting.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

6 tablespoons butter, softened
8 ounces of cream cheese
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons almond extract

Using an electric hand mixer or immersion blender, blend all ingredients until smooth.

The trick to frosting a cake is to first apply a thin layer of frosting. This is called a crumb coat. Don’t worry if it isn’t pretty and bits of the cake (the crumbs) show. After applying the crumb coat, chill the cake for 15 minutes or so. The second coat should go on much smoother and you’ll have a beautifully frosted cake.

Part of Monday Mania.