You have heard me say it a million times and here I am saying it again… I LOVE CAKE.
In my opinion, it is the dessert of all desserts. Send me to a dessert table with cookies, pies, truffles, pastries, muffins and cake, and I’ll come back with all cake on my plate. It’s just a part of me… mostly on my back side.
Over the last couple of years, I have been in the process of finding a balance with cake. I want to eat clean 95% of the time (because the other 5% of the time is reserved for living on the edge), but at the same time, I want to really enjoy the things that I love. I was talking to a friend recently about how disappointing it is when a super healthy friend asks you if you want a piece of cake and you discover she’s referring to a piece of chocolate looking bread. No icing, no moisture, and no guilt… and absolutely no fun.
If I am going to eat a piece of cake, I really want it to taste like… CAKE.
But at the same time, even though I reserve that 5% of my time for living on the edge, I have just come to a point in life where I don’t even enjoy eating things that make me feel terrible. Even if they are absolutely delicious, I can’t handle the things that are so loaded with sugar and processed ingredients that I am sick from eating them.
So how do you find the balance with something like cake? I mean, it is basically butter and sugar and flour. After lots of trial and error, I have realized the key really is true balance. Some people would say balance is having “cake” but in the chocolate bread looking sort of way. That just doesn’t cut it for me. Balance (for me) means replacing some ingredients for healthy ones, but without compromising the integrity of the cake. Yes, I believe the integrity of desserts is a real and important thing.
So what I mean is, I can easily swap the milk for almond milk (or soy). I can easily swap the butter for coconut oil. I can definitely swap the all purpose flour for a good 1:1 gluten free flour. But I probably won’t have it be sugar free. I mean, sure, I can swap the sugar for coconut sugar or honey, but that’s still sugar. Cake without sugar of some kind is really just bread.
Oh, and I won’t be losing the icing anytime soon. That’s like the heart and soul of cake. It was meant to be covered in icing.
And suddenly I realized I went on and on about cake for a while there…
My point is, I love cake. And especially for my birthday… which happens to be today.
So I got to work to find the perfect healthy but delicious balance for my birthday/4th of July cake.
My inspiration for this particular one came from my two favorite cakes: strawberry shortcake and coconut cream cake. I wanted to somehow marry the two and create a creamy strawberry coconut combination.
I started with the base from my old blueberry vanilla cupcakes and went from there. I swapped a few ingredients to work on that balance I was talking about, and I ditched the classic icing and came up with a creamy coconut and vanilla version that was less heavy, but still entirely delicious.
I basically split the batter and baked the layers one at a time, then I assembled them with strawberries and coconut bream icing in between the layers. It was entirely moist and delicious, fluffy and not heavy, and the perfect level of sweet.
Even if you think you are not the best at baking, you should give this one a try! The instructions are step by step, and as long as you follow them exactly, you will definitely be successful!