Sunday 29 October 2017

Halloween Jack-O-Lantern Canvas Cake

   I hate scary things. Through my late teens I watched a lot of seriously gruesome horror films to the point that even today I'm kind of de-sensitised to it, but it's safe to say I've also had my fill. I have no desire to do anything scary for Halloween.
   But I do love the theatrics of it all. Costumes, candles, carved pumpkins and ghost stories. It's really very fun.
   And yet I never really do anything with it.
   I don't dress up (though I'm amending that this year - I'm not going anywhere, it's really just for my own amusement), we don't get trick-or-treaters, we don't go to gatherings and Seeg and I don't even watch scary films as a couple. We watched Alien Covenant recently, which was the closest to 'scary' we've gotten in a long time, and it is, by my de-sensitised standards, immensely tame.
   But I do like to cook. At the very least, I like to play with the theatrics in that area. A few years ago I got lazy and just made some food pick flag things that I stuck in some store-bought pork pies as if they were from Mrs Lovett's, whereas last year I got far more imaginative with a stuffed jack-o-lantern bell pepper and Halloween vegetables, but screwed it up because I was so focused on keeping carbs down that I didn't make any sauce at all for the black bean spaghetti and it was all immensely dry and flavourless, barring the chicken-feta filling of the bell peppers themselves. Never have I appreciated the value of sauce more. Seriously. The meal was hugely nutritious and fun, and I urge you to try it, but I also strongly recommend some kind of sauce.

   Well, I'm still undecided with what I'm making this year, but I got in a little early with this morning's breakfast for funsies: a jack-o-lantern canvas cake. Chocolate cake, pumpkin-honey greek yogurt, and some salted caramel buckwheat. It may look bland, but it was delicious, and the pumpkin was perfectly sweetened by the honey.

   Okay, first, yes there is colouring in this, but it is natural. I added a drop of black food colouring to the chocolate cake to darken it. I used Sugarflair Black Extra gel colouring, but as you can see, I used so very, very little that the chocolate still comes through.
   I used the usual canvas cake base recipe, along with 2 tsp of Aduna cacao powder and the speck of natural black food colouring, and I mixed 1 tbsp of pumpkin puree into Yeo Valley greek honey yogurt (for ages to make sure it really combined), and topped, carefully, with a sprinkling of The Department of Breakfast's salted caramel crumble buckwheat mix.

   A note on natural black food colouring: some of you may be inclined to go with the latest trend of activated charcoal to colour it black. Don't. Activated charcoal binds to both micro- and macronutrients and prevents absorption, rendering the high-protein, high-fibre base and the carb toppings all entirely useless, and you'll get next to no nutrients from the cake. And then what's the point? You may as well have eaten cotton wool.

Halloween Jack-O-Lantern Mug Cake:
240 calories, 7g fat, 15.5g carbs, 6.5g fibre, 24.5g protein
Cake + cacao powder: 150 calories, 3g fat, 5g carbs, 6g fibre, 21.5g protein
Yogurt + pumpkin puree: 70 calories, 3.5g fat, 7.5g carbs (4g sugar), 2.5g protein
  - sprinkling of Department of Breakfast Salted Caramel Crumble, approx 5g: 20 calories, 3g (0.8g sugar) carbs, 0.5g fibre, 0.5g protein


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