Today’s blog post is in honor of my two year blog-iversary. On March 11th, 2018, I wrote about Cookies, Kale and Intuitive Eating. Today, I’m writing about cake!
I was looking up cookie recipes on Pinterest the other day, and started getting really irritated because most of the yummy looking images I clicked on ended up not being cookie recipes at all. Instead, they were for sugar-free, grain-free, vegan, paleo, keto, or some other diet-centered baked good.
I’ve eaten my fair share of these faux desserts in my life, and I know first hand that they aren’t the same thing as cookies, brownies, ice cream, or cake. They weren’t satisfying or even tasty, and yet it was the only type of dessert I’d allow myself to eat because I was too scared of anything else.
The wellness world is obsessed with demonizing certain ingredients, especially those found in higher-calorie sweets and snacks, because of what I call the “eat this, not that” principle. Basically what this refers to is the idea that it’s “better” to choose less calorie-dense foods rather than high-calorie foods because you can eat a larger volume of them within a certain calorie window.
Take this graphic from Instagram, for example. The basic message is that you can eat what looks like 5 times the volume of food by choosing low-calorie options for roughly the same number of calories. But food volume isn’t the only thing that drives our appetites/satiety levels. In my own personal experience, eating the option depicted on the right would have left me too full but still not satisfied — a feeling that almost always led to a binge. Which means the net result of eating that way was probably closer to 4,500 calories. This happened often, and the ironic thing was that I often ended up binge eating foods that I wasn’t even craving, like random boxes of granola bars or home-baked faux desserts like the ones I found on Pinterest.
When I recovered from my eating disorder and started eating intuitively, I found that I could be highly satisfied by a much smaller volume of food. I didn’t need two yogurts, a whole plate of chicken, a giant salad, a bunch of strawberries and a giant black coffee to make me feel satisfied. Eating a chicken sandwich, even though the volume of food was much smaller, filled me up, satisfied my cravings, and didn’t lead to a binge.
Another part of my brain struggled with things like chicken sandwiches and cake because I viewed those foods as unhealthy for reasons other than calories. If a food wasn’t nutrient-dense, I thought it would harm me. But what I didn’t realize at the time was that not being nutrient dense didn’t mean that a food was harmful. It just meant it played a different role in my life. Yogurt and carrots have different profiles, just like cake and chicken sandwiches have different nutrient profiles. Obviously, consuming only chicken sandwiches isn’t a healthy way to eat. But eating one meal that was lacking in certain nutrients didn’t mean my whole diet was lacking in those nutrients. Even eating that meal daily wouldn’t negate the other times when I included different types of food in my life. An apple a day doesn’t keep the doctor away, and a chicken sandwich a day won’t send you to the ER.
In order to learn how to stop binge eating, nourish my body, and eat in a balanced way, I needed to calm the heck down, stop believing everything I read in the media about the “dangers of processed food,” and just eat the damn cake. So I did. But first, I baked it.
If you would benefit from doing likewise and need some inspiration, try the cake for yourself! I found the recipes on Pinterest and actually followed them accurately (which I never seem to be able to manage). 10/10 recommend!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup milk (I used lactose-free milk)
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 egg whites beaten to soft peaks
- 1 to 2 cups crushed Oreos (about 15 cookies)
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift together flour and baking powder. Set aside.
- In another large bowl cream together butter, oil, and sugar. Mix in buttermilk, heavy cream and vanilla extract.
- Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined. Fold in the eggs whites just until combined. Fold in the crushed Oreos.
- Evenly distribute batter into the prepared pans and shake pans to even out and release air bubbles.
- Bake on middle rack for 20-25 minutes.
- Allow cake to cool in pan until pans are warm. (cake will continue to bake as it cools so do not let cake OVER COOK in oven. Remove cake when moist crumbs cling to toothpick inserted into center.)
- Once pans are cool to the touch, remove from cake from pan and place on cooling rack to finish cooling.
- Once cool, frost.
- 16 oz. container of whipped topping, defrosted
- 8 oz Package of full fat/regular cream cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Beat cream cheese until soft and silky. Add powdered sugar and mix well.
- Add about half the whipped topping and mix well.
- Add in the other half of the whipped topping and mix until just combined. Be careful not to over-beat so it doesn’t lose its fluff.
- Frost the cake!