Thursday, 29 August 2013

How to Have Your Cake and Eat it When You Have Arthritis

We're holding a Great British Garden Party in support of Arthritis Research UK this weekend so it felt like a good time to address a very serious subject, cake. Cake is not exactly the most arthritis friendly food you can have in your diet but it doesn't have to be completely without nutritional merit. At the same time, there is no point in having a nice slice of cake if it tastes so 'worthy' that you don't enjoy it. I'm a firm believer that you can 'have your cake and eat it' with just a few healthier tweaks to favourite cake recipes. Here are my top tips:

1. Firstly, you can swap high omega , arthritis friendly rapeseed oil for up to a two-thirds of the butter in most cake recipes but you may need to add a tablespoon of extra flour. Experiment with small batches. Ground almonds, apple sauce,  grated and puréed fruit or vegetables can also be used to reduce the amount of unhealthy saturated fats.

My recipe for cute cupcakes, uses nuts and courgettes and this chocolate cake adds beetroot for an amazing texture. Try the orange loaf to see how using oil can make a brilliant cake. 

2. If you avoid gluten, you can try using gluten-free flour in place of wheat flour. Buy a brand with xanthan gum added or add in yourself to avoid very crumbly cake or mix up a tablespoon of omega 3 rich flax or chia seeds with water and leave to soak for 10 minutes until it becomes 'gloopy', you can then add this in to help bind the mixture. This brownie recipe is gluten-free and wins over everyone.

3. Eggs aren't essential. If you find them tricky to crack because of your arthritis, it's perfectly possible to make a fantastic egg free cake. You may need to add extra raising agent and use a recipe where the fat added is oil. These muffins show you how it is done.

4. Even a store bought cake mix can be given a healthier makeover. Have a look at my tips here.

There are even more healthier cake recipes here and look out for my easy biscuit recipe over the next few days. Something I've been perfecting in time for our party.

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