Wednesday, 12 October 2011

World Arthritis Day Cake (or Red Velvet Cake)

Today is World Arthritis Day, part of a campaign to raise awareness of the many types of arthritis. This years campaign is tagged 'Move to Improve' to remind us all that a just getting out and about, walking and taking gentle exercise can help manage arthritis and keep us healthy.

I thought Word Arthritis Day was a wonderful opportunity to have a bit of a celebration here. Yes, arthritis is miserable sometimes, but we don't have to be. Arthritis has introduced me to new friends, opportunities and skills. So here is a cake recipe to toast Arthur and everyone out there with arthritis.

250g cooked beetroot (I buy the ready cooked vacuum packed type, don't make it with the ones in vinegar by mistake! Yuck)
300 g self raising/all-purpose flour
150g greek yoghurt
3 large eggs
150g dark brown soft sugar
50 g cocoa
50mls strong coffee 
30g chopped hazelnuts

250g low fat cream cheese
75g honey
1tsp good vanilla extract
2 tablespoons semi-skimmed milk

To make the cake, first grease a 23cm/14in cake tin and heat your oven to 180c.

Put all the ingredients for the cake in a food processor and whizz until well combined. The mixture should be the consistency of wallpaper paste, if it is a little thick add some milk, a tablespoon full at a time.

Pour the cake batter into the pan and bake for 30 minutes until well risen and a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave in pan to cool for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool fully.

Meanwhile, make the icing. Whisk your cream cheese, milk, honey and vanilla extract together with an electric whisk until well combined into a thick frosting.

Once the cake is cool, spread the frosting on top working gently to smooth it across. Dust with cocoa and serve in celebration!

Arthritis diet notes:
Right, this is cake. It is not going to be a health food but you can have a delicious treat without eating things that aggravate your arthritis. This cake uses beetroot, hazelnuts and yoghurt to replace butter which makes it fudgey and rich but low in saturated fat. Saturated fats can aggravate the inflammation in arthritis so cutting back on them may help reduce pain.

Beetroot has been shown to help lower blood pressure due to its rich nitrate content. It's also rich in antioxidants. More usefully for bakers, it is naturally high in sugar so less needs to be added to this cake batter. You'd have to eat a quarter of the cake to get one portion of beetroot towards your five a day, which would be rather too easy to do but not recommended...

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