Monday, March 26, 2012

Fat-Releasing Cake?

I have been counting calories in an attempt to shed some weight.  Yes, I know I posted a cookie recipe last week.  That was an unfortunate two day setback that I justified in a hundred different ways.  If you don't have a treat now and then, you won't stay on the diet.  If you don't eat normally during your diet, you will eat everything in sight after the diet and gain it all back.  Okay, that's not completely irrational.  One of my friends told me about the time she finished a liquid diet and zigzagged down the street eating every piece of fried chicken she could find.

Besides, those cookies are great.  They may be my new favorites!

So then, I happened to see an article about dieting mentioned on the cover of my mom's large print Reader's Digest.  I expected the same old thing, but there's an interesting new twist.  They analyzed years of weight-loss studies and came up with their own diet.  They put a bunch of their staffers on the diet with great success.  A dozen staffers lost 151 pounds in three weeks! The book about it is about to come out.  They claim there are foods that help us lose weight. They're calling them "fat releasers."  Music to my ears!

I hear you out there saying, sure -- iceberg lettuce and bird seed.  Wrong.  Well, maybe not completely, but there are some other foods that are especially good for us, too.  Like dairy.  They cite a study that indicates nonfat milk after exercise and again one hour later helps us retain muscle and shed fat, while strengthening bones!  Hmm.  They even advocate small amounts of walnuts and chocolate!  Perhaps of particular interest to many of you, red wine is a fat releaser, too.  Wow, permission to eat great food!

In The Diva Digs Up Dirt, there's a muffin recipe that makes use of walnuts ground into flour.  (I'll be posting it eventually -- it's my favorite muffin recipe ever!)  I'd been thinking about flourless cakes for Passover and it suddenly dawned on me that there are a lot of fat releasers in a flourless cake.  Eureka!  Chocolate, walnuts, and eggs.  It's all good!  (Okay, so there's still sugar, but you gotta live, right?)
Now this may not be exactly what Reader's Digest had in mind, but here's my stab at a fat releasing cake.  It turned out to have a nice light crumb.  Naturally, there's no sugary frosting and no butter except to grease the pan. 

Warning: this cake is bittersweet.  My mom is in love with this cake because it's not super sweet.  If you're one of those people who thinks cakes are generally too sweet, you'll love this.  If you prefer a sweet cake, you may want to double the sugar.  On the other hand, if you would generally rather lick off the frosting and leave the cake, it's definitely not for you. 

By my calculations, a small to average slice would run 150 to 200 calories.

What's your favorite weight loss tip?  

Fat-Releasing Cake
1 9-inch springform pan

1/8 tablespoon butter for greasing pan
1 1/2 cups walnuts
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
8 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/4 cup hot water
2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso
6 eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease the springform pan. 

In a food processor, combine the walnuts with 4 tablespoons sugar and the salt, and pulse until the walnuts are tiny (don't let it become gummy like walnut butter).

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in short bursts, stirring in between.  Set aside to cool.

Boil water and stir coffee or espresso into it.  Set aside.

Separate the eggs.  Beat the egg yolks with 4 tablespoons of sugar until thick (about 2 minutes).  Add some of the walnut mixture, the cooled chocolate, and the water gradually, alternating until they are all combined. 

Beat the egg whites until stiff enough to hold a peak.  Fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it.  Fold in half of the remaining egg whites, then the other half.  Pour into pan and bake 40 minutes or until the center is firm.

Serve with strawberries as a garnish.


  1. My favorite tip: don't deprive yourself of the things you love--just have a little! And keep moving...that's what Hayley Snow the food critic is learning:)

  2. Lucy, I think you're very right. If I tell myself I can't have something, then I obsess about it!

    ~ Krista

  3. Krista - Fun post, great recipe! I about fell off my chair with the story of the fried chicken freak out. Boy, can I relate. :) I wholeheartedly agree with you and Lucy. Oprah Winfrey, probably the most famous dieter on the planet, agrees with you, too - "diets" don't work, but lifestyle changes do. The milk tip is great, btw. Coffee is helpful, too, I understand - and I'm not just saying that because...well, you know! :)) Have a great week! ~ Cleo

    1. LOL! My friend who went through a fried chicken frenzy has been on every diet in the world.

      I think you and Oprah are right. But it's hard to change lifestyles, too!

      I've heard very good things about coffee as well. Whew! Lucky for you! ; )

      ~ Krista

  4. Oh booger~bite. It looks so delicious but I have to confess the only reason I eat cake is for the luscious decadent icin'.

    I do agree though, a diet has to be a life style change...somethin' ya can live with. I cheat on Sundays...forgive me Lord but that's the day you'll see me eatin' a real cupcake or piece of fudge. Just knowin' I can do that keeps me goin'.

    God bless ya and have an excellent week sweetie!!! :o)

    1. Oh, Nezzy, you're just like one of my best friends. She's just in it for the icing!

      I usually cheat on Sundays, too. Wonder what that says about us?

      You have a delightful week, too, Nezzy!

      ~ Krista

  5. I love, love, this... I think I'll make it for the Passover seder!

  6. Janet, I hope it turns out great. Let me know? I had another tiny piece today (well, someone had to see how it was a day later!) and it was delicious. It's one of those cakes that's better cold than fresh from the oven.

    ~ Krista

  7. Oh yum! I have a recipe for a Christmas cake that uses ground almonds. Probably not as fat-releasing, huh? But I like walnuts, too ... am hosting a party this weekend and will be making this!

    1. I don't know why they specify walnuts. I think almonds are very good for us . . .

      ~ Krista