Photo of person eating chocolate cakeby Bridget O’Donnell

We’ve all heard or read food studies suggesting what a healthy lifestyle is or isn’t.

“One week we’re told to avoid a product at all cost; the next week it seems it’s not so bad after all, or even healthful in moderation…” (Vegetarian Times, April 1998; e-magazine also available through the MHLS Overdrive app).

Just try avoiding the latest diet trends inundating the media. They’re everywhere, from new book releases to YouTube videos and pop-up advertisements on the internet. Everything in moderation, unless it isn’t, right? Purchase new appliances and welcome overhauled comfort foods back into your diet. In half the time, prepare a home-cooked meal while also improving your longevity and quality of life. Notice how restaurants creatively observe food preferences, allergies, and intolerances. They pioneer these trends as they [continue to] acknowledge the growing need to substitute/omit ingredients and flip menus employing healthy [seasonal] alternatives and nutritional information.

Today our food works overtime, repurposed not only to focus on what tastes good and address age-old health issues and weight loss, but to support availability (pre-/post-pandemic), sustainability and locally sourced [artisan] craft. If any of this resonates with you or motivates you to change your diet and lifestyle, remember: even small steps bring us closer to achieving a goal.

Book Jacket for American Cake by Anne ByrnWe thank Wendy B for the next What’s Cooking [Cookbook] Review highlighting one of my absolute favorite ‘desserts’ — the icing on the cake (!!). You might be wondering how maintaining a healthy lifestyle segues into [chocolate] icing. To paraphrase Wendy’s review, in addition to trying something new, she considers two very sustainable ideas – using what she already had (to avoid food waste) and modifying the sugar in the recipe (to use less). Don’t forget, small steps are additive and can help make a big difference. Wendy chose not to use the Coconut and Pecan Filling more traditionally paired with [American] German Chocolate Cake, a recipe whose infancy dates back to 1956, according to Anne Byrn’s American Cake on page 202. And, by swapping Chocolate Fudge Frosting (from the Chocolate Beet Cake recipe) found in The [Great British Baking Show’s] Big Book of Amazing Cakes, she was able to ‘have her cake and eat it too.’ My compliments Wendy, it looks delicious.”

Take a look at the full review:

Book Jacket The Big Book of Amazing Cakes
Photo of Chocolate Fudge Icing on Choclate Cake

Submitted by Wendy B.

Title of Cookbook: The Big Book of Amazing Cakes: The Great British Baking Show / With Recipes by Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith & the bakers.

What prompted you to check out this cookbook?
I had a can [of condensed milk] and always loved the German chocolate cake topping but never attempted to make it.

What did you like about this cookbook?
Using a sweetened milk product instead of heaps of pure sugar made it mildly sweet with more flavor.

Favorite recipe (that you tried from the cookbook):
Chocolate Fudge Frosting (from the Chocolate Beet Cake, page 152)

Did you alter the recipe or make any substitutions? If so, what were they?
Started the frying pan and browned the unsweetened coconut for 10 min to make it a toasted coconut first. Left out the butter and added water.

References (all accessed online on May 6, 2021):

  1. American Cake: From Colonial Gingerbread to Classic Layer, the Stories and Recipes Behind More Than 125 of Our Best-Loved Cakes From Past to Present by Anne Byrn.
  2. The Big Book of Amazing Cakes : The Great British Baking Show with recipes by Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith & the bakers.
  3. Excerpt from the Vegetarian Times, April 1998 (no. 248), pg. 60 via Google Books
  4. Vegetarian Times (magazine available via MHLS Overdrive app)

Quick Subject links to the Library catalog: