Think thick slabs of moist sponge loaded with sweet, buttery icing and topped with rich melted chocolate and fresh cream. Team that with a steaming mug of tea and a cosy fire, and it’s next to impossible to say no.
But, as a nation of cake-lovers, we are inevitably also a nation riddled with what is now commonly referred to as the ‘obesity epidemic’. Today, one in 11 deaths in the UK can be attributed to excess fat.
According to Professor John Prescott, author of Taste Matters: Why We Like the Foods We Do: “Comfort food evokes associations with positive relationships, acting as a surrogate in the absence of loved ones.”
Cake is often about comfort, as are many of our favourite foods- usually because they’re laden with fats and sugars and unrefined carbohydrates. Unfortunately, these so called comfort foods are probably the main reason behind our fast-expanding waistlines.
So, if we’re not willing to cut out cake to cut out obesity – what can we do?
Francine Raymond, of the Telegraph, believes vegetable cakes are the way forward.
She explains how, during the world war rationing, sugar was often substituted for cheaper, more accessible garden vegetables.
How does dark chocolate and beetroot cake sound? Beetroot is still used commonly to moisten chocolate sponge, enrich colour and add a rich, sweet flavour.
Parsnips, ginger and sweet potatoes were also used as natural sweeteners for cakes as substitutes for sugar during the war.
There is also a Welsh-Irish cake made of cooked potato mashed together with butter, flour and ginger to form two firm dough cakes which are then sandwiched together with sliced apple.
Other healthy cake ingredients to explore include sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, orange zest and almonds.
To find out more about the nutritional value of certain foods, take a look at our Balanced Diet page. To find a nutritionist near you, type your postcode into our search tool.
For more information, including recipes, visit the original Telegraph article.