Monday, August 25, 2008

Calorie Creep

Sometimes you can look at a food, particularly any baked goods, and just know it's going to buckle the table legs because it has to be so heavy with calories. Anything slathered in cream cheese icing falls into this category. But there are some baked items that look so benign you think surely there's no way it could be that bad. I mean, cakes with no icing have to be lower in calories than those that have layers filled with sugary goodness, don't they? Well, no.
Over the weekend, I attended a small gathering of friends where a scrumptious cake was served. It looked so innocent! A Bundt cake, no icing, a few nuts, that was it. It was particularly moist though, and it had a heavenly aroma and flavor of coconut. Because it was so good, we all asked the cook for the recipe which she immediately made available. One nice surprise is that the recipe has less than half a dozen ingredients. So easy to make, another thing I like! But because I wanted to know how many calories were in it, I decided to figure them up. Oh my. I was stunned. Even cutting the cake into 16 slices, a very narrow piece for a Bundt cake, each serving was 400 calories. Four hundred calories! Oh my gosh! And there wasn't even any frosting! No, not on the outside of the cake. The recipe actually called for a whole can of coconut pecan frosting in the batter. There was also 3/4 C of oil and a whole cup of pecans. All these hidden calories add up and therefore creep up on us when we're least suspecting.

It's something to be aware of when deciding how much you're going to have of a home baked item that someone else has made. When in doubt, and it's not a bad idea to always be in doubt, stay on the safe side and have only a small amount. I should have followed that rule myself. I feel certain the piece of cake I had, because it looked so harmless, was probably double the amount I would have had if I'd known! Well, perhaps. I mean it was awfully good! I'm going to admit, there are times that I think it's OK to indulge. There are days you simply don't want to deal, those are the hard ones. And I think it's OK to break the rules sometimes. The difficulty is in making sure food doesn't become the way we deal with things.
So, will I bake this particular cake? Absolutely! It's a wonderful recipe. But I'll keep it for special occasions.

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