OK, I’m not suggesting that homemade rock cakes are a health food. They are, however, a much healthier alternative to shop-bought cakes.
You may have heard of trans fats. These trans fatty acids are produced during food processing when hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oil to make it solid. Trans fats are found in things like ready-made cakes, biscuits, palm oil (which is in so many ingredients now) and pastries.
Studies have linked trans fats with increased ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and decreased ‘healthy’ HDL cholesterol, along with diseases like cancer, heart disease and immune system disfunction.
To help you avoid these trans fats but to allow you to enjoy sweet treats (occasionally!), home-baking is a great alternative. There are very simple recipes for lazy people like me or you can get really creative with ingredients like olive oil and coconut oil.
I love rock cakes – they’re easy to make and you probably already have all the ingredients in your cupboard. Here’s the recipe that I use:
Place 250g of sifted self raising flour into a bowl with 90g of cubed butter. Rub together with your fingertips until fine and crumbly. Mix in 125g caster sugar, 95g mixed dried fruit, 1 tbsp chopped mixed nuts, 1/2 tsp ground ginger. In another bowl, whisk 1 egg and 3 tbsp milk, then add to the flour mixture. Mix to a stiff dough, then spoon small heaps onto a greased baking tray. Bake at 200°C until golden brown – about 15-20 mins. Cool on a rack.
The cakes can be frozen so that you’re not tempted to eat them all in one sitting! Enjoy x