Espresso Angel Food Cake with Mocha Ganache

Confession No 31: We have to have cake!

The idea for The Moodie Foodie came to me out of desperate need. I was having a mental health day – you know those rare days of pure personal indulgence when you do whatever you feel like – and for me it was a day of watching cooking shows. I never did this sort of thing and was revelling in my own naughtiness at wasting a perfectly good day in front of the television.

As I was watching and getting really hungry (cooking shows make me hungry), I wondered why all the good recipes needed to be so fat-laden and unhealthy. I was putting on weight just watching Nigella’s crunchy pork chops, Jamie’s pukker roast chicken and Ina’s vanilla panna cotta. The lug of olive oil here, knob of butter there, splash of cream, slick of salad dressing topped off with a simple grating of parmesan all adds up. It tastes great, but it’s a weighty issue. On my bum, thighs, waist….. Did they have to be like that to taste good?

I wondered if I could have my cake and eat it too. Could I write recipes for all my favourites but lighten them? They still had to taste great otherwise there was no point – I would feel deprived and then I would rebel and then there would be chaos. To satisfy my natural curiosity I began experimenting by reducing fat, using more vegetables and finding good alternatives that still made me sigh with culinary happiness. It turned out well; I had fantastic lasagne, chowders, casseroles, salads, meatloaves and pies. I even had scotch eggs!

But I was nervous about anything sweet. I didn’t really cook many desserts and so I had to start from the beginning. Pavlovas I could do, fruit-based desserts weren’t too much of a challenge and I even came up with a gorgeous low fat panna cotta, but when it came to baking I was lost. But I couldn’t go without cake. I needed cake. And you needed cake. We had to have cake! I started with brownies and worked my way up – banana bread, blondies and cobbler. Then came the revelation.

The Angel Food Cake. Ta dah! What a triumph of healthy eating – well, as healthy as cake’s going to get. Made with egg whites, sugar and a little flour it’s as light as a feather and incredibly low in fat. Not one to do anything by halves, I made the first one for Elly’s calisthenics club party in club colours (red and white). It looked impressive but was a little on the rubbery side. I went back to perfect the recipe. It turns out that I had overbeaten the egg whites and this made all the difference.

It was light and airy and beautiful. Thinking that you may not be so keen on a red and white cake (although I might do one for Christmas – pretty), I rewrote the recipe to include one of my favourite pairings of all time – coffee and chocolate. The cake is subtle in its coffee flavour; think of it as vanilla with a hint of coffee. The ganache is gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous – big hit of chocolate with a touch of espresso. My girls love it and they don’t like coffee so it’s a good all-rounder for everyone. Oh, and it freezes well.

I loved this cake from the moment I wrote the recipe. It’s the essence of The Moodie Foodie – gorgeous food with a hint of indulgence, lower fat, healthy and just plain tasty. It rivals a coffee cake for taste but beats it hands down in the no-expanding-butt department. An average coffee cake will cost you 500 calories with 40g total fat and 13g saturated fat. This gorgeous halo of a cake is only 196 calories with 3.4g total fat and 2.1g saturated fat. Angelic indeed.

Do you have a sweet tooth? What are your favourite morsels of sugary pleasure?

Espresso Angel Food Cake with Chocolate Ganache


Indulge without guilt
Eat without deprivation
Cook great food even when you are on your own
Embrace food moods
Eat what you want



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