Brain food baking takes the cake

3 minute read

Experts cook up a sweet treat to help beat cognitive decline.

Due to a childhood allergy to eggs, your Back Page scribbler never really developed a taste for cakes or desserts due to a lingering fear some eggy content was lurking within, waiting for the chance to wreak an emetic revenge.

So imagine our delight when we happened upon a cakey creation that eschews the eggs, is light on the sugar content and is designed to not only taste great, but also be good for your cognitive health.

The kitchen concoction is the brainchild of two UNSW boffins and a master pastry chef who were tasked with devising a special cake as part of the 70th anniversary of the charity food delivery service, Meals on Wheels NSW.

The idea was to highlight the importance food plays in good brain health and draw attention to the widespread issue of cognitive decline among senior Australians.

“When I was first approached about this project, I was intrigued by the challenge of creating a cake which may be beneficial to cognition, using ingredients from different food groups, while also providing an experience for Meals on Wheels customers,” UNSW’s food and health expert, Professor Johannes le Coutre, told media.

“Along with Meals on Wheels and a team of specialists, we had to consider both ingredients and texture – including how to minimise sugar, and how to ensure the cake’s texture was suitable for individuals who suffer from dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, which is a concern for some older Australians.”

Among the “all natural” ingredients in what has been dubbed “The Unforgettable Cake”, are potential brain boosters such as beetroot, spinach, turmeric, olive oil, blueberries, honey and vanilla.

While that might not sound like a typical baked delight, chef Christopher Thé, from Sydney’s Black Star Pastry, says the cake has a practical texture and broad appeal and could be eaten in the same context as more traditional cakes, such as parties and celebrations.

“I hope their customers feel a sense of celebration and nostalgia when tasting it, while their interest is also piqued by the complexity of the native ingredients,” he added.

It certainly looks the goods if the supplied picture we’ve published with this story is anything to go by. 

The NSW Meals on Wheels team have begun rolling out the special cake to a group of its clients this week in what is hoped to be a memorable and happy occasion for all involved.

And while your ageing correspondent hopes he will never eventually require the services of the Meals on Wheels volunteers, the Unforgettable Cake does sound pretty delicious and we’re looking forward to the creators posting a link to the recipe!

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