Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Top This!

            If you’re one of those people who can eat half a piece of fudge and save the other half for tomorrow, I give you permission to stop reading this post right now. But you might want to continue if you’re like me—one of those people who can eat half a pie in one day and still crave the other half. Read on if you’re the type who mixes up a batch of dough that claims to make four dozen chocolate chip cookies, and you end up with two dozen on the cookie sheet. Or if you bake an applesauce loaf cake with the intention of freezing the leftovers and discover the leftovers taste pretty good frozen.
            I admit to my sugar addiction, but I’m not ready to give up my “habit” cold turkey. To even consider such an idea throws me into a state of panic. It makes me want to finish off the can of ready-made frosting tucked way in the back of my fridge. I hid it behind the jar of jalapeno peppers, hoping I’d forget about it, but unfortunately, I haven’t. It’s just a matter of time before—in a moment of frenzied desperation—I attack that can, scraping the sides clean and licking the icing off the spatula. Pathetic, I know. It’s an action that would disgust half-piece-fudge-eaters, while sugarholics are nodding their heads in total sympathy. But take heart, fellow addicts!  I’ve found a recipe that helps me manage my sweet-tooth-on-steroids.
             The solution was sent to me by two friends in two separate emails, so I guess it’s pretty much public domain at this point. Not wanting to take credit for someone else’s great idea, however, I googled “3-2-1 cake” and found that the originator is Kristina Vanni. You can click on the link to get the recipe, but the cake is just the beginning. The secret to great eating is in the toppings.
            For instance, I like to pour a little juice from canned fruit over the cake to lessen the “spongy” texture. My favorites are mandarin oranges or Del Monte Fruit Naturals mixed berries. These can be found in the refrigerated section of the produce aisle. After I’ve moistened the cake with juice, I mix low-fat vanilla yogurt with Cool Whip to a desired consistency, pour it over the cake, and top it with the fruit. If you have an issue with Cool Whip because of the high fructose corn syrup (obviously, most sugarholics don’t), substitute whipped cream or go with just the yogurt. So far, I’ve tried vanilla cake mix and strawberry, flavors which blend well with fruit. The next batch I mix is going to be chocolate, and I’m thinking along the lines of a melted, midgy Hershey bar and a teaspoon or two of peanut butter swirled on top.
            The calorie count of this recipe is less than that of a cupcake or a candy bar, and if you use the fruit and yogurt topping, you can almost claim it’s healthy. The true beauty of it, however, is that it makes ONE SERVING AT A TIME. You can’t eat this cake and have it, too. You can satisfy your sugar craving and not have leftovers crying out to you to slice off “just one tiny piece” every time you pass by the kitchen.
            If you try this recipe, be creative and experiment with toppings and combinations. Be as healthy or decadent as you like. Let me know how you like it, and please share your favorite creations!



  1. I have made this before without topping and was a little disappointed. After I talked to you about trying toppings, I ended up having a little cake craving (I blame the pregnancy--that's my story). I whipped up a 3-2-1 cake in a coffee mug, but I didn't really have any "topping," so I just put a little butter on top and let it melt. YUM. This was so easy that I had . . . count them . . . THREE 3-2-1 cakes (again, I'm blaming the pregnancy). You can eat your cake and have it, too!

  2. I have to say, Nicci, of all the toppings I'd considered, melted butter was not on the list. But, hey, if it works...
    And as far as the three cakes,I think pregnancy permits you to eat as many as you like.

  3. I know the melted butter sounds like a pregnancy thing, too, but it's actually not. I remember my mom taking a chocolate cake out of the oven when I was a little girl and putting butter on it while it was still warm. Sounds crazy, but it was really yummy.

    I'm now on a Nutella kick, so I'm thinking that might be a yummy topping, too.

    1. How did the Nutella work out? Sounds good. Today I mixed devils food cake mix with the angel food mix and while the cake was still hot topped with about 5 or 6 mini peanut butter cups. Very yummy! As a precaution, I put Bill in charge of the bag of peanut butter minis with the strict instructions to hide them and ration them out to me at no more than six per day.


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