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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

Yummy chocolate cake made of zucchini

Indulge in this cake and other goodies at this eatery which hides healthy ingredients in tasty dishes
The Straits Times - March 29, 2012
By: Lee Hui Chieh
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Yummy chocolate cake made of zucchini Zucchini chocolate cake -- ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

The round chocolate dome was a pretty little thing, with a strawberry on top and a ring of white chocolate 'leaves' painted with green tea paste round its base.

It looked like any sinful chocolate cake.

Who would have guessed that it was made using zucchini?

Yes, it was a zucchini chocolate cake, crafted from the vegetable that looks like a cucumber. The zucchini was mashed and mixed into the batter.

A cake created from a vegetable did not sound the least bit appetising. But the $2.80 palm-sized cake from Caffe Pralet by Creative Culinaire at Eng Hoon Street in Tiong Bahru thankfully did not taste like a vegetable at all.

The yellow cake, flecked with brown beneath the chocolate coat, was reminiscent of banana cake. It was a tad dry on its own but went down well with the creamy chocolate and slightly tangy strawberry.

The best part? The cake was lower in fat and higher in nutrition than a regular butter cake.

The use of the zucchini, which adds moisture and texture, meant only half of the butter that would have been required was used, said Ms Judy Koh, managing director and principal chef of the cafe and Creative Culinaire The School next to it.

Zucchini also contains nutrients such as vitamin A, folate, potassium and manganese.

Besides the zucchini chocolate cake, Ms Koh, 49, also offers a wholemeal orange cake.

The $2.30 almond-studded cake looked like a muffin but had the lighter taste and texture of chiffon cake.

This was the exact opposite of the dryness and denseness one would expect from something made from wholemeal flour.

'Many people who ate it didn't realise that it was a 100 per cent wholemeal cake because we used very fine wholemeal flour,' said Ms Koh.

The other key lay in whipping the batter well, so that a lot of air would be introduced into it.

Wholemeal flour is milled from the entire wheat grain, so it contains vitamins, minerals and fibre which the usual wheat flour does not. Refined wheat flour is milled from the starch-yielding endosperm, or tissue left behind after the husk, the next layer of bran and the embryo of the seed, called the germ, have been removed.

Eating wholemeal and other wholegrain products regularly has been shown to reduce one's risk of certain types of cancer and heart disease.

The cafe also bakes its own bread, including those used in its sandwiches and burgers.

For example, it offers wholemeal mushroom panini and tofu burger with buns containing

25 per cent wholemeal flour. Both are priced at $8.90.

The panini was chewy but not hard, as it can sometimes be. Though less cream had been used to mix and spread the mushroom, corn, red capsicum and celery onto the bread and lettuce, the filling was still sufficiently moist and creamy.

The tofu burger was much drier and less tasty, but still interesting. The pan-fried tofu patty had the look and texture of a beef patty, but was more crumbly. It tasted like bergedil (Malay-style potato patty), the saltiness of which contrasted well with the sweetness of the caramelised onion.

For its selection of healthier cakes, sandwiches and local fare, Caffe Pralet has been accredited by the Health Promotion Board under the Healthier Restaurant Programme.

The programme requires restaurants to have at least 30 per cent of items on their menus to be cooked with less oil and salt or with healthier ingredients. Eating too much saturated fat can result in high cholesterol while eating excess sodium can lead to high blood pressure - both of which raise the risk of heart diseases and stroke.

Caffe Pralet cooks its dishes that have been certified as Healthier Choice items with olive oil, which has very little saturated fat.

The gravy of its $8.90 low-calorie laksa is made with 35 per cent low-fat milk and the rest using coconut milk, rather than entirely of coconut milk, which is high in saturated fat.

The combination did not detract from the taste, which was light, yet still flavourful. It did not overpower the crunchy bean sprouts and the chewy thick wholegrain vermicelli, prawns, fish cake and tau pok (deep-fried soya bean curd sponge).

This cafe scores for its creativity in camouflaging healthier ingredients in delicious dishes.

 

Mind Your Body paid for the meal.

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