An unforgettable cake – literally

A collaboration between Hearthe pastry chef Christopher Thé and Meals on Wheels has seen the creation of an unforgettable cake – quite literally.

The Unforgettable Cake was made using a selection of ingredients that could improve cognition, including beetroot, spinach, turmeric, olive oil and blueberries, as well as a range of native ingredients personally selected by Christopher.

Delivering a balanced combination of flavour, texture and nutrition, The Unforgettable Cake was developed in conjunction with some of Australia’s leading nutrition and brain health experts.

Contributors include Professor Dr. Johannes le Coutre, UNSW Professor – Food & Health; Professor Kaarin Anstey, Senior Principal Research Scientist at NeuRA and Director of the UNSW Ageing Futures Institute; and Sharon Lawrence, Accredited Practising Dietitian and Board Member of Meals on Wheels NSW.

Professor le Coutre said using his background in food and nutrition science to help conceptualise a cake was new territory for him.

“When I was first approached about this project, I was intrigued by the challenge of creating a cake that may be beneficial to cognition, using ingredients from different food groups while also providing an experience for Meals on Wheels customers,” he said.

“Along with Meals on Wheels and a team of specialists, we had to consider both ingredients and texture, including how to minimise sugar, and provide a texture suitable for individuals who suffer from dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), which is a concern for some older Australians.

Using the currently available scientific evidence, we came up with a list of foods that are understood to provide quality nutrition – which is really important as we age – while still allowing for the nostalgic enjoyment of eating a slice of cake, and then we turned this over to Chris for him to work his creative magic.”

Mr Thé said the projected prompted him to really think about what can be considered brain food.

“When we started out I wasn’t prepared to guess what foods are actually brain friendly, and there was a lot of discussion with the nutritionists and dietitians to come up with a cohesive list of ingredients that could be good for people facing cognitive decline,” he said.

“We presented three very different cake concepts to start with, and we went through a lot of testing, varied our approaches, and challenged ourselves to come up with a single coherent cake that both looks good and tastes great, and can be reproduced in the Meals on Wheels kitchen for their customers.”

Image: Christopher Thé helped to create the Unforgettable Cake

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