Chow Town

Non-profit Back in the Swing wins a cookbook award

Updated: 2013-10-13T21:55:53Z

By JUDITH FERTIG

October is the month for breast cancer awareness. But did you know that Kansas City is home to Back in the Swing, a non-profit that helps survivors plan to live and live their customized survivorship plan?

You don’t just “beat” cancer. You live with the after-effects of successful treatment. You replenish your body, rebuild your bones and heart health, boost your immune system, and maintain energy balance. You keep moving with a positive attitude.

The Back in the Swing Cookbook, which I wrote with Barbara C. Unell, has won the “Golden Globes” of the cookbook world: The International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Award for 2013.

So let’s eat a piece of good-for-you chocolate cake to celebrate.

Celebration Chocolate Cake

It’s not a party without cake. And this one-bowl, dark chocolate little number is an especially perfect match for our devotion to pumpkin and cocoa. Adapted from a recipe by dessert chef Emily Luchetti, our version ditched some of the fat and sugar but kept the joyful flavor. Use a large bowl, so you can easily whisk the batter together. Let the chocolate glaze cool a bit, and it will thicken like ganache.

Tip: If you don’t have buttermilk, substitute 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice or vinegar in 1 cup milk. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes before using.

Makes 14 servings

For the cake:

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1-1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

For the filling:

8 ounces neufchatel or low-fat cream cheese, at room temperature

1/3 cup canned pumpkin puree (not seasoned pie filling)

1/4 cup honey, agave nectar, or sorghum

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

For the glaze:

1/2 cup half-and-half

3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

For the topping:

Seedless red grapes, whole blackberries, pistachios and curls of fresh orange peel

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 2, 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray; dust with flour and tap out any excess over the sink. Set aside.

For the cake, whisk the buttermilk, water, oil, applesauce, sugar, eggs, baking soda and salt together in a very large bowl until well blended. Whisk in the flour and cocoa powder until smooth. Divide the batter between the prepared pans.

Bake for 32 to 35 minutes, until the top springs back when lightly touched. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then invert onto wire racks to cool.

For the filling, whisk the cheese, pumpkin, sweetener, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl until well blended. Place one cake layer on a plate. Spread with the filling, and top with the second layer.

For the glaze, heat the half-and-half in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it starts to bubble. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate chips. Let sit for 1 minute, then whisk until glossy, smooth, and dark. Let cool for 20 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Pour half of the glaze over the cake; pour the remaining glaze into a small bowl to pass at the table. Casually arrange the topping ingredients on top of the glazed cake.

Per serving: 336 calories, 14 grams total fat, 6 grams saturated fat, 51 grams carbohydrates, 6 proteins, 3 grams dietary fiber, 88 milligrams sodium.

Note: If you make the Glaze ahead of time, gently heat it over simmering water or on the Defrost setting of the microwave so it’s pourable.

Source: The Back in the Swing Cookbook: Recipes for Eating and Living Well Every Day After Breast Cancer

Award-winning cookbook author Judith Fertig lives, cooks, bakes, grills and writes in Overland Park, Kan. She is the author of “Heartland: The Cookbook” and “I Love Cinnamon Rolls,” and the co-author of “The Gardener and the Grill” and the IACP award winning “The Back in the Swing Cookbook.”

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