16 Best Cakes For Runners
There are few things more satisfying than a chunk postrun cake to reward and refuel. While it’s not always the most nutrient-dense option, there can be marginal gains in every slice. RW’S star baker, Georgia Scarr, pits the classics against each other to
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ANGEL FOOD CAKE VS BLACK FOREST GATEAU
The 1970s favourite contains cherries, which have inflammation-reducing anthocyanins. But angel food cake, made with whisked egg whites – which can be easier on the stomach than heavier bakes – wins the day.
LEMON DRIZZLE VS TRADITIONAL FRUIT CAKE
Lemon drizzle packs a refuelling sugar hit, with a dash of vitamin C from citrus, but it proves no match for the hearty fruit cake. Its fibre-rich raisins and sultanas will boost your iron intake.
RED VELVET VS BATTENBERG
If your red velvet is made with beetroot you’ll get a fix of nitrates, which boosts oxygen delivery to your muscles. Battenberg’s marzipan is made from vitamin E-rich almonds, which boost immunity. The red side sneaks it.
PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE VS PARKIN
Traditional parkin is a Northern powerhouse, packed with oats providing slow-release energy. The pineapple of the retro upsidedown cake is a source of anti-inflammatory bromelain, but it can’t match the complex carbs of the parkin.
ANGEL FOOD CAKE VS TRADITIONAL FRUIT CAKE
Not to everybody’s taste, perhaps, but fruit cake’s dense, sticky texture is immensely satisfying postrun – plus its dried fruit provides a source of potassium to balance your body’s electrolytes. Made mostly from sugar, egg whites and flour, angel food cake pales in comparison.
PARKIN VS RED VELVET CAKE
It’s Hollywood vs Huddersfield, as the great American red velvet takes on the humble British parkin, but while red velvet steals the show on looks, it’s blown away by the parkin’s stomachfriendly ingredients: ginger to improve digestion and oats for insoluble fibre.
TRADITIONAL FRUIT CAKE VS PARKIN
Classic teatime cakes go head to head in this well-matched semi-final. Both cakes made it through a couple of tough contests to get this far in the competition but who will go on to win a place in the final? Fruit cake’s raisins and parkin’s molasses both provide a hit of iron, but parkin’s double whammy of digestion-aiding ginger and fibre-rich oats mean it pips fruit cake to the plating-up post.
PARKIN VS BANANA BREAD
The final battle comes down to two delicious, but, dare we say, unglamorous, cakes – Northern England’s parkin and the waste-not-want-not banana bread. This won't be a pretty final but when it comes to cake it’s the end product that matters, not the elegance. Parkin’s gut-friendly ginger and oats give it the edge over most cakes but it crumbles in
comparison with hearty banana bread’s plethora of runner-friendly benefits. Each slice includes immuneboosting vitamin C, fibre and the electrolyte potassium to aid rehydration, plus a high-quality carb hit. Banana bread is the worthy winner and should take pride of place on any runner’s dessert menu.
BANANA BREAD VS CARROT CAKE
Both cakes are strong competitors, thanks to the high concentration of fruit and vegetables in the recipes, so this is going to be close. From their electrolytebalancing potassium to their vitamin C content, either is a fine postrun choice. However, comparing popular recipes for each reveals that carrot cake typically contains more sugar than its determined opponent, so banana bread marches on into the final.
SWISS ROLL VS BANANA BREAD
Banana bead may be the less glamorous of these two contenders, but it does pack the runner’s fruit of choice. Bananas are also a prebiotic, meaning they feed good gut bacteria. By comparison, the cream-and-jam-filled Swiss roll is rather more style than substance and crashes out of the contest.
CARROT CAKE VS COFFEE AND WALNUT
Omega-3-rich walnuts earned coffee and walnut victory in the last round, but these brain-boosting nuts are also often present in carrot cake, where they’ll be alongside naturally sweet dried fruit and cinnamon, a spice that is thought to aid digestion. That’s enough to see carrot cake over the line.
VICTORIA SPONGE VS SWISS ROLL
Both cakes feature a vanilla sponge with fresh cream and jam, but the Swiss roll’s is lower in saturated fat than the Victoria’s buttery offering, so it takes the victory.
BANANA BREAD VS CHOCOLATE CAKE
The cocoa in that slice of chocolatey indulgence is a source of antioxidants called flavanols, which have been linked to lower risk of heart disease. But more immediate benefits come from the banana, which contains the electrolyte potassium. An easy win for the banana.
DORSET APPLE CAKE VS CARROT CAKE
Carrots and apples are rich in vitamin C, and carrots contain A and K vitamins. Apple skins also contain the anti-inflammatory quercetin, but as the fruit is peeled for baking purposes, carrot cake has to be the winner here.
COFFEE AND WALNUT VS COCONUT
Antioxidant-rich coffee goes very well with walnuts – which are rich in blood-boosting copper. Coconut brings magnesium and B vitamins to the table, but its high levels of saturated fat cost it victory.