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.

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