Guilt-less Desserts & Treats for your Family
Warning: the following post will include gushing self praise and muddy photos. If you can make it past the egotistical ravings of this racing lunatic then there’s an awesome cupcake recipe as your reward.
Last weekend I completed my Trifecta Series in the Spartan Obstacle Course Racing Series. That’s 3 races in 3 states with almost 100 obstacles over 42 kms. They where gruelling, physically and mentally challenging and sole destroying… but I loved it!!
The last race of the series was a 14km + race with 35 obstacles. The race was set over a hilly country side with most of the track being uphill (it always amazes me that they somehow manage to make more uphill then downhill sections). The obstacles were all made harder by the hills; carrying sandbags, concrete blocks and kettle bells up steep slopes and rolling up a hill under barbed wire. Then there was the heat. It was over 30°C, there were limited drinking stations and the water crossings and mud pits suddenly seemed like a relief rather than the intended dirty obstacle
My solo race was a comedy of errors. In the 1st kilometre I had a 12kg medicine ball fall from a 12 foot wall onto my face. Yes it did hurt. Before the race I had taped up my shoes using gaffer tape. One of the soles had come loose during my last race so I had the brilliant idea to reinforce them. Turns out it was not so brilliant after all! During a long mud trek at the 2km mark I lost the sole of my shoe. I was left with only the material lining of my left runner, which looked a bit like a butch ballet shoe, and a normal right runner. I did contemplate pulling my right sole off to be more even but decided against that as I still needed grip to climb over walls and cliffs (imagine running a cross country course in 1 flat shoe and 1 high heel and you’ll have some idea of how my day went). When going across the monkey bars I managed to tear 2 holes in my hands (a matching set) which bled and stung every time I went into water or gripped a rope. With 2kms to go I had to crawl uphill then roll down hill under barb wire. I was super proud of myself as I made my way out of the spiky menace, only to be told by a fellow racer that they could see my pink undies! I had ripped the backside out of my pants!! Awkwardly, the last few obstacles were done with my hands covering my exposed bottom. The final obstacle was my least favourite (hanging horizontal rope climb). I was exhausted, sore, dehydrated and lacking in upper body strength. Hanging upside-down I tried to will myself across the rope, and then I heard a cry from the crowd “Go Mummy Go”. It was 5 year old H calling out, and it was enough to get me to the finish line and my 2 shiny new medals.
I am so proud of myself for earning my trifecta medal (here comes the gushing self praise!). If someone had told me 18 months ago I would be able to achieve this I would have laughed at them, but now here I am. I have trained hard, eaten well and stayed focused on my goals in order to be in the best physical shape of my life. I’m not skinny, I’m athletic; I have big, strong legs and broad, muscley shoulders. I may not be able to walk down a catwalk but I could probably bench press the women who can!
The past 18 months have seen me reprioritise my life and my goals. Achieving my Trifecta is validation that I am OK and that my new direction is the right one. Whilst I still struggle with the emotional scars I have taken a bad experience and made it the driving force for a new and improved me.
Not every challenge has a medal at the end, but I think these Banana Flour Cupcakes would be a pretty welcome reward. These cupcakes use both mashed Banana and Banana Flour (I have a post on how to make Banana Flour here) and are topped with delicious Banana Cream. They are soft, a bit sweet and full of monkey loving goodness.
I’m guessing not many people would have tried baking with Banana Flour (neither had I until 2 weeks ago) but it’s just like baking with a nut or seed meal. The bonus with Banana Flour is that it is Nut Free, high in potassium and fibre and low in calories. Making your own is super simple. If you think putting Banana Whipped Cream on top of your Banana Flour Cupcakes is more monkey than human, than it can be swapped for Chocolate Frosting, Caramel Whipped Cream or Whipped Coconut Cream.
- 2 Eggs, separated
- 1/2 Cup Maple Syrup
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 Cup mashed Banana
- 1/3 Cup Coconut Flour
- 2/3 Cup Banana Flour
- 4 teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1/2 Cup Milk (of choice)
- 1 teaspoon Vinegar
- Cocoa for dusting
- 1 400ml can Coconut Cream/Milk- can opened and left in the fridge for 24 hours (should yield 1 1/2 cups of cream: if not adjust the recipe accordingly)
- 3/4 cup mashed Banana (the ratio is 1/4 cup mashed Banana per 1/2 cup Coconut Cream)
- 2 teaspoons Maple Syrup
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
- Optional: 1 teaspoon Gelatine for stabilising
- Pre heat the oven to 175C/350F.
- Place the egg whites into a bowl of a kitchen stand mixed with a whisk attachment.
- Whisk the egg whites on medium until soft peaks form.
- Slowly add the maple syrup and vanilla extract.
- Add the banana and then egg yolks and whisk on medium until combined.
- Add the vinegar to the milk and then add the mixture to the bowl, whisking on medium.
- In a separate bowl sift the dry ingredients.
- With the mixer on medium/low add the flour mixture. Whisk until everything is just combined (not over mixed).
- Place 8 cupcake liners in a tray and spray.
- Evenly pour the mixture into the liners and smooth the top of the cupcakes.
- Bake for 22-24 minutes.
- Remove the cupcakes from the oven and allow to cool.
- Frost the cupcakes once completely cooled.
- Remove the thickened cream from the can and discard the watery remains.
- In a bowl of a kitchen stand with a whisk attachment, add the thickened coconut cream, maple syrup and vanilla extract and whisk on high until thick.
- Add the mashed banana and lemon juice and whisk until combined.
- The cream will be quite runny and needs to be placed in the fridge for at least 4 hours to thicken.
- If you want to stabilise the cream: sprinkle the gelatine over 1 Tablespoon of water and allow to thicken for 5 minutes. Gently melt the thicken mixture over a very low heat and add to the cream, whisking in to combine. Place the stabilised cream in the fridge for at least 4 hours before using.