We are protein! Protein is important for health and beauty as it makes up so much of our bodies. It gives our tissues substance (hello healthy skin and muscle underneath giving it firmness!) as well as aids our physiological reactions, making up all of our enzymes. Protein intake also helps us to normalize our blood sugar, which is very important to stave off inflammation. This is essential to anyone I see for rosacea, eczema and hypersensitive skin.
Unfortunately, unbeknownst to many of us, we do not get enough protein….especially women. In my experience, most women are protein deficient and don’t even know it. Below is a chart of recommended protein intake per day – and note that a cup of lentils is about 16 grams – it is not a complete protein without being combined with rice. If you’re like me and you eat on the go, you may not be paying attention to exactly how much protein you’ve gotten that day. Its harder than you think to get in protein without being conscious of it!
This is why I try to get protein in all my meals as well as snacks and treats. I’m a sucker for sweet treats and while I make sure they are dairy-free, gluten-free and low glycemic, I often neglect to use this food intake as an opportunity to get in more protein. So, I decided to make a concerted effort to try out high protein snacks – specifically some high protein baking!
This recipe only has four ingredients! Eggs, walnuts, coconut sugar and lemon zest. So its dairy-free and gluten-free. It also makes a rich, moist cake that’s totally addictive. Now as much as I like a raw cake, I often find them too dense and heavy on the stomach. While this recipe uses walnuts as a base, it lightens it by combining ground nuts with egg whites that have been beaten into a meringue. Did I mention that egg whites are some of the best sources of protein because half of their makeup is pure protein?!
I take total credit for this cake, it is a modification of a Calabrian Cake posted by Food 52. I simply added an extra egg and substituted in coconut sugar to prevent a glycemic spike. To make the coconut sugar lighter in texture, I ground it in my vitamix. I figured I would want finer granules when working with meringue. So if you want to indulge in a high protein sweet treat, try this winner out!
3 cups walnuts
1 cup coconut sugar
The zest of one lemon
1. Blend the coconut sugar in a food processor until it is a powder-like texture (as close to icing sugar as possible).
2.Ground the walnuts in a food processor until you have a coarse meal, the texture of sand. My vitamix isvery strong so it started almost making a butter. So, I pulsed it instead of running it continuously.
3. Prepare a round 9-inch cake pan by greasing and lining it with parchment paper. 4. Separate the eggs.
5. Beat the egg yolks then add in the walnuts and coconut sugar. Add the lemon zest and walnut meal and stir to combine.
6. Whisk the egg whites separately until they form stiff peaks. Here, it really pays to have an electric egg whisk!
7. Fold the whites bit by bit into the walnut mixture well combined.
8. Pour it all into the cake pan and bake at 375 degrees fahrenheit for 45-50 minutes, or until the top is firm and browned (see below image).
9. Let cool before removing.