The DeChox Challenge

Ever heard of the DeChox Challenge? If you haven’t then you are probably in safe territory and will never have to come across it! If you have, then you probably know where today’s post is going…

The DeChox challenge is the painstaking process of agreeing to give up chocolate for the whole month of March – that’s right anything that contains cocoa is a no no! Chocolate cake, chocolate biscuits even the chocolate sprinkles on your cappuccino!

My colleagues and I thought it would be a good idea to accept this seemingly impossible challenge and endeavor to say a BIG fat sugary goodbye to chocolate in order to raise money for the British Heart Foundation (https://dechox.bhf.org.uk/).

Now, many people’s first reaction when they find out about the challenge quite undoubtedly places them within one of two categories: 1) the ‘there is noooo way I could ever do that’ type of people or 2) the ‘why would you want to do that?’ kind of people.

The first set will either embark on the challenge anyway thinking they won’t be able to have the will power to resist the temptation to eat chocolate and essentially have given up before they even started. Or, alternatively, initially think they won’t be able to and what makes them accept the challenge is the inner curiosity and determination to trial their inner strength.

The second category of people simply do not care. Either they are just not fussed about chocolate (I know these weirdos do exist in the world- shock horror :O ) or 2) they live everyday to the full and cannot see why they would deprive themselves of something they love and enjoy! Probably a sensible viewpoint to have.

I, unfortunately, have always been doomed to test and trial myself, I have always tortured myself with the ‘save the best till last‘ mantra and this time is no exception. My theory is that come the day I can eat chocolate again, it will taste so good in that moment that it would have been worth waiting a whole month for it – kind of like Christmas day 🙂 … Yet, isn’t the best thing about Christmas the build up and the festive period as a whole, and not the actual day?

Before I find myself sliding down the slippery slope into category two, I do think that testing our inner strength, integrity, will power and determination is important, every now and again. OK, so it may not have to be as extreme as giving up chocolate but I do encourage you to think of something that you enjoy and could perhaps do without for a little while. This will force you to not only open your mind to the wider options that are available to you but also increase your notion of gratitude, which is absolutely fundamental.

During the DeChox challenge I have been taking advantage of the lack of chocolate in the house to find other ingredients to inspire my baking. With spring now officially upon us I have turned to fruity alternatives that are not only a healthier option but are also naturally sweet…to help satisfy those cravings 🙂 If you are after a chocolate free dessert this weekend try my Lemon, Blueberry and Raspberry Meringue cake. Or, if you want something completely refined sugar free and also gluten free try Deliciously Ella’s Orange and Polenta cake.

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Lemon, Blueberry and Raspberry Meringue Cake
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Deliciously Ella’s Orange and Polenta Cake

So have a go at trying some new today – go on test yourself 🙂

Let me know how you get on by commenting below or saying hello at natalie@hopscoff.co.uk 🙂

nat

Lemon, Blueberry and Raspberry Meringue Cake

Ingredients

100g butter
300g Golden Caster Sugar
5 eggs
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 tbsp milk
150g self-raising flour
juice and zest of 1 lemon1 punnet of blueberries
50g flaked almonds
300ml whipping cream
1 punnet of fresh raspberries
Icing sugar, for dusting
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and grease and  line 2 x 8″ cake tins
  2. Beat the butter and 100g of the sugar together in a bowl until pale and creamy
  3. Add in the juice and zest of 1 lemon, 1 egg, vanilla and milk and mix until well combined
  4. Sift over the flour and add the punnet of blueberries and gently fold in
  5. Divide equally between the prepared tins
  6. Place the cakes in the oven for 10 minutes
  7. In the meantime, whisk 4 egg whites in a bowl until they form soft peaks
  8. Gradually beat in the remaining 200g sugar to make a glossy meringue
  9. Remove the cakes from the oven and gently spread the meringue over the sponge mixture. Bake for approx 10-15 minutes until the meringue has turned golden
  10. Leave the cakes to cool in the tins and in the meantime whisk the cream to form soft peaks
  11. Once the cakes have cooled, remove them from the tins. Place the cream over one of the cakes, top with raspberries and place the second cake on top
  12. Scatter over the flaked almonds and dust with icing sugar
  13. Enjoy with a hot cuppa!

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