Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Running to eat chocolate cake

A few weeks ago, I was sitting at my computer, gazing out the window, when a neighborhood mom trotted past our house pushing a double baby-jogger. She was not, however, jogging. She was running. Fast. Pushing two children. I’ve seen her a couple times since then and I’m totally inspired. One more person to idealize on my quest to become more fit.

I’m also signing up with a few girlfriends to run the 5K Winter Pineapple Classic in Seattle on Sunday, November 16. The race has obstacles like hula-hooping and Mai Tai drinking (well, the hula-hooping part is true, at least) to give you a rest every half mile or so. Definitely my kind of sport!
Like most things I do in life, I wrote a plan to prepare for the race. I love writing plans and making lists. Part of the plan is to tell you I’m doing this, so I’ll feel guilty if I don’t stick to my workouts. I don’t always follow my plans and lists, but they’re certainly nice to have and I find them oddly comforting.

I’m going to train using Robert Ullrey’s free podcasts that follow the Couch to 5K nine-week training schedule; I’ll also be doing some strength work a la Turbulence Training. And I’m going to try to eat “cleaner.” Less sugar, more veggies, fewer refined carbs, etc.

The plan appears simple in writing. Here’s the catch: I keep making things like this incredibly delicious Earthquake Cake, which throws my “clean eating” agenda out the window. It’s hard to be upset, though, when it tastes so, so good. (A very roundabout way to share a dessert recipe, I know.) Think cheesecake meets German chocolate cake, but better. I’ll just have to run little bit harder this week to make up for the butter and cream cheese, because I’m certainly not giving them up completely. Everything in moderation, right? Enjoy!
Earthquake Cake
1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped nuts
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter (1 stick); softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan. Sprinkle nuts and coconut on bottom of pan. Mix cake mix as directed on box. Pour over nuts and coconut.

In a separate mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla with a hand mixer on low to medium-low until well blended (add the sugar about a half cup at a time to prevent a powder explosion). This mixture will look like thick cheesecake batter.

Drop by spoonfuls over the chocolate cake batter, leaving at least a one-inch margin around the sides of the pan (this prevents the cheesecake from bubbling over).

Weave a butter knife in an s-pattern through the batter to create a swirl, but be sure to not disturb the nuts and coconut — keep the knife very shallow. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.


Emily said...

That looks incredible! Do I have to go for a run first or can I just make it?

Hillary said...

You might want to go on a run first if you want your pants to fit when you're finished eating! :-)

Missy said...

Are you kidding me with that? It looks amazing! Morgan is so lucky he reaps the benefit of your recipe postings. I'm jealous.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I think this is my recipe...where's my credit. And no, I never run and my pants don't fit.

Aunty Karen

Hillary said...

Auntie Karen! I was never quite sure where that came from, but now I know and will always give you credit! :-)

Anonymous said...

Om my gosh Hillary this looks fabulous! I am going to make it for the next Husky tailgate and will be sure to give credit to both you and Aunt Karen! :-)


Emily said...

I'm trying to find a cake I can make for Melissa's birthday before she arrives in a few hours... I think this is going to be the one!

lemondrops said...

I have made this many times and it is absolutely delicious. I have never used chocolate chips on top or weaved the cream cheese in....will do this next time. It looks soooo pretty! My question is...what do you grease your pan with? How do you grease your pan?

Hillary said...

I just spray the pan with PAM cooking spray, nothing fancy. :-)