Healthy Summer Treat: Watermelon Cake

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Warmer weather, bright green grass, longer days, allergy season, and colorful produce all indicate that summer is quickly approaching! While summer vacation gives children a fun-filled break from school and routine, this exciting time can also become a sugar-laden marathon to September.

Summer treats are delicious and fun, but too much of a good thing isn’t always better. Sugar and processed foods fall into this category. Highly processed foods like candy, chips, soda, cookies, and cakes are engineered by food scientists to be addicting. No wonder it’s so hard to put the chip bag down!! These addicting, highly processed foods are low in nutritional value, high in calories, high in sugar and additives, and, overtime, contribute to the onset of chronic diseases.

Of course in moderation, these kinds of treats are perfectly okay for most individuals!  However the less they are consumed, the better.

This watermelon cake is a fantastic swap for a traditional sugary dessert for summertime.  The natural sugars in watermelon and fresh fruit will satisfy any sweet tooth, and lightly sweetened fresh whipped cream rounds out the dessert.  Even better, this very impressive-looking dessert is seriously easy to make.  So as we approach summer BBQ’s, pool parties, holidays, and warm evenings, keep this recipe in mind!

Ingredients:

1.  One large seedless watermelon.

2.  One pint of heavy whipping cream or coconut cream.

3.  1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

4.  Optional: 2 tablespoons of sweetener of choice (powdered or liquid).

5.  Fresh fruit of choice for decoration.

Instructions:

Place the watermelon on a large clean cutting board on it’s side.  With a large, sharp serrated knife, cut off the ends of the watermelon so that it resembles a cylinder rather than an oval.

Turn the watermelon upright, so that it is standing on one of the flat ends.

Carefully cut away the rind starting from the top of the watermelon moving straight down to the bottom.  Be careful to cut close to the rind so that not too much flesh is wasted.

With your now “naked” and fully exposed watermelon, begin to shape it into a symmetrical cylinder.  The goal is for the watermelon to resemble the shape of a simple cake.  If desired, use circular cake tins as a guide.  Save the shaved off pieces of watermelon for snacking.

Once your watermelon is trimmed, place it upright on a clean plate in the refrigerator for one hour.

While the watermelon is chilling, whip the heavy cream or coconut cream in a large, cold bowl with a hand or stand mixture.  The whipped cream is ready when stiff peaks are formed.  If you are adding sweetener to your topping, fold it in gently along with the vanilla extract.

Remove your chilled watermelon from the refrigerator and transfer it onto a serving board or plate.  Dab any excess moisture from the surface of your “cake” with a paper towel.

Using an offset spatula, spoon, piping bag, or any tools of choice, completely cover your watermelon cake with the whipped cream mixture.  Decorate using fresh fruit and watermelon scraps.  This is a great steps for kids to get involved!

Store in the refrigerator until serving.  This cake is best made the night before or day of serving.