Monday, April 8, 2013

strawberry season

Strawberry Mostachon Cake

A stunning way to celebrate the beginning of strawberry season! The sweet and tart strawberries add freshness to the lightness of the meringue cake. Perfectly balanced with lightly sweetened cream cheese and crunchy walnuts.

Mostachon is a traditional cake from Mexico and it means macaroon in Spanish.  Typically Maria crackers are used in the batter but I substituted vanilla wafers instead.

Therapeutic topic of the week: Treating depression with a specific diet?

It's obvious, what we eat affects how we feel. Food should make us feel good. It tastes great and nourishes our bodies. When eaten in too little or in excessive quantities, however, our health and appearance can be altered, which can create negative feelings toward food.

A recent study published in Nutritional Neuroscience by a group of scientists from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain determined the effect of the classic Mediterranean diet (with some slight modifications) upon levels of BDNF in patients who suffer with major depression and in those who did not. BNDF is a protein that is responsible for many important brain functions. 

The Mediterranean diet is characterized by the consumption of fruits and nuts, vegetables, legumes, olive oil, cereals and fish, with a low consumption of dairy products and meat, and a moderate intake of alcohol. The nuts chosen for this study are rich in monounsaturated (almonds) and polyunsaturated (walnuts) fatty acids as well as many different antioxidants. Fruits, vegetables, and red wine are rich in polyphenols that exhibit antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

The patients were followed for three years! The reason is that dietary changes often affect brain function rather slowly and the full impact of any diet may take many months to be realized. Patients with prevalent depression who consumed the Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts showed the greatest increase in blood levels of BDNF. Participants who were not clinically depressed showed no change in their blood levels of BDNF. These results were consistent with prior epidemiological reports of an inverse relationship between a healthy diet and the prevalence of depressive symptoms.

By Gary Wenk, Ph D. author of "Your Brain on Food"

Strawberry Mostachon Cake Recipe
Adapted from Marcela Valladolid

Nonstick cooking spray
4 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
One 11-ounce box of vanilla wafers, chopped
8 ounces (1 cup) cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 pounds sliced fresh strawberries, for garnishing

For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch nonstick springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the sugar slowly, then the vanilla, baking powder, and salt while beating, about 2 more minutes. Turn the power off and fold in the walnuts and Maria crackers. Transfer to the prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

For the frosting: In an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until soft peaks form and the mixture is smooth.

To assemble: Remove the cake from the oven. Let cool for 15 minutes. Remove the springform. Using an offset spatula, spread the frosting all over the cake. Garnish with the strawberries and serve.


  1. Your strawberry cake looks so delicious!

  2. Thanks blueberrykitchen! The cake was so crunchy and light and easy to make!


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