The King will have his cake now, thank you very much. (Photo: Getty Images)
LeBron James is sharing his post-workout secret with the world — and it’s not at all what you would expect.
The NBA all-star posted a photo on Instagram Thursday featuring him and several friends holding pieces of cake. Some looked happy, others looked…not so happy. “Showed these guys my secret post-training cake recipe,” he captioned the photo. “Secret ingredient: kale.”
That’s right — he puts kale into his cake. And experts say it’s actually not a terrible idea.
Related: 10 Reasons We’re Still Not Over Kale
“Adding in kale to your recipes, even cake, will boost the phytonutrients, antioxidants, and nutrients including vitamins K and A, along with plant based omega-3s,” registered dietician Beth Warren, author of Living a Real Life with Real Food, tells Yahoo Health.
New York City registered dietitian Jessica Cording tells Yahoo Health that kale won’t “elevate a cookie or piece of cake to health food status,” but says it’s definitely a good way to add some bonus nutrients and fiber if you’re already planning to have a treat.
How does it work? It just takes a few extra steps while you’re baking.
The best way to get the most health benefits from kale cake is to chop and steam the kale first. “The process allows the nutrients to become more bio-available for your body to use,” says Warren.
If you want your kale to be more hidden, you can then puree it in a food processor or blender, Cording says. Then, add it when you combine your wet and dry ingredients and bake as usual.
How much to add is up to you. Start with a half cup of cooked kale and see how you like it, then work your way up to more if you still can’t taste the difference.
Kale isn’t the only health food you can insert into treats for an added dose of nutrients. Cording also recommends trying out spinach, since it has a mild flavor and texture. “Pureed pumpkin and butternut squash work very well in baked goods, and grated zucchini is also a great addition,” she says.
While kale cake sounds like the best of both worlds, Warren points out that cake should be limited in your diet — even if it includes kale: “A cake will still be a cake if it’s made with the typical ingredients of sugar, flour, and a source of fat, but boosting it with a load of kale will make you feel a little less guilty by eating it.”