Treat yourself, but don’t over indulge with these yummy cakes, says Gill Cummings-Bell

These are not a treat I would recommend for everyone, but certainly hollow-leg athletes can enjoy them. As a recipe, it is loaded with kilocalories but with the inclusion of whey protein, it’s a useful addition to a triathlete’s diet. The exact number of calories that an athlete burns per minute can be difficult to gauge and depends on many factors.

For example, an average 130lb cyclist, depending on intensity and pace, can burn anywhere between 450-950 calories per hour. As triathletes, adding all three disciplines together, the calorie output can really challenge your carbohydrate stores, and keeping those stores replenished and topped up becomes a way of life.

An average person can store only about 300-500g of carbohydrate, which is around 1,500 calories. This can easily be depleted in a training session, especially a brick session or long bike ride or run.

Using your window for replenishment, or having a “rolling buffet” on your bike, is optimum. This brownie can be used for both. During a training session in which carb stores are depleted, you should refuel your carbs at between 60-90g per hour (this will be individual and should be practised). After a training session, these brownies can be used to hit the carb replenishment window that is open.

Carbohydrate replenishes itself at up to four times the normal rate within 15 minutes of finishing a training session and can stay elevated for two to four hours.

This is an easy food to use during that window. The whey protein works as an extra boost because it is carried across muscle membrane speedily by using the carbohydrate window.

Whey protein (found in milk) is easier for the body to absorb and generate protein synthesis, so this is great to take after a training session.

Whey protein also boosts blood flow to muscle tissue, which is another secret to its protein-synthesis power. Increased blood-flow enhances the recovery by increasing the delivery of nutrients to the muscle,
supporting growth and recovery. So while they are a calorie laden chocolate treat, they can also work wonders for your training.


  • Makes 9 brownies
  • 2 scoops of Muscle Food chocolate
  • milk whey 80 protein powder
  • 1 egg
  • 30g liquid egg whites
  • 40g nut butter
  • 175g boiled and mashed sweet potato
  • 50g 0% Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 40g dark chocolate chips
  • 60g hazelnuts chopped
  • 2 tbsp stevia
  • 50g dark chocolate
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (for greasing)


1 Preheat oven to 175C.

2 In a large mixing bowl, combine the sweet potato, yoghurt, stevia (if using liquid form) nut butter and eggs and stir until smooth.

3 Add 40g hazelnuts, coconut flour, stevia (if using dry sweetener) and chocolate chips, and mix well.

4 Grease or line a square baking tin with parchment. Pour in and spread evenly.

5 Bake for 10-15 minutes until cooked but still slightly moist.

6 Leave to cool. Melt the dark chocolate and spread evenly on top. Sprinkle with remaining chopped hazelnuts.

7 Slice into squares and enjoy!