Do you ever get home after a really good workout and think, "man, I could really go for a nice piece of chocolate cake right about now"? No? Just me? I know I can't be alone on this one.

I'm pretty consistent and serious about my workouts. I enjoy hitting the gym or going for that evening run, and I like to fuel my body properly afterward so my body can rebuild. The optimal post-workout noms have a good balance of protein, fat and carbs. Yes, believe it or not, you need more than just protein after a gym session. Your body requires all three in order to properly recover. Even the dreaded carbs. Carbs have gotten a bad rap in pop culture, but they are necessary for keeping your body running. It's just about eating the right carbs and balancing them with everything else. And that goes for the fat and protein as well. You need to be eating clean foods.

So, basically, anything even remotely close to cake should be out of the question if we're following what I've said above, right? Nope, not true. You can eat cake. You just have to pick the RIGHT cake.

The other day I came home from a killer gym session and wanted that cake. So I took to the kitchen to throw together a concoction that would satisfy my chocolate craving and also give me the necessary nutrients to recover. Thus this Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Cake was born. This recipe is essentially the same as the Chocolate Peanut Butter Lava Cake I posted a few weeks ago. All I did was add in a scoop of my trust chocolate protein powder. Clean fats, clean protein, clean carbs.

Make sure you're paying attention to what type of peanut butter you're using. Peanut butter can either be really good or really bad for you. How can you tell if the peanut butter you have is clean? Take a look at the ingredients on the label. You should see one ingredient: peanuts. If your peanut butter contains all the added oils, sugar and other nasty junk that most store-bought peanut butter does, get rid of it! I love Trader Joe's for finding clean yummy clean peanut butter.

So hit that leg day hard. You have this little tasty treat to look forward to afterward. Guilt-free!

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~ Ingredients ~

Serves 1

¼ tsp. baking powder
1½ Tbsp. cacao powder
1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I use About Time Whey Protein Isolate)
3 Tbsp. unsweetened almond milk
3 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
½ tsp. stevia
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
Cacao nibs or unsweetened shredded coconut (to top)

Tip: You can also use pumpkin puree in place of the applesauce.

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~ Directions ~

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a small ramekin.

In a small bowl, protein powder, baking powder, cacao powder, and stevia. Add the applesauce and almond milk, and stir until it forms a batter. Spoon half of the batter into the ramekin. Scoop the peanut butter into the ramekins into the middle of the batter. Then top with the remaining chocolate batter. Sprinkle with a few cacao nibs or some shredded coconut.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until fork inserted into the cake come out clean. Remove from oven and let cool.

Enjoy warm. The gooey peanut butter center melts out when you stick your spoon in. Yum!