Enter the Taper and Red Wine Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

by Joanne on November 8, 2011

This is it. The most looked forward to yet dreaded part of marathon training, tapering.  When all your hard work comes to a head, you need to reduce those miles and make every workout count.

There are many schools of thought when it comes to tapering.  One rule is to reduce training by 15% in the third last week before a marathon. Reduce training again by 10% in the 2nd last week.

The theory behind the taper is that the reduction in work will allow complete muscle recovery from months of training.  It will bring back the shock absorbing capacity of the trained muscle groups.

Another school of thought is to reduce by 30% in the 2nd last week of training and only run 30% of the usual weekly total distance in the first four days of the last week before the race.  Miles should amount to 1 1/2 to 3 miles daily in the last three days before the marathon.

As hard as it might be for our minds to grasp this “back off” scenario, scientific studies confirm the performance improvements when an athletes tapers adequately.  The effect is greatest if there is a rapid reduction in training volume in the first few days of the taper.  Also, when doing any training during this time, it should be at high intensity, say approximating a 5K race pace.

In conclusion:  The athletes taper should begin about 10 – 14 days prior to race day (depending on the distance) AND as little training as the mind will allow should be done but done at a high intensity pace.   More on tapering at this really good source: Running Nut


All that being said, and with all the evidence to back it up, tapering is tough. It’s rewarding but it’s mentally tough.

Another Gluten Free Baking endeavor in the Apple Crumbles kitchen…

I used a Wheat Free Gluten Free Dairy Free Chocolate Cake Mix from Bob’s Red Mill.


The directions say this:


I did this:

  • 1/2 cup Lighter Bake by Sunsweet


  • 1 cup sweet red wine (why? because we had over half a bottle left over and no time to drink it (sad, but true))
  • 1 TBS lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup hot coffee
  • 1/3 cup Agave syrup (use honey if you’d rather)
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Preheat oven to 350 F and spray two 8” cake pans with baking non stick spray.

In a large bowl, add the cake mix and make a well in the middle. To the “well”, add the red wine and lemon juice and stir to blend.

Add the eggs and mix, by hand for  30 seconds.

Add the hot coffee and the agave syrup (or honey), as well as the vanilla and beat BY HAND for 1 minute.

Pour into prepared pans and bake for 32 – 35 minutes.

Allow to cool at least 15 minutes.

Fill with Cannoli cream or your favorite filling.


Top with powdered sugar


or simple chocolate syrup.


The result?  It was light, moist, chocolaty-rich but not too sweet.


The cannoli filling really added pizzazz to this cake but it would easy become a favorite as a simple plain chocolate cake with a little whipped cream or ice cream.


Recommended – Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Chocolate Cake mix.  Delicious!

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  • At 2011.11.08 08:09, Lori said:

    Enjoy your taper time! It is hard, though. Of course, think of all you can do with that extra time!

    • At 2011.11.08 10:40, Joanne said:

      It’s only a little extra time, but funny thing. When I have extra time, I’m always late.

      • At 2011.11.08 09:03, Ali @ Peaches and Football said:

        I’m still in awe that people can run marathons – or half marathons – or 10Ks. I am such a running wimp!

        I have a bag of that cake mix too but haven’t used it yet! I would never think to add wine, could you taste it? Was thinking come coffee would be good too though.

        What day is the official race day?

        • At 2011.11.08 10:41, Joanne said:

          You can’t taste the wine at all.
          Official race day is Nov. 20th.

          • At 2011.11.08 18:27, Bela said:

            Even though the taper is tough, try to enjoy the extra time on your hands.

            • At 2011.11.08 19:30, Joanne said:

              Thanks Bela. I will. 🙂

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