After my post last week, along with my revelation on baking using healthier ingredients, I decided to search for a cookbook to start me off on my healthy baking quest. I needed something which focused on baking, with recipes that weren’t just about being nutritious but being delicious. It was also really important that the recipes looked just as good as a typical dessert packed with white flour and refined sugar. After all, we really do eat with our eyes.
When I think of healthy food, all that comes to mind is a boring and dull quinoa salad with next to none flavour. I know, pretty naive really. I’ve come to realise that this kind of food has disappeared now. So many people around the world are more conscious about what they eat that everyone, Chefs included, have had to learn to cater to this.
10 years ago food may well have been fairly boring and baking was probably only ever seen as unhealthy. However, now it’s everywhere. Not just healthy ‘low-fat’, ‘no sugar’ options though, but ones that are packed with nutritious ingredients. It’s so easy now to find these types of snacks and meals in supermarkets and restaurants. Whole food shops are no longer a place where only holistic nutritionists go to buy food (another naive judgement on my part.) They’re so easily accessible now and widely used by people seeking a healthier lifestyle.
After all of this enlightenment, I decided to go for Amber Roses book – Love Bake Nourish. It looked beautiful with recipes that I’d enjoy, plus it had lots of good reviews. Amber bakes lovely cakes, compote’s and cookies while steering away from white flour, sugar and butter (however there is an occasional recipe with a bit of butter in it!) Usually when I purchase a new cookbook, I know instantly whether I’m going to use it or not. This was defiantly one that was going to have battered edges and fruit stained pages. The photography is charming while the recipes are so up my street! I have already tabbed a load of recipes that take my fancy, but this one particularly stood out.
This recipe uses rye and spelt flour. I loved the idea of rye flour in a cake as I relish in a good loaf of rye bread. I was also really intrigued by how this would affect the texture and crumb of the finished cake. To be completely honest, the cake is defiantly more crumbly than when using white flour, but the taste is so much more robust. I adapted the original recipe by adding cherries, spices, orange zest and honey instead of maple syrup. I truly wouldn’t have known it was ‘healthy’ if I hadn’t made it myself!
Really guys, whats better than guilt free baking? If it tastes just as good, why not? Try something different and maybe you’ll be just as surprised as me. Ingredients – Makes one 20cm cake – Recipe adapted from Love Bake Nourish
- 100g fresh cherries, pitted and cut in half
- 3 bramley apples, peeled and chopped into 2cm cubes
- zest of one orange
- 200g wholegrain spelt flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
- 100g rye flour
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- 120ml cold-pressed olive oil
- 110g honey
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 300g Mascarpone
- 50g honey
Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper.
Place the spelt flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, rye flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt into a bowl and mix together. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, egg yolks and vanilla. Whisk for 5 minutes until the mixture is thick. Stir in the cherries, apples and orange zest. Fold in the dry ingredients.
Next, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold this into the apple mixture. Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 1 hour, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin before turning out onto your desired serving plate.
For the mascarpone topping, simply mix together the honey and mascarpone. Spread this on top of your cooled cake and top with berries of your choice, or leave it plain.