“Clean” and “cake” are not two words we often hear together – cake is sticky, messy, indulgent. Anything but clean. But what if it were possible to keep all of cake’s delicious, tactile attributes, only with a healthier-than-usual ingredient list?
That’s the option offered by pâtisserie chef extraordinaire Henrietta Inman, in her new book Clean Cakes. It’s a crash course in baking which is free of gluten, dairy and refined sugar, and includes recipes for cakes, cookies, biscuits and sharing desserts, with some savoury choices thrown in for good measure too.
Inspired by a move from the busy kitchens of London back to her family home in Suffolk, Henrietta set herself a challenge to create great cakes with wholesome, local ingredients (some of which even come from her family’s own garden). Here, her years of experience and pâtisserie training came in handy, and she was soon able to come up with some creative solutions.
Unwilling to compromise on flavour, Henrietta simply replaces some standard cake ingredients with healthier alternatives. Her innovative recipes switch out standard wheat flour for brown rice flour, sunflower oil for rapeseed oil, and brown sugar for Palmyra nectar powder. Though these components might be slightly more difficult to come by, we think it’s worth the effort for the sorts of mouth-watering results Henrietta reports.
Clean Cakes includes recipes as diverse as biscotti, mousse cake and lush, sweet loaves. Each is given Henrietta’s signature transformation without sacrificing on enjoyment at any level. ‘Skinny’ quick fixes her recipes are not - as she told AnOther magazine, they have “still got sweeteners in and they’ve still got calories, but just good-for-you calories.”
As well as emphasising the importance of balanced, in-the-know eating, Henrietta is also a champion of proper sourcing. Much of the ‘cleanliness’ of her recipes presumably comes from their low environmental impact, as they are made with close-to-home ingredients. And seeing as she favours seasonal baking, those ingredients are often as fresh as possible too, and they’re much more flavoursome for it.
We can’t wait to get our hands on Clean Cakes and whip up one of the many inspiring recipes in its pages. We’re huge fans of the concept because Henrietta’s creations show that healthy eating doesn’t always mean restriction and isolation. The results of her kitchen experiments are still just as sumptuous as ordinary cakes, but with a little thought and some replacements made here and there, they’re also a little better for you. And who can complain about that?
All images: Henrietta Inman
Words: Lauren O’Neill