Avoiding dairy, refined sugar, and gluten? You can still have your cake and eat it too. Pastry chef Henrietta Inman and author of Clean Cakes brings you three gluten free cake recipes for this weekend
Whether you’re gluten free, dairy free, avoiding refined sugar, or just feeling a little health conscious, pastry chef Henrietta Inman shares her Clean Cakes recipes using whole, natural and nourishing ingredients.
Courgette (zucchini) cake
This cake sings with fresh summer flavours. The courgette (zucchini) keeps the sponge layers wonderfully soft as they ooze with the refreshingly light lime cream and sharp raspberry jam (jelly). I love to finish it with edible flowers from my garden. It makes a show-stopping birthday cake, too.
– 90 g (3 oz/2⁄3 cup) pistachio nuts, preferably activated dried.
– 60 g (2 oz/1⁄2 cup) coconut flour.
– 11⁄2 tsp baking powder.
– 11⁄2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda).
– 180 g (61⁄4 oz) courgettes (zucchini).
– Grated 150 g (51⁄4 oz/scant 2⁄3 cup) natural coconut yogurt.
– 150 g (51⁄4 oz/scant 11⁄4 cups) coconut sugar.
– 3 eggs.
– 1⁄4 tsp Himalayan pink salt.
– Finely grated zest of 3 limes.
– 15 g (1⁄2 oz/1⁄2 cup) basil leaves, finely chopped, plus about 4 extra leaves for scattering over the lime cream.
– 60 g (2 oz/generous 1⁄4 cup) coconut oil, melted, plus extra for greasing.
Avocado lime cream ingredients:
– 200 g (7 oz) avocado flesh (about 1 large avocado).
– 250 g (83⁄4 oz/1 cup) natural coconut yogurt.
– 100 g (31⁄2 oz/scant 1⁄2 cup) blonde coconut nectar.
– Finely grated zest of 11⁄2 limes 60 ml (2 fl oz/1⁄4 cup) lime juice 80 g (23⁄4 oz/1⁄3 cup plus 1 tbsp) coconut oil, melted.
– 170 g (6 oz/scant 3⁄4 cup) quick-cook raspberry jam (jelly) or no added sugar high fruit content raspberry jam (jelly).
– Small handful chopped pistachio nuts Edible flowers such as honeysuckle or rose.
Make the avocado lime cream first as it needs time to firm up in the fridge. Blend the avocado, coconut yogurt, coconut nectar, lime zest and juice in a blender until smooth. Add the coconut oil and blend until completely smooth. Place in a bowl and cover the surface of the cream completely with cling film (plastic wrap) so it does not oxidize and lose its colour. Chill in the fridge for 2–3 hours to firm up.
Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3. Grease and line the base of three 23 cm (9 inch) loose bottomed or springform cake tins with coconut oil and baking parchment. Line a small baking tray with baking parchment.
Spread the pistachio nuts out on the lined baking tray and toast for 5–7 minutes until just getting colour. Leave to cool then roughly chop into small pieces.
Sieve together the coconut flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) into a bowl. In a large bowl, mix together the rest of the sponge ingredients except for the oil. Add in the sieved flour mix and chopped nuts, then finally stir in the oil. Divide the mix equally between the three tins (about 300 g (101⁄2 oz) per tin). Spread the mix with a palette knife (frosting spatula) or small knife to make a thin layer.
Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the tins and bake for another 10 minutes until the top is dark golden brown and bounces back slightly when pressed. Leave to cool, remove from the tins and carefully peel off the baking parchment from the bottom of each sponge.
To assemble, spread the bottom layer of the sponge with half the jam (jelly) and about a quarter of the avocado lime cream. Tear the basil leaves into small pieces and scatter half over the lime cream. Top with the middle layer of sponge and repeat the process with the jam (jelly), cream and basil. Carefully place on the final layer of sponge and top with the remaining cream, spreading it over the top of the cake and around the edges. Decorate with chopped pistachio nuts and edible flowers.
This cake will keep in the fridge for up to three days but it is best eaten fresh when all the flavours and colours are at their most vibrant.
Serve the Avocado lime cream in small glasses or cups, topped with shavings of fresh coconut, to make a light and fresh end to a meal.
QUICK-COOK RASPBERRY JAM (JELLY)
This is so full of flavour only small amounts are needed. Perfectly tart and sweet at the same time, it adds the ideal fruity oomph to my Dark (bittersweet) chocolate dipped peanut butter and jelly dreams.
Makes about 200 g (7 oz/3⁄4 cup)
– 200 g (7 oz/11⁄2 cups) raspberries, fresh or frozen.
– 100 g (31⁄2 oz/1⁄3 cup plus 1 tbsp) no-added-sugar grape.
– concentrate 50 g (13⁄4 oz/2 tbsp) date syrup.
Warm a small–medium sterilized jam (jelly) jar (holding 200 ml (7 fl oz/3⁄4 cup) in an oven no hotter than 100°C/ 210°F/Gas Mark 1⁄4. Put a saucer or small plate in the fridge.
Place all the ingredients in a small–medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil for about 3 minutes, then turn down to a low simmer for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. By this point, a lot of the liquid will have evaporated. Stir continuously for about 5 more minutes, being careful not to let it catch on the pan. By now you should have a perfectly thick and sticky jam (jelly), but still slightly runny. If it is overcooked, it will set too hard.
To check it is ready, place a teaspoon of the jam (jelly) on the chilled saucer and return to the fridge for a few minutes. It is ready when the cooled tester has formed a slight skin, which will wrinkle when pushed. If the jam (jelly) isn’t ready, cook for a few more minutes and test again.
Pour into the warmed sterilized jar, cover with a circle of wax paper (or baking parchment), and seal with a lid. Lasts up to three months in the fridge.
Baked banana loaf with spiced caramel
Served at breakfast with yogurt, with a cup of tea in the afternoon, or for pudding with custard, this is the ideal anytime cake. The mix of the dates, caramel-sweet banana, treacly teff flour and molasses make this sticky toffee pudding-like cake rich, moist and devilishly good, its flavours enlivened by the spices in the divine sauce.
Banana loaf ingredients:
– 1 tbsp milled flax seeds.
– 3 tbsp filtered water.
– 80 ml (23⁄4 fl oz/1⁄3 cup) cashew milk.
– 1 tsp apple cider vinegar.
– 190 g (63⁄4 oz/11⁄4 cups) dates.
– 190 ml (63⁄4 fl oz/3⁄4 cup) filtered water.
– 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda).
– 2–3 large bananas.
– 120 g (41⁄4 oz/generous 1 cup) pecans, preferably activated dried.
– 70 g (21⁄2 oz/1⁄2 cup) teff flour.
– 70 g (21⁄2 oz/1⁄2 cup) brown rice flour.
– 20 g (3⁄4 oz/21⁄2 tbsp) arrowroot.
– 1⁄4 tsp baking powder.
– 1⁄4 tsp ground cinnamon.
– 1⁄2 tsp ground cardamom.
– 1⁄2 tsp mixed spice.
– 1⁄2 tsp coarse sea salt, ground.
– 50 g (13⁄4 oz/scant 1⁄4 cup) easy apple.
– purée 40 g (11⁄2 oz/2 tbsp) unsulphured molasses.
– 80 ml (23⁄4 fl oz/1⁄3 cup) EVCP rapeseed.
– oil 1 tsp vanilla extract.
Spiced caramel sauce ingredients:
– 1 x 400 ml (14 fl oz) can coconut milk.
– 100 g (31⁄2 oz/1⁄3 cup) maple syrup or raw honey.
– 1⁄2 tsp coarse sea salt.
– 1⁄2 vanilla pod (bean), split lengthways and seeds scraped out, pod (bean) kept.
– 5 g (scant 1⁄4 oz/about 4) whole star anise
– 5 g (scant 1⁄4 oz/1 tbsp) cardamom pods.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Grease and line the bottom of an 18 x 11 x 8 cm deep (7 x 41⁄4 x 3 inch) loaf tin with baking parchment. Combine the milled flax seeds with the water and leave for about 15 minutes to form a gel. Mix the cashew milk with the apple cider vinegar and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, cook the dates with the measured water until all the water is soaked up and forms a paste. This should take no longer than 5 minutes. When the water has just been soaked up, remove the pan immediately from the heat and stir in 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda). The mixture will fizz. Keep on mixing until most of the fizzing has stopped then leave the paste to cool.
On a baking tray, bake the bananas in the oven for about 3 minutes on each side until the skins blacken. Remove from the oven and turn down the temperature to 170°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3, then toast the pecans on a baking tray for 5–7 minutes, until just beginning to colour. When cooled, roughly chop.
In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients from the teff flour to the salt and add the remaining 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda). Peel the bananas and mash 200 g (7 oz/scant 1 cup) into the dates. Add the apple purée, molasses, oil and vanilla extract to the cashew milk. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the cashew milk mix, dates and bananas, flax seed gel and chopped pecans. Mix thoroughly to combine by lightly folding everything together. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes, rotating the tin halfway. Reduce the heat to 160°C/310°F/Gas Mark 21⁄2 and bake for a further 15–20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the loaf comes out clean. Leave the loaf to cool in the tin while you make the sauce, then demould when cooled completely.
In a medium saucepan bring all the sauce ingredients to a boil, stirring to combine. Turn down the heat to a medium rolling boil and reduce the sauce for 10 minutes, stirring now and again so it doesn’t catch. It will be looking thicker and have become a golden caramel colour. Remove the cardamom pods, star anise and vanilla pod (bean) with a slotted spoon. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
When ready to serve, give the sauce a good whisk, pour it into a jug and serve generously over slices of the loaf with extra chopped pecans if you wish. You can serve the loaf and the sauce either warmed up or cold. The loaf will keep in a sealed container for up to five days.
Molasses is made from sugar cane, containing all the vitamins, minerals and fibre that white sugar is stripped of. A real energy booster that is especially rich in zinc, it is a dark treacle which is full of flavour and adds deep colour and richness to cakes and breads. Only small amounts are needed, as it is quite strong. Buy pure cane molasses.
Cherry and pistachio upside-down cakes
Makes 12 muffin-sized cakes
Mesquite is a naturally sweet superfood powder, made from the large bean-like pods of the mesquite tree. It is low-GI, rich in calcium, lysine and magnesium, and has a unique flavour – slightly spicy, sweet and malty with caramel notes. It pairs beautifully with the sweet and juicy cherries submerged in a soft pistachio sponge.
– 60 g (2 oz/scant 1⁄2 cup) pistachio nuts, preferably activated dried.
– 80 g (23⁄4 oz/scant 2⁄3 cup) coconut sugar, plus 1 tbsp for the bottom of the moulds.
– 11⁄2 tsp mesquite powder, plus 1 tsp for the bottom of the moulds.
– 36 sweet cherries, about 360 g (123⁄4 oz/21⁄2 cups).
– 100 g (31⁄2 oz/1 cup less 2 tbsp) ground almonds (almond meal).
– 50 g (13⁄4 oz/1⁄3 cup) buckwheat flour.
– 1 tsp baking powder.
– 1⁄2 tsp Himalyan pink salt.
– 100 g (31⁄2 oz/scant 1⁄2 cup) coconut butter or non-hydrogenated dairy-free butter, plus extra for greasing 2 eggs.
– Sweet cherries Chopped pistachio nuts.
Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3. Grease a 12-hole muffin tin. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
On the lined baking tray, lightly toast the pistachio nuts for 5–7 minutes until they are just beginning to colour. Leave to cool, then finely chop.
Mix together 1 tbsp coconut sugar with 1 tsp mesquite powder and sprinkle about 1⁄4 tsp of the mix into the bottom of each mould. Stone the cherries, breaking them in half with your fingers as you do so. Fill each muffin mould with three cherries (six halves), arranged in a circle, slightly overlapping. Pour in any extra cherry juices and sprinkle over any leftover sugar and spice mix. Set aside.
Mix together the rest of the sugar and mesquite powder, ground almonds (almond meal), flour, baking powder and salt. Add the chopped pistachio nuts. Melt the butter and add to the dry ingredients, followed by the eggs, and mix well. Divide the mix between the 12 moulds, spooning it on top of the cherries, and bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the tin and bake for a further 2–4 minutes, until the cakes are just firm to touch, slightly golden round the edges and some juices might be bubbling up.
Leave to cool in the tin then remove and top with fresh cherries and chopped pistachio nuts. These cakes are also delightful served with a chunk of homemade chocolate, chocolate ice cream or whipped coconut cream.
Rhubarb and pistachio cakes
Follow the above recipe, but replace the cherries with 200 g (7 oz) rhubarb, chopped into 1⁄2 cm (1⁄5 inch) pieces, dividing the rhubarb equally between the bottom of the muffin tins.
Blueberry and pistachio cakes
Follow the above recipe, but replace the cherries with 180 g (61⁄4 oz/scant 11⁄4 cups) of blueberries, divided equally between the muffin tins.
Blueberry lemon mousse cake
Whipped coconut cream lifts up this dessert to amazingly light and gorgeously smooth dimensions. It is rich and fresh at the same time, rounded out with the other- worldly scents of the fresh scented geranium flowers.
– 1 x 400 ml (14 fl oz) can coconut milk.
– 150 g (51⁄4 oz/11⁄8 cup) cashew nuts.
– 325 g (111⁄2 oz/scant 21⁄4 cups) blueberries.
– Finely grated zest of 2 lemons 100 ml (31⁄2 fl oz/1⁄3 cup plus 1 tbsp) lemon juice.
– 110 g (4 oz/1⁄3 cup) raw clear honey.
– 1⁄4 tsp Himalayan pink salt.
– 75 g (23⁄4 oz/1⁄3 cup) coconut oil.
Vanilla base ingredients:
– 90 g (3 oz/scant 2⁄3 cup) pitted Medjool dates.
– 1⁄4 tsp Himalayan pink salt.
– 1 vanilla pod (bean), split lengthways and seeds scraped out.
– 70 g (21⁄2 oz/3⁄4 cup plus 2 tbsp) desiccated coconut.
– 35 g (11⁄4 oz/1⁄4 cup) hemp seeds.
– 30 g (1 oz/generous 2 tbsp) coconut oil.
– 150 g (51⁄4 oz/1 cup) blueberries Scented geranium flowers or other edible flowers.
The night before making this, place the can of coconut milk in the fridge. Line the base and sides of a 23 cm (9 inch) springform or loose-bottomed cake tin with baking parchment.
Soak the cashew nuts in 300 ml (101⁄2 fl oz/11⁄4 cups) of filtered water with 1⁄2 tsp of Himalayan pink salt for 3–4 hours.
To make the base, in a food processor chop up the dates with the salt and vanilla seeds to form a ball like paste. Add the coconut and hemp seeds and blitz to combine. Melt the coconut oil, add to the mix and process until everything is combined. Turn out into the prepared tin and press down to form an even base. Refrigerate.
In a blender, process 150 g (51⁄4 oz/1 cup) of the blueberries, the lemon zest and juice, honey and salt to form a purple juice. Drain and rinse the cashew nuts thoroughly, then add them to the blueberry juice and process until smooth.
Open the can of coconut milk and remove the cream on the top, which will have set overnight. You need 240 g (81⁄2 oz/1 cup), so use some of the thinner milk from the bottom of the can if necessary. Whip up the coconut cream in a freestanding mixer or using an electric whisk, until smooth and thick.
Melt the coconut oil and blend it into the blueberry juice and then add everything in the blender to the whipped coconut cream. Lightly whisk everything once more until just combined. If you overmix, the cake won’t be as light as it should be. Fold in the remaining 175 g (6 oz/scant 11⁄4 cups) of blueberries then pour the mix over the prepared base. Refrigerate for about 2 hours until firm.
When set, demould. Decorate with blueberries and scented geranium flowers. Serve immediately. Keeps well in the fridge for up to five days.
Recipes and images from Clean Cakes by Henrietta Inman, photography by Lisa Linder. Published by Jacqui Small. Clean Cakes is available on Amazon for £13.60
Henrietta Inman is a pastry chef who graduated with a distinction on a Professional Pâtisserie Scholarship at Westminster Kingsway College, London. After nearly five years of working in professional kitchens, she now does pop-up pâtisseries, farmers’ markets, food festivals, celebration cakes, bespoke orders and takes private commissions from a single tart to dessert for 200.