You’d assume, as with many of the authors from the recent ‘Healthy Eating Made Super Tasty‘ feature, that Henrietta Inman developed a recipe book because of her own personal health concerns or even that she relishes in a gluten, dairy free diet. But that wasn’t the case at all. As a trained pastry chef, Henrietta used the staple flour and sugar ingredients in her methods without question. It was only when she began to venture out on her own did she question these traditional ingredients. She realised that as a society we’re more inclined to follow a healthier diet now and that reverting back to a plant-based means of cooking was in fact more challengingly rewarding and she’d identified a nieche to be had; although such dietary requirements were met in the various cookbooks and blogs, they were in fact looking extensively at main meals- breakfast, lunch and dinner, there wasn’t a cookbook solely dedicated to producing desserts that met dietary needs and heightened the flavours of fruits, vegetables and nuts without the use of additives and refined sugars. Introducing….. Clean Cakes.
Not only does this book look extensively at desserts, cakes, snacks, chocolate treats etc. Henrietta offers an alternatives resource. If going natural is a new concept to you, understanding what the alternatives are and their benefits- each has a short description- is extremely valuable. There has been extensive research in the creation of this book and Henrietta uses the information gathered to enlighten and aid you. So, whether you’re looking for dairy, sugar, gluten free or food enhancers/superfoods you’ve got a handy guide to explain it. Or perhaps, if you’re someone like me who likes to cook gluten free and usually substitutes the flour only to find that your desserts are crumbly, taste fine but not quite right, then Henrietta shows you how. Moreover, if you’re looking to switch ingredients, you’ll know what to switch it with if you’ve a particular preference. It’s as much an education as it is about the methods, you’ll definitely feel like a pro pastry chef when working with this book and the end results will affirm it. We won’t tell anyone if you pass them off as your own, we promise!
Cookbooks that steer clear of mainstream ingredients generally involve a lot more preparation and it’s true with Clean Cakes. I’d highly recommend reading each recipe carefully to ensure you understand what is required throughout, rather than purchasing ingredients and attempting to follow it step by step as there is likely to be methods you’re unfamiliar with such as soaking nuts, making syrups and chocolate from scratch etc. which obviously takes time. It’s not really a recipe book you can be spontaneous with but as you’ll understand from other healthy living books that planning is imperative in any case.
You may also require additional equipment to meet the needs of the recipe, for example a blender strong enough to blitz nuts to create butters which will obviously require additional investment- a £20 blender may meet this requirement for a few recipes but it’ll ultimately wear the blades out much faster as it isn’t it’s main function, they’re more designed for light use. However, if you’re looking to adapt your cooking methods permanently then it’ll be an effective cost to you as you’ll get so much use out of it, you want something that can tackle light and heavy-duty workloads. This point isn’t really specific to this book either, a lot of recipes require the use of blenders etc. so investing from the outset will save you bother later on. Other things mentioned in the equipment segment (page 21) are dehydrators and mixers. Although you’ll still be able to complete a number of the recipes without the extra equipment (a number of them don’t even require it), you may find you’ll not get the best results or flavour but they’ll still be pretty amazing- experiment with it.
Ultimately, some recipes are more complex than others but Henrietta has made it incredibly easy, as her instructions are so concise, that you’ll be able to make and enjoy ‘treats’ that are much healthier for you and taste incredible too-you’ll be discovering new flavour combinations as well as heightening the taste of fruit and vegetables naturally as well. For example, the mint thins recipe (see page 162) is so unbelievably simple and the use of fresh ingredients and homemade chocolate (there is a recipe on how to make homemade chocolate- chocolate in all it’s naturally glory without any additives and it’s dairy free!) make it taste phenomenal. I honestly think you’ll steer clear of store bought in future.
Clean Cakes by Henrietta Inman published by Jacqui Small