I am a self confessed and self obsessed bake-a-holic. Not a day goes by where I am daydreaming about what to bake. However, I grew up in a very health conscious family. My mum would often be found in the kitchen whipping up delicious, but healthy, treats. Unbeknownst to my siblings and I, some nutritional bits and pieces were usually always thrown into the mix: oats, fruits, nuts, even zucchini in chocolate cake.
So despite my undying adoration and devotion for cakes, frosting, chocolate and cream among other treats, I have always been wary of what I bake and how often I do so. I am no saint when it comes to healthy eating, and I do not believe cake can do that much harm. Lately however, I have been searching for recipes and cookbooks that provide an expansion upon the nutritional baking that I was brought up on; therefore allowing the experience of eating to be much more of an enjoyable and nourishing one rather than a guilt ridden trip.
Harry Eastwood's Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache fit the bill. The photography is gorgeous, the cakes and sweet treats mouth water-ingly good looking. Harry's recipes are, however, quite unique; she omits butter and vegetable shortening) from the cake batter, lessens the amount of sugar used, trades wheat flour for rice flour or ground nut meal and adds vegetables to the mix. So not only are her concoctions accommodating for those gluten intolerant, they are also bursting with added nutrients.
The first recipe that I tried was the Cinnamon, Raspberry and White Chocolate Blondies. The secret ingredient? Butternut squash. It proved a tedious operation grating all that butternut squash. I also had a few apprehensions about the blondies while making then, mostly due to the fact that they took much longer to cook than the allocated time. However, in the end the 'squidgy' slice turned out perfectly. They are just the thing to satisfy a sweet craving and they left me feeling content rather than full.
Recipe page for White Chocolate and Raspberry Blondies
After my first successful bake I remained in high spirits and decided to try another recipe, being the Lemon, Blueberry and Sunflower seed muffins made with courgettes. The smells that wafted through the kitchen were truly heavenly. Once again, the recipe turned out wonderfully, as was determined through hasty gobbles and delightful mouthfuls of a freshly baked muffin that was a few minutes out of the oven.
There is a plethora of recipes available that will not leave you short of inspiration. I have also tried the Chocolate Heartache cake made with courgettes and believe me, you would be astounded that such a healthy cake can taste so decadent.
In my eyes, Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache is a must have cookbook as it is a very comprehensive, easy to follow guide on alternative, wholesome baking. What I love above all else is that Harry states that she did not write the cookbook because she's obsessed with healthy food, but because she adores cake. I applaud and appreciate her creative ingenuity, proving that you can indeed have your cake and eat it too.