Anyway, enough about the pros of libraries. This book claims to give you natural alternatives to butter laden, unhealthy cakes. Harry Eastwood, the author, decided to create recipes for cakes that leave you feeling guilt free. She replaces most of the butter in the recipes with vegetables for moisture, and uses honey instead of sugar, and rice flour & ground almonds instead of traditional flour. I was a bit dubious about them actually tasting nice, but since I know a few people who are gluten free, trying to diet, diabetic, etc, I thought I'd try them. I was NOT disappointed!
First up, the squillionaire's shortbread. Okay, this one is the least healthy of all the book, as it does use full fat butter, golden syrup, condensed milk & chocolate, but we're all allowed to be naughty now and again!
Are you drooling yet? Hmmm. So naughty & delicious. This recipe made 12 small pieces, which I thought were a bit too small, but I cut them up anyway. It really isn't too small because it's so rich and sweet. Only for those with real sweet teeth, like me! My Nana on the other hand could only manage one small bite before pulling a face and going 'urgh tooooo sweet!'. So it all depends on taste I guess. Lovely, gooey, biscuity, cracking hmmmm, I loved the contrast of all the textures in these. Top tip: when cutting them up, heat your knife slightly by dipping it in boiling water and pressing very gently on the chocolate to melt through it. Much easier than trying to cut it cold and having it crack everywhere! The recipe is available here (Pt 1 & pt 2)
Next up: chocolate, pistachio & courgette cake. Yes, courgettes.
This cake was a bit more experimental: no butter in it, ground up pistachios & grated courgettes! Not your traditional cake recipe. The recipe asked for ground rice flour, but I just replaced this with plain flour & it turned out amazingly still. This cake was so lovely, chocolate & pistachios are such a winning combination. Plus, look at the contrast between the chocolate & pistachio green colour: beautiful. This cake turned out looking quite flat and I was a bit worried it would be dense and dry, but I needn't have been. It was gorgeous. The butter cream is made with butter, but we can't be saints all the time can we? It was delicious and dark and contrasted with the light texture of the cake. I will most certainly be making this one again! You can try making it too, with the recipe here.
And, finally, today I made the orange & rosemary drizzle cake! It didn't taste too much of rosemary, because I was scared to let the syrup steep for too long, but it was wonderful and moist. Perfect for a glorious sunny day like it was on Sunday.
Ooh cross section! Look at how moist it is. You can see how the drizzle has drizzled in from where I stabbed it with a skewer. This isn't a very sweet cake so I didn't go completely nuts over it, although I'm sure my Nana would have preferred this over my squillionaire's shortbread. The secret, healthy ingredient to this is... swede purée! I really love adding veg to cakes, it always surprises people, plus it makes them so much moister and a wee bit healthier. The recipe for this is here.
So yes, I think I shall be investing in this book myself, instead of just hogging the libraries copy. It won't quite replace the hummingbird bakery cookbook (by the way, did you know they were releasing a new book next Spring? I am so excited! Over 100 recipes in it apparently!) but it gives some interesting ideas for healthier cakes. I think I'll keep coming back to it over and over again. Do you have any cook books you rely on so much? I love getting recommendations for new cook books!