At last a baking book that focuses on health.
Love Bake Nourish by Amber Rose is a collection of wonderful recipes using natural sweeteners such as honey and no white refined flour. Instead, Amber uses spelt, rye, buckwheat and nut flours.
She says over the past few years fat has been demonised.
"Sure, some fats are bad for you, but I think processed sugar and flour are the things that we should be cutting down on," Amber says.
"Even all the gluten-free recipes are loaded with sugar. A little bit of sugar here and there is fine, however, you can make delicious cakes and biscuits without it.
"Most baking should be a treat but some of the recipes in this book can be enjoyed every day as a healthy snack. The fruit and nut truffles are the perfect healthy snack. I want my baking to support health rather than taking away from it."
Amber was brought up in New Zealand and credits her mother, Kay Baxter, for her love of fresh food.
"I grew up surrounded by fresh food, a kitchen garden and orchard laden with heritage fruits and vegetables. My mother taught me where it came from, how to grow it, how to cook it and how to enjoy it."
Amber's mother is co-founder and CEO of the Koanga Institute, which nurtures and develops New Zealand's heritage plants and animals. She is a professional seed saver and educator in nutrient-dense food production and regenerative garden design and management.
Amber says she loves cooking all sorts of food and experimenting with flavour.
She has been overwhelmed by the positive response to Love Bake Nourish.
"It's not all about me, though. I couldn't have done it without my wonderful friend [Ali Allen] who did the photography."
Amber lives in London and has travelled all over the world cooking in cafes and restaurants. She was private chef to Sadie Frost and Jude Law and is also a food stylist.
Her book is a refreshing change.
She says a good baker should use their common sense.
"A recipe is really only a thorough guide. You should set your timer 10 minutes before the recipe says and check the baking. Ovens vary, as do flours. Get engaged in your baking."
Extracted with permission from Love Bake Nourish.
SPICED PLUM & HONEY CAKE
This cake works particularly well made with smallish, dark red plums that are really sweet. The plum season comes just as the evenings start to get shorter and you can feel a chill in the air.
I really enjoy this time of year, when the leaves turn a golden amber and dew-laden spiders' webs line the woodland pathways. It's the onset of the season for comfort food and best-loved jumpers.
180g white spelt flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
130g ground almonds
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamon
1/2 tsp ground star anise
5 large free-range eggs, separated
240g unsalted butter, softened
400g plums, halved and stoned
Unrefined icing sugar, for dusting (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and flour a 22cm loose-bottomed cake tin.
Start by mixing all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks, butter and honey with an electric hand mixer until thick and smooth. Gently fold in the dry ingredients.
In a separate, very clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff, then fold them, a third at a time, into the cake mix, ensuring that they are thoroughly incorporated.
Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface with the back of a spoon or a palette knife. Place the plums cut-side down on top of the cake mix. Transfer to the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before carefully turning out on to a wire rack to finish cooling. Dust with icing sugar, if you like.
As a tea cake this doesn't seem to need anything else, but if you are eating it as a pudding, it's very good with a little cream or Greek yoghurt sweetened with honey.
Love Bake Nourish by Amber Rose, with photography by Ali Allen, published by Kyle Books and distributed in New Zealand by New Holland, $45