Marie Antoinette might have said “Let them eat cake,” but she was obviously genetically-blessed with a ridiculous metabolism. We’re never going to get militant about diets here at Running in Heels, and we do believe in all things in moderation, but you probably shouldn’t really be eating cake on a daily basis – regardless of your metabolism! And so, we’d unreservedly recommend Henrietta Inman’s Clean Cakes – a book with a title that may sound like a contradiction in terms, we know…
Billed as offering recipes for “delicious pâtisserie made with whole, natural and nourishing ingredients and free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar,” Inman’s book will make you rethink your whole approach to baking. After all, making – and eating – cakes is fun, relaxing and pretty therapeutic. But butter, sugar and white flour are never going to be part of a healthy diet, let’s face it. And if you’re lactose and/or gluten-intolerant (or you have friends that are), cakes and desserts can represent a no-go area.
A qualified pastry chef – having earned her stripes at London’s Michelin-starred Lanesborough Hotel, no less – Henrietta Inman has thoroughly tried and tested all of the recipes in Clean Cakes. And you won’t be disappointed, we’ll guarantee that. So here’s an exclusive Clean Cakes recipe for you to test out – one that definitely gets our seal of approval too: salted tahini shortbread biscuit bars with yogurt-coated walnuts and figs. Deeeeelish.
These bars are crazy-good! Crunchy toasted walnuts and sweet, juicy dried figs coated in homemade yogurt-like ‘white chocolate’ on a slightly salty buttery biscuit base, what more could you want? For it to be guilt-free, too? Well, here you are! Hard to put down and devilishly moreish, these won’t be around for long. This recipe makes 24 square bars
For the ‘white chocolate yogurt’
120g cashew butter – 180g cacao butter, melted
½ vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped out
Finely grated zest of ½ lemon
65g (generous 3 tbsp) raw honey – Pinch Himalyan pink salt
For the biscuit
360g walnuts, preferably activated and dried
80g coconut oil, softened but not melted
120g coconut sugar – 180g light tahini
2 tsp vanilla extract – 200g oat flour
2 tsp coarse sea salt, finely ground
1 tsp baking powder – 20g arrowroot
200g dried figs, small stalks removed
To make the ‘white chocolate yogurt’ place everything in a blender and blend until completely smooth. Pour into a bowl and set aside, leaving it in a warm place so it does not set.
Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3. Line a 30 x 20 x 3 cm deep tin with baking parchment. Line another tray with baking parchment and toast 160g of the walnuts on it for seven minutes or until just beginning to colour. Set aside to cool. Beat together the coconut oil, coconut sugar, tahini and vanilla extract until smooth.
Blitz the remaining 200g of walnuts in a food processor with the oat flour and arrowroot until as fine as possible. Add the salt and baking powder and blitz once more. Combine the dry ingredients with the tahini, sugar and oil mixture. Finish by bringing the mix together with your hands. Press the biscuit mix into the prepared tin, smoothing it out to make an even base with a step palette knife. Bake for 30–35 minutes, turning halfway, until light brown. Leave to cool.
Roughly chop the figs into about 4–6 pieces each. Roughly chop the toasted walnuts into pieces a bit larger than peas. Mix thoroughly into the ‘white chocolate yogurt’ and then immediately pour over the cooled tahini shortbread base. Leave to set in the freezer for 30 minutes, then remove from the tin and cut with a large serrated knife into 5 cm squares and serve. The bars keep well for five days in a sealed container.
The recipe and images are extracted from Henrietta Inman’s Clean Cakes, with photography by Lisa Linder. Clean Cakes is published by Jacqui Small.