After nearly five years of working in professional pastry kitchens in London, I realised that I wanted to be my own boss and create my own food. I started my business, Henrietta Inman Pâtissière, in December 2013, moving home to Suffolk where I grew up. I now do pop-up pâtisseries, farmers’ markets and food festivals and take private commissions from a single tart to dessert and a three-tiered wedding cake for 160.
The response has been incredible and I just love being able to meet my customers, see them enjoy my food and hear their feedback. But the more first-hand interaction I have with them, the more I become aware of the amount of people today who have either cut down on gluten and dairy, or cut them out of their diets completely due to allergies, intolerances and sensitivities. Another comment I often hear is, ‘Oh, I really shouldn’t, too much sugar!’. With an ever-growing interest in nutrition, I have also become bored of weighing out endless amounts of plain white flour, butter and white caster sugar. I have decided to start baking without gluten, dairy and refined sugar and create my new pâtisserie, Clean Cakes. This involves using whole, unprocessed, unrefined and natural ingredients to create truly delicious and nutritious treats that will make you smile from the inside out, not bloated and tired after a synthetic sugar high. I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to indulge in more than just one Clean Cake!
Please visit my new website- www.henscleancakes.com -for more information and in the meantime, I do hope you enjoy my extra fruity fruit cake.
Henrietta’s rich and extra fruity Christmas Cake
Christmas is a difficult time for people who suffer from allergies, intolerances and sensitivities to gluten and dairy. I want my food to be for everyone and as more and more of my customers ask for gluten and diary free alternatives, I have chosen to cut them out of this fruit cake, as well as cutting out refined sugar and eggs. This makes for a light but still rich, wholesome and delicious version of the traditional Christmas cake which is laden with refined sugar and alcohol (isn’t there enough of that around at Christmas anyway!?). But I promise you, great flavour and texture are certainly not compromised… and it looks very pretty too!
Preheat the oven to 180oC and line the bottom and sides of a 20cm cake tin with baking parchment
The night before or about 10 hours before-
Soak in two separate bowls
90g whole almonds
40g whole almonds
In another bowl-
Soak all of the above in-
Zest and juice (60g) 1 unwaxed lemon
Zest and juice 1 (60g) small unwaxed orange
1 vanilla pod (cut down the middle, scrape out the seeds and add them along with the empty pod)
60g (approx. 3 tbsp) raw honey
250g tea- for a warm and spicy Christmas flavour, I recommend using 1 bag of black tea, such as Darjeeling, brewed with 1 bag chai tea which contains a delicious mix of Assam, cardamom pods, cinnamon and ginger; it really makes a difference to the cake’s flavour. Tea Pigs makes a great chai tea blend.
The next day
Mix together the following in large bowl-
135g wholegrain buckwheat flour
135g chestnut flour
15g (5 tsp) arrowroot
20g (2 tbsp) gram/ chickpea flour
60g coconut nectar sugar
1.5-2 tsp mixed spice
1.5 tsp (gluten free) baking powder
1 tsp (gluten free) bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp sea salt/ Himalayan pink salt
Whisk together the above.
75g coconut oil, liquid form
In a food processor, quickly blitz the 90g almonds, keeping some large pieces and not chopping too much. With all the soft fruits and cake mix, these add a great crunch and contrasting texture.
Add nuts to dry ingredients.
From the soaked fruit, take out the tea bags, squeezing them for extra flavour, and vanilla pod, and put the figs, apricots and dates in food processor. Blitz to half pulp, half still whole. Add to nuts and dry ingredients along with the tea and the rest of the dried fruits and mix well. Finally add the liquid coconut oil. Mix again and pour into the tin, spreading the mix lightly with a small knife. Place the rest of the soaked almonds around the edge of the cake, gently pressing into the mix.
Bake for 20 minutes. Turn down heat to 160oC, turn and bake for a further 40 minutes, turning again half way. Oven temperatures always vary but this is baked when a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean and if you touch the cake lightly it will slightly bounce back; the top should be golden-brown. Even if it is slightly undercooked, it will have a lovely pudding-like gooey texture in the centre which all my friends and family love!
Leave to cool in tin completely.
5 tbsp apple juice
1 tbsp raw honey
Bring the above to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Add
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 piece of lemon zest
And boil for 30 seconds. Leave to cool, sieve and add water to loosen if necessary.
Or use sugar free high fruit content jam available from Meridian or St Dalfour.
Demould the cake when it is completely cool, glaze with a pastry brush and enjoy.
A few notes on the ingredients
DRIED FRUITS- sulphur dioxide is often used as a preservative in dried fruits so do try to buy unsulphured dried fruits. If they are organic, even better, and you will notice the better quality of flavour. If the fruit is a bit on the dry side, soaking will plump it up so don’t worry. Dried fruits are a great source of dietary fibre and contain many nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Dates and apricots especially have a wonderful rich, dark, sticky and sweet depth of flavour, so very little sugar is needed in the cake. In fact, the caramel toffee flavour and mellow light sweetness of the coconut nectar sugar adds the perfect balance of sweetness with the dried fruits and raw honey.
COCONUT NECTAR SUGAR is made from the sweet nectar of coconut blossom. It is low GI and made with minimal processing, containing no additives or preservatives. Similarly, RAW HONEY has not been heated above about 45oC, unlike the majority of honeys on sale in supermarkets which also contain many additives, so it retains most of its nutrients as well has having an incredible depth of flavour, changing from hive to hive!
SPICES, VANILLA AND CITRUS FRUITS add flavour, are naturally sweet and all together, they add rich and warming notes of flavour, perfect for Christmas. The mixed spice I use contains ground coriander, cinnamon, clove, ginger and nutmeg, but it can also contain fennel and cardamom. Blends with more spices tend to be more powerful so you may want to use a little less.
ALMONDS- Raw nuts contain phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors that can reduce the body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients so it is best to soak or activate your almonds overnight in filtered water and a pinch of salt. This helps break down these problematic compounds, increases the nutrients available and makes them much easier to digest. For me, soaking almonds also brings out their sweet flavour.
ARROWROOT- more digestible than corn flour and other starches. Used as a thickener but also helps to bind ingredients in gluten free products.
WHOLEGRAIN BUCKWHEAT FLOUR- naturally gluten free and not a grain but actually a pseudo cereal or seed from a plant related to rhubarb. The flour is fine with a little texture and strong nutty flavour. Brown rice flour can be used as an alternative but the nutty flavour will be lost.
CHESTNUT FLOUR or ‘FARINA DOLCE’- milled from dried chestnuts, it has a rich, sweet and nutty flavour. It has a great texture (a bit like very fine cornmeal/ polenta, which can be used as an alternative).
GRAM/ CHICKPEA FLOUR- high in protein, made from the skinned chickpeas which are finely milled to create rich yellow flour which is a staple in Indian cuisine. Combined with equal quantities of water, it can be used as an egg substitute. Therefore, it is great for binding ingredients in gluten free products and adds a little rise too.
VIRGIN COCONUT OIL- the perfect dairy free alternative to butter, it has a high smoke point making it ideal for baking. It has immune boosting properties, helps control blood sugar and eases the body’s absorption of minerals as well as numerous other benefits.