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Deliciously Healthy Treats from The Modern Baker

Posted on 21st April 2017 by Melissa Sharp & Lindsay Stark
Brighten your weekend with three delicious, healthy recipes from The Modern Baker, the debut cookbook from the baking team behind Oxford's wildly popular bakery and cafe, Melissa Sharp and Lindsay Stark. A revolution in healthy baking, all of their recipes are free from refined sugar and designed to promote gut health using easy baking methods and natural ingredients; a perfect excuse to be tempted into the kitchen.
Cover Photo: Chocolate and Ginger Tart from The Modern Baker by Melissa Sharp with Lindsay Stark. (Ebury Press, £26)
All Photography by Laura Edwards.

Apple Sourdough Cake

Apple Sourdough CakeApple Sourdough Cake: Photography by Laura Edwards

makes 1 * 20 cm round cake equipment 20 cm round, deep, loose-bottom cake tin

This is the ultimate apple cake, and Leo’s favourite. The use of the sweet starter transports this cake to another level, giving it a rich, indulgent flavour without being too cloying or sweet. The natural sourness of the sourdough enhances the floral flavours in the apple. If you like a bit of crunch in your cakes, chop the apple chunks slightly thicker, if you prefer them softer, cut them thinner; we like a combination of the two. The flavour of this cake actually improves after a couple of days, but don’t worry if you can’t wait that long as it’s also delicious still warm from the oven, especially with a dollop of fresh cream or coconut yoghurt. As an added bonus, it also freezes well.

Day 1

50 g coconut sugar
50 g milk
50 g spelt flour
active sweet starter (see page 184)
Add the sugar, milk and flour to the
whole quantity of the sweet starter. Mix
well and leave loosely covered at room
temperature overnight.

Day 2

150 g recipe starter made on Day 1
180 g coconut oil, melted
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
200 g coconut sugar, plus extra for topping
225 g spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 apple, unpeeled, cored and chopped into chunks1 apple, unpeeled, cored and sliced thinly, for decorating the top.

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180° Gas mark 6 and line a 20 cm round, deep, loose-bottom cake tin with baking parchment.
  2. In a large bowl combine the recipe starter, coconut oil, eggs, vanilla and sugar. Mix well.
  3. In another bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in the apple chunks – by coating them in flour you prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake as it bakes.
  4. Add the flour and apple mix to the wet mix and combine well.
  5. Pour the mixture into the cake tin, top with the apple slices and sprinkle with coconut sugar.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 10–15 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack.

Chocolate and Ginger Tart

Chocolate and Ginger TartChocolate and Ginger Tart: Photography by Laura Edwards

This is a vegan chocoholic’s dream. It is rich and creamy, and yet there’s no dairy in it. This is the favourite tart of the most cheerful customer we have at the bakery, so we’ll often make it just to thank her for brightening our day when she comes in. It can be made up to a week in advance, and kept in the fridge.

For the base:

175 g almonds
175 g pitted dates
50 g almond butter
2 tbsp coconut oil

For the chocolate filling:

375 g almond milk
2 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp vanilla extract
20 g fresh ginger, peeled and grated
285 g coconut sugar-sweetened chocolate
chips or raw chocolate
2 tbsp coconut oil

  1. Grease and line the base of a 24 cm tart tin.
  2. To make the base, blitz the almonds in a food processor until they resemble coarse sand. Add the dates, almond butter and coconut oil and continue to blend until the mixture comes together as a smooth mass. Press it into the base of the prepared tin, smooth it over carefully and put it in the freezer while you make the chocolate filling.
  3. In a small pan heat the almond milk with the cornflour, vanilla and fresh ginger. By adding the ginger here you infuse the milk with it, which spreads the flavour evenly through the filling. Bring the milk to the boil, whisking occasionally to prevent the cornflour from forming clumps and burning on the base of the pan. As soon as the mixture comes to a boil and has slightly thickened, take it off the heat.
  4. Put the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl with the coconut oil. Pour the boiling milk mixture over the chocolate and leave to stand for 2 minutes to melt the chocolate, then mix well into one homogenous mass.
  5. Pour the filling over the tart base and leave to chill in the fridge overnight. Turn it out of the tin onto a plate just before you are ready to serve it.

*Nutrition Note

Ginger is thought to be one of the healthiest spices on the planet and experimental studies have shown that ginger inhibits the inflammation process.

Rosemary, Parsnip and Parmesan Loaf Cake

Rosemary, Parsnip and Parmesan Loaf CakeRosemary, Parsnip and Parmesan Loaf Cake: Photography by Laura Edwards

This is the classic cheese, vegetable and herb combination. This loaf cake goes particularly well with soup, though it’s also delicious on its own, spread with butter. We add ‘loaf’ to the name because of its shape, but it’s very much a savoury cake. Unlike a real loaf, its raising agent is baking powder. You could also make smaller individual bakes in muffin tins (in which case reduce the bake time to 25 minutes).

250 g spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
75 g Parmesan, freshly grated
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
pinch of salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
175 g parsnips, grated
1 small white onion, finely chopped
3 eggs
100 ml extra virgin olive oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/Gas mark 6 and line a 900 g loaf tin with baking parchment.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the spelt flour, baking powder, two-thirds of the Parmesan, the rosemary, salt and pepper.
  3. In another bowl beat together the parsnip, onion, eggs and olive oil.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour the mixture into the tin, smooth over and top with the rest of the Parmesan.
  5. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10–15 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack.
  6. Serve warm with butter.

*Nutrition Note:

Rosemary is one of the most recorded herbs from ancient times, and its benefits go way beyond just flavouring. It is long believed to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, so it is worth using even in small amounts. Rosemary is so abundantly grown that most people with mature plants are only too happy to give it away.

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