We’re huge fans of Henrietta Inman and her incredible talent for using fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs, spices, flowers, nuts and seeds, to create truly unique bakes. With her flair for flavours and flowers, Henrietta has created the birthday cakes for many a McQueens birthday party, and we are huge fans of her first book, Clean Cakes.
In her latest book, The Natural Baker, Henrietta combines her core ingredients of wholegrain flavours, less refined sweeteners and good fats with what she calls her magic ingredients – those extra, natural, wholesome ingredients which transform her recipes and make them shine. As a trained pastry chef, Henrietta balances the flavour, quality and texture of classic pâtisserie with the natural goodness of simple whole foods – with outstanding results.
Today we’re delighted to share with you a flower cake recipe from The Natural Baker, and the chance to win a signed copy for yourself!
Flower Cake Recipe
“In mid-to-late-May, the elderflowers and the roses bloom; both their fragrances intoxicating. In this cake, I really wanted these natural scents to sing, so I’ve used light base ingredients – white spelt flour and golden caster (superfine) sugar – to make a simple sponge cake, infused with elderflower syrup, then filled with rose petal jelly and whipped elderflower cream. When I can, I make my own jelly and cordial, but good-quality bought versions work just as well. Finish the cake with edible flowers or petals if you can, such as roses, elderflowers, cornflowers, primroses, dianthus, marigolds and pansies.”
- 170g (6oz / ¾ cup / 1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the tin (pan)
- 140g (5oz / scant ¾ cup) golden caster (superfine) sugar
- 120g (4¼oz / ½ cup) elderflower cordial
- 170g (6oz / 1¼ cups) white spelt flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3 eggs
- 350g (12oz / 1½ cups) double (heavy) cream
- 125g (4½oz / scant ½ cup) rose petal jelly, or strawberry jam
- edible flowers and petals, to decorate (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Butter the sides and base of a 20cm (8in) loose-bottomed cake tin (pan). Line the base with baking parchment.
In a freestanding mixer fitted with a paddle, or using an electric hand whisk, or by hand, cream the butter, sugar and 30g (1oz / 2 tbsp) of the cordial until light and fluffy, stopping the mixer now and again and scraping everything off the bottom of the bowl once during this time.
Separately whisk together the flour and baking powder. Now return to the butter mixture. While mixing, add one egg at a time to the creamed butter and sugar, alternating each addition with one-third of the flour mixture, finishing with the last one-third of the flour mixture. As soon as the batter comes together and looks smooth, stop.
Turn the batter out into the prepared tin (pan) and bake for 25–30 minutes, rotating the cake halfway through, or until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven, pierce it all over with a skewer, then pour over 60g (2oz / ¼ cup) of the cordial. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold in the remaining 30g (1oz / 2 tbsp) elderflower cordial. Once the cake has cooled, cut it in half horizontally, then fill with the rose petal jelly and half the cream. Put the top on and finish with the remaining cream. Decorate with edible flowers such as rose petals or elderflowers, if you like.
Any leftover cake will keep in the fridge for about five days, letting it return to room temperature before serving.
WIN a Signed Copy of The Natural Baker by Henrietta Inman
For the chance to win a signed copy of The Natural Baker simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘The Natural Baker, Henrietta Inman’ as the subject line, your name, address and the correct answer to the question: what is the name of Henrietta’s first book?
Entries accepted until midnight Wednesday 30 March 2018. Open to UK entrants only.
A winner will be picked at random and contacted via email on 31 March 2018. A signed copy of The Natural Baker by Henrietta Inman will be sent to the address specified during entry. One entry per email address only. All entrants will be added to the McQueens mailing list.
Henrietta is a skilled pastry chef and cookery teacher. She has worked in award-winning kitchens including the Lanesborough Hotel and the Michelin starred Apsleys. She now lives and works in London and Suffolk where she takes private commissions and bespoke orders, holds cookery classes and baking demonstrations and does food consultancy, supper clubs and events. She is the best-selling author of Clean Cakes. The Natural Baker is her second book.
For further information on Henrietta, visit www.henriettainman.com and follow on Instagram and Twitter @henriettainman.
The hardback edition of The Natural Baker, a New Way to Bake Using the Best Natural Ingredients, by Henrietta Inman, published by Jacqui Small, costs £20 and is available to buy on Amazon here.