I say healthy through gritted teeth, as to me baking embodies so many of my favourite things: eggs, sugar, butter, cream, chocolate etc. But, having a healthy courgette plant growing in the garden inspired me to veer off course and try something ‘healthy’, or healthier as I like to think of it.
Not being experienced in this field I turned to Google. A ‘Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard’ recipe cropped up and I decided to give it a whirl. But I made some considerable alterations, making the recipe dairy-free (what’s the point in going slightly healthy, when you can go all the way) – you can find the original here if you wish to try it!
Having dabbled with vegan baking before, I decided to replace the eggs with mashed banana (use one ripe banana per egg) – a simple swap that provides some lovely natural sweetness. And instead of normal (cow’s) milk, I used my current alternative preference: Koko coconut milk.
My final amendment was to ditch the suggested seeds (not a massive fan in sweet things, unless they’re tiny think lemon and poppy seed) and swap them for a tablespoon of chia seeds, which are apparently a ‘super food’.
Not being convinced the end product would taste nice enough without butter, sugar or eggs (is it really a cake?!), I decided even more sweetness was required in the form of one of favourite ingredients: nutmeg syrup. On reflection, I didn’t add enough for my palate – or rather, I found the saltiness overwhelming. When I make these next, I will only use ½ tsp or less of salt and I might add an extra tbsp of honey. Another point to mention is the texture is not like a normal cupcake or muffin, but on a plus note they rose a lot more than I expected them to!
So, here’s to being healthy. These were surprisingly nice, incredibly simple to prepare and can legitimately be eaten for breakfast, without a single ounce of guilt. I might even be converted…
225g wholemeal self-raising flour
1 ½ tsp gluten free baking powder
1 tsp maldon sea salt, ground – or to taste (see above!)
1tbsp chia seeds
200 ml coconut milk alternative (or any other substitute which takes your fancy: soya, almond, brown rice are just a few options!)
2 mashed bananas
4 tbsp vegetable oil
4 tbsp clear honey (local if possible – I use Essex honey)
150g courgette, grated
Oats to sprinkle on the top
1) Preheat your oven to 180 and line your muffin tin with cases, ready to fill.
2) In a large bowl, mix together your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, spices, salt and chia seeds).
3) In a large jug (I used a big Pyrex), measure out 200ml of your milk – then add all the other liquids (banana, oil, honey), along with the grated courgettes. Stir to combine (as much as possible!).
4) Slowly pour the liquid into the dry bowl, and stir until combined using a large metal spoon.
5) Evenly distribute the mixture among your paper cases, sprinkle a few oats on top and put into the oven to bake.
6) After 25-30 minutes they should be done (a skewer should come out clean). Drizzle a bit of honey over while they’re still warm if you like. Let them cool and enjoy!