Natural Bakes: Everyday Gluten-free, Sugar-free Baking

Image of Natural Bakes: Everyday gluten-free, sugar-free baking
Release Date: 
January 31, 2023
Smith Street Books
Reviewed by: 

In this beautifully photographed book, Caroline Griffiths makes the case for eating healthfully without sacrificing flavor or taste.”

Cookbook author and home-economist, Caroline Griffiths, has combined her keen interest in nutrition with her love for cooking in her latest book titled, Natural Bakes: Everyday Gluten-free, Sugar-free Baking.

The book is filled with alluring photographs of rich cakes, cookies, scones, and other sweet desserts. Except these desserts are healthful, low in sugar, and gluten-free. The author has a love for chocolate and has included three chocolate cake recipes with some unusual ingredients. Cooked kidney beans are the surprise ingredient in one version of a chocolate cake. The end result is surprisingly light with a pleasing bitterness. Sweet potatoes and macadamia nuts add moisture and flavor to another chocolate cake recipe. The macadamia vanilla cream is luscious and satisfying.

Her fudgy Everyday Chocolate Cake with apple puree and rice malt syrup is topped with a dextrose crystal icing. Coffee and dark chocolate add depth and flavor to the dessert.

Griffiths, based in Melbourne, Australia, shares her secret to making healthy, delicious desserts in this cookbook. Her unique recipes showcase the deliciousness of pure vanilla, nuts, spices, cocoa, and dried fruit. She has created two gluten-free flour blends, one featuring brown rice flour and potato starch to make cookies, and another one with sorghum flour, tapioca starch, and glutinous rice flour to use in cake recipes. Both these recipes are featured in a section titled “Basics.” In this section, there are recipes for creating gluten-free puff pastry dough as well how to make chia raspberry jam and a variety of frostings.

In simple, easy-to-understand terms, Griffiths shares information about various sweeteners, for example the difference between fructose versus monk fruit (the latter raises blood sugar levels while the former is a much more healthful option). Various types of gluten-free flours and how to use them is well explained.

The Cookies section of the book features a number of distinct recipes from Cacao Nib Hazelnut Cookies to Carrot Cake Cookies and Passionfruit Cashew Cream Melting Moments.  

Looking for something to just munch on? The Small Bakes section has Banana Chai Blondies and Spiced Pumpkin Donuts, to name a few.

In this beautifully photographed book, Griffiths makes the case for eating healthfully without sacrificing flavor or taste. It may take home cooks some time to appreciate the subtle and delectable recipes featured in Griffiths’ book because Americans have such a sweet tooth. However, with this book, you can eat your cake and have it, too.