We love a sweet treat (or three)… even more so when it’s secretly healthy.
These tasty bakes are deeply delicious without being decadent – perfect for the lighter, brighter summer months.
Apricot and Raspberry Tart
Filo pastry keeps the calories down
3 large sheets filo pastry
2 tbsp butter, melted
3 tbsp apricot conserve
6 ripe apricots, stoned and sliced
2 tsp caster sugar
Let the filo pastry come to room temperature and put a baking tray into the oven at 200c/180c fan/gas 6.
Brush each sheet of pastry with the melted butter, layer on top of each other then fold in half so you have a small rectangle that’s 6 layers thick. Fold in the edges of the pastry base to make a 2cm border then spread the apricot conserve inside the border. Slide the pastry onto the hot baking tray and bake for 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven then arrange apricots over the top and brush with any leftover butter. Bake for another 10 minutes, then scatter on raspberries and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for a final 10 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.
A healthy makeover for this decadent treat
85g dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
85g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g golden caster sugar
50g light muscovado sugar
½ tsp coffee granules
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp buttermilk
Heat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas 4. Pour water into a small pan so it’s a third full, then bring it to the boil and remove from the heat. Put the chopped chocolate into a large bowl that fits over the pan without touching the water. Place the bowl over the pan and leave the chocolate to melt for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. When it’s melted evenly, remove the bowl from the pan and let the chocolate cool slightly.
Lightly oil and line and 19cm square, 5cm deep cake tin. Mix the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda together in a bowl. Use a wooden spoon to stir both sugars into the cooled chocolate along with the coffee, vanilla and buttermilk. Add a tbsp of warm water. Beat the egg then stir it in to the chocolate along with the mayo, until smooth and glossy. Sift over the flour and cocoa mix, then gently fold together with a spatula.
Pour the mixture into the tin and spread evenly into the corners. Bake for 30 minutes then check it’s ready by sticking a skewer into the centre – if it comes out clean, take the tin out of the oven. Leave to cool completely, then loosen the sides, turn out onto a board, peel off the lining paper and cut into 12 squares.
Lemon Drizzle Cake
A lighter version with less fat
75ml rapeseed oil, plus extra for the tin
175g self-raising flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
50g ground almond
Zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
140g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
225g natural yogurt
For the lemon syrup
85g caster sugar
Juice of 2 lemons (about 5 tbsp)
Heat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas 4. Lightly oil a 20cm round, 5cm deep cake tin and line the base with baking parchment. Add the flour, baking powder, ground almonds and polenta to a large mixing bowl then stir in the lemon zest and sugar, making a dip in the centre. Beat the eggs in a bowl and stir in the yogurt. Tip this mixture along with the oil into the dip and gently stir with a large metal spoon until everything is just combined.
Spoon the mixture into the tin and level the top. Bake for 40 minutes – cover with foil for the last 5-10 minutes if it starts to brown too quickly.
While the cake is cooking, make the lemon syrup. Tip the caster sugar into a small saucepan with the lemon juice and 75ml water. Heat on medium, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and boil for 4 minutes until slightly reduced and syrupy, then remove from the heat.
Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for a minute. While it’s still warm, turn it out of the tin, peel off the lining paper and sit it on a wire rack. Use a skewer to make lots of small holes all over the top of the cake, then spoon over half of the syrup and let it soak in. Spoon over the rest and brush the edges and sides with the last of the syrup.
This classic summer dish is light and fresh
175g golden caster sugar
7 slices day-old white bread from a medium loaf
Wash the fruit and gently dry on kitchen paper, keeping the strawberries separate. Put the sugar and 3 tbsp of water into a large pan, heating until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil for a minute, then tip in the fruit (not the strawberries) and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Put a sieve over the bowl and tip in the fruit and juice.
Line a 1.25L bowl with cling fling, letting the edges overhang by about 15cm. Cut the crusts off the bread, then cut 4 pieces of bread in half and 2 pieces into 4 triangles. Leave the final piece whole. Dip the whole piece of bread into the fruit juice to coat it, then push into the bottom of the lined bowl. Dip the rectangular pieces into the juice one at a time and press around the sides of the bowl so they fit together neatly. Spoon in the soften fruit and add the strawberries as you go.
Dip the bread triangles into the juice and place on the top, then bring the cling film up and loosely seal. Put a side plate on top and weigh down with cans, then chill for 6 hours or overnight. To serve, open the cling film then put a serving plate on top and flip over. Remove the cling film and pour over leftover juice, berries and cream.