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9 Healthy Baking Books That Aren’t Just For Cheat Day

healthy baking books


9 Healthy Baking Books That Aren’t Just For Cheat Day

Healthy eating and baking cakes famously do not go hand in hand.

The fat and sugar content of most pies, cookies, tarts and the like normally mean they’re out the window the minute we resolve to watch our weight.

Thankfully, this doesn’t always need to be the case. We’ve found six cookbooks that focus purely on healthy baking. Between them, they offer everything from baked cinnamon & banana bars and truffles to chocolate & hazelnut torte and raspberry peanut butter cups… without any naughty ingredients.

The sugar-free recipes in these books clearly don’t sacrifice taste for health though, and here at TRAIN for HER HQ we’re very much looking forward to donning our aprons and getting started.

Oh, and we’ve included three not-so-healthy baking books for good measure, for when cheat day actually does come round (or maybe your grandparents, who like their cakes the old-fashioned way…).


Healthy Baking Books

Bliss Bites – Kate Bradley


bliss bites


This small, chirpy book’s colorful exterior matches the chatty tone within and offers over 60 refined sugar-free, gluten-free and vegan snacks.

These (mostly) bite-sized snacks range from everyday staples such as 5-ingredient peanut butter bliss balls to healthy twists on classic chocolate bars.

You won’t need any fancy cooking equipment but Bradley’s ‘starter kit’ of ingredients seems somewhat unnecessarily extensive – you wouldn’t want to try fitting them all in your kitchen in one go.

Nevertheless, the recipes themselves are short and uncomplicated and have both prep and cooking times.

We’re most excited about:

Quinoa, buckwheat and tahini lunchbox bars

Date night truffles with dates, peanut butter and raw dark chocolate

Love Bites with beetroot, honey, chia seeds, maca powder


Bliss Bites by Kate Bradley, published by Hardie Grant Books, is out now. £8.99 | $10.88


I Quit Sugar, The Ultimate Chocolate Cookbook – Sarah Wilson


chocolate book


A cookbook devoted to sugar-free chocolate might sound improbable, but the tantalizing recipes in this volume prove it can be done.

Wilson teaches readers how to make their own raw chocolate and gives us the lowdown on store-bought chocolate and sweeteners. The recipes range from breakfast pancakes to showstopping cakes, but Wilson presses upon us that the creations should still be eaten in moderation despite their sugar-free label.

It’s an easy-to-read book and Wilson includes little tips throughout and the images are colorful.

It’s particularly useful in the lead up to Easter as there is an entire sugar-free Easter chapter, boasting such goodies as choc-chip hot cross buns and chocolate eggshells.

We’re most excited about:

Courgette mud cake with chocolate ganache and salted caramel popcorn

Chocolate granola clusters

Choc-caramel-chunk and peanut butter ‘cheesecake’


I Quit Sugar – The Ultimate Chocolate Cookbook by Sarah Wilson, published by Bluebird, is out now. £14.99 | $13.43 


Veggie Desserts and Cake – Kate Hackworthy


veggie cakes


A kale cake or black bean brownies might sound repulsive but, judging by the images and recipes in this cookbook, they’re a tasty treat.

Combining a love of baking with veggies, Hackworthy puts anything from sweetcorn to spinach into muffins, biscuits, tarts, pastries and even ice cream.

The veg bring moisture, natural sweetness and extra nutrients to baking so less refined sugar and fat is required, making the goodies healthy yet scrumptious. Note how colorful the creations turn out to be, even though their hue comes from all-natural sources!

Each recipe comes with a little description of any history or reasoning behind the cake as well as a baking tip. As healthy baking books go, this volume is highly approachable and only includes a short introduction before diving into the 60 original recipes.

We’re most excited about:

Butternut squash cinnamon rolls with almond glaze

Beetroot seedy squares

Carrot gingerbread


Veggie Desserts and Cake by Kate Hackworthy, published by Pavilion Books, is out now. £14.99 | $21.95


Livia’s Kitchen – Olivia Wollenburg


livia's kitchen


This vibrant, colorful book is packed with full-page images of the raw and baked treats created by Wollenburg.

She had to get creative in the kitchen after being advised to do a FODMAP plan, so this book is perfect for anyone doing the same.

The recipes are free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar, with only natural ingredients used. Think: cookies, tarts, crumbles, cookies and more.

It’s great for those who are really dedicated to clean eating as Medjool dates appear to be in pretty much every recipe and you will be required to make nut milks and the like from scratch. If you get past the very wordy introduction that is.

We’re most excited about:

Baked cinnamon and banana bars

Coffee shot breakfast balls

Baked apples with pecans and a maple drizzle


Livia’s Kitchen by Olivia Wollenburg, published by Ebury Publishing, is out now. £20 | $22.66


 Raw Cake – The Hardihood


raw cake


For a book whose title is 50% cake, recipes for cake only take up a small part of this volume. The book is entirely dedicated to desserts though, be it smoothies and sorbets or donuts and bars.

The handcrafted raw confectionery comprise all-natural ingredients and are completely free from refined sugar, gluten, wheat, dairy and soya.

With ingredients such as bee pollen, tulsi and collagen powder, these desserts probably require a fair bit of planning ahead, unless you happen to live near a well-stocked health food shop. However, the book does offer a good glossary of ingredients to help you understand their inclusion.

The images are minimalist and trendy but also glossy and full page. There’s plenty of white space and the recipes are clear and easy to follow.

We’re most excited about:

Raspberry peanut butter cups

Salted caramel crunch bars

Ginger chai latte cheesecake


Raw Cake by the Hardihood, published by Bluebird, is out now. £16.99  $14.13


Clean Cakes – Henrietta Inman


clean cakes


You know you’re getting top quality baking with this book as Inman is a trained pastry chef. Her recipes span across muffins and loaves to pies and tarts – there’s an impressive-looking courgette, basil, lime and pistachio layer cake as well as five-grain omega mix granola bars.

She embraces nutritious whole food ingredients that are unprocessed, unrefined, natural, seasonal and local wherever possible.

Each recipe comes with a full-page, colorful image, with the desserts often presented on pretty china. However, despite Inman’s wholesome approach throughout the book, the cakes still require numerous hard-to-get ingredients. Creating one of her delicacies appears to require both time and money judging by the often-lengthy ingredient lists!

We’re most excited about:

Chocolate and hazelnut torte with honey praline ganache

Baked banana, date and ocean loaf with spiced caramel sauce

Lavender, honey and almond biscotti thins


Clean Cakes by Henrietta Inman, published by Jacqui Small, an imprint of The Quarto Group, is out now. £20 | $21.79


– RELATED:  How To Be A Bikini Fitness Model and Still Eat Ice Cream And Pizza


Not so healthy baking books…


Comfort – Candice Brown




This is the Great British Bake Off 2016 winner’s first book and is all about home comforts. She takes inspiration largely from her grandmother as well as the rest of her family and recommends serving the bakes on vintage kitchenware.

To further add to her homely, approachable vibe, Brown’s list of essentials are actual essentials rather than little known, pricey ingredients. The highly aesthetically pleasing book includes cakes, brownies, tray bakes, tarts, pastries and more – plus savory dishes – and comes complete with little ‘handwritten’ notes.

While most of the creations are treats there are still health food classics such as granola and her mocha chocolate cake does include courgettes. Oh, and there are plenty of good lipstick snaps, too.

We’re most excited about:

Peanut butter marshmallow blondies

Black Forest gateau

Nan’s Florentines


Comfort by Candice Brown, published by Ebury Publishing, is out now in the UK and available from June 1, 2018, in the US. £20 | $28.50


Sweet – Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh




Israeli-British chef Yotam Ottolenghi is a popular food writer in Britain and, in this cookbook, he and long-time collaborator Helen Goh, bring the Ottolenghi hallmarks of fresh, evocative ingredients, exotic spices and complex flavorings.

Sweet includes over 110 innovative recipes, from tahini and halva brownies and middle eastern millionaire’s shortbread to cinnamon pavlova with praline cream and fresh figs saffron, orange and honey madeleines.

Recipes on the healthier end include soft date and oat bars and beetroot, ginger and soured cream cake.

The large book has small font and narrow margins, and, while it boasts full-page pictures, it’s probably not the best option for a beginner. Nevertheless, there is helpful storage information plus a good index and glossary at the back.

An added bonus is that it comes with an interactive version of the book you can unlock online with a code, so you’re able to access recipes online.

We’re most excited about:

Doughnuts with saffron custard cream

Amaretti with honey and orange blossom

Sticky fig pudding with salted caramel and coconut topping


Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh, published by Ebury Publishing, is out now. £27 | $22.48


French Patisserie – Ecole Ferrandi 


french patisserie


This mammoth 4kg tome comes from Ferrandi, the French School of Culinary Arts in Paris – dubbed the ‘Harvard of Gastronomy’ by Le Monde newspaper — and is the ultimate pastry-making reference.

On a different level altogether to most other cookbooks, this comprehensive volume leads aspiring pastry chefs through every step – from basic techniques to Michelin-level desserts.

It includes advice on how to equip your kitchen, to the essential doughs, fillings, and decorations, and spans everything from quick desserts and holiday specialties to sorbets and chocolates.

Although it might seem highly intimidating, practical information is presented in tables, diagrams and sidebars for handy reference, breaking down any complex material. What’s more, there are numerous step-by-step guides complete with images of what to do. Plus, interesting historical facts at the side can entertain while you’re taking a breather.

Recipes are graded for level of difficulty, allowing readers to develop their skills over time and there are glorious full-page images throughout for each recipe.

The book would make a perfect gift and, if nothing else, can be used for bicep curls.

We’re most excited about:

Tea and honey macarons

Croquembouche with sesame nougatine

Caramel apple jam


French Patisserie by Ecole Ferrandi, published by Editions Flammarion, is out now. £45 | $49.07


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