By Freya Ensbey.
"For me baking and gardening go hand in
hand. Let me show you how to connect your garden to your kitchen with soulful,
seasonal baked desserts.” ~ Hayley McKee.
Tactile people who love getting their hands
dirty with any artisan activity will all agree that there is nothing more
satisfying than reaping the benefits of what you have created yourself; be it a
flourishing garden bed or a tasty cake cooked to perfection and admired by the
For many home gardeners, it is a natural
progression to end up experimenting with their produce in the home kitchen, as
was the case for Hayley McKee.
McKee is a self taught baker, and owner of
Sticky Fingers Bakery, a made to order cake business, with a reputation for
inventive cake flavours made with vegetables, homegrown herbs, edible flowers
and Australian native ingredients. However, McKee admits that it has been a long road travelled for her
business to reflect where her passions truly lay.
Opening Sticky Fingers Bakery during the
boom of the cup cake craze, she recalls using store bought ingredients to
create fluorescent and artificial morsels of sweetness. A breakthrough came
when McKee realised the difference in the meals she would cook for herself at
home, which were all based around whole foods and real, plant based
"By turning to the plant world, I
eventually arrived where I belonged, baking sweets that tasted of nature,” says
By using this ethos within her professional
kitchen, Sticky Fingers bakery began creating baked goods with familiar
ingredients, genuine colourings and unmasked flavours.
"Soulful, earthy and seasonal baking became
my true direction and, ultimately, my signature style.”
McKee celebrates her culinary journey
through sixty recipes in her latest cookbook, Sticky Fingers, Green Thumb.
Alongside these inventive recipes for cakes, tarts, cookies, brownies or
muffins, you will find gardening tips on how to grow the key ingredients in
your own bakers garden.
For a truly remarkable cake recipe like no
other, flick to page 64 to find Porcini, Caramel and Chestnut. This recipe incorporates a hint of foraged mushrooms
for a unique flavour, while the chestnut flour gives the cake a nutty, fudge
like texture. McKee recommends leaving this cake to develop its depth of
flavours overnight and serve topped with juicy figs or seasonal fruit found in
Nothing will win you as many brownie points
with Mum this Mother’s Day than serving up the heart shaped Smoked
Tarragon Locket on page 108 for morning tea with a hot cuppa. McKee fondly
recalls her grandmother, Lucy Locket, who gifted her this recipe for ‘the
ultimate chocolate cake,’ adding her own touch to evolve the recipe by smoking
the flour and cocoa with home dried tarragon to give the cake subtle notes of
liquorice, tobacco and vanilla.
Take a tropical holiday without leaving the
kitchen with these Hibiscus
and Cherry Brownies with Coconut Caramel. These indulgent squares won’t
last long after they are drizzled in sticky caramel sauce with hints of
coconut, so be sure to double the batch and freeze if you want to enjoy a little
alone time decadence later on.
Making the ideal gift for any Mum who loves
getting her hands dirty with flour or soil, Sticky Fingers, Green Thumb is
guaranteed to be a cherished cookbook for years to come.
Sticky Fingers, Green Thumb by Hayley McKee
is now available for purchase Australia wide.