August 12, 2015

Some might think a ‘healthy cake’ is a paradox. But those people would be wrong. The Hardihood sisters are the fairy godmothers of cake lovers in search of a healthy sweet treat. Their business offers up crafted cakes and desserts completely free of wheat, dairy, refined sugar and gluten. Hand us a spoon.

We stopped by to get their delicious Macajack recipe and talk all things superfood confectionary.

UO: Can you tell us how The Hardihood came about?

Last January we gave up sugar together and realised there was nowhere around here to get good cake. We were originally thinking there’s nowhere in east London where you can find something like this. There are options west. We thought we need to open a space here where you can get these healthy sweet treats and then we just started trialing lots of different things. We started baking and realised baking wasn’t really our thing. The more raw things we did, our friends kept saying these are really good. Started properly rolling as a business, Nov/December time when we launched our website, then catered some amazing events and fashion press days and things like that and then it spiraled.

Leah wears: Adidas Classic Blue Sweatshirt
Daisy wears: Urban Renewal Overdyed Pinwell Cord Shirt

UO: What is your favourite cake to make?

God it changes. At the moment we’re loving the snickers it’s just a nutty kind of coconut oil base caramel layer with a super yummy chocolate layer on top. It’s made up of various nuts, coconut oil, rice malt syrup, dates, maca, cacao etc

UO: What is your most popular cake?

It changes but at the moment it’s salted caramel cheesecake. Whatever we put on Instagram, really! We tend to get floods of emails from people who screenshot the cakes from insta and say ‘we want this one!’

UO: Can you tell us about the process of creating a new recipe?

We look at things we love or flavours we really like or combos we think would be great together and we freestyle it. We taste as we go and write down what we’ve done.

UO: Anything that hasn’t worked?

Early on everything we made was really… experimental. We did this beetroot cupcake that was awful. We always laugh about that. In the beginning we tried lots of people’s recipes we found online and so many of them were awful.

Leah wears: Urban Renewal Vintage Cord Shirt in Burgundy, BDG Mid-Rise Ankle Grey Cigarette Jeans
Daisy wears: adidas Originals White Snake Velcro Stan Smith Trainers, Cooperative Plain Rib Pocket Tee and Urban Renewal Vintage Mid Wash Levis

UO: What do you eat when you’re not eating cake?

Daisy: A morning smoothie is a must, people love it on instagram too. I love playing with all the different superfoods and powders we have in the kitchen to see what crazy concoctions I can come up with – its literally whatever is in the fridge/fruit bowl and only on the really good days I add Qnola! I have to taste the sweet cakes all day so I’m always craving savoury (ironic as we started The Hardihood because of our sweet tooths!). I love making quinoa bowls for dinner, filled with various different veges/saurkraut and a poached egg, or light quinoa/kale brothy soups are a speciality of mine. I also could not live without hummus – Felix from The Living Kitchen has become a bit of a raw mentor of ours – their raw hummus is the bomb.

Eating out wise, I love Koya in Soho – an amazing Japanese noodle bar just like the ones in Tokyo. New obsession is the East London Juice Co. in Boxpark – their smoothies are out of this world, with incredible superfoods ingredients, and almond milk to die for.

Leah: Eggs. Just started making a raw kale salad. You have to massage the kale, like it’s really high maintenance. We try to eat lots of savory when we’re not eating cake. Jones and Sons is my favourite place for steak or brunch or just to say hi to the lovely Andy Jones, he’s a babe and helps answer all of our boring start-up questions. We love Tiosk for a tea fix and matcha lattes and they stock The Pressery milk as well which is really lovely.

Diasy wears: 70s Baseball Tee
Leah wears: BDG Striped Turtleneck Top and Twill A-line Skirt by Cooperative

UO: What inspires you?

Daisy: Making cakes that are just as falvourful and delicious as their unhealthy counterparts – we love to adapt those recipes and make them our own, and make them as healthy as can be. For me its also about making things look really beautiful, I’m all about the visuals and making sure that our instagram game is on point. I have zero phone memory because I’m constantly snapping away, trying to push our aesthetic forward.

Leah: When we first began we used to look at what our favourite unhealthy recipes were and remake them. Our banoffee recipe is modified from my gran’s bannoffee pie recipe which is really unhealthy and full of butter. We modified to make it raw and healthy and it’s bang on. We always base our recipes on seasonal produce. At the moment we’re working with a lot of elderflower flavours and the flowers look great on top of the cakes as well. For me it’s about cramming in as many health benefits as possible, if you can get your vits while getting your cake fix, I’m happy.

UO: What other projects are you working on right now?

We are doing Fare Healthy on 27th September. We went to the last one and really liked it and Borough market is such a great place for that. We’re going to Paris Fashion week again this season, we cater the WOMAN show and we send daily cakes to various showrooms – they’re perfect for the health-conscious fashion crowd! We’re going to drive this time around – we took the Eurostar with 10 suitcases last time, a mistake you only make once! There’s something super exciting in the pipeline 2016, but we can’t talk too much about it yet!

Daisy wears: Cooperative Blue Denim A-Line Skirt Leah wears: Urban Renewal Vintage Denim Flare Trousers and Pinstripe 70s Shirt


If I wasn’t part of The Hardihood I would be…
Daisy: A lost bunny trying to find my way
Leah: So sad. I’d just be crying into cake

My ideal breakfast is…
Daisy: Smoothie town! I throw in different things every time so its hard to keep track but some fave ingredients are: Frozen banana, homemade nut milk (right now I love pistachio) maca, bee pollen, cinnamon, wild rocket, spinach, baobab powder, buckwheat, cacao nibs….the list is endless.
Leah: It changes. I get little obsessions. At the moment it’s smoothie bowls because it’s a bit hot. Frozen bananas, berries, sprouted oats, walnuts, sunflower seeds, almond butter and some qnola.

I’m currently listening to…

Daisy: Always Fleetwood Mac, went to see them a few weeks back – that was one off my bucket list. Also love Blood Orange & Nicholas Jaar.
Leah: David Bowie always. And The Talkin Heads. And Florence, my neighbours probably like her latest album the most, because I haven’t learnt the words yet. YET!

Leah wears: BDG Striped Turtleneck Top and Twill A-line Skirt by Cooperative Daisy wears: 70s Baseball Tee

My favourite time of day is…
Daisy: Def our morning workouts, we go for a run separately and then meet up to work our way through some exercise routine or another, right now we’re on Way of Gray… We’re dreading the winter already, soggy grass is not the workout dream.
Leah: Morning, because Daisy and I go and work out in the Park together and it’s hilarious. I bring my dog Bobby and he tries to copy what we do, like he wants to look cute in shorts too. Warm evenings are a win too; it’s nice to be able to sit outside with your wine instead.

If I was a colour I’d be…

Daisy: Probably blue, everything I buy for my house seems to have a blue theme. Clothes wise I’m on a monochrome flex at the moment though.
Leah: Why did black just come into my head? I’m such a goth. But yeah, thinking about it everything I own…if it’s not denim it’s black… and then there’s the black denim. I have a pair of silver Birkenstocks.

My favourite on-the-go snack is…
Daisy: Hummus – all day every damn day
Leah: Almonds and omg toasted seaweed. They just started selling it in our local organic store and it’s great.

My biggest release is…
Daisy: Yoga, there’s no better relaxation in the city than the Shavasanah at the end of the class (basically 5 minutes lying on your back in the dark with a class full of people). It’s so calming. Otherwise I find a weekend away is so good for the soul – my boyfriend and I just went to Dorset, to Lulworth Cove – google it, it looks like Greece! (not quite as warm though)
Leah: Getting out of London for the weekend. London is my favourite but sometimes it’s nice to just run screaming to the coast or the countryside and see some open space. I like to not have to add up how much I’m spending on Ubers.

UO: If I could be anywhere in the world right now it would be…
Daisy: Somewhere in the Pacific, the Cook Islands or French Polynesia, lounging on a quiet beach, sipping on a cocktail under a palm tree natch. Somewhere I could have a few adventures but ultimately chill.
Leah: L.A for sure. I’m planning a trip at the moment and it’s all I can think about. It’s my dream place. Sunshine city with beaches, hills and forests, what’s not to love. They’re totally on point with living a balanced lifestyle there too; yoga, surfing, good food, meditation and cacao ceremonies in the day and party, party, party all night, perfect.

Macajacks Recipe


 1⁄2 cup roughly chopped almonds

1 heaped cup dates – soaked

1⁄2 cups oats (we use gluten-free sprouted)
1⁄4 cup golden linseed

3 TBSP maca

2 TBSP hemp seeds

3 TBSP raw buckwheat

1⁄4 cup almond or peanut butter

1/3 cup date syrup or maple syrup


Roughly chop your almonds – we use a food processor for ease. Chuck almonds into a large mixing bowl and add in the rest of your seeds and oats – set to one side.

Soak dates for 15-25 minutes. When they are nice and soggy, process in your food processor (if you don’t have one then just mash the dates up in a bowl with a fork until they as mushy as possible).

Add your dates to your mixing bowl.

Heat a pan of water with a bowl sitting on top of the pan – add your almond or peanut butter and date syrup to the bowl and gently warm – stir until mixed together.

Pour your mixture over the oats and mix all together thoroughly with your hands (use gloves for no mess). Make sure all oats and seeds are covered – the mixture should stick together nicely.

Transfer into an 8×8 inch dish lined with baking paper and flatten mixture down – we place baking paper on top and use something heavy to squash the mixture down. This will help prevent them from crumbling.

Place in fridge for 30 mins, chop into 10 bars and enjoy!