Gluten Free Celebration Cake Kit

Firstly a big thank you to the team at Delicious Alchemy for being able to preview this product before it hit the shelves 😀 and apologies for my poor letter writing 😂

 

It is rather special when you get asked to preview a product. So I did my best to follow the instructions……almost…..😀😀😀

There is always time to adapt something and food is just food, butter is butter and it comes in many guises 😀😀

Once the package arrived I opened up and there inside were 4 packets 1) the chocolate cake mix – 2) the chocolate icing and 3) the icing and finally 4) the coloured sprinkles. Now this cake can be made dairy free and by using egg replacer products, but I don’t have any to hand…so this is most definitely just gluten free.

First up with the instructions is to Preheat the oven to 160c fan assisted oven, Gas 4, 180c and line 2 x 8″ cake tins.  Take your cake mix sachet and pour into a bowl (I used my stand mixer, but you can use a hand-held electric whisk) with your measured amount of soft butter, water and eggs. Beat for a few seconds, scrape down and beat again for a few more short seconds. Scrape into your 2 cake tins. !! Now. Important notice!! This is a very thick mix and it’s important to smooth your tops down …. Once cooking takes place they do not even out much. Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes. Remove and cool before taking out the tins.

Whilst cooking prepare the filling. And here I made a little change to the advertised programme…… I took my measured amount of butter – peanut butter – and poured in the chocolate icing mix, I needed to mix in a little milk to soften the mix up, but it worked perfectly.

 

Once cooled, use a couple of tablespoons of the icing to sandwich the cakes together, then finish off the icing to cover the top and sides. Smooth down or leave rough and ready. Now at this point I sprinkled my sprinkles 😀

Taking the letter writing icing, mix as required and pour back into the bag to letter ice your cake…..waaaay better than me.

Slice and enjoy.

If I was to make this again I would try and bake the cake in 2 x 7″ cake tins, it would make the cake a little deeper. Yes this would reduce the amount it serves, but it would be a larger slice, I do like a large slice 😀 I’d also look at adding a different filling or adding in another filling as well, like jam.

As for the icing I wouldn’t use the bag the icing sugar came in. I would use one of my disposable icing bags with a writing tip in for accuracy. Cutting a bag can be a little hit and miss…unless the makers can put a little line on the corner of the bag as to where to cut it, or in order to get the right size for piping.

In conclusion, the cake was very easy to make. If you are in a hurry this cake can be whizzed together in a couple of hours if you are pushed. And with any luck you’ll ice the cake better than me….it’s not my strong point 😀😀😀 and if you need to buy one… click here to order from Tesco 😀

 

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Gluten Free Chocolate And Peanut Butter Biscuits

Gluten free biscuits are a bit of a nemesis when it comes to gluten free baking.

There is a little outside-the-boxing thinking required.

‘Normal’ biscuits are held together with gluten, simple. But just look at the makes up of gluten free flour and you’ll notice that there really isn’t anything there to do this. Now in some instances – mostly I have found with sponge cakes – you can just about get away with swopping out gluten free flour for normal flour. But with biscuits, that is not the case, in my humble opinion. Simply swopping out with gluten free flour gives you a puddle (once baked) on a tray, of cooked dough. Your cut cookies merge into one large piece of something…..

Some would say that adding xanthum gum is the way forward, but there are several arguments about the long-term effects on the body that this can cause. You can read that for yourself as I am not knowledgeable in those scientific matters. For me adding too much, can actually alter the taste, so I just add it to pastry, sparingly.

So thinking outside the box, what do you add? I simple terms, I know that my shortbread biscuits are pretty crispy, they have a ‘snap’. So by keeping to this relatively easy recipe a few tweaks and you have the basis for a gluten free biscuit.

So whilst the Country surges ahead with biscuits, as seen on the new series of ‘The Great British Bake Off’, some of us would rather buy a packet of gluten free biscuits from the supermarket! I on the other hand struggle and strive to create something nice and edible, which I think I have found here 😀

And this was my second try at this……Dear author of a well-known bakery (2 books) in London take note….you cannot simply swop ingredients to create something for everyone. Instinctively I knew it wasn’t going to work, but I had to give it a shot. Wont be doing that again!

Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180c/165c fan and line 2 – 3 trays (dependant on size of tray) with greaseproof paper.

This receive will make about 20 single biscuits, or in the case 10 biscuits sandwiches.

  • 50g soft butter
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 90g Rice Flour
  • 70g cornflour
  • 40g extra caster sugar

Filling;

  • 90g melted chocolate
  • 50g peanut butter – smooth or crunchy
  • 20g more of soft butter
  • 100g icing sugar

To make the biscuits, beat the sugar and butter with an electric hand-held whisk until it comes together and is light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk. Sieve in the 2 flours and beat until combined. Now you may find this ends up as ‘breadcrumbs’, which is fine, just stop with the whisk and get your hands dirty and bring the mix together to form a dough. It will feel a little dry, but it’ll work.

With the dough break of small pieces, roughly 15-20g each, roll into a ball and place on your trays roughly 5cm apart. Once you have used up all the dough, dip the base of a small glass into the extra caster sugar and then press down on the balls of dough to slightly flatten them into biscuits. If they do stick, release them from the glass using a butter knife.

Bake in the oven for about 9-12 minutes, there should be little or no browning. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely, before removing from the tray and placing onto your cooling rack.

To make the filling, which is rather fudge like – you are not going to be able to pipe this.

Beat the butters together, then beat in the icing sugar and pour in the melted chocolate. You should have som thing resembling fine breadcrumbs, but you need to then bring this together with your hands to form a ball.  From this, roll small balls of fillings, roughly 20g each, and use to sandwich between 2 biscuits. Repeat until you have filled all the biscuits.

Cover or serve.  They should last 2 – 3 days, if they haven’t all been eaten first.

Gluten Free Strawberry Sunset Cake

As the summer school holidays draw to a close for another year, autumn draws near, the sunset of the year draws in.

The Cake….

It’s a 7″ sponge cake with a cheesecake filling wrapped in buttercream.

Start with the cheesecake filling the day before, to allow for it to cool properly.

Line a 7″ cake tin with enough greaseproof paper to come up the sides. You’ll find that if you scrunch up the paper before lining, it will line better. Preheat the oven to Gas 6/180c fan.

  • 280g cream cheese
  • 90ml double cream
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 25g cornflour
  • 80g chopped strawberries
  • 1 egg

Whisk together all of the ingredients until well combined and pour into the lined tin. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to Gas 1/2 or 120c fan for a further 25 minutes. Then switch the oven off, and leave it to cool in the oven for about an hour. Remove from the oven, ensure it’s cool and at room temperature before removing from the tin, covering and putting in the fridge to firm up and set.

For the sponge cake then,

Preheat the oven to Gas 4′ 175c, 160c fan and line 2 x 7″ cake tins.

To make this simple, make it as an all-in-one and beat well for several minutes to get as much air in as you can –

  • 210g soft butter
  • 190g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 190g gluten free self raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 90g chopped strawberries
  • a pinch of red food colour (optional)
  • 40ml milk

Pour into your prepared cake tins and bake for about 25 – 30 minutes. Or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool before removing from the cake tins and cooling completely before filling and icing.

To finish with buttercream;

 

Beat the butter until light and fluffy, mix in the icing sugar a bit at a time, to avoid a dust cloud. Then beat (using a hand-held whisk or table top mixer) until light and fluffy. Once you have sandwiched the cake together with the cheesecake in the middle, lightly cover the cake in the ‘cake crumb’ buttercream – to aid the final spread – and leave to set in the fridge for about an hour. With the remaining buttercream, colour roughly a third with red colour and mix well.

Once the cake crumb surface has set, layer on the red buttercream on the bottom half of the cake, then layer on the plain colour buttercream on the top half and surface of the cake, smooth out and decorate with more strawberries.

Gluten Free Chocolate and Raspberry Torte

Before we all get side tracked into watching the new series of the Great British Bake Off and perhaps going a little off-piste with our baking, a little Torte to share with you.

The lovely people at Food Thoughts sent me a tub of their Natural Cacao Powder for baking, it’s also a Fairtrade product. Considered a natural and healthy product, with this much sugar in the recipe it might not be….but perhaps there is room to develop a healthier version? Ummmmm that’ll get me thinking.

If you can leave the Torte unsliced overnight, or for a few hours, the juice from the raspberries will seep out into the Torte and make it even more moist. If you can’t wait that long, a spoonful of half fat, creme fraiche or yoghurt (keeping it healthy) or a dollop of cream will do no harm either.

Relatively easy to make, you’ll need a couple of mixing bowls, one larger than the other, and pre heat the oven Gas 2, 160c, 155c fan. Line an 8″ deep cake tin, base and sides, with greaseproof.

5 eggs – separated

200g caster sugar

160g ground almonds

40g Food Thoughts Cacao Powder 

1 teaspoon Almond essence

100g fresh raspberries

Mix the ground almonds and cacao together and put to one side.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks, using a stand mixer or electric hand-held whisk. Then pour in 50g of the caster sugar and continue to whisk until you have a soft sheen – not too dissimilar to making a meringue. This is where you get the air into the cake, so ensure you use fresh eggs and don’t rush this bit.

Using the same beaters (saving on washing up and it makes little or no difference) and in another larger bowl, beat the egg yolks, remaining 150g of sugar and the Almond essence until light in colour, roughly 50% more in volume and the mix thickens to get that ‘ribbon stage’ – if you pull the whisk out, it leaves a ribbon. Pour into this the almonds and cacao mix and mix well. This will be a stiff paste.

Fold into this a third of the meringue mix, this first third will lose some of the volume, but it’s important to mix well to loosen up the yolk and Almond mix and ensure any pockets of egg whites are dispersed. Fold in the next third, folding gently so as not to knock out the air. Fold in the final third, folding slowly and ensuring all the paste is evenly mixed.

Pour into your prepared cake tin and gently push the raspberries into the top of the mix. There is no need to push them fully down, just enough as you can see in the photo, they don’t sink. But don’t need to.

Bake for 40 – 45 mins.  An inserted skewer will come out with a little of the finished Torte, so you will need to judge for yourself how much is too much cake (on the skewer).

 

Gluten Free Strawberry and Rhubard Frangipane

There are just so many strawberries around at the moment and besides making jam with them, eating them plain (with a bit of cream!), why not make a lovely refreshing frangipani tart with the last few odd squishy ones at the bottom of the punnet. You could of course make just a strawberry one, but in the spirit of balance, I mushed up a few strands of stewed rhubarb we had knocking around in the freezer.. as you do!!

And here is yet another chance to practise your gluten free pastry making skills, I do like to help.

First to make the pastry to line an 8″ fluted flan dish; Which you will be required to bake blind later on.

  • 200g gluten free plain flour
  • 110g cold diced butter
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of xanthum gun
  • 1 egg yolk
  • about 30ml of cold water to bind

I used a food processor to mix the flour, x gum and butter into fine breadcrumbs, you can of course use your finger to rub to the same stage. It does help though if you have cool/cold fingers though. Add in the egg yolk and sugar and stir to mix then add in the cold water a bit at a time until the mix comes together to form a dough. You can get away with the dough being a little on the sticky side as the flour will soak up some of this as you work it and as it rests.  Roll into a ball, cover in film and pop in the fridge to rest, for at least 30 minutes.

You’ll then need;

  • 120g strawberries crushed with the back of a fork – drained and juice retained plus a few extra for decoration if required)
  • 80g stewed rhubarb (you can use from a tin if you don’t have any to hand) – drained and juice retained
  • 100g Soft butter
  • 100g Caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon almond essence (optional)

Whilst the pastry dough is resting you can make the frangipane;

Beat the soft butter and the sugar until white, light and fluffy then beat in the eggs one at a time.  Add in some of the ground almonds if it begins to curdle. Finally fold in the rest of the ground almonds and the optional essence.  Leave to one side.

Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180c, 170 fan

Once the pasty has rested, remove from the fridge and knead a little to bring it back to life, before rolling the pastry out to around 3mm thick and the size of the pasty tin.  Line the pastry tin, gently press into the edges,.  Leave the pastry hanging over the edges to allow for some further shrinkage.  Place in a sheet of greaseproof and cover with baking beans, then bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven, remove the beans and greaseproof – take care it’ll be hot – and return to the oven for a about another 8 minutes, or until the surface has dried out and has a gentle bronze colouring. Remove from the oven and cool a little.  Once cooled and then carefully using a knife, cut the excess pastry from around the top of the flan. Follow the top of the case/tin and trim back so that you can see the flan rim underneath.  Brush out any crumbs that fall into the case.

Mix the crushed strawberries and rhubarb and line the base of the tart and gently cover with the frangipane – spreading carefully across the tart to the edge of the pastry case, but try not to cover it.

Pop back in the oven for around a further 30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool.

Serve warm or cold, decorated or not.

I covered mine with some glace icing made with the juice of the strawberries and rhubarb and brushed over the warm surface of the tart, a little meringue and some strawberries dipped in chocolate – plus extra for guests…

 

 

No Gluten Chocolate Caramel Cake

Wow! Who knew you could make a cake from a jar of chocolate spread! Mr Cadbury has done it again with not just a jar of fancy spread for your toast, but a spread to replace (ish) the normal addition of sugar..

This won’t take long to make and it’s incredibly moist.

Line 8″ (20cm) deep, round loose bottomed cake tin with greaseproof and pre heat the oven to Gas 4/180c/160 fan.

  • 1 x 400g jar of Cadbury Caramel Spread
  • 80g soft butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 70g ground almonds
  • 60g gluten free self raising flour
  • 1/2 level teaspoon gf baking powder
  • 20g cocoa
  • 80g melted milk chocolate

Beat the butter, 200g of the chocolate spread until well mixed. Then beat in the eggs one at a time and then mix in the gluten free flour, ground almonds, cocoa and baking powder.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes and leave to cool before removing from the tin.

To cover, pour the melted chocolate into the remaining 200g of spread and mix well, leave too cool and set a little before spreading over the cake and allow too cool.

Decorate as you feel.

This will also make a fantastic traybake, using a small brownie tin (roughly 28cm x 20cm). It’ll take about 20mins to cook.

Gluten free ‘Double Decker’ Bars

Thank you Mr Cadbury for the inspiration for this one. It’s not as difficult as one would first think. But it goes to show that everyone should be able to have anything available – with a little bit of though any one can.

Converting this to gluten free wasn’t  that difficult, after all it’s just the Krispies that needed changing and good old Cereal Partners Nestles’ Go Free ‘Rice Pops’ are now widely available.

The technical bit was the nougat. Too much sugar boiling and it’ll be tough as toffee, not enough sugar boiling and it would be sloppy. Top that with the right balance of liquid glucose and there is a disaster in the making.

For the nougat I must thank Martin Wishart for the inspiration for the recipe, I have adapted his recipe from GreatBritishChefs.com

Have faith, have confidence and the chocolate bar will turn out brilliant and everyone can enjoy the taste of the high street.

If you have them, you’ll need 2 small brownie pans, one to set the Rice Pops in, the other the nougat. You’ll also need a bit of time for this one. I made this overnight – making and setting the rice pops and cooling the nougat in the evening and covering with chocolate in the morning. It’s not a rush job by any means and it’s a bit messy 😀😀

Prepare 1 of the trays (roughly 28cm x 20cm) by lining it with cling film, line the other with greaseproof. You will need another sheet of each, but we’ll come to that.

There is actually no baking required here!

For the Chocolate Rice Pops;

  • 180g melted chocolate (I used milk chocolate)
  • 150g Nestle Cereal Partners Rice Pops

For the nougat;

  • 420g caster sugar
  • c100ml water
  • 110g liquid glucose (I used Dr Oetker)
  • 80g runny honey (it gives a little colour to the nougat)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

To cover in chocolate;

  • Approx 400g melted chocolate

Start by mixing the rice Pops and melted Chocolate, pour into your first prepared tray with cling film and squash into the corners and press as flat as you can. By using your 2nd sheet of film, press down the rice Pops firmly so that they compact well. Remember the finished product, you need it firm, crispy and ‘tight’ (for want of a better word!). Put this to one side to cool and set.

Next the nougat.

Have all the ingredients ready to hand and a sugar thermometer a must have here I’m afraid.

  1. 400g of the sugar and the liquid glucose in a large straight-edged saucepan – remember the sugar will boil, so it needs to withstand the heat and the sugar boiling up the sides – covered with the water – which should just cover the sugar. Have a pastry brush to hand also in a cup of hot water.
  2. Have the egg whites in a mixing bowl ready to whisk and the remaining 20g and of caster sugar – to make a soft meringue.
  3. have the honey ready and weighed in a small bowl
  4. and the essence ready to pour in.

So bring the sugar in the pan (with the sugar thermometer in) to a gentle boil and allow to boil until it reaches 135c. You will need to keep your eye on this – But don’t stir the pan – if the sugar solution starts to stick to the sides of the pan, brush away with the pastry brush in hot water – it’ll stop any sugar crystals forming in the nougat.

Just before the temperature hits 135c – once it gets about 125c it won’t take long – switch on the whisk to whisk the egg whites to soft peaks.

Add the honey to the sugar solution, by drizzling around the pan and leave this to then reach 145c.

Add the remaining 20g of caster sugar to the egg white and whisk till firm peaks – a la meringue. The sugar solution should now have reached 145c.

Now this is easier with a table top whisk, but if you haven’t, take great care, as the sugar solution if very hot. So with the whisk turned down to half or low speed, slowly pour the sugar solution down the side of the bowl and continue to whisk until all the solution has been poured in.  Then turn up the speed to full and continue to whisk for about 5  – 6 minutes. The nougat will start to thicken and cool a little.

Once done switch off the machine and scrap the nougat into the 2nd prepared pan. You’ll need to work a little fast here and ensure the nougat is all in the pan before you then cover with the 2nd sheet of greaseproof and squash the nougat into the corners, firmly using the back of a spoon to flatten the surface of the nougat. You can quickly remove the covered nougat from the pan and roll flat with a rolling pin,  ensuring you return the nougat to the pan to set.

Then leave the nougat to completely cool before assembling and covering in chocolate.

Once everything is cold, peel the greaseproof off the nougat and the cling film from the gluten free rice pops.

Place the rice pops on the nougat and trim any loose overlapping edges so that you have 4 straight and even sides. Then cut into bars. I cut mine into 15, but you could easily make these a little smaller. Just remember the next stage of covering in melted chocolate..

Once you have you second batch of melted chocolate ready, lift up each bar with a fork, hold over the chocolate and cover all sides using a spoon. The chocolate will hold the nougat and the rice pops in place, once the chocolate has set. Place the covered bars onto a wire rack to cool and set.

Great for any party or get together.