Blog’s Happy 2nd Birthday

This April 2017 sees my little blog celebrate its 2nd birthday.

It all began with Noah and without repeating the story, we found little in the way of tasty gluten free cakes and bakes after Noah was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease. Taste and price was not great – with price most certainly not changing, but variety certainly has.

In this time the gluten free cake and bake availability has increased and the amount of gluten free sources of information on the internet steadily increases too.

For me though, its all about variety. The versatility of gluten free baking shows no sign of abating and it is only me that holds back on what to create next. That and time. It’s never on anyone’s side, but juggling work and family life with the blog, isn’t easy. I’d dearly love to post more often and try even more different things. I think that’s another reason as to why the cakes and bakes are relatively easy, if I don’t have much time, there’d be others out there in the same state.

I originally set out to create recipes that were accessible for everyone, recipes that were relatively easy to make. Looking at ‘normal’ cakes and bakes and seeing if I could convert them for those on a gluten free diet/lifestyle and foods that Noah might (a big Might 😀) eat and enjoy.  It hasn’t been easy, some recipes convert relatively easily, some just need a little more work.  Trying different flour combinations, using less butter, or less/more eggs.  There have been many failures, but far out weighed are the successes, gluten free baking is not as difficult as some make out.

To those that continue to read the postings and recipes, thank you. To those that ‘like’ and comment thank you again, so I’ve baked you a little cake, it’s a Gluten Free Caramel Cake adorned with lollipops – not a crumb of gluten in sight. Enjoy 😀

I look to continue the recipe testing ( who doesn’t love a tasty disaster ), to continue taking part in challenges, both to myself and the ones on-line and on social media.

The blog gets all kinds of hits worldwide. From most of the ‘civilised’ western world and interestingly from the developing worlds. It always intrigues me, looking at the stats, I seem to have ‘lost’ out in Brazil over past months, only to be replaced by Indonesia! You are all welcome, thank you and keep sharing.

Happy Baking 😀😀

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Happy Gluten Free Easter

Happy Gluten Free Easter everyone.

So, time for something a little different. Something that takes a little longer than normal, but the cake is rich and moist. Well worth the extra effort of boiling the orange. I know! boiling an orange! Who’d have thought. Could it be a new way of getting one of your 5-a-day into your diet??

Sadly probably not.

Line and grease 2 x 7″ cake/sandwich tins.

Ingredients, for the cake;

  • 1 orange – boiled and puréed
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 180g gluten free self raising flour
  • 50g cocoa (I use Food Thoughts)
  • 80ml sunflower oil
  • 70ml milk

Ingredients for the Buttercream;

  • 180g soft butter
  • 360g icing sugar
  • orange flavouring
  • orange colouring (I use Rainbow Dust Gel)
  • Chocolate or other (or not) for decoration

Start off by cleaning the orange to remove any unwanted, wax or dirt. Then place the whole orange – pierced with a knife half a dozen times (so it doesn’t explode!) – into a pan of already boiling water. Boil carefully for about 30 minutes. Carefully remove from the pan and cool a little, before cutting into quarters and blending the orange until the orange is fully ‘blitzed’ and a lovely orange puree. Leave to fully cool, before adding to the cake mix.

Pre-heat your oven to gas 4/ 180c and line 2 x 7″ cakes tins.

Place all the cake ingredients, including the cooled orange puree, into a bowl and using a hand held electric whisk, beat altogether until you have a lovely rich, chocolatey batter.  Pour the batter equally between the 2 sandwich/cake tins and bake in the middle of the oven for about 25 – 30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Safely remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before running a butter knife around the edge of the tins and turning out onto a wire rack. Cool completely before filling.

To make the filling beat the butter until light and fluffy, then beat in the icing sugar (taking care initially to mix in the icing sugar with the butter to avoid the icing sugar dust cloud!). Beat until light and fluffy with a couple of drops of colour and flavour. I’d be careful about adding the orange puree into this mix as it may split.  You’re welcome to try though – let me know how you do.

Once you have the consistency you need, if its too thick to pipe, let it down a little with either a tablespoon or 3 of either boiling water or cold milk.

Using the piping bag, with nozzle of choice, pipe onto one of the cake rounds, place the other cake round on top, then finish with your piping.

Decorate with your chosen chocolate or decoration.

 

 

 

 

 

Gluten Free Simnel Cupcakes

Marzipan seems to be the latest theme for the recipes! And that can only be  a good thing.

These very simple flavoursome and moist cupcakes are very quick and easy to make.  The inclusion of cream cheese is a little departure for me, but it really works a treat. Plus I had some in the fridge so wondered what else I can do with it….

This makes 12 lovely cupcakes, so line your cupcake tin with cupcake cases and pre-heat the oven to Gas 3/ 160c.

Weigh out;

  • 90g soft butter
  • 60g full fat cream cheese
  • 130g light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 150g gluten free self raising flour
  • 200g mixed dried fruit
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 250g marzipan – rolled out and cut into 24 x 6cm rounds, to about 4mm thick.
  • Mini Eggs to decorate

Using a hand-held electric whisk, whisk the butter, cream cheese and sugar until fully combined. Then add in the eggs, one at a time to ensure they are mixed in well. Then lightly toss the dried fruit and the mixed spice together, before adding it to the egg mix and stirring it all together.

Then half fill the cupcakes cases with the batter, place a round of marzipan onto this, then top up with the remainder of the batter.

Cook for about 20 – 25 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Once cooked, placed the remaining marzipan rounds on top of the cooked cupcakes and allow to then cool, before removing from the tin onto a wire rack.

Once cooled you may wish to lightly singe the edges of the marzipan with a hand-held bakers blow torch to give a bit of colour. But please do take care not to burn anything – including you!

To finish, lightly push into the centre a mini egg.

 

 

Gluten Free Hot-Cross Cupcakes

A little different perhaps, but I tried making actual gluten free hot cross buns last year. It’s not that I have lost patience it’s just a matter of time and energy 😀

These are really quick and easy to make. Dare I say you could make them using the all-in-one recipe, but they wouldn’t be as light and fluffy. So I would urge you to use the following method.

Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180c and line a cupcake/muffin tray with 12 cases.

175g soft butter

80g caster sugar

80g light brown sugar

3 eggs

170g gluten free self raising flour

2/3rds teaspoon of mixed spice

80g sultanas

60g icing sugar to finish

Cream the butter and the sugars until light and fluffy, using an electric hand mixer, then beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a little flour along the way to stop the mix from curdling.

Add the sultanas to the rest of the flour and toss them to coat in flour. Then stir this and the mixed spice into the butter and egg mix. Stir to mix well.  Then divide the mix into the 12 empty cases. They will be a little fuller than normal as you are not putting a huge amount of buttercream on the top when they’re cooked.

Cook in the oven for about 18 – 22 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin before removing on to a wire rack.

Mix the icing sugar with some hot water until you have a thick paste, thick enough to pipe onto the cakes and leave to defined crosses. When piping, snip the end to the size of your cross, pipe one way across the cakes and then the other.

Leave the icing to set a little, before enjoying.

Marzipan Roulette

We don’t need an excuse to eat marzipan.

Perhaps putting some on top of a cupcake is a little extreme, after all why not just do away with the cupcake?!  But sometimes there’s a need to go that extra step and over indulge or just because you can.

There is no better way of over indulging with marzipan than a good bite or two of Niederegger Marzipan and because it’s Niederegger there’s a call for something a little extra in the mix.

Pre heat the oven to Gas 3/170c line a 12 muffin tray with your chosen colour cupcake cases. This makes 12 cupcakes but the small pack of Niederegger only has 8 marzipan bites…someone is going to be let down…..😀 and then it’s marzipan roulette…Coffee, Pineapple, Orange or Pistachio…or buy the bigger box….

For the cupcakes –

150g soft butter

150g caster sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons Almond essence

150g gluten free self raising flour

For the filling –

120g Raspberry Jam

For the buttercream –

100g soft butter

170g icing sugar

30g cocoa

4 tablespoons milk

4 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur

1 pack of Niederegger Marzipan Loaves

Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one by one, adding a spoon of flour to stop the mix from curdling. Mix in the essence and stir in the gluten free flour. Don’t over mix, otherwise you’ll take the air out of the mix and the finished cakes will be a little heavy.

Divide the mix between the 12 cases and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. Or until an inser.ted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin before removing and putting them on a wire rack.

Once cooled and using a cupcake corer, take out the middle of the cupcakes and fill with a teaspoon of the raspberry jam. Then make the chocolate buttercream.

Beat the butter until it’s light and fluffy, using an electric hand whisk, then carefully stir in the icing sugar and cocoa to avoid a dust cloud. Then beat again with the mixer until fully mixed, then beat in the milk and liqueur. Pipe onto the cupcakes and finish with the unwrapped marzipan loaves…or if you buy a larger box, you’ll have a spare one or two to ……

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Happy Mothers Day new and old

To all the lovely mums out there. You do an amazing job. ❤️

You are always there when you are needed and always there when we think better. You are always there because  if you weren’t there would have been hell to pay for.  You feel unappreciated and undervalued. Without you we wouldn’t get to school on time, without you ‘stuff’ wouldn’t get done.

You are everything and you are more.  To all the mums, you are loved and needed. It might take us until our adulthood to realise that or even when we have children of our own, but we very much appreciate you. Thank you ❤️

I do love a bit of developing recipes, and this seemed a great time to look at something different.

gluten-free-fig-and-pistachio-cake

Based around a carrot cake in method and baking this moist cake will make a great centre piece for Mothers Day and even for Easter. If you can make it a day or 2 in advance before topping – it will keep in a sealed container for 2 days – the flavour improves as the spice flavour comes out a little more.

Preheat the oven to gas 3/150c and line (base and sides) an 8″ round cake tin with a loose base.

For the cake –

  • 170g light brown sugar
  • 180ml sunflower oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 120g grated carrots
  • 80g chopped dried figs
  • 180g gluten free self raising flour
  • 75g shelled, broken pistachios
  • 2/3rds level teaspoon speculaas spice

For the topping –

  • 200g mascarpone cheese
  • 120g passion fruit curd (I use Mrs Darlington’s)
  • 4 fresh figs – each sliced into 6 pieces
  • 25g additional pistachios, crushed or broken up

To make the cake, whisk the oil, sugar and eggs until fully beaten and blended together. Stir in the chopped figs and carrot. Toss the broken nuts into the gluten free flour and spice and then stir into the cake mix.  It’ll be a bit runny, so take care when poring into the cake tin.  Bake in the middle of the oven for about  45 – 50 mins, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and cool in the tin before removing from the tin and remove the greaseproof paper from the cake.  Cool completely on a wire rack. If storing at this stage, pop in the sealed container. Otherwise carry on to top.

To make the topping, whisk the curd into the mascarpone and spread over the top of the cake, decorate with the fresh figs and scatter with the broken nuts.  Slice.

And before anyone asks – I am sadly not on commission from Mrs Darlington’s.  It is a local producer to me and they make a fantastic range of products – some of which are award-winning, they taste fantastic – it’s why I use them.  Just in case you were thinking 🙂

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The simple things in life – Pie

There are perhaps times when baking can get complicated.  Too many ingredients in a dish, where several less would give you something similar. Perhaps just for the sake of adding them or to be different. And half the time getting hold of some of the ingredients can be a bind. Don’t get me wrong complicated can be good, tasty and fabulous. But you can’t go wrong with a simple pie, simple pastry and a simple filling, baked simply and served with a dollop of custard. But even that could get complicated, if it wasn’t for ‘Birds’ 😀😀 This is only a 7″ plate pie, using a simple 7″ foil plate tin tray. Simple. Did I say it was simple? 😂

I’ve said before I do try to make these recipes easy enough for everyone to make, using foods that are ready-made.  There are times when need a challenge and I probably make it up as I go along. 😀

But for now a simple pie, using up some cooked apples I’ve had in the freezer for British Pie Week and my Twitter pals for the #TwitterBakeAlong.  Pie should be for everyone. Here is my gluten free Apple and Raspberry Pie.

If you don’t have some spare cooked Apple in the freezer….

Peel, core and chop 2 cooking apples and put in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Heat for about 7-8 minutes until the apples are soft. Put to one side to cool completely. Before putting it in the pie.

For the pastry;

– 200g gluten free plain flour (I used Dove Farm)

– 100g cold diced butter

1/3 teaspoon xanthum gum

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon of icing sugar

cold water to bind

couple of tablespoons of milk to finish and 2 tablespoons of caster sugar.

Raspberry jam (optional)

50g sultanas (optional)

Using a food processor blend the flour and the butter until fine breadcrumbs. Add in the egg yolk and sugar, mix, then add 5 – 8 tablespoons of cold water to bind. You can do this in the processor, but dependant on your machine, you may need to turn it out onto the surface and bring it together by hand into a soft firm dough. Wrap in cling film and pop in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to Gas 4 and 180c, and put a tray in the oven, so that you don’t get a soggy bottom!

Cut the dough into 2 pieces, 1 a little larger than the other. With the larger piece, roll out to the size of the pie dish and roughly the height of  a pound coin. Cover the base of the dish.

If you are feeling fancy spread the base of the dish with the jam and then cover with the cooled, cooked apple. Sprinkle on the sultanas if desired. Trim the pastry edges so it’s flush with the tin/tray and then brush the edges of the pastry, with milk.

Roll out the 2nd piece of dough to the same thickness and cover the pie. Press the edges together to seal the pie and trim again the edges of the pie lid. Crimp a little design to the rim of the pastry, cut 2 holes into the middle of the lid, brush with milk, sprinkle with the sugar.

Place onto the hot tray in the oven and bake until bronzed for about 20 – 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, and serve immediately with custard (or your choice of accompaniment). Or leave to cool and heat in the oven later. It should be good for a day. I’ve served the pie on a plate designed by my daughter at Emma Bridgewater.

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