Gluten Free Chocolate and Black Cherry Cupcakes

A little joyous seasonal goodwill to all

Well I never!! Could this nearly be the stuff of dreams??? Those good people over at Sugar and Crumbs do seem to put some great flavoured icing sugars together!  This Black Cherry flavoured icing sugar brings a whole new life to any cupcakes. And no they didn’t give me the ingredients, I actually bought this flavour at the recent Cake and Bake Show at Event City near Manchester.

The range is fantastic and can be used to swop out traditional caster sugar in cupcakes and sponges, but also to swop out icing sugar in macrons and buttercream for example – see their website for further details – http://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk

I also used Food Thoughts cocoa – because I find it tastes better.  This is available in Sainsbury’s and is making a show in some Waitrose stores.

Preheat the oven the gas 4, 180c, 160c fan and line a 12 hole cupcake tray with cases.

The keen-eyed may notice that I have reduced the amounts of ingredients used for 12 cupcakes. Well done and very observant, mainly to have a more balanced eat, but also to potentially reduce costs.  There is also no need to look at a filling for these either, there is enough taste per bite 🙂

  • 110g soft butter
  • 50g Sugar and Crumbs Black Cherry Icing Sugar
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 30g Food Thoughts Cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 90g gluten free self raising flour
  • splash of milk

Beat the butter and sugars until they are light and fluffy, beat in the eggs one at a time until fully beaten in. Then tip in the dry ingredients, stir in well to create and lovely mixture.  You may need to add a splash of milk at this stage if the mixture feels a little ‘heavy’.

Evenly fill the cupcake cases, then bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool before removing the cupcakes from the tin and transferring to a wire rack before piping.

For the buttercream;

  • 110g soft butter
  • 40g Food Thoughts Cocoa
  • 80g Sugar and Crumbs Black Cherry Icing
  • 80g Icing Sugar
  • splash of milk

Beat the butter (I used a hand-held electric whisk – for both the batter mix and the buttercream) until light and fluffy.  Stir in the sugars to combine with the butter before finishing with the electric whisk. |Overall, roughly 5 minutes of beating should give you a light and fluffy buttercream. You may need to add the splash of milk to get a lovely smooth, pipeable mixture.

The thing with the Sugar and Crumbs Icing is that you could use the full amount of icing to butter ration, in a buttercream mix.  It al depends on how flavoured you like you mix.  I prefer a light, subtle flavour, rather than the full on hit.  You are free to flavour as you so wish.  With less flavoured icing in the recipe you are able to make it go further.

Pipe onto your cooled cupcakes and decorate as you see fit.  I used these without gluten Christmas Sprinkles.

 

 

 

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Gluten free Sticky Pumpkin Spiced Cake

My secret love affair with pumpkin spice continues.  Who knew there was an actual spice that is based around a pumpkin!?  It really does add an extra element to a cake or bake. It’s not just for coffee.

This is a variation on a theme. Gingerbread cake meets sticky toffee pudding. Sticky Pumpkin Pie Spiced Cake. I guess you could even have this as a pudding if you thought about it enough…….

This one requires a little planning and forethought.

Preheat the oven to gas 3, 170c, 150c fan and line 2 x 7” cake tins.

250g stoned and chopped dates

250ml water

90g butter

90g soft brown sugar

90g Black treacle

90g golden Syrup

1 egg

100ml milk – I used semi skimmed

225g gluten free self raising flour

2 teaspoons pumpkin spice

Stage 1 – place the chopped dates and water into a pan, bring to a gentle boil, heat for a minute, then switch off and leave to cool. This could take around 15 minutes.

Stage 2 – in another pan – heat gently the sugar, butter, syrup and treacle until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Leave this too cool, again for around 15 minutes.  If these last two stages are too hot, the egg mix will scramble before it’s had a chance to even cook in the oven.

Stage 3 – whisk the egg and milk and set to one side.

Stage 4 – sift together the gluten free flour and the spice.

Stage 5 – once everything is in place and done and cool enough, add the egg mix to the date mix. Add this then to the sugar and butter mix and stir well.  Finally fold in the flour mix. Stir until everything is completely mixed in.

Pour the mix into the 2 tins and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until an inserted  skewer comes out relatively clean, with some crumb attached. The remaining heat will finish the cooking off. Leave to cool in the tins, before removing to fill.

For the filling;

130g soft butter

260g icing sugar

30ml milk (optional)

100ml caramel sauce

Beat the butter until light and fluffy, stir in the icing sugar, milk and 80ml of the caramel sauce. Beat further (I used a hand electric whisk) until you have a piping consistency.

Fill and decorate as you desire and drizzle the final 20ml of sauce over the cake to finish.

Gluten Free Spiced Pecan Cupcakes

Apologies for the slight delay in the latest recipe.  Its been a busy couple of weeks with the day job and with visiting grandparents. All very welcome of course and thanks for coming.

Now I thought that I had heard the last of the pumpkin spice. But oh no! it seems we have been enjoying it too much to put it away for another year! The best bit of course is that if you make a little extra of the pecan praline…… you have something else to enjoy as well as a topping for the cupcake! A little amuse bouche…

To start with make the pecan praline so that it cools enough for you to then break up (smash) and use as sprinkles.

  • 150g caster sugar
  • 50g crushed pecans

Firstly, line a small baking tray with greaseproof paper,

Then, in a heavy bottomed saucepan melt the caster sugar over a medium heat. Do not stir with a spoon or add water, just let the heat do the work through the pan and dissolve the sugar. You may need to, at times, remove then replace the pan onto the heat so that the sugar does not burn.  The sugar will quickly turn into caramel, so do not leave its side. If you are in doubt for the colour, smell it. Turning to caramel you will be able to smell when its right. Rich and sweet.  Watch it like a hawk though, as if it goes to far, you’ll end up with bitter and burn praline.  Or just start again.

Once you have the correct colour – no more than 5 minutes – tip in the pecans and remove from the heat, stir to cover the pecans then with a spatula pour onto the greaseproof paper and leave to cool.

For the cupcakes, preheat the oven to Gas 4, 180c, 160c fan and line a 12 hole cupcake tray with cases of your choice. I tend to use Wilton ones.

  • 115g soft butter
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g gluten free self raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, beat in the eggs one at a time – until well beaten and combined. Sprinkle in the gluten free flour and spice and stir to combine. Ensuring no lumps and the flour is mixed through.

Bake in the oven for about 20 – 15 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool before removing from the tray and placing on a wire rack prior to icing.

For the buttercream icing;

  • 110g soft butter
  • 200g icing sugar
  • splash of milk
  • drizzle of maple sauce

Beat the butter until light and fluffy, stir in the icing sugar and milk before beating further to insure a good piping consistency and the mix retains its fluffy consistency.

Once the cupcakes are cooled, pipe on the buttercream, sprinkle over with the pecan praline and drizzle with the maple sauce if you so wish.

 

 

Gluten free Blackcurrant and Lemon Tart

A new baking tin 😀

 

Sad though that maybe, it is rather exciting when you buy a new baking tin. Especially when you realise that you have no idea of what to bake in it! I knew I wanted a long fluted tart tin, but had no idea what for. Some folk may read a recipe book that calls for such a tin, but I tend to work the other way.

At roughly 13” long by 5” wide, the other issue was that not having a recipe I would have to create one! So a tart tin = pastry, but how much? And then how much filling to use and make? My dear readers I suffer in my art for you to have a stress free bake 😀😀

And a slightly new adaptation of gluten free pastry to boot! 😀😀

Pre heat the oven to gas 5, 190c, 180c fan and place a long baking sheet in the oven – if you have one.

For the pastry;

300g gluten free plain flour

170g cold diced butter

3/4 teaspoon xanthum gum (or alternative gluten free binder)

50g Caster sugar

cold milk to bind.

Either rub the butter into the flour and xanthum gum until you have some fine breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar and pour in 30ml of cold milk to start with and bring the pastry together to form a dough. If this isn’t enough milk add a bit more. Being gluten free flour I have found that even if the dough is a little sticky it will get absorbed. Alternatively you can place the flour, butter, sugar, gum into a food processor and blend the lot for a few seconds to get the fine breadcrumbs. Tip this into a bowl then add the milk to get the same dough result.

Bring the dough together on a bench and ‘knead’ to obtain a smooth dough. Roughly shape into a small rectangle – like the tin – and gently roll out to fit the tin. Now this is quite a bit of pastry and I found that the thickness of the pastry matters, in order to keep its strength. So roll out to around 4/5mm thick. Line the cake tin gently, ensuring you gently push the pastry into all the corners and edges. The pastry will easily fix if it tears. The length of the tin does require a little patience in lining, but it’s worth the effort. Prick the base as it needs baking blind before adding the filling.

Line the pastry with a sheet greaseproof paper, then baking beans and place in the oven for about 20 minutes, then remove from the oven, remove the beans and paper and return to the oven for a further 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.

 

Reduce the oven temperature to gas 4, 170c, 150c fan.

For the filling;

1 tin of my favourite Blackcurrant pie filling (or just jam)

140g soft butter

140g Caster sugar

2 eggs

90g ground almonds

50g gluten free self raising flour

zest and juice of 1 lemon

40g chopped almonds to decorate

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the almonds, lemon zest, juice and flour until fully combined.

Line the cooked pastry with the pie filling or jam, then gently cover with the frangipane. Sprinkle with the nuts and place back into the oven to finish. Bake for a further 40-45 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool a little before slicing.