Rhubarb time! Spring IS around the corner

At last! The ‘Beast from the East’ is, for now, being blown away across the Atlantic and we can finally welcome in the fresh, green (and pink)  shoots of new beginnings for 2018.

The sun is currently shining and for us at least, the snow has melted away.  We continue to strive to provide a good base from which Noah and his sister can grow and experience. With recent pressures on the NHS we are still waiting for his annual blood test – we can wait, he isn’t going anywhere and there are no over-riding concerns for him. He eats and he continues to grow.  The annual check up is certainly re-assuring though, as it confirms to us that he and us are going about his dietary needs in the right way.  I might bang on about cakes, but the neighbours do fairly well from the extra abundance of our baking exploits and trials.  The tribulations go in the bin

And so a little taste of Spring to brighten up you dinner/lunch table, a little piece of comfort food that will go down just as easily on its own, with cream, sour cream or a dollop of custard – the choice is yours.

Preheat your oven to Gas 3, 170c, 150c fan and line an 8″ round, deep cake tin.

For the cake;

  • 3 eggs
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 60g light brown sugar
  • 150g melted butter
  • 60ml sour cream
  • 150g gluten free self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 220g chopped (Yorkshire) fresh rhubarb

For the crumble;

  • 70g Rice flour
  • 15g cornflour
  • 20g gluten free oats
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 50g butter

Make the crumble first by putting all the ingredients into a bowl and rubbing the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a mix that looks like breadcrumbs. Alternatively place all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz for a few seconds to get the same desired effect, put finished product to one side.

For the sponge cake, again place all the ingredients into a large enough bowl and using a hand-held electric whisk, whisk altogether for a 4/5 minutes.  The mixture will become light and fluffy and thicken as you whisk.

Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth flat, scatter the chopped rhubarb, evenly over the surface of the cake, then scatter over the crumble mix.

Place into the oven and bake for 40- 50 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.  Leave to cool in the tin, before turning out.

You could serve this warm and or cold, allow to cool a little though to let the crumble topping become crispy.

Further options – you could of course use ginger instead of cinnamon, you could add some strawberries as well as the rhubarb – keep the quantities roughly the same for the fruit though.




Gluten Free Neapolitan Cake

This is a wonderful cake to surprise anyone, especially someone special for Mothers Day. Let us also celebrate those mothers who for what ever reason, are no longer with us, I’m sure they would want us to celebrate their lives and what they meant to us. This wonderfully moist cake can of course be used as a celebration cake any time of the year.

Otherwise known as a Neapolitan Cake, I have added into this my own gluten free twists and you can of course decorate this in what ever way takes your fancy. I used some of the freeze-dried strawberries (I got mine from Sainsbury’s) I used in the cake and some rather lush Godiva Dark Chocolate Hearts from their ‘Masterpiece’ range…. yum. Despite saying ‘may contain’, use your own dietary requirements to include or not. Noah won’t eat them – so his mum will love them, I’m sure.

You’ll need 3 x 7″ cake tins with loose bases, lined and preheat the oven to Gas 4, 170c, 160c fan. If you only have 2 cake tins (as I have) make and bake the vanilla and strawberry cakes first, then once one of these at least, has cooled. Remove it from the tin, place the cake on a wire rack, then make and bake the chocolate cake.

I found that if you make them in vanilla, strawberry and then chocolate order, you can get away with using only one mixing bowl without having to wash it up between batters.

The batter recipes and method are all relatively the same;

For the vanilla cake batter;

  • 2 eggs, broken into the mixing bowl
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 50g vegetable oil
  • 50g melted butter
  • 110g gluten free self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

For the strawberry cake batter;

  • 2 eggs
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 50g vegetable oil
  • 50g meted butter
  • 110g self raising flour
  • 1 drop of strawberry flavouring
  • 2 tablespoons of freeze-dried strawberry pieces

For the chocolate/mocha cake batter;

  • 2 eggs
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 50g vegetable oil
  • 50g melted butter
  • 1 tsp dried instant coffee, dissolved in 2 tablespoons of hot water (cool)
  • 20g cocoa
  • 90g gluten free self raising flour
  • 1/3 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 30g sour cream

For each individual batter, put all of the ingredients into a bowl and using a hand-held whisk, beat until light and fluffy – 5/6 minutes. Then pour each flavour batter into its own cake tin and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave them to cool.

For the filling and the buttercream;

  • 1 jar of strawberry jam – the filling
  • 40ml vodka (optional – I used Black Cow Vodka)
  • 200g very sift butter
  • 400g icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • splash of milk

Once the cakes have cooled, slice each cake horizontally in half.

Mix the jam with the vodka (optional)

In order to then build the cake place one half of the chocolate cake on you cake plate, spread with jam, then place the other half of the chocolate cake on top.  Spread jam on top of this, add a slice of the strawberry cake and jam mix, then top with the other strawberry cake, then jam and then repeat with the vanilla cake. Don’t put jam on the top vanilla cake.

To make the buttercream beat the soft butter until light and fluffy using your hand-held whisk, or table top mixer. Pour in the icing sugar, essence, and milk stir in, using a spoon to avoid the dust cloud, then finish off by beating the mix for another 4/5 minutes until the mix is smooth and well combined.

Spread a small amount (roughly a third) of the buttercream all over the cake to seal in the cake crumb and place in the fridge to firm up – at least an hour – then finish off smoothing with the rest of the buttercream to create the all over smooth finish.

To finish off, decorate with your own choice of confectionary.