Just one more rhubarb cake

I was going to follow the recent trend of Lemon and Elderflower cake baking and bake a gluten free version. It would make complete sense of course, what with a Royal Wedding and all, instead this one contains rhubarb. I am all for a Royal Wedding but could you get enough Lemon and Elderflower Cake from available cake outlet? Rhubarb is available  for what appears to be a very short while, I decided to make the best of this super versatile fruit/veg. With additional thanks to our lovely neighbour and her abundant allotment 😀😀 If you really wanted to, you could swop out the rhubarb for lemon curd instead. I kinda like the extra addition 😀😀 Plus I got the chance to make my own curd! Two versions in fact…… one was a bit runny, the second just about right.

Now it depends on how you like you curd. A bit tart, or a bit sweet? This one sits a bit on the sweet side, as I have stewed it with the addition of sugar and Elderflower cordial. When eaten with the cream cheese frosting we found it gave a very smooth eat. All the flavours in one mouthful 😀. This cream cheese frosting though……..😋😋😋😋

 

Firstly to make the curd (slightly adapted from a recipe from an Asda recipe) with some for additional baking or tasting.

Chop 500g of rhubarb and place into a suitably sized saucepan, with 100g caster sugar and 60ml Elderflower cordial and cook over a medium for approx 10 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft.

This next bit is easier with a hand blender, so blend away for a couple of minutes until you have a nice fruit purée. With no hand blender, push the stewed rhubarb through a fine sieve to break down the stringy bits of the rhubarb.

The purée should be cool enough or the next step;

3 eggs

40g cornflour

50g diced butter

Whisk the eggs and the cornflour together and whisk into the rhubarb purée and place into a clean saucepan and put in the butter.  Now for some patience. Warm gently over a low heat until lovely and thick. Using a suitable spoon stir continuously, you will notice the mixture thickens as the eggs cook out and the cornflour thickens. I also used a thermometer to ensure the temperature reached at least 75c. As the mix begins to thicken you may need to use a whisk so that you can blend out any lumps that may form. This could take about 10-15 minutes. Take care not to heat too quickly otherwise you will scramble the eggs. Once thickened, push once more through a sieve into a suitable bowl, to remove any lumps and leave to cool completely.

For the cake, pre heat the oven to Gas 3, 140c fan, 160c and line a 8” deep round cake tin. This is a one tin cake to slice into 3 once cooked and cooled.

5 large eggs

240g gluten free plain flour

zest of 2 lemons

220g caster sugar

240ml vegetable oil

Place all the ingredients into a mixing bowl (I use a stand mixer) and whisk on medium speed for about 4 minutes until the mixture is fully combined and is light and fluffy. Pour the whole batter into the prepared tin and bake long and slow for 60 – 70 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool before removing from the tin.

Once cool, slice the cake into 3 pieces – horizontally.

Then time to make the frosting.

200g cream cheese

300g icing sugar

120g soft butter

160ml Elderflower cordial

Beat the butter into the cream cheese for about 2 minutes, stir in the icing sugar and 40ml of cordial before beating until fully combined and you have a lovely velvety frosting.

To assemble – with the additional cordial

Place the 1st slice of cake on you stand and drizzle over the surface about 40ml of cordial and pipe some of the frosting around the rim of the cake and spread some of the curd into the middle of the cake slice. Place on the second slice and repeat. Place on the third slice of cake, drizzle over 40ml more of cordial and cover the top with the frosting.

If you can,  leave for about an hour or so, to let the cordial soak into the sponge before serving.

Store in the fridge for best results

 

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Rhubarb Rhubarb

Now this wasn’t the blog I originally wrote for this post.  That one was a little on the heavy-handed side with lots of finger-pointing and generally having a moan.  Life is too short to for that, so we’ll keep this as positive as we can….

Something new of recent years, is being asked about dietary requirements when (Noah is) attending a children’s birthday party. Naturally we respond accordingly and then also take our own food.  It’s just a lot easier to know Noah will be able to eat something and not ask questions – ‘have you got the packaging so I can check the ingredients?’. Invariably the packaging has been thrown out, meaning we have to miss out, as we have no idea what the ingredients are.  The trouble is for a 7-year-old, he just wants to fit in, he wants to be the same.  He doesn’t want to eat something wildly different, so when something different turns up – pizza delivery for example – he won’t eat his packed lunch. Understandable really.

And when it goes well? Its amazing. Our hearts do a little jump for joy, in fact it practically brings on tears.  Of course Noah will have absolutely no idea what is going on, he’s just joining in and being a 7-year-old. This has only happened twice (twice that we can remember with such an emotion).  The first time was actually a little contrived, as I had to swop out the items from a pre-made/put together lunch box and supplant with the packed lunch we had bought. To this day Noah still thinks it was specially made for him – and until he reads this, I’m not telling him. The second was at one of these soft play centres. They just made the decision to cook everything gluten free – at their expense – it was just so much easier than producing one gluten free meal and a dozen or so ‘ordinary’ meals. I don’t think the centre understood how much this meant to us as parents.  The relief that Noah could eat the same as everyone was almost too much. Noah (and us) were able to just enjoy the party.

To those of you that read this and have children or cater for children parties take heed – ask and think. It does really make a difference and in the long-term we have no idea what kind of physiological issues are at play.

So now for something of comfort, in what seems to be the verge of spring, just one step away from warmer climes…and this is an actual gluten free ‘crumble’ top 😀😀

Pre-heat the oven to gas 5, 190c, 175c fan

Chop the following into bite size chunks;

  • 250g rhubarb
  • 200g strawberries

and place into your round serving dish (I used a Pyrex dish)- roughly 20cm wide and 6cm deep then sprinkle with;

  • 50g caster sugar

Into your food mixer/blender (or you could use the tips of your fingers to get the breadcrumb effect);

  • 30g Gluten free plain flour
  • 150g Rice flour
  • 30g cornflour
  • 20g ground almonds
  • 20g gluten free oats
  • 150g butter – cut into small squares
  • 90g light brown sugar
  • 30g Demerara sugar

Blend all this together until you have fine breadcrumbs and tip onto the fruit.  Even out and place into the oven.  Bake for about 30 minutes until the surface is lovely and golden and the fruit is cooked. Cool a little before serving.

Eat with custard, cream or leave and enjoy cold.

It won’t keep very long – as it’ll all get eaten 😀

 

Photo Taking and Baking

As I continue to procstibake – thinking about what to bake, then actually bake something completely different – the world continues to turn and move. So we should move with it.

In my vain effort to inspire, challenge and develop myself and my skills, I took myself off for a days’ workshop on food photography, this was being run by the lovely Jane at ‘Love your Lens’.

Now anyone can take a photo.  But not everyone can tell a story from the it, build and fill it, style it and yes, add the odd filter or two. It sounds so simple. Bringing that to a reality is a little less simple. Imagine a slice of lemon tart, are you sitting in the garden?  Eating on the patio table, in sunshine, with a napkin, a cup of tea, fork or spoon? And then try and put all that into a photo. Sounds easy enough. We’ll yes and indeed no.  Finding the right props then becomes a challenge, what goes with what and where does it go. It can get so confusing and time-consuming.  Time that we don’t always have.  Something I know I struggle with.

Making small changes as we go, to get the right frame and shot. Can you over think a photo? Possibly. Does the cake dictate the props or do the props dictate the cake? I guess its down to what you have at hand.

Our venue host for the day Nikki (@NikkiHillApothcary on Instagram who blends some amazing teas – amongst other amazing things – including a wonderful White Peony Tea!!!) was trying to take a photo of some granola, after 40 minutes she was still going, so much faffing.  Good faffing though, as the setting of the photo is so important. I haven’t even started on flat lays, light, white or dark boards and camera settings, ISO and aperture! It really is a minefield, one that with careful consideration, can be easily navigated. Time and patience will only tell, time to improve, time to set the scene. Have I captured it my latest photo. I will leave that to your careful consideration.

At least, for now I have come away from ‘auto’.

It was a great day, especially when i’ve saved up for the lovely, new, all singing-all-dancing camera 😀

And now for cake……

As this weeks sun disappears, Gluten Free Rhubarb, Orange and Gin Layer Cake.

In 3 parts – roasted fruit, cake making and fool making.

Pre heat the oven to gas 4! 180c! 165c fan, line 2×7” cake tins with greaseproof.

  • 1 orange
  • 3 sticks rhubarb
  • 50ml gin – I used Tiger Gin
  • 4 eggs
  • 200ml vegetable oil
  • 200g gluten free self raising flour
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 300ml whipping cream
  • 150g low or no fat yoghurt
  • 20g icing sugar

Firstly zest the orange and set aside.

Then remove the skin from the orange and cut the orange into segments. Squeeze the juice from what is left of the orange and reserve this. Cut one stick of rhubarb in half – trim the end and cut into 2 pieces. Cut these 2 pieces into 4 long pieces and place these with orange segments and 10ml of Tiger Gin, onto a baking tray and roast for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Take the remaining rhubarb stalks, trim top and bottoms and chop into bite size pieces, place into a small saucepan, with 20ml gin, and additional tablespoon of caster sugar and half of the orange peel. Cover the saucepan and cook gently over a medium heat until the rhubarb is soft, this could take 5 – 10 minutes. Leave to cool in the saucepan for use later in the fool.

Whilst the fruit is cooling, time to make the cake.

Place the eggs, gluten free flour, Caster and brown sugars, orange zest and half the orange juice, vegetable oil, ginger into a large mixing bowl (I used my table top mixer with a whisk attachment) and whisk for about 4/5 minutes until fully combined, light and fluffy. Equally pour the batter into the 2 tins and bake for about 30-35 minutes. Or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Before removing from the tins.

When the cake has cooled, you can make the fool. Alternatively you could make the fool, when the cake is in the oven and leave the fool in the fridge until the cake is cold.

Using your whisk (table top or hand-held), whisk the cream, yoghurt, 20ml gin, icing sugar until light, stiff and fluffy. Stir into this the stewed rhubarb.

Cut each cake through the middle, horizontally, so that you have 4 slices of cake. Place the first slice of cake onto your cake stand and cover with rhubarb fool, take the next slice of cake and repeat. Covering the top layer with fool and then the sides to finish. Decorate with the remaining roasted pieces of rhubarb and orange.

Sit comfortable with a cup of tea or a Tiger Gin and Tonic

Our recent gluten free journey and a cake

We’ve had an interesting few weeks in Cake Towers. Our day jobs continue to develop, challenge and lead us in directions that help shape us. Outside of this, Noah and his sister continue to inspire and challenge us and the way we approach our routines. I certainly cannot remember being as challenging when I was younger! The world changes and we must change with it.

I have mentioned before about the short sightedness of some food companies not catering for children with Coeliac Disease, but slowly, very slowly this is changing. It means families can eat as families, they can eat from the same (just about) menu and enjoy some much needed family time. It’s been a short, welcome breath, of fresh air. So what have we been up to?

Firstly a family birthday gathering at The Ickworth Hotel, just outside Bury St Edmunds, allowed Noah to have a gluten free afternoon tea. To see his little face light up, when the afternoon tea stand arrived with jam and ham gluten free sandwiches arrived, was a picture of joy. There was a ‘hold-your-breath’ moment though.  As I had booked the table over a month ago and despite reconfirming numbers the week before re-iterating the need for gluten free options for children, I never really knew (or believed) if one would turn up and what the quality would be like. But Noah was happy. Although my brownies and caramel shortbread are better. Naturally 😀😀

Then of course, good old Pizza Express. Our experiences in the main have been positive for Noah and this allows us, again, to eat as a family. Quite possibly the only restaurant where Noah feels comfortable, to not only eat, but to order his own meal – stressing ‘gluten free please’. Oddly though ‘no cheese’, he just doesn’t like it.  He’ll eat the lot – gluten free dough balls, gluten free pizza and non-gluten containing brownie. There is then the nervous wait the following day, waiting to see if the processes in place are safe. On this occasion, we were trouble free. Thank you Pizza Express.

I also baked a cake.  I am trying this year to bake and share more ‘cake’ recipes rather than oddments of muffins, cupcakes and other such tray bakes.  But if I conjure up something worth sharing – it will share it.

Pre heat the oven to Gas 4, 180c, 165c fan and line 2 x 7″ cake tins.

For the cake;

  • 4 large eggs
  • 190g vegetable oil
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 200g gluten free self raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 5 teaspoons instant coffee powder dissolved into 4 tablespoons of hot water and allowed to cool

This is quite simple – put all the ingredients into your mixing bowl (I used my table top mixer with whisk attachment) and whisk on high speed for about 3 – 4 minutes until you have a mixed that is fully mixed and has gained volume. Separate this batter mixture between the 2 tins – roughly 400g in each – and bake for 40 – 45 minutes, or until an inserted dry skewer comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the tins, before turning out and cooling completely on a wire rack.

For the filling/topping – a simple butter cream;

  • 60ml coffee liqueur – or more/less dependant on taste (optional)
  • 200g soft butter
  • 380g icing sugar
  • 20g cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 30g milk – I used semi skimmed

For the initial cake covering and remaining covering – mix up the cinnamon frosting – beat 150g of soft butter until light, stir in 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 300g icing sugar and 20g milk. Mix this until it comes together and then continue to beat in a hand mixer until your frosting is fully mixed in and spreadable.

Lay out the 2 pieces of cake and drizzle 30ml of coffee liquerer on to each piece.

Place 1 piece of cake (liqueur drizzled side up) onto your cake stand/decorating table and spread the cinnamon buttercream in to cover. Place the other cake on top (liquerer side up again) spread and cover the cake with a thin layer of buttercream.  Smooth out and leave in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to firm up.

Whilst this is in the fridge, make the chocolate buttercream by beating the remaining 50g of soft butter until its light and then mixing in the 20g cocoa and remaining icing sugar and milk. Beat until its light and fluffy and pipable.

Remove the cake from the fridge and spread the bottom half with most of the chocolate buttercream – retaining some for piping.  Finish off decorating the cake with the remaining cinnamon icing.  You could – as I have – finish off with a drizzle of melted chocolate (100g) and some piped chocolate buttercream.

As this is made with vegetable oil, it will last a little longer than if it was made with butter – around 3 days.  The cinnamon buttercream does intensify a little, but not too much.

 

 

Gluten Free Easter Chocolate Cake

Its chocolate cake season – like I need an excuse! I love chocolate and thought too long and hard on how to decorate this cake – there are sooo many chocolate ideas to use. Almost too many Easter chocolate ideas?

So I went with Cadbury Flakes (makes it look like a nest), Galaxy Golden Eggs, Cadbury Mini Eggs and Nestle Milky Bar  Eggs.

I also make some gluten free chocolate crispy cake mix to use as a ‘nest’ – obviously I made too much and there was plenty left over…….

I used my Sacher Torte recipe as the base for the cake of this creation and finished with a very fluffy buttercream before decorating.

For the cornflake cake;

  • 100g gluten free cornflakes
  • 50g melted chocolate

Once you have melted the chocolate, pour in the gluten free cornflakes and mix carefully until all the flakes are covered in chocolate. Leave to firm up by spreading the mix on some greaseproof paper. Once set, gently break up into bit size chunks and keep, ready for finishing off the cake (careful not to eat too many pieces!!)

Line the sides and the base of an 8″ loose bottomed cake tin and preheat the oven to gas 3, 140c fan, 160c

For the cake;

  • 180g milk chocolate (I used Callebaut)
  • 100g butter
  • 5 eggs separated
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 80g gluten free plain flour

For the filling;

  • 150g raspberry jam

For the buttercream

  • 100g very soft butter
  • 40g cocoa (I used Food Thoughts)
  • 160g icing sugar
  • splash of milk

Place the chocolate and the butter into a bowl and melt. Either by placing the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water – don’t let the bowl touch the water and stir occasionally. Or by melting in a bowl, in a microwave in short bursts of 20 seconds at a time – 20 seconds, take out and stir, 20 seconds, take out and stir – repeat.  If you over heat the chocolate it will ‘burn’ and go all grainy. You’ll have to start again if this happens – so take care and time. Once all melted – which ever method you use – leave to cool a little before adding to the egg mix.

Meanwhile;

In a separate bowl make a meringue – whisk the 5 egg whites until double the volume and the mix is ‘stiff’ add in to this – in 3 batches – 90g of the caster sugar. Whisk in each batch of caster sugar until fully combined and finish off whisking the meringue until its stiff and shiny – about 7-8 minutes start to finish.

In another bowl whisk 30g of the caster sugar and the 5 egg yolks and the vanilla essence for a further 5 minutes or until you have a fairly stiff mix and the mix holds the shape of the whisk – ribbon stage. Into this stir in the melted chocolate mix and the gluten free flour. Ensure its all fully combined before then mixing in a third of the meringue mix.

Then fold in another third of the meringue, once that has been folded in, fold in the final third – taking care to not knock all the air out of the mix.

Pour the batter into the tin and gently bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin before removing.

Once cooled you can either slice the cake horizontally in half or into three slices. Rebuild the cake by spreading jam onto each slice before then rebuilding the cake.

To make the buttercream beat the butter until light and fluffy, stir in the cocoa, icing sugar and milk before your then finish beating until its light and fluffy and ready to spread.

Spread the buttercream over the cake and decorate with your chosen confectionary.

 

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.