Gluten Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Thought I’d put a gluten free recipe together for a Pineapple Upside Down Cake. As I’ve seen a few doing the rounds recently, so not one to hop on the band wagon, but I do like to make sure everyone can have the option of having their own slice 😀

Gluten free Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I am also going to scale down the posts and recipe creating in the New Year as I’d like to start work on a new project. The project might take a little more time than I imagine and something so will have to give. Not that I will forget to keep you updated and I will of course put the word out, so to speak, on the comings and going at Cake Towers, plus if I discover a juicy new recipe I’ll naturally let you know. For now though, thank you for all of your support, likes and the odd comment, it’s been a ride. The next page needs writing though and I have no idea where the journey will go. If you do need a recipe though in the meantime, please contact me via the details on the ‘About…’ page.

Enough already, there’s some sand in my eye. Here’s a rather moist and smoooth recipe to keep you going and one you’ll definitely need custard with 😀😀

Preheat the oven to Gas 3, 150c fan, 165c and line the base of a deep, loose bottomed, 8” cake tin with a slip of greaseproof paper.

8 slices of tinned pineapple

Cocktail/glacé Cherries

200g caster sugar

240g soft butter

160g gluten free self raising flour

50g ground almonds

1 teaspoon baking powder

5 medium eggs

100ml milk

30ml cocktail cherry juice (if using)

1 teaspoon almond essence

Open the tin(s) of sliced pineapple, drain off the juice and dab-dry the Pineapple slices on some kitchen paper. Line the base of the baking tin with the pineapple slices (you may get to eat one slice…….) and place the cocktail/glacé cherries in the middle of the pineapple slices and fill any remaining gaps with them also. Put to one side whilst you prepare the cake batter.

In a separate bowl sift the gluten free flour, ground almonds and baking powder.

Beat the sugar and the soft butter in another bowl with an electric whisk or table top mixer, until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time with a spoonful of gluten free flour mix. Once the eggs are all mixed in, beat in the milk and cherry juice (if using) and almond essence. It will look a little split, but will come together once cooked.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin and pop in the oven and bake for 55 – 60 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Once cooked,  remove from the oven to cool a little. If using straight away you’ll definitely need to leave it to cool before, placing a large enough plate/serving dish over the cake tin and turning it over – for you Upside Down Cake!

Serve with custard (because there really is no other option 😀😀😀 )

If you are serving this much later, or the next day, cover until required. To warm through, just place back into a warm over for about 15 minutes, you may also want to cover the cake with some additional greaseproof to stop it catching and drying out. And still serve it with custard!

 

 

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Our Legoland Adventure

We waited all year for this trip 😀😀 A half term and wedding anniversary trip, plus we went the whole hog and booked the night away in the Legoland Resort Hotel as well.  It seemed a bit silly to go all that way down and back in a day. Besides, day 2 was going to be free anyway if we booked the hotel.

We tried to keep it a secret from the kids for as long as possible.  That only lasted about 4 months, as, when we swopped the phones around we left the diary date in one of the phones, only for child 1 to discover the date. She did well not spilling the beans, despite us saying it was only a provisional date anyway.

Now being the organiser that I am, I asked prior to the trip what availability Legoland had in the way of gluten free options and I have to say that the response was pretty quick. A link was provided for us to search through and boy did we search…….long and hard.  We took some supplies just in case.

On arrival on the morning of day 1 we were greeted by the lovely hotel reception team, very helpful and very patient for a bunch of rather giddy day trippers from the North! We just wanted to get into the Park! After a moment of planning failure (I forgot to pick up the printed tickets🙄) we quickly recovered by showing the eVersion of the tickets and we entered the Park.

It has to be said that the staff were very polite and generally service was good. You could almost forgive them a little as they must be coming to the end of the season and whilst it was half term for us, there were probably more kids off the previous week for the bulk of the half terms from across the country. There were about 5 rides closed – that we weren’t made aware of and there were several kiosks closed due to the low numbers. As a consequence the ques for those kiosks that were open, were long and frustratingly slow. 20 minutes for a vending machine coffee at a little under £3 was not great value for money.

And then there’s the food.

Now having a child with coeliac disease has its problems as you may be aware. None more so than trying to find out what is on the menu and what the child can and can’t eat. It’s mostly an arduous task, Legoland could do worse than putting themselves in our or anyone else’s shoes with an allergy/intolerance/Coeliac disease. It could help to make it a little easier.

We could find no kiosks in the Park that provided gluten free foods that we could safely say we could eat in. Not even pre-packaged goods. Nothing in the burger kiosks, the chicken kiosk, the pizza or pasta restaurant except for a gluten free pizza base (what about the sauce and toppings?) Don’t get me wrong, there are posters on the walls showing all the allergen information, nothing that would mean he could be included with the rest of us. We did take a chance with a portion of chips from the Fish and Chip Shop…. no adverse effects. But at £4 odd, we shared the portion!

Dinner was an altogether different experience. Again the staff were very helpful – when they could eventually find the allergen data sheets. Which I have to say are on pre printed FSA sheets, not even the decency to create their own! It didn’t really fill me with confidence. I read said data sheets, for both hotel outlets ‘The Tavern’ an a la carte type affair (rather pricey) and ‘Bricks’ a buffet style restaurant in the other hotel. Yes a buffet…… the horror of a buffet for anyone with a food intolerance/allergy/coeliac disease would send a shiver down the spine. Cross contamination issues abound…..An hour before dinner service, the team were unable to tell me what was on for dinner, but I was given the allergy data sheets anyway.

Needless to say, we went out into Eton for dinner and had a lovely meal. Where we were positively welcomed, served and Noah could eat almost anything on the menu without fear of being ill.

Now breakfast was not much different. A buffet breakfast (shivers again)….. Now I know, serving 400 people food in a short period of time is not easy and a buffet is perhaps the easiest solution. And the team, were again, very polite but we got the impression that Legoland just aren’t geared up for intolerances/allergies/coeliac disease. Yes Schar breakfast cereal was available and that was about all. Well. We did get 3, yes 3, prepackaged chocolate chip muffins and they were huge! Not the best start to a day! There are such things as gluten free sausages and fruit is not a pudding

But it was just disappointing and as I’ve said before, a little boy of 8 just wants to fit in and as a family we want meal times to be an inclusive affair, not a ‘look at what you could be eating’ affair. We’d rather go without or go elsewhere.

 

Beware the gluten free complacency

And so the fun time of year comes around yet again 😀😀

I do love a bit of spooky and ghoulish behaviour, being scared out of my wits and dressing up, smothered in face paint. There’s nothing like it 😀😀

Let the imagination run wild, how far you go depends on how far you DARE go! And it’s much the same with cake. Last year was a gluten free chocolate cake, covered in white ‘bandages’, eyes and with a red coloured orange curd for blood. That, once cut, oooozed out. Such fun!

This year 2 cakes for you, one entitled ‘Scratch’ and the other, designed by Noah’s sister, ‘Bleeding Eyes’. Both are based around a simple gluten free Victoria sponge recipe  (the link will take you to one of my recipes – just omit the colour and you’ll just need vanilla flavouring/extract) and both are coloured differently inside. But you can do as you please.

‘Scratch’ is coloured purple with green buttercream’ whilst ‘Bleeding Eyes’ is coloured black and purple and layered with strawberry jam. In both cases the ‘blood’ is a paste made with red food colouring, honey, water and cornflour.

Gluten free bleeding eyes Halloween cake

Of course it’s not all about cake and we must always be vigilant for the  ever-present gluten! Whilst these fun and themed times of the year bring us holiday fun, we also need to ensure we are on the look out, on the back of the food packets with all the new foods that become available. Enticing us with something new each year, we need to ensure we are reading the ingredient lists on the back. Even if we have had the product before, it’s always worth looking again as the product may have had an ingredient change that we weren’t aware of. Take nothing for granted and if you really want an extra check, click the Coeliac UK website for updated product news.

Although as we have recently found out, despite something years of vigilance, complacency does creep in and we do make mistakes. We are only human. Without naming the product we had over looked the dreaded ‘barley malt extra’!! Now we have no idea what effect it might have, but we’d rather not find out. So after sharing out the contents of said products, I noticed a rather familiar taste, that sent a little alarm bell ringing. It was a rather ‘cereal’ based flavour that made me look again at the ingredient list – ‘Barley Malt Extract’!!!! The packet disappeared, Noah spat out the sweet, but it left a rather upset Noah, and the every present cry of, ‘I just want to eat normal free’.  It breaks our hearts. Normally we are able to control what Noah eats at the moment and wouldn’t normally let barley malt extract through the right security measures, we have no idea on its impact. I’m sure there will come a time again when out guard is down, or he gets that little bit older……we learn from our mistakes I suppose.

No-Bake Gluten Free Ginger and Coffee Bean Cheesecake

Number 3 and the final recipe in the collaboration with The East India Company.

This one is perhaps the more flavourful of the recipes, the cold refreshing taste of the cheesecake, but with the warmth of the Rhubarb and ginger jam and the lovely crunch of the enrobed coffee beans and gluten free ginger biscuits. A wonderful combination and one recipe that is relatively quick and easy to make.

No-Bake Gluten Free Ginger and Coffee Bean Cheesecake

 

1 x 8” (20cm) deep, loose bottom cake tin

• 300g gluten free ginger biscuits
• 80g melted butter
• 60g Latte Beans

Place the gluten free biscuits and the coffee beans into a sandwich bag and crush well using a rolling pin. You need to get to fineish breadcrumbs so that the base sets well and in one piece. You could of course use a food processor! Then stir in the melted butter and mix well. Push the biscuit and coffee bean crumb onto the base of the cake tin and push up a little up the side of the cake tin. Place in the fridge whilst you prepare the filling.

For the filling;

• 560g full fat Cream Cheese (2 packets)
• 70g icing sugar
• 250ml double cream

• 200g Rhubarb with a Hint of Ginger Jam

For the filling; using an electric hand whisk beat the cream cheese and icing until smooth (30 seconds), then add the double cream and whisk until stiff, 3-4 minutes.

Remove the biscuit base from the fridge and spread 2-3 tablespoons of the Rhubarb jam on top of the biscuit base then pour the cream cheese mix on top, smooth down and tap on the bench to remove any air. With the remaining jam, stir this into the top of the cream cheese mix and swirl around the surface.

Return the cheesecake to the fridge to set for at least a couple of hours. Serve decorated with additional Latte Coffee Beans

Gluten free Ice Cream Sundae

This is the 2nd of three recipes that I worked on, in collaboration with The East India Company.

The brief – something quick and easy. That can be thrown together in a matter of minutes (if you have everything to hand!! 😀). You may have some gluten free brownie, or some chocolate cake left overs….I know!!! Who has these left over! But some might 😀 You could have course make your own and then create the following. I did have a bit of fun making these and even more fun eating them 😀😀 🤫🤫

Last Minute Ice Cream and Chocolate Brownie Sundae

Should you be lucky enough to have the following available in your fridge and cupboards this is a wonderful ‘use-up’ of;

Vanilla ice cream (but will work equally with caramel, chocolate, raspberry ice creams)
• Chocolate sauce (or easily made with 100ml double cream, 60g chocolate and a teaspoon of spiced drinking chocolate)
• Chocolate sponge/brownie pieces
• Strawberry and Pepper Jam, by the lovely East India Company, no less!
• Whipped cream
• Salted Almonds or Latte/Cappuccino Beans to decorate (from The East India Company……) you could just sprinkle on some nuts or chocolate buttons 😀

To assemble;

Pour the chocolate sauce (can be slightly warmed) in and around the side of an everyday glass, or sundae dish, place some warmed brownie or sponge covered in jam, into the base of the glass, top with ice cream, bit more sauce, bit more brownie covered in jam, bit more ice cream, top with cream, finish with some more chocolate sauce and adorn with nuts or coffee beans. Dig in!

 

Gluten Free Spiced Chocolate Muffins

It’s not everyday that you get approached to write some recipes and when you do, there is a little jump for joy.

Over the summer I was approached by the rather lovely team at The East India Company to write some recipes based around some of their products. Once the brief was explained and the various recipes created I came up with 3 rather moreish and decadent ideas. The team at The East India Company also graciously sent me the products over to use – see the photo at the end of the post.

The first of which I’m sending to you now, my lovely subscribers, as the Company has just released the entire set of recipes on their website.  Over the next couple of weeks you can have your own recipes delivered to you in-box. I know, I’m too kind 🙂

So here you go, enjoy.  You can also click the link to their website to buy these rather indulgent treats – to eat on their own or for baking (the coated macadamia nuts are amazing)

Spiced Chocolate Muffins

• 225g very soft butter
• 200g caster sugar
• 255g gluten free self raising flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 30g Spiced drinking chocolate – The East India Company drinking chocolate is Chai Spiced – and its delicious.
• 30g baking cocoa
• 150ml semi skimmed milk

• Plus – either 12 crushed Macadamia Nuts covered in chocolate OR 70g crushed Cappuccino Coffee Beans (all can be crushed in a sandwich bag and bashed with a rolling pin, not too much just enough to break them up)

Pre heat the oven to 160c fan, 180c, Gas 4 and lime your muffin tray with 12 tulip muffin cases.

Place all the ingredients into your mixing bowl and beat altogether until well combined and you have a light and fluffy batter that has increased in volume. This should take about 6-7 minutes.

Place around 2 tablespoons of the batter into each of the muffin cases and place into the oven to bake for 20 minutes at 20 minutes, remove the tray from the oven and sprinkle on the crushed nuts or coffee beans and return to the oven to finish cooking, which should be another 2-3 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Sprinkle on some additional freeze-dried raspberries if you are using the Macadamia Nuts, as they work well together. Enjoyed best within a day, even better when they are not long out of the oven!

The start of a new normal

Its been a while since my last post.

That feels so much like a confession! Not being a natural writer and trying to find something vaguely interesting to write about,  is something I work hard at. Although I have found that the more time to think about something the harder it becomes to write something. Whilst having just a header can actually be more productive.

Its been an odd last few weeks. The school summer holidays have now been and well and truly gone. In the main it felt like we were all apart for the best part of 4 weeks! With the length of the school holidays it becomes almost a military exercise in precision organisation, so that we don’t pay over the odds for child care. Work holiday time, does not equal school holiday time, which has meant we spent a couple of weeks apart. It’s how it is and we just get on with it, perhaps not ideal but we make it work 😀  We almost began to forget who we were!

Then before we knew it, there was the last-minute rush to get everything together for the first day back at schools. Noah’s first day back was the easier option as he has moved up one year in the same school. His sister however,  has now started senior school! Which has been a HUGE learning curve for us all after week one. It’s meant getting a bus to school – with a bus pass! Organising her own school meals and getting herself around a huge school, roughly twice the size of her junior school. It’s been a huge thing. It feels like, just overnight she has had to grow up so quickly. From being taken to school, to getting herself there. From being cooked for at home, to preparing her own snack when she comes back from school (of course she has had some excellent tuition on that front 😀😀). She has taken it all in her stride of course and we are very proud of her.

Fancy some quick cake to celebrate and to celebrate the start of the new series of The Great British Bake Off on Channel 4 😄? Oh and the continuing twitter bake of challenges of the #gbbotwitterbakealong run by the @thebakingnanna1 and @Rob_C_Allen The weekly challenges follow the 3 bakes of the GBBO series and everyone can enter, pop over to twitter to find out more.

Preheat the oven to gas 3, 150c fan, 170c and line a small brownie tin (c24cm long, 15cm wide)

– 170g soft butter

– 160g caster sugar

– 3 eggs

– 100g ground hazelnuts

– 90g gluten free self raising flour

– 30g Cocoa

– 160ml milk

Very easily place all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk (either using a stand mixer or hand held electric mixer) until fully blended and it becomes light and fluffy – about 5/6 minutes.

Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Meanwhile you can make the ganache topping.

– 150ml double cream

-130g cooking chocolate, broken into small pieces to ease melting

– 2 tablespoons of chocolate hazelnut spread

Place the chocolate pieces and chocolate spread into a glass bowl.

Heat the cream in a saucepan, stirring continually, until just before it comes to the boil. Pour the hot cream on top of the chocolate, leave for about a minute and then stir the mix until the chocolate has melted and you get a lovely, silky smooth paste, then pour this on top of the cooling cake. Allow to cool completely and for the ganache to set before removing from the tin and cutting into equal pieces.

I’ll be watching bread week on the GBBO with interest and the longing of kneading bread.