There is always hope (and cake)

As I sit and write, the sun is shining and the birds and the bees are flying around the garden.

Did we ever think we would get here? Possibly not. Yes, there were shared hopes and dreams, it’s what brings people together, it’s what makes friends. But actually being here now, in this moment? Do those hopes and dreams, without actually planning anything, shape your future? By seeing a ‘hope’ or a ‘dream’, an outcome to your life in the future, are you sub-consciously following a path you don’t know you are following? Is that destiny? Or have we programmed ourselves to seek that path that leads us inadvertently to where we want to be?

Clearly there are those that plan, that decide where they want to be and that defines them. But at what cost? There are those that can afford to get what they want (where’s the fun in that 😀?) and indeed do. Surely sub-consciously is more fun? Too many questions, too many barriers, ups and downs, too a hope/dream that is sub-consciously led. There are of course many studies into mindfulness, well-being and NLP that go into far more detail. To quote a Talking Heads song lyric (from the track ‘Once in a Lifetime’) – ‘How did I get here?’ I really don’t know. But does it really matter, I’m here now so what’s next!

Some cake,  from which came from somewhere…..

To be made in 2 stages… a brownie base and a hazelnut meringue.

Start either way around, I made the brownie first.

Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180c, 160c fan and line and grease a round 8”, deep cake tin.

300g milk chocolate (I use Callebaut)

180g butter

230g caster  sugar

3 large

1 teaspoon vanilla

100g gluten free plain flour

1 jar of hazelnut chocolate spread

Melt the chocolate, broken into small pieces, and the butter together in a glass bowl, over a saucepan of gently simmering hot water. Ensuring no water gets into the bowl. Once melted set aside to cool a little before adding the sugar and then beating in the eggs – one at a time. Beat in the vanilla and then fold in the flour. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for about 40 minutes. Leave to cool before popping in the fridge to set firm and then remove from the tin, but not before it has set firm. Trim any rough edges if required.

To make the hazelnut meringue – grease and line a 8” cake tin and preheat the oven to gas 4, 180c, 165c fan.

2 egg whites

130g caster  sugar

1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar

75g roasted ground almonds. If you can only get whole nuts – place them on a tray and put into the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and blend/blitz using a food processor.

Whisk the egg whites until light and fluffy and then whisk in the caster sugar  and tablespoon at a time. Ensuring you whisk well between each addition of the sugar. It will become a rich shiny white once all the sugar has been added. Whisk in the wine vinegar and then fold in the ground hazelnuts. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven to cool, then carefully remove from the tin.

To assemble, place the brownie onto your cake stand, spread with chocolate hazelnut spread, you could leave some to drizzle over the finished cake if you wish and top with the hazelnut meringue.

Slice and serve with all your hopes and dreams.

Happy Fathers Day.

 

 

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Our Cornish Tale

It’s been holiday time for Cake Towers and we’ve been loving our little retreat down in Cornwall.

Over the past few weeks, like most families, life had begun to over take us a little. Knowing that we had a holiday coming up, I guess we just kept going until we knew we would stop. But does it actually stop? Anyone with a family will know that it doesn’t really. Your surroundings may change but the washing still needs doing and little mouths still need feeding. Spending a holiday next to a beach, walking distance as well, does at least have some pay off and a change is as good as a rest.

I may have mentioned before that we are lucky enough to have two weeks of Whit half term at Noah’s school. Which makes going away on the second week, so much easier when it comes to choice, affordability and reduced crowding. We chose again this year to come to Cornwall, the venue of choice some 3 years ago when life got a little stressful to say the least and a week in The Duchy rejuvenated us as a family and bought us all back to what is important – having each other. Not that that time has been repeated, it is just as important to reconnect with each other. Too realise what each of us brings to the family unit – love.

Again we used the same holiday company, Beach Retreats, and no they aren’t perhaps cheap,  we do though get so little time together that the added expense is vastly outweighed. Booking made earlier on in the year we waited and counted down the weeks – especially the final 4 weeks. Bags packed, it was actually a bit of a rush leaving the house, but we didn’t rush the drive the south. Normally one for just getting there, we made 3 stops as for some reason check-in wasn’t until 4.30pm! Luckily there was a National Trust venue en route as well.

Arriving safely to Porth, just outside Newquay, we unloaded and made our way to the nearest Pizza Express – booked on the way down via the old inter web. Safe in the knowledge that we could all eat safely and Noah would enjoy his gluten free pizza.

That is I think the difference between eating last time we came here and now. Noah at – 4 we pretty much ate in last time we were here, now of course, Noah being 7, eating out becomes a little easier. Or should be.

At 7, Noah is great to be around when he wants to play. Over the course of the holiday we’ve spent most of it on the beach, which at Porth is fantastic. It might not be one of the biggest in North Cornwall, surfing is frowned on due to the lack of space, but by-heck we can have some fun – body boarding and building sand castles, digging deep holes and even trying to stop the tide coming in by building sand walls! Once the sea is out it’ll take you a good few minutes to get to the surf, it’s a long walk with a tired Noah.

And time stands still (ignoring the fact that the tide comes and goes). As Noah zips around the beach screaming at the sea al la King Canute, telling it to stop, whilst he runs back and forth ensuring the incoming tide doesn’t touch his toes – until that is he trips and falls in! 😀😀 . It’s a joy to watch. Then it’s back to the retreat, literally a 2 minutes walk once you’re off the beach, showered to remove the sand and then off to bed or output again for our next visit.

Our current retreat has 3 bedrooms, one en suite and a separate bathroom for the other 2 rooms, Noah and his sister Iona, were able to have a room each. Downstairs we have a utility room, another toilet, kitchen with a breakfast bar and a lounge/diner complete with a wood burner for the colder months, TV and plenty of seating. Parking is just around the corner and as the retreat actually sleeps 6, there are currently 2 parking slots allocated. On arrival Cornish milk is in the fridge and there is Cornish tea, coffee and biscuits (not gluten free) waiting to be opened. There is the obligatory welcome folder and visitors book all with helpful, local information mainly on where to eat.

Which is still a bone of contention for us. Cornwall is full of local produce, Cornwall is, I think, proud of this and rightly so, there are many local suppliers wanting your trade. There is even a Waitrose in Truro with a rather large portion of the store taken up by ‘The Cornish Shop’ sellling all things ‘Cornwall’. There are many fantastic artisan producers selling very bespoke food products (Padstow has a rather large proportion of Cornish fudge shops and is very well represented by a certain Rick Stein – plus  ‘Chough Bakery’ selling gluten free for 2018 – but it was closed when we got there). But when it comes to actual meals for children with coeliac disease, it becomes a little harder to find or even to find someone helpful. We have ended up sticking to what we know – a National pizza chain restaurant. Have we tried? Yes. Did we go out much? Probably not as much as we’d like. The feeling of being let down (on behalf of Noah) is just not worth it. Not knowing sometimes, is very hard to bear. It becomes difficult to enjoy your meal, when all Noah can have (or is willing to eat) is chips. After a while, this just gets disheartening, you begin to wonder what must be going through Noah’s mind.

We tried eating at The Heron, in a tiny village called Malpas, near Truro. Noah’s mum had just been stand up paddle boarding (well recommended) along the river Fal and it looked like a very nice place to eat. It was in fact lovely, but Noah just had chips and a hand-made burger that looked like a rather small, flat meatball. We couldn’t find a gluten free Cornish Pasty in St Ives. Oh do not get me started on St Ives! A terrible place. One cash machine (with a fee which I refuse to pay) no one seems to take contactless, its cash only or £5 minimum spend with a card! And if you’re like me (and the Queen) I do not carry cash. A very short-sighted bunch of traders, in what is a very popular place, one that we couldn’t wait to get out of! That is until we found the cafe at the top of the hill, by the car park (the one with the leisure centre in).  Brewhouse. Great service, gluten free dishes available, but Noah just wanted a drink, plus they’ll accept card payment.

We looked through the pile of places to eat locally in the retreat folder and had a look online at their menus, not really helpful when it comes to children and gluten free and when we tried contacting one to ask what they could provide for a child who couldn’t eat gluten……we are still waiting for a response after 6 days (Lusty Glaze). We are not ones to make a fuss, we are not ones to assume we are owed anything from the world because Noah has coeliac disease, but some understanding (through training) would be nice from operators. Which is why, for our final night,  we are going ….where?

Cornwall you are lovely, we could live here. But would it be spoilt if we did? Would we take our for granted? You have given us even more fond memories, ones we will remember for some time to come. We will be back soon.

Just in case you were wondering – #JamFirst 😀😀

 

Summer is on the way

At last a spell of warm weather.

You may remember that this time last year, we were having our small extension being built. It too was a little on the warm side but we were unable to enjoy the garden. The lovely builders had taken over and it turned into a building site. Those 10 weeks or so seemed to last forever – were we ever going to be able to enjoy opening up the patio doors and enjoy the garden.  A garden that would in fact be an extension itself of the larger kitchen we had created? Fear not, as at last the 2 sets of French doors are fully open, the warm sunlight and air is pouring into the kitchen.  The song birds are singing and feeding off the bird feeder – with the occasional pigeon being shooed off and the radio is happily providing a wonderful summer soundtrack.

Summer is definitely on the way!

The countdown is also on for early summer holibobs, a family trip to Cornwall – we cannot wait! We had once said that we would never need to go back to the same place for a holiday.  There is so much to see – having both had some experience of travelling before we met – you realise that the world is both small and big. Small because really, everything is within easy reach, jumping on a plane a zipping to the other side of the world is relatively simple.  I say relatively, because when you then start to have children the world can then seem big.  Packing for 2 is ridiculously easy, when packing for 4 – 2 of whom are small children –  a holiday take on a whole new meaning. As we found out last year when we travelled to Abu Dhabi. So this year, a staycation. To somewhere we have been before, to a location we know and love. Where we know the children will be able to relax and have fun. To a company – Beach Retreats – that has some rather nice holiday cottages – with a washing machine to relieve the load before returning home and straight back into work! With less than a 5 minute walk to a beach, free of surfers and a gentle (ish) wave on which to body board. We cannot wait. A chance to recharge, re-engage, to take stock, remember who we are and be thankful for the opportunities we have. I almost don’t care what the weather will do – we have wet suits – we can get wet in the sea.  I can almost smell the sea from here.

Cornwall – we are on our way

Oh yes a cake. I was getting carried away.

Preheat the oven to Gas 3, 140c, 130c fan and line a deep 8″ cake tin.

For the cake;

  • 220ml vegetable oil
  • 200g gluten free self raising flour
  • 190g caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 eggs
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 jar (320g) of lemon curd – I used a jar of Co-op All butter Lemon Curd

For the strawberry mousse. For which there are several other recipes on-line.  The addition of the egg whites, makes the covering very light.  You could remove the egg whites and increase the amount of cream to 300ml if you wanted to just use a cream covering.

  • 200g fresh strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons of caster sugar
  • 180ml double cream
  • 2 egg whites

Really easy – pop all the ingredients into your mixing bowl (I used the mixing bowl of my stand mixer) and whisk for about 4 – 5 minutes until all the ingredients have fully combined and you have a lovely fluffy mixture. You will need to stop mixing half way through and scrape the sides of the bowl down and give the whisk attachment a little shake as the lemon zest could stick to it, but then continue to whisk.

Pour into the cake tin and bake slowly for 60 – 70 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.  Allow to cool before carefully, removing from the tin, then fully cool on a wire rack.

Once cool, slice the cake horizontally – to create 3 layers of finished cake.  The cake should be around 6cm high – so slice at 2cm intervals to create 3 fairly even discs.

Place your first disc onto your cake stand, spread with roughly half of the lemon curd, place on a second disc, spread with the remaining half of the jar and place the third and final cake disc on top. Put to one side, covered, until you have made the strawberry mousse.

First of all take 150g of the fresh strawberries and 1 tablespoon of sugar and with a food mixer, blitz to a puree. Or push the strawberries through a fine sieve and add sugar to taste. Add this to the double cream and whisk until thickened and fully blended.

Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until light and fluffy, then add the other tablespoon of caster sugar and whisk in for about a minute.

Mix a third of the egg whites into the cream and strawberry mix.  Then fold in the rest of the egg whites into the cream mixture until you have no fluffs of egg whites. Cover your cake – top and sides – and place in the fridge for around 4 hours – or overnight.

Decorate with the remaining strawberries – slice and serve.

 

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

 

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.