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.

 

 

Afternoon Tea starts with gluten free scones

It may be National Cream Tea Day coming up but that shouldn’t stop you being able to enjoy it any day of the week 😀

I have a new recipe for gluten free scones, from the previous version. These are more robust and probably a little less expense to make as they contain no cream.

If you have all the ingredients together you can have these made, baked and slightly cooled within about 45 minutes. Of course, they can be cooled and warmed later to enjoy.

Preheat the oven to 200c for a fan assisted oven and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. The recipe makes about 7 scones using a 7cm round cutter.

70g dried fruit – soaked in boiling water for 15 minutes, drained and cooled.

240g Gluten Free self raising flour

40g gluten free strong white flour

1 level teaspoon of xanthum gum

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

80g butter

60g caster sugar

1 egg

130ml milk

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

milk for brushing

Start by beating the egg, milk and essence together and put to one side, with the soaked and cooled fruit.

Sieve the flours and powders together into a bowl, to ensure they are thoroughly combined. Then rub in the butter until you have a mix that resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, then pour in the milk mix.

It will be very wet and sloppy, but fear not, the flours will soak up the liquids whilst you continue to bring together for a minute or so.

Tip the mix out onto a well floured surface and bring together to form a flattened, round dough ball of about 3cm deep. Cut out the shapes with the cutter, bring the mix together again to cut more rounds out. Repeat until the mix has been used up. For the last round you may have to go free-style.

Place the scones onto the prepared baking sheet, brush with the extra milk and place into the oven. Bake for approx 16 – 20 minutes until bronzed on top and an inserted skewer (into the side) comes out clean.

Cool on the tray and transfer to a wire rack, once cool enough to do so.

Slice and enjoy with your favourite jam and clotted cream. We prefer the cream on top 😀