A new normal

I’ll try and not make a habit of this; a blog post!

I know it’s been a while and I thank those who have been visiting the site over the last few months. Whilst the World is on pause for a while, whilst a solution or solutions are being sort for the virus, there have been a lot of people searching the internet for recipes. Baking at home has become a new normal for most across the world. I hope those that have visited this site have something that has inspired them or has been useful. After all, that’s what I set out to do. I hope to be able to continue to provide something for you, for as long as I can.

I also feel fortunate enough to have been able to source ingredients. I know some people have been having difficulties and now, some 10 weeks or so since lockdown began in the UK, groceries across the country are beginning to appear more regularly in supermarkets. So hopefully you will be able to recreate these recipes once again very soon. And if not, the page isn’t going anywhere; so when you can, you’re welcome back any time.

If you feel you can afford to buy me a coffee, to contribute to the site, please do so via the ‘contribute’ page. It will be very much appreciated.

And I’m not one for these long intro’s into a recipe, on the why’s and wherefores of mixing it this way or that, that ingredient over that or any such dribble, that no one really wants to read… just give me the ingredients and recipe.  But while i’ve got you………

An actual crisp biscuit that is gluten free! It took a couple of goes but I got there in the end. Especially after the first go had no vanilla essence in!

Pre-heat the oven to Gas 5, 180c fan, 200c and line 2 or 3 Swiss roll trays with greaseproof paper

50g soft butter

60g caster sugar

1 medium egg

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

150g rice flour

50g gluten free plain flour (if your flour contains xanthan gum, DO NOT add any more)

half a level teaspoon of xanthan gum (only if it’s NOT in the flour)

1 level teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

For the buttercream;

60g soft butter

130g icing sugar

splash of milk to make it pipe-able

80g raspberry jam ( or your favourite jam)

Simply beat the butter and the sugar in a bowl with an electric whisk until, light and fluffy, no more than a minute. Then add the egg and the vanilla and continue to beat until you have a smooth batter.

Sift in the gluten free plain flour, rice flour, bicarb and xanthan (if using) then using a spatula just mix this in until all the flours etc are fully mixed and the mixture forms a soft, ‘pastry’ dough ball.  Using your hands continue to bring together by ‘kneading’ for a few moments. You can’t really over work this dough, but it will help in the rolling out and keep it from crumbling.

Leave the dough for about 10 minutes in the fridge to firm up.

Remove the dough from the fridge and using a scattering of gluten free flour on your kitchen surface, roll out the dough to the thickness of a one pound coin (2 – 3mm).

Then, using a specific jammie dodger cutter, or similar 5cm flutted cutter, cut out roughly 36 – 40 discs, placing them on the lined baking trays in rows of 4. You will need to gather up the remaining dough, bring it together again into  a ball and re-roll, in order to get the desired amount of biscuits.

Then using a smaller cutter ( a small heart shaped cutter that allows for the jam to be seen, once the biscuits are assembled) cut out the middle of half the biscuits. One will form the base the other the top.

Place one tray in the fridge and place one in the oven to cook for 6 – 7 minutes.  Remove from the oven to cool; then repeat with the second tray and cook that for 6 – 7 minutes as well. Allow both trays to cool and you can start to make the buttercream.

Beat the butter with the icing sugar until you have a smooth paste. At this stage you could also flavour the buttercream; I’ll leave that up to you.

Once the biscuits are completely cooled, and using a piping bag filled with the buttercream, pipe a ring of buttercream on the half of the biscuits without the hole in the top.

Then with a couple of teaspoons, place in the middle of the ring, the raspberry jam. Top with the ‘holey’ biscuit and you’re done. You should have around 18 biscuits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gluten free Sticky Pumpkin Spiced Cake

My secret love affair with pumpkin spice continues.  Who knew there was an actual spice that is based around a pumpkin!?  It really does add an extra element to a cake or bake. It’s not just for coffee.

This is a variation on a theme. Gingerbread cake meets sticky toffee pudding. Sticky Pumpkin Pie Spiced Cake. I guess you could even have this as a pudding if you thought about it enough…….

This one requires a little planning and forethought.

Preheat the oven to gas 3, 170c, 150c fan and line 2 x 7” cake tins.

250g stoned and chopped dates

250ml water

90g butter

90g soft brown sugar

90g Black treacle

90g golden Syrup

1 egg

100ml milk – I used semi skimmed

225g gluten free self raising flour

2 teaspoons pumpkin spice

Stage 1 – place the chopped dates and water into a pan, bring to a gentle boil, heat for a minute, then switch off and leave to cool. This could take around 15 minutes.

Stage 2 – in another pan – heat gently the sugar, butter, syrup and treacle until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Leave this too cool, again for around 15 minutes.  If these last two stages are too hot, the egg mix will scramble before it’s had a chance to even cook in the oven.

Stage 3 – whisk the egg and milk and set to one side.

Stage 4 – sift together the gluten free flour and the spice.

Stage 5 – once everything is in place and done and cool enough, add the egg mix to the date mix. Add this then to the sugar and butter mix and stir well.  Finally fold in the flour mix. Stir until everything is completely mixed in.

Pour the mix into the 2 tins and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until an inserted  skewer comes out relatively clean, with some crumb attached. The remaining heat will finish the cooking off. Leave to cool in the tins, before removing to fill.

For the filling;

130g soft butter

260g icing sugar

30ml milk (optional)

100ml caramel sauce

Beat the butter until light and fluffy, stir in the icing sugar, milk and 80ml of the caramel sauce. Beat further (I used a hand electric whisk) until you have a piping consistency.

Fill and decorate as you desire and drizzle the final 20ml of sauce over the cake to finish.

Gluten Free Halloween Cake

I think I secretly love this time of year. The ghosts and ghouls, the dark and devilish. Not sure about all the blood and gore! But it is rather fun. Certainly had a bit of fun with this cake – a wonderful centre piece for the Halloween table – and its gluten free!

Halloween has been gathering some momentum over here in the UK for the last 10 years. Not sure I had heard about it when I was little, Noah now loves this time of year (I think it’s the sweets when he goes Trick or Treating)

A chocolate cake with a buttercream filling with a gluten free chocolate krispies as the brain, decorated with Schar Cookies and chocolate buttons.

Based around a 7″ cake tin recipe, the first thing will be to make the ‘brain’. Which you could also make using white chocolate coloured red for extra goriness.

Prepare the night before to allow for the krispies to set;

  • A bowl that fits the base of your 7″ cake tin
  • 110g gluten free rice krispies
  • 180g melted chocolate

The curve of the bowl will form the curve of the head of the cake and fits nicely onto the finished cake prior to icing. Mix the krispies with the melted chocolate, pour into the bowl and press down with the base of the cake tin, then leave to set.

 

Pre heat the oven to Gas 4, 180c or 160c fan and line 2×7″ cake tins with greaseproof paper.

  • 100ml sunflower oil
  • 100g melted butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 50g cocoa (I use Food Thoughts)
  • 180g gluten free self raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Beat all the ingredients together, I used the paddle beater with my table top mixer, for about 5 minutes.

Pour the batter evenly into the 2 cake tins and bake for about 30 – 35 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven to cool, then take out of the tins.

Buttercream and topping;

  • 200g soft butter
  • 400g icing sugar
  • red food colouring
  • splash of milk
  • flavouring – optional
  • 1 packet of Schar cookies
  • 1 packet of chocolate buttons
  • 1 packet of ready to roll fondant icing

Beat the butter until its light and fluffy, then mix in the icing sugar before beating further until the buttercream is spreadable.  At this point add the colouring and any optional flavour and beat this in.

Carefully slice each cake in 2 and build using the buttercream – a couple of tablespoons of buttercream should be enough for each layer. Pop the set krispies on top and cover the whole cake with the buttercream. Smooth the buttercream ready to cover. Leave a little over as you can use this to stick the cookies to the cake.

Roll out the fondant icing, you’ll need to roll it fairly thin in order to cover the cake and leave enough extra to give the covering the ‘ghost’ like base.

Cut the cookies so that there is the cream like filling on one side and a plain biscuit on the other.

Use the buttercream to stick a chocolate button on the cookie, then to stick the cookie onto the cake.