No time like the present..

You may need to take a seat. 😀

And, yes, there is a recipe attached to this post!

I thought it about time to both update and and write a new recipe.  As you will have noticed from some of my social media posts recently, it’s been a difficult couple of months and you begin to see things through a different lens. You pull together, close in and heal each other. Share the pain, the grief and the sorrow. You also turn the corners and build each other up; you become a little stronger.  But it does give you time to reflect.

The Book? Yes, well. Who knew these tings could take so long!? Probably a lot of people. It’s been an interesting journey and I can safely say that I have written the recipes and taken the photos. The manuscript is in some semblance of order and I think I’m fairly happy with the end result. The next steps are to find a graphic designer (that doesn’t cost the earth!) to create a new document that can be turned into something that can be published. A little exciting ? Yes, I guess it is 😀

Back to the recipe. A lovely cake (if I do say so) and made in 3 stages. Look to make the jam first, so it cools and so that you have time to enjoy the sweet smell of the raspberries cooking. Then the simplicity of the lemon sponge, followed by the making of the rather light and refreshing Cheesecake frosting.  All in, and quite mornings’ project. Ideal for anytime or even for Mother’s Day or even Easter.

Plus I’m now writing this in a pair of glasses being held together with Gorilla Glue. Because time is of the essence, 😂

Begin by making the jam;  place 250g of raspberries into a large enough solid base saucepan, with 200g granulated sugar. Place over a low heat to slowly dissolve the sugar and use a potato masher or fork, to crush the raspberries into a pulp.  Stirring as you go with a spatula, bring to a slow boil, turn up the heat and fast boil for about 4 minutes – keep stirring so the jam doesn’t stick to the base and burn. After 4 minutes turn off the heat and allow to cool in the pan. Put this to one side for now.

Preheat the oven to 160c fan/180c/Gas Mark 4 and line 3 x 7” cake tins with greaseproof paper.

5 eggs

230g sunflower oil

250g caster sugar

zest of 3 lemons

300g gluten free self raising flour

Place all the ingredients into a large enough mixing bowl and whisk (using an electric whisk or stand mixer with a whisk attachment) until light and fluffy and well combined – about 2/3 minutes. Remember to scrap down the sides of the mixing bowl half way though whisking.

Stop the machine and divide the cake batter between the 3 cake tins, place into the preheated oven and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to fully cool before removing from the tin tins and lacing on a wire rack until required.

For the cheesecake frosting:

360g full fat cream cheese

210ml double cream

juice of 1 of the lemons

150g lemon curd

Additional raspberries for decoration

Place all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk until firm and pipable. You won’t be piping but it’s a good indicator  of firmness in texture.

To assemble the cake, place one sponge on your cake plate, smoother with half of the raspberry jam, place a second cake on top and cover this with the  remaining jam. Taking your cheesecake frosting, cover the tops and sides of the cake, as in the photo. For the lemon curd drizzle, place the lemon curd into a small microwaveable container and  just warm it through, on full power, in 2 short power bursts of 10 seconds.  Then either using a disposable piping bag or spoon, drizzle the top and sides and slightly the cover the top of the cake as shown.

Finish with the additional raspberries, place in the fridge for at least an hour or so before serving. Serve within a couple of days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Back to baking….at last! 😀

At last!

Its been a while but finally there is some end in sight and the kitchen is very nearly finished.  We have at last filled the new cupboards, emptied the boxes and have stopped going up and down stairs to do the washing up and to fill the kettle for a cuppa.

You get to miss the simple things in life and the things you take for granted. Like cooking (and indeed baking), one can only live off pasta and stir fry for so long.  The Andrew James multi-cooker certainly came in hand and did what we asked it to do..

Now its time to put the new cooker into action. We went for a Neff oven in the end. The option of the double oven and the seemingly easy to use knobs were a couple of the deciding factors. Now of course I have to get used to a new oven and new temperature range! Which I think should be too difficult. (famous last words)

Gluten Free Blackcurrant and Almond Crumble Cake

The first bake was a little bit of fun. Quick and easy and I had all the ingredients to hand. So little planning was required…

Now I baked this at 160c for about 50 mins, so pre-heat the oven and line a deep 8″ round cake tin with a loose base.

For the crumble – and this actually worked for me;

80g Rice Flour

50g Butter

50g Caster Sugar

For the Sponge;

180g soft butter

150g caster sugar

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons almond essence

30g ground almonds

120g gluten free self raising flour

1 tin of blackcurrant pie mix (c410g)

First up make the crumble, either rub the flour and butter together to fine breadcrumbs then add and stir in the sugar. Or blend it all together in a food processor. Leave to one side – ideally in the fridge – until it’s needed.

Next up the sponge base. Beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a little flour if required to stop it curdling. Add in the almond essence, then stir in the gluten free flour and ground almonds. Mix well and pour into the prepared cake tin. Spoon the Blackcurrant pie mix onto the sponge batter, this can be gently stirred into the surface of the sponge, but not too much. Let it sit  on the top and some will gently sink into the top of the sponge whilst cooking. Sprinkle over the Crumble mix and spread evenly.

Bake! For approximately 45 – 50 mins, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Allow to completely cool before removing from the tin and serving, perhaps with a dollop of cream.

Welcome to the start of something new…

And so the story continues and turns a new corner.

Cakes by Noah was started to fill a gap. That ‘gap’ was wide and all-encompassing.

Our son – Noah – was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease in 2012, after months of frustrating return visits to the doctors, and one continued poorly boy. The mis-diagnosis of this and that, finally led us to a Osteopath and an eventful afternoon in his surgery!

And then the fun really began! As a chef I have always been (and here in lies the honesty) a little sceptical of allergies and intolerances. But until it actually happens to you or those around you, you love and cherish, you tend to carry on. But oh how that view changes very, very quickly!

After diagnosis and being given the go ahead from the dietician, we began to adapt the diet of us all – it would be far easier for us all the eat with Noah than to provide separate meals. Although as it turned out, cooking separate meals was easier sometimes!

We are lucky enough, it appears, to receive a prescription which allows us to have the staples – bread, pasta. But not of course cakes and biscuits! We did get a ‘white mix’, a flour based mixture which allowed us to bake some things, but this was a little restrictive. So this led us to start buying from the supermarkets…and the story takes its turn. For the better 😀😀

What we were buying wasn’t great. Sorry Mr & Mrs Supermarkets, but dry, crumbly, broken, bland and tasteless are words that sprung to mind.  I could do a lot better.

So I got on with it and baked a better cake! And lots of them!

So now I can also start to share these cakes with you, the reader. And the blog begins. And perhaps it should have started sometime ago..