At last, a cookery demonstration

I have never really had a grand plan with Cakes by Noah. OK, so I would have loved for it to have gone viral and to be living off the income. But then I woke up and realised I needed to return to earth and more or less see where it went.

I was really humbled to have been asked to do a cake demonstration at a local Food Festival – in Macclesfield, Cheshire.  A new one in the calendar, plus there is currently a Macclesfield ‘Foodie Friday’ of various food stalls dotted around the town centre on, you guessed it, a Friday!

As this was to be my first cake demo, I was of course a little nervous, but I was focused on getting one ‘under my belt’ so to speak. To see the process through and see where I needed to improve or adapt.  As some of you may have seen from my social media accounts, the work started the day before. I needed to ensure the cake was baked and I had separate pots with all the ingredients in, so that I could show how to put the cake together and why I use certain ingredients. Explain how Cakes by Noah came about and its evolution over the last 4/5 years! Plus I had no idea of what my set would look like, or what was available! So I had to go on, knowing that I may have just a bench to work from.  Although I knew I was to share a set with chef Nigel Brown, I was unaware of what he was bringing; I like to live on the edge a bit sometimes!!

So with my yellow box stuffed full of cake, ingredients and mixing bowls i set out on that very wet and windy Saturday morning.  And boy was it wet! Shame really because, for the morning at least, it kept the crowds away.  However, not dampened by this the show must go on and I kept to my given slot and talked my way through about 30 minutes of putting the cake together, building the cake and the letting those that were there, grab a bite to eat.  They loved it and, no surprise to me, were pleasantly surprised at how moist the cake was. ‘And it was gluten free’? they asked, ‘Yes!’ another myth busted.

As for doing the demo. I loved it! More please 😀

And with any luck, I have another couple of cake demonstrations coming up in July 2019 – at the Foodies Festival Tatton Park.  Look out for updates on my social media accounts.

So the cake – Gluten Free Coconut and Pineapple Cake.

3 x 7″ loose based cake tins, lined with greaseproof and pre-heat the oven to 155c fan, 175c, gas 4.

5 eggs

250g sunflower oil

250g caster sugar

90g coconut flour…. I used Groovy Foods

220g gluten free self raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

80ml Malibu

For the Filling;

1 large tin (c430g) pineapple – chopped and crushed – keep the juice

50ml  Malibu

30g caster sugar

40g cornflour

For the Topping;

1 pineapple with a good spread of green leaves (optional if you don’t want to waste a pineapple)

80g desiccated coconut – dry fried in a frying pan over a high heat or roasted on a tray in a hot oven until you get them toasty and bronzed. Allow to cool before using.

380g tub of full fat cream cheese

80g icing sugar

Additional splash of Malibu – 50ml (optional of course)

The cake is incredibly easy to make, just pour all the cake ingredients into a large enough mixing bowl and whisk (by hand or with an electric hand held whisk) until all the ingredients are fully combined – about 1 – 2 minutes.  Then evenly pour the cake batter into the 3 prepared cakes tins.  I would find three cakes tins. If you only have 2; and bake 2, the chance are that the 3rd cake batter will not rise as much as the raising agents in the flour will already have started to react and the cooked cake will be a little flat and may not be as fluffy.

Bake the cakes on the lower shelf for about 25 – 30 minutes

Remove the cooked cakes from the oven – test with an inserted skewer and if it comes out clean its down they are done. Allow the cakes to cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes before removing from the tin and cooling on a wire rack.

You can then prepare the pineapple filling.

First off, line a small baking tray with cling film, this is to allow the filling to cool once thickened.

If you have not been lucky enough to find a large tin of crushed pineapple, you’ll need to drain (keep the juice) the pineapple chunks/pieces/slices and cut them up into pieces and then using a potato masher – mash the pineapple to remove some of the juice from the chunks, this will help thicken the filling. Once you are ready to make the filling, pour the juice, crushed pineapple, sugar and cornflour and Malibu into a large enough saucepan and stir well to mix the ingredients.  Then turn on the heat and heat the mixture gently in order to thicken the filling – or pineapple custard!  Keep stirring until the custard thickens and ensure it doesn’t boil.

Pour the thickened custard onto your prepared tray and allow the mixture to cool completely before filling the cake. Beware – this tastes rather lush on its own!

For the topping, mix the cream cheese, Malibu (if using) with the icing sugar and beat until a smooth paste. Put to one side.

Then to assemble your cake.

Place one cake onto your cake stand, spread with half of the cooled pineapple custard, top with a second cake, spread with the remaining pineapple custard and cover with the third cake.

Using your best cake covering skills, cover the cake; top and sides with the cream cheese mix and even out as best you can. Use the cooled toasted desiccated coconut to decorate the top and sides of the cake as in the picture.

If you want to go the extra mile with the fresh pineapple, chop off the top of the pineapple and trip the head so that it sits on top of the finished cake.  Then if you want to recreate the seared pineapple slices – slice the whole pineapple, skin on, so that you get at least 4 thin slices, lengthways.  Then with a very hot frying pan on the stove, place the slices in the frying pan and allow them to almost burn (or caramelise) before turning over to repeat. Allow to cool before using them to further garnish the cake.

 

Advertisements

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 😀