Sticky Toffee Ginger Pudding

I know. An actual recipe! its been a while, but its getting towards an actual pudding season; the autumn and winter months.  The nights start to draw in and the sun begins to shine a little less. Comfort food time. Although having said that, anytime is comfort food time 🙂

This is a fairly easy recipe to make and bake; add the sauce and hey presto a soft, moist and moreish pudding, fit for any time or day of the week.

I was though lucky enough to have been approached by a company called Global Foods UK who manufacture date products. Who knew? I think largely for the wholesale/trade market, they produce and supply dates, date pastes and date syrups from some of the worlds tastiest dates – Deglet Noir from North Africa and Zahidi from the Middle East. Really easy to use; the paste can be used in much the same way as dates – without the stones! The syrups can be used instead of ‘normal’ refined sugars.  There are some health benefits I believe – check their website for their details

Now for research purposes I made a batch of chocolate muffins, substituting out the sugar and using the exact same amount of the date syrup. Like any other liquid sugar substitute it works fine. Mixes fine and cooks just as well.  The problem we have is the taste, its just not the same as sugar.

Now the date paste is another matter. Having made this pudding I can safely say that the paste is really easy to use.  Use in the same way you would dates, but the easy bit is that you don’t have to de-stone them!

I used the Deglet Noir date paste which has been put through a 3mm mincer.

Ingredients – enough for 12 people.

For the pudding;

250g date paste/chopped dates

300ml water

70g butter

140g black treacle

170g gluten free self raising flour

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 eggs

For the sauce;

300ml double cream

160g soft brown sugar

50g butter

Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180c or 160c fan and lightly grease a container that holds at least 1.7L and is c26cm long, c20cm wide and c5cm deep.

First off put the chopped dates (the date paste will still actually need chopping into small pieces, the water, butter and treacle into a saucepan and bring to a slow simmer for 2 minutes. The treacle will soften and the butter will melt and the dates should also soften and absorb the liquids, plus soften to make them easier to mix.

Leave to one side to cool for about 10 minutes, then tip in the flour, ginger and the eggs and beat the mixture together to form a batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared dish and bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cut, whilst hot, into 12 pieces.

Put to one side whilst you make the sauce.

Pour the cream, butter and sugar into a large enough saucepan and bring to a slow boil for another 2 minutes – stirring whilst it heats. The sauce should thicken a little and have a lovely ‘saucey’ look to it… Pour this over the slightly cooled ginger pudding and serve – on its own or with (more) cream.

 

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.

 

Gluten Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Thought I’d put a gluten free recipe together for a Pineapple Upside Down Cake. As I’ve seen a few doing the rounds recently, so not one to hop on the band wagon, but I do like to make sure everyone can have the option of having their own slice 😀

Gluten free Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I am also going to scale down the posts and recipe creating in the New Year as I’d like to start work on a new project. The project might take a little more time than I imagine and something so will have to give. Not that I will forget to keep you updated and I will of course put the word out, so to speak, on the comings and going at Cake Towers, plus if I discover a juicy new recipe I’ll naturally let you know. For now though, thank you for all of your support, likes and the odd comment, it’s been a ride. The next page needs writing though and I have no idea where the journey will go. If you do need a recipe though in the meantime, please contact me via the details on the ‘About…’ page.

Enough already, there’s some sand in my eye. Here’s a rather moist and smoooth recipe to keep you going and one you’ll definitely need custard with 😀😀

Preheat the oven to Gas 3, 150c fan, 165c and line the base of a deep, loose bottomed, 8” cake tin with a slip of greaseproof paper.

8 slices of tinned pineapple

Cocktail/glacé Cherries

200g caster sugar

240g soft butter

160g gluten free self raising flour

50g ground almonds

1 teaspoon baking powder

5 medium eggs

100ml milk

30ml cocktail cherry juice (if using)

1 teaspoon almond essence

Open the tin(s) of sliced pineapple, drain off the juice and dab-dry the Pineapple slices on some kitchen paper. Line the base of the baking tin with the pineapple slices (you may get to eat one slice…….) and place the cocktail/glacé cherries in the middle of the pineapple slices and fill any remaining gaps with them also. Put to one side whilst you prepare the cake batter.

In a separate bowl sift the gluten free flour, ground almonds and baking powder.

Beat the sugar and the soft butter in another bowl with an electric whisk or table top mixer, until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time with a spoonful of gluten free flour mix. Once the eggs are all mixed in, beat in the milk and cherry juice (if using) and almond essence. It will look a little split, but will come together once cooked.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin and pop in the oven and bake for 55 – 60 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Once cooked,  remove from the oven to cool a little. If using straight away you’ll definitely need to leave it to cool before, placing a large enough plate/serving dish over the cake tin and turning it over – for you Upside Down Cake!

Serve with custard (because there really is no other option 😀😀😀 )

If you are serving this much later, or the next day, cover until required. To warm through, just place back into a warm over for about 15 minutes, you may also want to cover the cake with some additional greaseproof to stop it catching and drying out. And still serve it with custard!

 

 

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

From Free Angel Cake

Sometimes it doesn’t take much to get the cakespiration juices flowing.

This take off, of a well-known supermarket own brand cake, was created after a friend of mine – who can only eat gluten free and dairy free – commented on how bad they were and hopefully I could do better!! I love a challenge.

Challenge accepted and here is the result – as it happens one of Noah’s favourites too.  This light and fluffy slice is relatively easy to make and keeps well for at least 3 days, in a sealed container. You wouldn’t really know they were a free from cake!

Preheat your oven to Gas 3, 170c, 160c fan

Line 2 small brownie/cake trays c25cm long, c3cm deep and c14cm wide

  • 4 large eggs
  • 240g vegetable oil
  • 220g caster sugar
  • 240g gluten free self raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 2 drops of pink colouring ( I used Rainbow Dust pink gel)
  • 2 drops of strawberry flavouring (optional – I use Foodie Flavours)
  • 50g Stork for Baking
  • 170g Icing sugar
  • few drops of water

I would suggest making the main cake mix twice.  Firstly weigh out 2 eggs, 120g veg oil,  110g caster sugar, 120g gluten free self raising flour and a teaspoon of vanilla essence and using a hand-held mixer whisk the lot together until light and fluffy – 3 – 4 minutes.  Pour this batter into the 1st cake tin and bake for 18 – 22 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool before removing from the tin.

To make the 2nd batch of cake mix, put the remaining 2 eggs, oil, sugar, gluten free flour, pink colour and optional drops of strawberry flavour and again whisk until light and fluffy, pour into the tin and bake for the same amount of time. Or until the inserted skewer comes out clean.

To make the filling – similar to that of a buttercream, without using butter, beat the Stork until light and fluffy, mix in 100g of icing sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence and a few drops of water (this will help to spread the filling over the base of the cake) then continue beating using an electric hand-held whisk until the mix is light and fluffy – it turns a pale shade of white too.

In order to spread the filling, ensure both cakes are cool and have been removed from the tins.

Place the pink cake down first and spread over the filling then top with the vanilla cake slice.

Using the remaining 70g icing sugar, the drop of pink colouring and a few drops of water, mix up a thick, pipeable water icing.

To keep the cake looking trim and neat you may want to cut the edges off the cake before serving. Then cut the cake into as many small pieces as you can or as large as you feel, I got about 24 mini Angel Cake Slices.

Finally to finish off the cakes slices, pipe the pink icing over the cut slices, I used a Wilton number 5 piping nozzle for the drizzle.

 

Gluten free mini Bakewell tarts

Unbelievably this is my favourite recipe and one I haven’t put on the blog before! Not at least, in its simplest form as just a Bakewell.  There are many permutations of this recipe and those are in, but for the simplest and my original – time that was rectified!

This amount of pastry (in the lin) is enough for a large tart with several off cuts – enough for 12 mini tartlets.

There are recipes for pastry on this blog, namely this one (another recipe based around the Bakewell);

https://wp.me/p64jEx-gL

I used a similar amount of pastry for a large gluten free Bakewell tart before I then rolled out the leftover piece of pastry and cut the pastry into 12 large stars.

For the Bakewell ‘sponge’;

150g soft butter

150g caster sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon almond essence

125g ground almonds

25g plain flour

Beat the soft butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs one at a time, until fully combined. Beat in the essence and then fold in the flour and ground almonds.

The majority of the Bakewell sponge went in the larger, oblong dish (36cm x 13cm) What was left went into the mini tarts.

For the smaller tarts I used a 7cm star cutter and a 12 hole mini tart tin. The oven was preheated to gas 4, 180c, 160c fan.

Cutting out the 12 star shapes then gently lining the tart tin holes (each hole is roughly 6cm wide at the top).

Then I placed half a teaspoon of Hartley’s raspberry jam into the base of the pastry. The rest of the Bakewell sponge – a teaspoon of mix – I used up for the mini tarts. No waste 🤗🤗

The mini tarts were then baked for around 20 minutes, left to cool and then decorated with water icing.

Gluten Free Macadamia, Raspberry and White Chocolate Cake

Now, I haven’t done a review of last year, it’s not something I’ve done before so not really sure of the benefits. My aim remains the same, to ensure those on a gluten free diet, by choice or by design can access a variety of bakes relatively easily.  That they can see that having coeliac disease means not having to be different and baking and then the eating, can be enjoyed by everyone.  Bakes don’t have to be widely different and that adapting recipes is possible.

We have found that Noah will eat well as long as everyone else around him is eating the same.  The difficulty comes when he stands out, when he becomes different and the choices he has are limited.  Companies can learn a lot by this.  Children don’t usually want to be different in their early years, they don’t want to stand out, they want to be equal.  Generally, children’s menus when eating out with coeliac disease, are not putting children on the same level. Small changes to ingredients and some thinking around menu design can and will, make all the difference.  My experience as a chef currently means that eating out, and trusting establishments, is something we don’t do.  There are exceptions, yes, but they are still few and far between.

That said then with baking, it is also about me trying something different.  But does different mean being obscure?

This gluten free cake is wonderfully moist with the flavours all pulling together with each bite.

Preheat the oven to gas 4, 170c, 150c fan and line the base of a deep 8″ sandwich tin with greaseproof.

  • 150g gluten free self raising flour
  • 100g whole macadamia nuts
  • 280g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 100ml sunflower oil
  • 100g melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons almond essence
  • 50ml sour cream
  • 200g Raspberry Jam
  • 100g white chocolate – melted
  • additional 140g very soft butter
  • 140g icing sugar

Firstly weigh 40g of the nuts and crush them slightly and 100g of the caster sugar. Put this into a saucepan to create a macadamia praline.  Stir in 4 tablespoons of water and bring to a boil and then heat until you have caramelised the nuts. This should take around 5 – 6 minutes.  Pour the praline onto a piece of greaseproof to cool and to use later as a garnish to the finished cake.  If you leave the nuts whole, when blended the oil from the nuts will make the praline soggy. Tasty, but soggy.

For the cake then take the 150g gluten free flour and the 60g  of nuts and blend these together to form more of a ground ‘nut flour’.  Blended, or grounding, the macadamia nuts on their own will just create a soggy unworkable ‘mush’.  By adding the flour, it helps to soak up the oil from the nuts.  If the nuts are not ground enough, blitz for another minute or more.

Once you have your ground flour mix, place this the eggs, sugar, oil, melted butter, essence and sour cream all into the mixing bowl (I used a table top, stand mixer) and beat well for, again, 5 – 6 minutes until you have a light fluffy batter.

Pour into the cakes tin and bake for around 45 – 50 minutes.  Check with an inserted skewer to see if its done, if it comes out clean it is. If not, pop back in for another 5 minutes or so.

Once baked remove from the oven, allow to cool, before then removing from the tin and leave to cool completely before icing.

Once cooled down, carefully slice the cake into 3 slices, spread with jam and place the cake slices back to form the cake.

To make the praline crumbs, just place all the set, caramelised nuts into a blender and blend to a crumb.

To make the icing beat the butter until its light and fluffy, stir in the icing sugar and beat again, pour in the melted white chocolate and beat again until well combined.

You can then either spread the icing onto the cake or pipe and sprinkle on the praline crumbs