Gluten free Spiced Chocolate Cake

Here is one I made earlier.

After another fantastic Foodies Festival appearance, its about time the recipe for the cake got written. So without further ado and much waffle…..

For the dehydrated orange –

2 oranges sliced approximately to 4mm thick

For the Truffle balls –

200g dark chocolate broken into small pieces

180ml double or whipping cream

20ml mulled wine

40g cocoa

For the cake –

5 eggs

240g vegetable oil

240g caster sugar

280g gluten free self raising flour

40g Food Thoughts Cocoa

2 teaspoons orange essence

1 teaspoon baking powder

30ml water

For the buttercream –

150g soft butter

35g Food Thoughts cocoa

270g icing sugar

approx 30ml mulled wine

for the chocolate filling –

140g dark chocolate broken into small pieces

100ml double of whipping cream

Planning is key here as the oranges will take at least 3 hours to dry out in a typical oven. Pre heat the oven to cool, so around 90c in a fan assisted oven.

Once you have sliced the oranges into slices, place them onto a greaseproof lined baking sheets, large enough to accommodate all of the orange slices, placed together, but not on top of each other. Allowing for the heat to get around them. Place into the pre heated oven for 1 and a half hours, before turning the slices over and returning to the oven for a further 90 minutes, or until completely dry. Remove from the oven to cool and finish drying out. Leave to one side.

To make the truffle mix, place the cream (double cream will give you a thicker, richer texture; whilst whipping cream will be lighter) into a large enough saucepan and place the chocolate pieces into a glass bowl. Gently bring the cream to a simmer, stirring occasionally so as stop the cream catching and burning. Once the cream is simmering, pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Leave this for about 30 seconds to allow the chocolate to start to melt. Then stir so as to melt the chocolate and create a thick chocolate sauce. Add the mulled wine and stir to combine all the ingredients. Once cool enough place into the fridge to set.

Once set, remove the truffle from the fridge and roll into balls, using a teaspoon as a guide for size. Once made, roll the balls in the cocoa and place back in the fridge to set further.

For the cake.

Preheat the oven to gas 4/180c/160c fan and line 3 x 7” cake tins.

Place all the cake ingredients into a large enough bowl (I used a stand mixer) and whisk it altogether for about 3 to 4 minutes until you have an amazing cake batter, ready to pour into the 3 cake tins. Place into the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, before removing from the tins and placing on a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Whilst cooling, you can make the filling. As for the truffle mix, heat the cream to a simmer and pour over the broken chocolate pieces, leave for 30 seconds again before stirring to combine the cream and chocolate and then add in the mulled wine.

 

You can also begin to make the buttercream. By adding the cocoa and icing sugar and mulled wine to the butter in a large enough mixing bowl and beating to a smooth paste. Scrap the sides of the bowl once and beat again for a couple of minutes.

To assemble, place one of the cakes on the cake board/cake stand and pour over half of the sauce, top with a 2nd cake, pour the remaining sauce over and then top with the 3rd cake.

Cover the cake sides and top with the buttercream and using a fork create the look as per the photo. As you would when making a Yule Log.

Decorate as you please using the truffle balls and dehydrated oranges (and an indoor sparkler if you want)

 

 

The start of a new normal

Its been a while since my last post.

That feels so much like a confession! Not being a natural writer and trying to find something vaguely interesting to write about,  is something I work hard at. Although I have found that the more time to think about something the harder it becomes to write something. Whilst having just a header can actually be more productive.

Its been an odd last few weeks. The school summer holidays have now been and well and truly gone. In the main it felt like we were all apart for the best part of 4 weeks! With the length of the school holidays it becomes almost a military exercise in precision organisation, so that we don’t pay over the odds for child care. Work holiday time, does not equal school holiday time, which has meant we spent a couple of weeks apart. It’s how it is and we just get on with it, perhaps not ideal but we make it work 😀  We almost began to forget who we were!

Then before we knew it, there was the last-minute rush to get everything together for the first day back at schools. Noah’s first day back was the easier option as he has moved up one year in the same school. His sister however,  has now started senior school! Which has been a HUGE learning curve for us all after week one. It’s meant getting a bus to school – with a bus pass! Organising her own school meals and getting herself around a huge school, roughly twice the size of her junior school. It’s been a huge thing. It feels like, just overnight she has had to grow up so quickly. From being taken to school, to getting herself there. From being cooked for at home, to preparing her own snack when she comes back from school (of course she has had some excellent tuition on that front 😀😀). She has taken it all in her stride of course and we are very proud of her.

Fancy some quick cake to celebrate and to celebrate the start of the new series of The Great British Bake Off on Channel 4 😄? Oh and the continuing twitter bake of challenges of the #gbbotwitterbakealong run by the @thebakingnanna1 and @Rob_C_Allen The weekly challenges follow the 3 bakes of the GBBO series and everyone can enter, pop over to twitter to find out more.

Preheat the oven to gas 3, 150c fan, 170c and line a small brownie tin (c24cm long, 15cm wide)

– 170g soft butter

– 160g caster sugar

– 3 eggs

– 100g ground hazelnuts

– 90g gluten free self raising flour

– 30g Cocoa

– 160ml milk

Very easily place all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and whisk (either using a stand mixer or hand held electric mixer) until fully blended and it becomes light and fluffy – about 5/6 minutes.

Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Meanwhile you can make the ganache topping.

– 150ml double cream

-130g cooking chocolate, broken into small pieces to ease melting

– 2 tablespoons of chocolate hazelnut spread

Place the chocolate pieces and chocolate spread into a glass bowl.

Heat the cream in a saucepan, stirring continually, until just before it comes to the boil. Pour the hot cream on top of the chocolate, leave for about a minute and then stir the mix until the chocolate has melted and you get a lovely, silky smooth paste, then pour this on top of the cooling cake. Allow to cool completely and for the ganache to set before removing from the tin and cutting into equal pieces.

I’ll be watching bread week on the GBBO with interest and the longing of kneading bread.

Gluten Free Easter Chocolate Cake

Its chocolate cake season – like I need an excuse! I love chocolate and thought too long and hard on how to decorate this cake – there are sooo many chocolate ideas to use. Almost too many Easter chocolate ideas?

So I went with Cadbury Flakes (makes it look like a nest), Galaxy Golden Eggs, Cadbury Mini Eggs and Nestle Milky Bar  Eggs.

I also make some gluten free chocolate crispy cake mix to use as a ‘nest’ – obviously I made too much and there was plenty left over…….

I used my Sacher Torte recipe as the base for the cake of this creation and finished with a very fluffy buttercream before decorating.

For the cornflake cake;

  • 100g gluten free cornflakes
  • 50g melted chocolate

Once you have melted the chocolate, pour in the gluten free cornflakes and mix carefully until all the flakes are covered in chocolate. Leave to firm up by spreading the mix on some greaseproof paper. Once set, gently break up into bit size chunks and keep, ready for finishing off the cake (careful not to eat too many pieces!!)

Line the sides and the base of an 8″ loose bottomed cake tin and preheat the oven to gas 3, 140c fan, 160c

For the cake;

  • 180g milk chocolate (I used Callebaut)
  • 100g butter
  • 5 eggs separated
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 80g gluten free plain flour

For the filling;

  • 150g raspberry jam

For the buttercream

  • 100g very soft butter
  • 40g cocoa (I used Food Thoughts)
  • 160g icing sugar
  • splash of milk

Place the chocolate and the butter into a bowl and melt. Either by placing the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water – don’t let the bowl touch the water and stir occasionally. Or by melting in a bowl, in a microwave in short bursts of 20 seconds at a time – 20 seconds, take out and stir, 20 seconds, take out and stir – repeat.  If you over heat the chocolate it will ‘burn’ and go all grainy. You’ll have to start again if this happens – so take care and time. Once all melted – which ever method you use – leave to cool a little before adding to the egg mix.

Meanwhile;

In a separate bowl make a meringue – whisk the 5 egg whites until double the volume and the mix is ‘stiff’ add in to this – in 3 batches – 90g of the caster sugar. Whisk in each batch of caster sugar until fully combined and finish off whisking the meringue until its stiff and shiny – about 7-8 minutes start to finish.

In another bowl whisk 30g of the caster sugar and the 5 egg yolks and the vanilla essence for a further 5 minutes or until you have a fairly stiff mix and the mix holds the shape of the whisk – ribbon stage. Into this stir in the melted chocolate mix and the gluten free flour. Ensure its all fully combined before then mixing in a third of the meringue mix.

Then fold in another third of the meringue, once that has been folded in, fold in the final third – taking care to not knock all the air out of the mix.

Pour the batter into the tin and gently bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin before removing.

Once cooled you can either slice the cake horizontally in half or into three slices. Rebuild the cake by spreading jam onto each slice before then rebuilding the cake.

To make the buttercream beat the butter until light and fluffy, stir in the cocoa, icing sugar and milk before your then finish beating until its light and fluffy and ready to spread.

Spread the buttercream over the cake and decorate with your chosen confectionary.

 

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.

 

Gluten Free Chocolate and Raspberry Torte

Before we all get side tracked into watching the new series of the Great British Bake Off and perhaps going a little off-piste with our baking, a little Torte to share with you.

The lovely people at Food Thoughts sent me a tub of their Natural Cacao Powder for baking, it’s also a Fairtrade product. Considered a natural and healthy product, with this much sugar in the recipe it might not be….but perhaps there is room to develop a healthier version? Ummmmm that’ll get me thinking.

If you can leave the Torte unsliced overnight, or for a few hours, the juice from the raspberries will seep out into the Torte and make it even more moist. If you can’t wait that long, a spoonful of half fat, creme fraiche or yoghurt (keeping it healthy) or a dollop of cream will do no harm either.

Relatively easy to make, you’ll need a couple of mixing bowls, one larger than the other, and pre heat the oven Gas 2, 160c, 155c fan. Line an 8″ deep cake tin, base and sides, with greaseproof.

5 eggs – separated

200g caster sugar

160g ground almonds

40g Food Thoughts Cacao Powder 

1 teaspoon Almond essence

100g fresh raspberries

Mix the ground almonds and cacao together and put to one side.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks, using a stand mixer or electric hand-held whisk. Then pour in 50g of the caster sugar and continue to whisk until you have a soft sheen – not too dissimilar to making a meringue. This is where you get the air into the cake, so ensure you use fresh eggs and don’t rush this bit.

Using the same beaters (saving on washing up and it makes little or no difference) and in another larger bowl, beat the egg yolks, remaining 150g of sugar and the Almond essence until light in colour, roughly 50% more in volume and the mix thickens to get that ‘ribbon stage’ – if you pull the whisk out, it leaves a ribbon. Pour into this the almonds and cacao mix and mix well. This will be a stiff paste.

Fold into this a third of the meringue mix, this first third will lose some of the volume, but it’s important to mix well to loosen up the yolk and Almond mix and ensure any pockets of egg whites are dispersed. Fold in the next third, folding gently so as not to knock out the air. Fold in the final third, folding slowly and ensuring all the paste is evenly mixed.

Pour into your prepared cake tin and gently push the raspberries into the top of the mix. There is no need to push them fully down, just enough as you can see in the photo, they don’t sink. But don’t need to.

Bake for 40 – 45 mins.  An inserted skewer will come out with a little of the finished Torte, so you will need to judge for yourself how much is too much cake (on the skewer).