‘Tis the season to be…….

I might not be able to take really good photos, but ‘by eck, do I make rather tasty bakes!

Gluten Free Chocolate Swiss Roll

The festive season is usually one for over indulgence, adding sweetness upon sweetness. You can take the humble mince pie and drown it in brownie, the humble Swiss roll and drown it in buttercream or ganache, a humble mince pie and drown it in alcohol. The list goes on, it seems Christmas is an excuse to over indulge?  But that’s ok, it’s just for a couple of days 😀😀

And this recipe goes only half way to indulgence 😀 Still indulgent and can still be made for a simple centrepiece for a gluten free Christmas table. And if you make this, no one – no one – will be able to tell the difference between this and a ‘normal’ cake. It’s so light and fluffy. Let’s not talk about the other Swiss roll I made, that cracked and fell apart….. 🙄 but did have green Christmas trees and red baubles on!

Preheat the oven to 180c fan, 200c, Gas 4 and line a Swiss roll tin (35cm x 25cm) with baking parchment/greaseproof paper.

To make the swirls;

35g soft butter

35g icing sugar

1 egg white

30g gluten free plain flour

A simple cake mix, beat the butter and the icing sugar together until you have a soft paste, beat in the egg white; again until you have a soft paste, then mix in the gluten free flour until you have a combined mix, that will be easy to pipe.

Now I did this bit by free hand (I know, you can tell) place the cake paste into a piping bag with a writing nozzle and draw onto the greaseproof paper your pattern/s. There are plenty of templates on-line. You don’t need to cover the whole piece of paper as some of the pattern will sit underneath the Swiss roll when it has been rolled up.

Also, if you are going to write actual words, write them back to front. Otherwise when you  turn the Swiss roll over to roll once filled, the writing will be backwards.

Once you have piped your design, place in the freezer, for at least 10 minutes, whilst you make your Swiss roll.

3 large eggs

80 caster sugar

70g gluten free plain flour

20g cocoa (I use Food Thoughts Cocoa)

Using a stand mixer (I have a kitchen aid) whisk the eggs and the sugar for at least 5 minutes until you have trebled the volume of he mix and once you left out the whisk, it leaves a trail or ribbon.

Sift the cocoa with the gluten free flour together and then sift again onto the egg and sugar mix. Then using either a large metal spoon or plastic spatula gently fold in the flour mix.  Gently, so as to keep as much air in th mix as possible.

Once fully folded, take your tray out of the freezer (the pattern should have set) and carefully pour the Swiss roll mix over your pattern. Making sure the mix gets into each hole and crevice. Tap the tray gently and place into the oven on the bottom shelf, and bake for about 8 minutes.

Whilst baking – and this is going to get fiddly i’m afraid – get a sheet of greaseproof paper slightly larger than your Swiss roll, and place onto your kitchen table/surface and lightly sprinkle with caster sugar.

Now, once the Swiss roll is cooked, allow the tray to cool for about a minute to take some of the heat out of the tray, and the turn the tray upside down onto the sugared greaseproof to turn the cake out.  Gently peel off the greaseproof from the cooked cake, place another clean sheet of greaseproof back on top and turn over again! This way the pattern should be on the side of the kitchen surface? Using a sharp knife make a cut along the long length of the cake, only about half way down into the cake. This will help rolling up. Then roll up the Swiss roll with the greaseproof inside and allow to th cake to fully cool.

By cooling the Swiss roll rolled up, it will be easier to roll once filled. It will be stretched enough and shouldn’t crack!

For the filling;

200g of jam/preserve – I used Single Variety Company – Maravilla Raspberry Preserve. Because they were lovely and sent me a jar or 2 to play with 😀😀

200g Nutella (or similar chocolate and hazelnut spread) – gently warmed to make it easy to spread.

Unroll the Swiss roll. It will have cooled enough for you to use by the time you have weighed out the filling ingredients. Then spread on the jam/preserve and then cover with the warmed chocolate spread. Then roll back up, the Swiss roll. Trying to get in tightly rolled to get that all important ‘swirl’, and taking care to keep the filling in!

Place onto your cake dish and serve.

It should keep well (and covered) for at least 2 days.  If it lasts that long!

 

 

 

 

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‘Tis the Season….

It is indeed the season to be joyful.

Gluten free Mince Pies

And there is no excuse required in this house, to eat and enjoy a gluten free mince pie. All the more when the pastry is a little thicker than normal and a little extra rich! For me, this newer gluten free recipe for pastry has a little extra melt-in-the-mouth experience and, and if you have some added festive spirit to hand, add this to your sweet Mincemeat for that added touch of indulgence. It’s Christmas after all, although I don’t need an excuse to eat mince pies any time of the year 😀😀😀

Yes, you can buy gluten free mince pies in the shops, yes the gluten free range is increasing, there is though, nothing like baking your own. It takes no more time to make or bake gluten free versus ‘normal’ and I’ll be honest, these taste great! So, go on, give it a go. What’s the worst that can happen??? 😀😀

Preheat your oven to gas 5, 200c fan, 215c

Have to hand you pastry topper cutter to hand (I used a Tala Christmas Tree one), an 8cm round cutter for the base and a deep 12 hole tray (used twice). This recipe makes about 18 mince pies.

70g ground almonds

310g gluten free plain flour

1 level teaspoon of xanthum gum

100g caster sugar

280g diced butter

2 eggs

540g gluten free Mincemeat

Alcoholic beverage of choice. Optional of course, but I’ve used Calvados, brandy and amaretto to make these mince pies.

Using a food processor, blend the ground almonds, gluten free plain flour, xanthum gum and sugar together for about 30 seconds until fully combined. Alternatively sieve the ingredients together over a bowl to mix them all together.

Then add the diced butter to the processor and blend on pulse until you have a mix that resembles fine breadcrumbs. No more than a minute. Alternatively rub the butter into the dry mix with your fingertips to reach the same state.

Crack the 2 eggs into a cup and lightly whisk with a fork.

Pour roughly 1.5 (save the other half as egg wash for the finished pie) of the egg mix into the flour and butter mix and blend together in the processor for about 20 seconds and then tip out on to the table top and bring together to form a dough. Or likewise, pour the egg mix into your bowl, if making by hand and again bring together to form a dough.

Let this dough rest a little in the fridge, wrapped in cling film, to firm the butter up, if nothing else. Otherwise the dough can get a little greasy.

Once the dough has rested for about 15 minutes, take it out of the fridge and unwrap it from the film. Place it on a lightly floured surface and roll out the dough to about 4mm in thickness.

You may need to gather and reform the dough and roll out again to get the right amount of bases and tops.

Cut out 18 rounds for the base and 18 toppers. Brush the inside of each pastry round with some of the remaining beaten egg.

Place the bases in the cake tray, pop in about 30g of Mincemeat into each base and splash on about a tablespoon or 2 of optional alcoholic spirits….. top with your pastry topper of choice, brush this with egg wash and place into the oven to bake for around 15 – 20 minutes or until lightly bronzed.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool, before removing from the tray and sprinkling with icing sugar and serving. If you need to bake the remaining batch of mince pies, repeat – and line, brush, fill, splash, top, brush and bake…..

Once fully cooled, these can be placed in a tub, placed into the freezer and kept for no more than a month. So if you need to bake ahead, now is the time.

Can be served warm with your favourite – brandy butter, brandy custard, or just warm and on their own.

 

Gluten Free Christmas Yule Log

Ho Ho Ho

We are well and truly in the Festive swing of things here in Cakes Towers. With little time left until the big day, Noah’s mum has all but completed the Christmas shopping and we can almost relax and hear the sleigh bells jingling in the distance.  Just a lttle hurdle of the day job to get through between now and then.

And what better way to start than putting together another centre piece cake for the Christmas table than a Gluten Free Chocolate Yule Log. Full of seasonal richness and our favourite – chocolate.  Although I’ll admit, it looks more like a Yule Stump! 😀😀

gluten-free-christmas-yule-log

There is a little bit of work with this one, but having all the ingredients together makes life very easy.

There are 5 stages to this Yule Log and it is certainly best if you can do the lot on the same day. Least of all because as we know gluten free baking has a tendency to dry out quicker than conventional baking. You will be making the swiss roll, then covering it with Nutella, cover this with a cream frosting, rolling it up and then covering the lot in chocolate buttercream!

To start, line a swiss roll tray with greaseproof paper and pre heat the oven to Gas 6/200c. You are going to use the top shelf for this one, none of the middle shelf nonsense!

Also take another piece of greaseproof paper slightly larger than the swiss roll tray and sprinkle with caster sugar – about a tablespoons worth. You will need this for when the swiss roll has been baked.

To make the Gluten Free Yule Log

75g Caster Sugar

3 Large eggs

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

20g Cocoa – I used Food Thoughts

55g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour

200g Nutella

120g Double Cream

20g Icing sugar

60g Full fat cream cheese

1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract

200g soft butter

380g Icing Sugar

220g Melted dark chocolate

Decorations of your choosing ( I just used sifted icing sugar)

Whisk the Sugar and Egg together until at least tripled in size.  I used a Kitchen Aid standing mixer with a whisk attachment and left it going for about 8 – 10 minutes. You need to get the air in, you’ll know its ready when you left our the whisk and it leaves its ‘impression’ in the mix, the mix will hold its shape too. Whisk the extract in briefly.

Put the dry ingredients into a sieve and sieve them over the egg and sugar mix. FOLD in gently with a metal spoon, using swift scooping motions too slow incorporate the flour mix, taking care to not knock out all the air you have just put in.

Pour this mix into the prepared tin and bake for about 8 minutes.

Once baked, and cooled for no more than a minute, turn this out immediately onto the sugar lined greaseproof paper. Keep hold of the oven gloves and take care not to burn yourself, a quick flip is required.

Remove the greaseproof paper form the base of the cooked swiss roll and then roll the swiss roll up into the greaseproof paper. Roll from the short end. This should help the cooked swiss roll to stretch into shape and be easier to roll up again with filling. It stops it cracking and breaking up as well. Although if it does, no matter as it’ll get covered!

To make the cream frosting, put the double cream, 20g icing sugar, cream cheese and vanilla extract all into one bowl and using a hand held whisk, whisk until its stiff and spreadable – about 2-3minutes. Then set to one side.

To make the buttercream, beat the butter until soft, then mix in the icing sugar and beat again until light a fluffy. Then pour in the melted chocolate and beat again. You’ll need to ensure you scrape the sides of the bowl.

gf-christmas-yule-log1

To assemble;

Unroll the swiss roll, spread with the Nutella – you’ll need to warm this slightly, so 10 seconds bursts in the microwave on full, should do this. Then dot the cream mix over the top of this and spread carefully until the roll is covered. Then carefully roll it all up to create the Swiss Roll.

Now if you want to just use it as one roll or ‘Log’ simply place the Swiss Roll on to your desired serving platter. However if you want to create more of a ‘branch’ then cut the roll a quarter of the way down – either at an angle or straight down and place this small piece alongside of the larger piece. Placing and decorating this on your desired serving plate, is by far easier than transferring the finished product.

For ease of spreading the buttercream, I piped mine on using a star nozzle, it also helps with creating the ‘bark’ lines too.  Start along the top and work your way around the cake from there.  Using a knife you can then smooth the ‘bare trunk’ sides in order to create the tree rings.

christmas-yule-log-gluten-free

Sprinkle with dusted icing sugar or your decoration of choice and then you just have to decide where to cut it and who gets the rich buttercream ends or the slice of cake!

 

 

Gluten Free Christmas Cake Slices

‘Ding dong merrily on high……’

As I sit here and eat a piece of this here cake, Christmas is but short distance away. Luckily for me it would appear the bulk of the present buying has been done and organised to its various hiding placed around the house (how we recover them though presents (pardon the pun..) another issue….

Time is ever precious at this time of year and as our lives seem to be squeezed on a daily basis, it comes as a welcome tonic (mines with vodka)  to find a gluten free Christmas fruit cake that is both easy to make and bake and similarly easy to decorate.

I was lucky enough to have been given a packet of this gluten free Christmas Fruit Cake Mix from the lovely people at Delicious Alchemy. And it really is easy to make 🙂

gluten-free-christmas-cake

Forgive me DA but I lifted this straight from your website – I have though linked it straight back to your lovely, helpful website.  I couldn’t see the point in reinventing the wheel. A couple of things to note, I didn’t use the orange and I used a tad more brandy in the cake – oops my hand slipped…

For clarity I used a square 7″ cake tin which isn’t overly clear in the original method/recipe.

You’ll need:

Before you get mixing, preheat the oven to 160C/140C for fan-assisted ovens.  Line the base and sides of a 7 inch baking tin with greaseproof paper. Make sure the paper sticks out 2.5cm (about an inch) above the rim of the tin.

In a large bowl, mix the butter (or dairy free alternative) and zest (if using) then add in 45ml of the brandy or orange juice. Whisk the eggs separately and then add to the bowl along with the dry cake mix.

Mix together for 2½ minutes. You can pop it all in a mixer if that’s easier.

Once it has all come together, put the mix into your prepared tin and bake for 1 hour 45 minutes. I would suggest that you smooth the surface of the cake mix down to get an even finish once cooked. It also helps when ready for icing.

Once baked to perfection, allow to cool for 20 minutes, then pierce the cake several times with a skewer and pour on the remaining 30ml of brandy or orange juice until it is all absorbed.

Wrap up well in greaseproof, tin foil and cling film and store.

gf-christmas-cake

Should you have the time left.. unwrap carefully, turn over, pierce the base of the cake again and ‘feed the cake’ a little more brandy.  Although if you have some calvados lying around this is just as tasty…

When you are ready to cover the choice is indeed yours.  For better use of time I used Dr Oetker Marzipan and Dr Oetker Regal Icing . Remove both from their packets, knead the marzipan until it’s a little more pliable and roll out until your decide thickness, brush the top of the cake with apricot jam and cover with the marzipan. Use the base of the square cake tin as a guide for size and shape. Brush the marzipan with a little more of the apricot jam, and repeat the process with the Regal Icing.

Now you can eat this (once decorated to your liking) as one whole cake, use as a Christmas Day centre piece and slice as required, but for something a little different I cut the iced cake into 8 ‘slices’ and decorated each slice as I desired. Just because.

And because I was able to plan a little ahead I was able to feed the cake twice – once a week over the two since I baked it.  You still have time…

delicious-alchemy-christmas-cake-mix

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Gluten Free Festive Frangipane

Wrapped little Frangipane parcels of wonder….

I seem to be embracing the festive season somewhat…and as we are entering the festive season there is the odd time when you need a little extra time to bake a few dishes, this is one of those. This is a two stage bake which requires cooling in between. It can easily be done in a couple of hours if you have all the ingredients together.

gf-festive-frangipane

Line a shallow (20x10x3cm) baking pan with greaseproof paper and pre-heat the oven to Gas 2/130c

For the shortbread –

120g Caster sugar

240g Soft butter

200g Rice flour

120g Cornflour

60g Ground Almonds

level teaspoon of Xanthum Gum

For the Frangipane –

150g Soft butter

130g Caster sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon of almond essence

150g Ground almonds

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon mixed spice

120g Dried mixed fruit

200g Jam (I used Mrs Darlington Christmas Preserve. Made with plums and port!)

To make the shortbread-

Mix the dry ingredients together and set aside. Then cream the butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy – 3/4 minutes. Then (I used a table top mixing machine) tip in the dry ingredients and mix gently until fully combined and a smooth dough. This can be done hand – just get your hands in 😀😀.

Spread the dough evenly in the lined tin and smooth out into the corners using the back of a spoon.

Bake gently in the middle of the oven for about 35 minutes. The shortbread should have a light brown finish. You are in fact ‘baking this blind’

Allow to cool completely before spreading the surface with the jam. And turn the oven up the Gas 3/140c.

Whilst the shortbread is baking you can make the Frangipane.

Weigh the dry almonds and spices together and set aside.

Cream the soft butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs one at a time. Then add the almond essence. If the mix doesn’t come together add in a spoon of the ground almonds mix to bind it together. Once this is done pour in the dry mix and the mixed dry fruit and mix in gently.

Once the shortbread is cooled and the jam has been spread spoon on the Frangipane and level off.

gluten-free-festive-frangipane

Bake in the middle of the oven for 35 – 40 minutes until the frangipane is cooked. Insert a skewer and in needs to come out clean. If you find the edges burning (the jam) just turn the oven down a fraction.

Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before removing from the pan and cutting into pieces. Either into 9 or 18 depending on how hungry you are feeling 🙂