Happy Easter

Its been a while hasn’t it?

Gluten free Simnel Cake

And so a little update of the last couple of months.  Life at Cakes Towers continues, we are all still here, still alive and well and living the dream.

I may have mentioned taking a break from baking and recipe writing to try and write a book, well that is still on going. It’s no mean feat to create new recipes, write them all down, bake them and try and be creative with the photos, whilst still maintaining a full-time job, being a full-time dad and husband. Nonetheless I have written some recipes and taken some photos, the process while long, is rather fun. Trying to squeeze in time to bake cakes and bakes, in amongst the weekend taxi service and a wonderful job that takes we away across the country more often than not.

I would have it no other way.

The beginning of the year started with baking around 4 or 5 bakes a weekend and trying to photo them whilst there was still plenty of natural light. I quickly learnt that once the early winter nights had drawn in, the kitchen light was not a great replacement and neither was the use a flash or trying to set up a light studio with a standard lamp! And don’t get me started on overcast days! But I battled on and I am proud of the results; I still need a few ideas and so baking seems to have slowed down a bit this past month as I am in need of some cakespiration.

I have also taken on board the role of Group Organiser for our local Coeliac UK support group.  A role I felt I needed to take on, as otherwise the group would have folded. Something I felt I could do, there are so many people diagnosed with Coeliac Disease that seem to have little or no support once they are diagnosed, it was the least I could do. There is I feel, some way to go to make the group more supportive rather than just a couple of large meetings per year. But once we get this year out of the way, we (the grand ‘we’ of the committee) can start to plan something a little more supportive to those that need it.

And so a quick recipe to tie you over for the approaching  Easter Holidays.

pre heat the oven to gas 3, 150c, 140c fan and line the base of a loose based 20cm cake tin.

350g gluten free self raising flour

250g butter

1 teaspoon of mixed spice

100g caster sugar

80g light brown sugar

4 eggs, lightly beaten

400g dried fruit (washed glacé cherries halves, raisins, sultanas)

2 tablespoons Apricot Jam

300g ready to roll marzipan

Thought I would shake things up a bit and use the rubbed-in method for this one! I used a food processor to blitz the flour, spice and butter together to form the ‘breadcrumbs’. A couple of quick pulses and we are done, then add the sugars and blitz again to combine.

Take a hand full of the dried mix and sprinkle over the dried fruit and mix so that each piece of fruit is covered – this should help to keep the fruit suspended in the cake and it won’t sink.

Pour the dried flour/breadcrumb mix into a large enough mixing bowl, make a well in the middle, then pour in the eggs and using a spoon, combine the mix to form a sticky cake dough. Stir in the dried fruit to mix and ensure an even distribution.  There should be no need to over mix this, just enough to combine the ingredients.

Take half of the Marzipan and roll this out to form a disc the same size as the inside of the cake tin.

Tip half of the cake mix into the cake tin and smooth out, then place the Marzipan disc on top, then finish with the remaining cake batter, smooth the surface and place in the oven to bake for about 75 – 90 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to fully cool before removing the cake from the tin.

Brush the surface of the cake with the apricot jam.

Roll out the remaining Marzipan into a disc to cover the cake at around 3mm thick. Place on top of the apricot jam and smooth the surface.

If you want to create the traditional glaze, place the cake under a very hot grill and allow the heat to tinge the Marzipan – not burn it, so keep you eyes on it! You could use one of the many hand held cooks blow torches that are available.

Decorate as you see fit, I went a little left-field and just decorated with chocolate mini eggs…

Happy Easter to each and every one of you. 😀💐

 

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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.

 

Happy Gluten Free Easter

Happy Gluten Free Easter everyone.

So, time for something a little different. Something that takes a little longer than normal, but the cake is rich and moist. Well worth the extra effort of boiling the orange. I know! boiling an orange! Who’d have thought. Could it be a new way of getting one of your 5-a-day into your diet??

Sadly probably not.

Line and grease 2 x 7″ cake/sandwich tins.

Ingredients, for the cake;

  • 1 orange – boiled and puréed
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 180g gluten free self raising flour
  • 50g cocoa (I use Food Thoughts)
  • 80ml sunflower oil
  • 70ml milk

Ingredients for the Buttercream;

  • 180g soft butter
  • 360g icing sugar
  • orange flavouring
  • orange colouring (I use Rainbow Dust Gel)
  • Chocolate or other (or not) for decoration

Start off by cleaning the orange to remove any unwanted, wax or dirt. Then place the whole orange – pierced with a knife half a dozen times (so it doesn’t explode!) – into a pan of already boiling water. Boil carefully for about 30 minutes. Carefully remove from the pan and cool a little, before cutting into quarters and blending the orange until the orange is fully ‘blitzed’ and a lovely orange puree. Leave to fully cool, before adding to the cake mix.

Pre-heat your oven to gas 4/ 180c and line 2 x 7″ cakes tins.

Place all the cake ingredients, including the cooled orange puree, into a bowl and using a hand held electric whisk, beat altogether until you have a lovely rich, chocolatey batter.  Pour the batter equally between the 2 sandwich/cake tins and bake in the middle of the oven for about 25 – 30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Safely remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before running a butter knife around the edge of the tins and turning out onto a wire rack. Cool completely before filling.

To make the filling beat the butter until light and fluffy, then beat in the icing sugar (taking care initially to mix in the icing sugar with the butter to avoid the icing sugar dust cloud!). Beat until light and fluffy with a couple of drops of colour and flavour. I’d be careful about adding the orange puree into this mix as it may split.  You’re welcome to try though – let me know how you do.

Once you have the consistency you need, if its too thick to pipe, let it down a little with either a tablespoon or 3 of either boiling water or cold milk.

Using the piping bag, with nozzle of choice, pipe onto one of the cake rounds, place the other cake round on top, then finish with your piping.

Decorate with your chosen chocolate or decoration.

 

 

 

 

 

Gluten Free Simnel Cupcakes

Marzipan seems to be the latest theme for the recipes! And that can only be  a good thing.

These very simple flavoursome and moist cupcakes are very quick and easy to make.  The inclusion of cream cheese is a little departure for me, but it really works a treat. Plus I had some in the fridge so wondered what else I can do with it….

This makes 12 lovely cupcakes, so line your cupcake tin with cupcake cases and pre-heat the oven to Gas 3/ 160c.

Weigh out;

  • 90g soft butter
  • 60g full fat cream cheese
  • 130g light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 150g gluten free self raising flour
  • 200g mixed dried fruit
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 250g marzipan – rolled out and cut into 24 x 6cm rounds, to about 4mm thick.
  • Mini Eggs to decorate

Using a hand-held electric whisk, whisk the butter, cream cheese and sugar until fully combined. Then add in the eggs, one at a time to ensure they are mixed in well. Then lightly toss the dried fruit and the mixed spice together, before adding it to the egg mix and stirring it all together.

Then half fill the cupcakes cases with the batter, place a round of marzipan onto this, then top up with the remainder of the batter.

Cook for about 20 – 25 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Once cooked, placed the remaining marzipan rounds on top of the cooked cupcakes and allow to then cool, before removing from the tin onto a wire rack.

Once cooled you may wish to lightly singe the edges of the marzipan with a hand-held bakers blow torch to give a bit of colour. But please do take care not to burn anything – including you!

To finish, lightly push into the centre a mini egg.

 

 

Gluten Free Hot-Cross Cupcakes

A little different perhaps, but I tried making actual gluten free hot cross buns last year. It’s not that I have lost patience it’s just a matter of time and energy 😀

These are really quick and easy to make. Dare I say you could make them using the all-in-one recipe, but they wouldn’t be as light and fluffy. So I would urge you to use the following method.

Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180c and line a cupcake/muffin tray with 12 cases.

175g soft butter

80g caster sugar

80g light brown sugar

3 eggs

170g gluten free self raising flour

2/3rds teaspoon of mixed spice

80g sultanas

60g icing sugar to finish

Cream the butter and the sugars until light and fluffy, using an electric hand mixer, then beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a little flour along the way to stop the mix from curdling.

Add the sultanas to the rest of the flour and toss them to coat in flour. Then stir this and the mixed spice into the butter and egg mix. Stir to mix well.  Then divide the mix into the 12 empty cases. They will be a little fuller than normal as you are not putting a huge amount of buttercream on the top when they’re cooked.

Cook in the oven for about 18 – 22 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin before removing on to a wire rack.

Mix the icing sugar with some hot water until you have a thick paste, thick enough to pipe onto the cakes and leave to defined crosses. When piping, snip the end to the size of your cross, pipe one way across the cakes and then the other.

Leave the icing to set a little, before enjoying.

Marzipan Roulette

We don’t need an excuse to eat marzipan.

Perhaps putting some on top of a cupcake is a little extreme, after all why not just do away with the cupcake?!  But sometimes there’s a need to go that extra step and over indulge or just because you can.

There is no better way of over indulging with marzipan than a good bite or two of Niederegger Marzipan and because it’s Niederegger there’s a call for something a little extra in the mix.

Pre heat the oven to Gas 3/170c line a 12 muffin tray with your chosen colour cupcake cases. This makes 12 cupcakes but the small pack of Niederegger only has 8 marzipan bites…someone is going to be let down…..😀 and then it’s marzipan roulette…Coffee, Pineapple, Orange or Pistachio…or buy the bigger box….

For the cupcakes –

150g soft butter

150g caster sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons Almond essence

150g gluten free self raising flour

For the filling –

120g Raspberry Jam

For the buttercream –

100g soft butter

170g icing sugar

30g cocoa

4 tablespoons milk

4 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur

1 pack of Niederegger Marzipan Loaves

Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one by one, adding a spoon of flour to stop the mix from curdling. Mix in the essence and stir in the gluten free flour. Don’t over mix, otherwise you’ll take the air out of the mix and the finished cakes will be a little heavy.

Divide the mix between the 12 cases and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. Or until an inser.ted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin before removing and putting them on a wire rack.

Once cooled and using a cupcake corer, take out the middle of the cupcakes and fill with a teaspoon of the raspberry jam. Then make the chocolate buttercream.

Beat the butter until it’s light and fluffy, using an electric hand whisk, then carefully stir in the icing sugar and cocoa to avoid a dust cloud. Then beat again with the mixer until fully mixed, then beat in the milk and liqueur. Pipe onto the cupcakes and finish with the unwrapped marzipan loaves…or if you buy a larger box, you’ll have a spare one or two to ……

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Happy Mothers Day new and old

To all the lovely mums out there. You do an amazing job. ❤️

You are always there when you are needed and always there when we think better. You are always there because  if you weren’t there would have been hell to pay for.  You feel unappreciated and undervalued. Without you we wouldn’t get to school on time, without you ‘stuff’ wouldn’t get done.

You are everything and you are more.  To all the mums, you are loved and needed. It might take us until our adulthood to realise that or even when we have children of our own, but we very much appreciate you. Thank you ❤️

I do love a bit of developing recipes, and this seemed a great time to look at something different.

gluten-free-fig-and-pistachio-cake

Based around a carrot cake in method and baking this moist cake will make a great centre piece for Mothers Day and even for Easter. If you can make it a day or 2 in advance before topping – it will keep in a sealed container for 2 days – the flavour improves as the spice flavour comes out a little more.

Preheat the oven to gas 3/150c and line (base and sides) an 8″ round cake tin with a loose base.

For the cake –

  • 170g light brown sugar
  • 180ml sunflower oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 120g grated carrots
  • 80g chopped dried figs
  • 180g gluten free self raising flour
  • 75g shelled, broken pistachios
  • 2/3rds level teaspoon speculaas spice

For the topping –

  • 200g mascarpone cheese
  • 120g passion fruit curd (I use Mrs Darlington’s)
  • 4 fresh figs – each sliced into 6 pieces
  • 25g additional pistachios, crushed or broken up

To make the cake, whisk the oil, sugar and eggs until fully beaten and blended together. Stir in the chopped figs and carrot. Toss the broken nuts into the gluten free flour and spice and then stir into the cake mix.  It’ll be a bit runny, so take care when poring into the cake tin.  Bake in the middle of the oven for about  45 – 50 mins, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and cool in the tin before removing from the tin and remove the greaseproof paper from the cake.  Cool completely on a wire rack. If storing at this stage, pop in the sealed container. Otherwise carry on to top.

To make the topping, whisk the curd into the mascarpone and spread over the top of the cake, decorate with the fresh figs and scatter with the broken nuts.  Slice.

And before anyone asks – I am sadly not on commission from Mrs Darlington’s.  It is a local producer to me and they make a fantastic range of products – some of which are award-winning, they taste fantastic – it’s why I use them.  Just in case you were thinking 🙂

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