‘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.

 

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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!

 

 

No-Bake Gluten Free Ginger and Coffee Bean Cheesecake

Number 3 and the final recipe in the collaboration with The East India Company.

This one is perhaps the more flavourful of the recipes, the cold refreshing taste of the cheesecake, but with the warmth of the Rhubarb and ginger jam and the lovely crunch of the enrobed coffee beans and gluten free ginger biscuits. A wonderful combination and one recipe that is relatively quick and easy to make.

No-Bake Gluten Free Ginger and Coffee Bean Cheesecake

 

1 x 8” (20cm) deep, loose bottom cake tin

• 300g gluten free ginger biscuits
• 80g melted butter
• 60g Latte Beans

Place the gluten free biscuits and the coffee beans into a sandwich bag and crush well using a rolling pin. You need to get to fineish breadcrumbs so that the base sets well and in one piece. You could of course use a food processor! Then stir in the melted butter and mix well. Push the biscuit and coffee bean crumb onto the base of the cake tin and push up a little up the side of the cake tin. Place in the fridge whilst you prepare the filling.

For the filling;

• 560g full fat Cream Cheese (2 packets)
• 70g icing sugar
• 250ml double cream

• 200g Rhubarb with a Hint of Ginger Jam

For the filling; using an electric hand whisk beat the cream cheese and icing until smooth (30 seconds), then add the double cream and whisk until stiff, 3-4 minutes.

Remove the biscuit base from the fridge and spread 2-3 tablespoons of the Rhubarb jam on top of the biscuit base then pour the cream cheese mix on top, smooth down and tap on the bench to remove any air. With the remaining jam, stir this into the top of the cream cheese mix and swirl around the surface.

Return the cheesecake to the fridge to set for at least a couple of hours. Serve decorated with additional Latte Coffee Beans

Gluten free Ice Cream Sundae

This is the 2nd of three recipes that I worked on, in collaboration with The East India Company.

The brief – something quick and easy. That can be thrown together in a matter of minutes (if you have everything to hand!! 😀). You may have some gluten free brownie, or some chocolate cake left overs….I know!!! Who has these left over! But some might 😀 You could have course make your own and then create the following. I did have a bit of fun making these and even more fun eating them 😀😀 🤫🤫

Last Minute Ice Cream and Chocolate Brownie Sundae

Should you be lucky enough to have the following available in your fridge and cupboards this is a wonderful ‘use-up’ of;

Vanilla ice cream (but will work equally with caramel, chocolate, raspberry ice creams)
• Chocolate sauce (or easily made with 100ml double cream, 60g chocolate and a teaspoon of spiced drinking chocolate)
• Chocolate sponge/brownie pieces
• Strawberry and Pepper Jam, by the lovely East India Company, no less!
• Whipped cream
• Salted Almonds or Latte/Cappuccino Beans to decorate (from The East India Company……) you could just sprinkle on some nuts or chocolate buttons 😀

To assemble;

Pour the chocolate sauce (can be slightly warmed) in and around the side of an everyday glass, or sundae dish, place some warmed brownie or sponge covered in jam, into the base of the glass, top with ice cream, bit more sauce, bit more brownie covered in jam, bit more ice cream, top with cream, finish with some more chocolate sauce and adorn with nuts or coffee beans. Dig in!

 

Gluten Free Spiced Chocolate Muffins

It’s not everyday that you get approached to write some recipes and when you do, there is a little jump for joy.

Over the summer I was approached by the rather lovely team at The East India Company to write some recipes based around some of their products. Once the brief was explained and the various recipes created I came up with 3 rather moreish and decadent ideas. The team at The East India Company also graciously sent me the products over to use – see the photo at the end of the post.

The first of which I’m sending to you now, my lovely subscribers, as the Company has just released the entire set of recipes on their website.  Over the next couple of weeks you can have your own recipes delivered to you in-box. I know, I’m too kind 🙂

So here you go, enjoy.  You can also click the link to their website to buy these rather indulgent treats – to eat on their own or for baking (the coated macadamia nuts are amazing)

Spiced Chocolate Muffins

• 225g very soft butter
• 200g caster sugar
• 255g gluten free self raising flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 30g Spiced drinking chocolate – The East India Company drinking chocolate is Chai Spiced – and its delicious.
• 30g baking cocoa
• 150ml semi skimmed milk

• Plus – either 12 crushed Macadamia Nuts covered in chocolate OR 70g crushed Cappuccino Coffee Beans (all can be crushed in a sandwich bag and bashed with a rolling pin, not too much just enough to break them up)

Pre heat the oven to 160c fan, 180c, Gas 4 and lime your muffin tray with 12 tulip muffin cases.

Place all the ingredients into your mixing bowl and beat altogether until well combined and you have a light and fluffy batter that has increased in volume. This should take about 6-7 minutes.

Place around 2 tablespoons of the batter into each of the muffin cases and place into the oven to bake for 20 minutes at 20 minutes, remove the tray from the oven and sprinkle on the crushed nuts or coffee beans and return to the oven to finish cooking, which should be another 2-3 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Sprinkle on some additional freeze-dried raspberries if you are using the Macadamia Nuts, as they work well together. Enjoyed best within a day, even better when they are not long out of the oven!

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.

What to say and what to bake

Inspiration comes and goes. Search for it and you can’t find it, as hard as you think and look it just come. So stop and do something completely different and all of a sudden the idea/s come flooding.

I have tried with this blog to try and both be creative with something new and also to create cakes and bakes that vaguely replicate what is already available for the ‘normal’ eaters. It’s those new and creative bakes that are the stumbling block. It’s like I need a muse, someone to bounce ideas with/off and  develop them, or just someone there! Now of course you could say that  that muse is all around me, in a way it is. Something different wouldn’t go amiss.

And yet the bakes over on my social media outlets continue. I just can’t write them all down in the blog, it would take so much time and your in-boxes would get further full, to the point of being ignored! I’m sure some do that, it’s understandable, we are bombarded everyday, all day, by the next ‘thing’, I may add to that, hence why I have scaled back recently, tried to write more, to give the reader something to read and absorb. Also whether it’s read or not, it gives me a chance to ramble on, it’s very liberating 😀

Currently just over half way through the school summer break, it’s been very different this year. Due to the amount of school holidays and the lack of the holidays given in the commercial world, we’ve all pretty much been apart, it’s how it is, no grumbles, we just get on with it.  It’s given time for reflection and appreciation. Of what and who we have around us. The house has been very quiet in recent weeks with everyone’s coming and goings, too quiet. Almost.  In order to keep busy I’ve been able to feed the creative element in me, to be able to find the missing muse.  Mind you it could just be the summer break and life, that takes priority. Cakes don’t yet pay the bills!

And so to cake…..

Gluten Free Butterscotch Mousse Cake…. not for the faint hearted!

For the cake..

Grease and line 1 x 8″ (20cm) deep cake tin and preheat the oven to gas 3, 160c, 140c fan

  • 300g soft butter
  • 80g Angel Delight Butterscotch flavour !! I have just discovered a 12 serving ‘jar’!!!
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 240g gluten free self raising flour

Cream the butter, Angel Delight and the sugar until light and fluffy – at least 5 minutes in the stand mixer and remember to scrap the sides.

Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Adding a little gluten free flour with each egg if you feel you need to, in order to stop the mix from curdling. Be patient with the sponge and get the eggs beaten in well before adding the next one.

Pour the batter (adding a splash of milk if required, to get that ‘drop’ off the spoon) into the cake tin and bake low and slow for 50 – 55 minutes. Or until and inserted skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin, before removing it and cutting it in half, horizontally.

Why the deep cake tin I hear you ask….?

Well…

For the Mousse..

  • 300g white chocolate
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature – separated
  • 230ml lightly whipped double cream

Over a simmering pan off water, melt the white chocolate in a glass bowl, ensuring NO water gets to the chocolate. Stir regularly so as not to over heat the white chocolate, otherwise it will seize.

Lightly whip the double cream, until just as it comes together and you get a ‘trail’ left behind by the whisk.

Whisk the egg whites until double the volume and they reach stiff peaks (if you turn the bowl upside down, they’ll stay in the bow!)

NOW be careful and don’t panic!!!

The egg yolks should be at room temperature or at least ‘warm’, the white chocolate should also be warm and not set then beat the egg yolks into the white chocolate, one at a time.. The mixture will look as though it has seized and will lump together. GENTLY fold in the egg whites, a third at a time, and the mixture will slowly relax and become more ‘mousse like’.  The gently fold in the lightly whipped cream – looking even more like a mousse.  There may be some lumps in the mix, so put this through a sieve to make a smooth mousse.

To assemble;

Place one half of the cake back into the cleaned, deep cake tin. Cover this with half of the white chocolate mousse. Place the other half of the cake on top of the mousse and cover with the remaining mousse.  Place in the fridge to set for a couple of hours.

While you wait you could make the butterscotch sauce to go on top;

  • 50g butter
  • 100ml double cream
  • 80g light brown sugar

Melt the butter in a small saucepan, pour in the cream and sugar, bring to a slow simmer, and continue to simmer for about 3-4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and cool, before spreading over the set mousse cake – with in the tin, or once you have removed it prior to serving.

As this is made from raw eggs, only keep this for a couple of days at most.