OK, so this this may be a celebration of the Scandinavian kind, but if you love the taste of marzipan, this ones for you.

And before we go any further, this recipe is by Paul Hollywood, it’s not mine. I’ve perhaps tweaked it only a fraction, but it’s his. Based around the technical challenge in the 2017 Great British Bake Off.

It makes for a great celebration cake anytime of the year and with just a touch of red, I think  makes for a lovely Valentines Cake. And this is of course gluten free, without even trying 😀

For the cake;

600g Ground Almonds

600g icing sugar

3 egg whites, from 3 large eggs, lightly whisked to a foam, but not a meringue

1.5 teaspoons almond essence

red food colouring (I used Rainbow Dust)

Using a food mixer, with a dough hook (or by hand), add the almonds, sugar, beaten egg whites and essence and mix slowly to a dough.

You’ll have to keep stopping and starting to ensure the dough mixes evenly.  Once the dough is combined add the red food colouring and continue to mix slowly until completely combined. Using a normal paddle attachment just adds to your woe as it sticks easily. You can of course mix this by hand… it does get heavy going though.

Once the dough is fully mixed turn out of the mixing bowl, wrap in film and cover and place in the fridge overnight. Or if you are pushed for time a couple of hours should do it.

And then the tricky bit.

Pre heat the oven to gas 5, 180c, 170c fan and line 4 baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Cut the cold dough into 4 fairly even chunks and keep them covered whilst you roll out each piece.

Lightly dust your worktop with cornflour, take 1 piece of the dough of using your hands roll the dough out to a long thin piece of dough, 2cm wide. Then cut the 1st piece 8cm long. The 2nd piece at 11cm, the 3rd at 14cm and so on, using each of the other 3 larger pieces of dough each cut at 3cm increments from the previous piece. Ultimately you should have 12 pieces, with the largest piece 41cm long.

Taking each piece, create a ring. This is the trickier bit. With the small pieces, you’ll need some patience,  but just keep going,  ‘ a squish and a squeeze’ and a ring you will do.

Lay out each ring onto the baking sheet, 5 small ones, 4 medium ones and 3 on the 3rd tray. Using an extra sheet of greaseproof, cover the 1st tray of rings and with another tray, lightly press on the rings to flatten them a little. Lightly flatten each tray.

Bake in the oven for around 10 minutes.  Don’t over bake or they dry out once cooled.

Remove from the oven and cool, before icing and assembling.

For the icing;

2 egg whites, lightly beaten to a foam.

400g icing sugar

pink food colouring

Using a hand-held whisk, ring the egg whites to a light foam – not a meringue – and add the icing sugar a heaped spoonful at a time and whisk in until fully beaten. Keep going until all mixed in. Before adding the final spoonful add in a squirt of pink food colour and whisk to combine.

Try not to leave this icing out too long or it will harden, so using a number 4 or 5 writing nozzle, pipe icing onto the base of the largest ring to secure it to your serving dish.  Then pipe the loops onto each ring starting with the largest ring. Continue piping loops onto the next largest, and so on, until each ring is covered in icing.

Finish off with your decorations of choice.




Love is in the air x

Love is in the air.

Such a lovely time of year, when you are able to really connect to the ones you love, albeit in some cases, secretly. The trick here though, is how do you tell someone you love (like) them so much, you have baked them a cake! To then somehow get the cake to them without them realising it’s from you? Tricky. Get into the office, before everyone and leave it on the desk? Have it couriered over to them (knowing their address helps)? Or leave it on their doorstep (then hoping they don’t figure out who its from and label you a stalker!! 🙂 You could just send a card and post if from somewhere other, than the postcode area in which you live.  But I rather like the idea of cake, of course.


Caution is required x

Valentines Day, is of course for everyone. No matter your dietary needs or limitations. Your only limitation is your own creativity.  Pinterest is fantastic for a whole manner of ideas, but it’s then down to you ability.  Here I have tried to keep it relatively simple.  Bake the cake, cut it in half, fill with jam, cover with a smooth layer of buttercream, cover with fondant icing and then cut out some heart shapes with a cutter. Nothing too fancy. It’s the thought that means so much more 💋

You will need to line, the base and sides of your cake tin – I used a heart-shaped cake tin. Pre heat the oven to Gas 3/150c.

180g soft butter

170g caster sugar

3 large eggs at room temperature

180g gluten free self-raising flour

6 drops of strawberry flavouring (I used Foodie Flavours Strawberry)

3g Red Food Colouring (I used Rainbow Dust red gel – very bake stable)

1 Packet of White Fondant icing

150g more of soft butter for the buttercream

300g icing sugar

4 drops more of strawberry flavouring

4 tablespoons of Strawberry Jam

Pink Food colouring (‘Rainbow Dust’ again)

You can make this as an all-in-one. Place the soft butter, sugar, eggs, gluten free flour, colouring and flavouring into your mixer and beat well, until light and fluffy and fully combined – about 6/7 minutes on medium. I used a table top mixer.

Pour into the prepared cake tine and bake ‘low and slow’. It may take around 45 minutes. There is a lot of mixture in tin, so it needs time to cook and rise without over cooking and burning.  Check with a skewer to ensure its cooked – it needs to come out clean – before removing from the oven and cooling then cooling in the tin.

Once cooled remove from the tin, by turning it upside down onto a wire rake and then flipping back around again. Cool completely before icing.

Meanwhile you can make the buttercream

Beat the 150g of soft butter, until its white, light and fluffy. Mix in the icing sugar by hand – so you don’t get a dust cloud – add the flavouring and beat again until its light, fluffy and easily spreadable.

Once the Cake has cooled, cut in half, and spread with jam, then put the top back on.  Cover the sides and edges with buttercream and smooth down with a palette knife. A smooth edges here will help to ensure a smooth finish once the fondant goes on top.


Roll out the fondant icing – using icing sugar on the board and rolling pin, so that it doesn’t stick to the surface – to the desired thickness and cover the cake. Using your hands, gently smooth down the fondant over the top, then down the sides of the cake. Again using your hands, smooth down the sides to the base of the cake. Smooth down around the cake, to ensure you have the outline of the cake you have and there are no crimps and unnecessary edges.

Using a sharp knife, trim away any excess fondant and keep.

Place the cake on a board to finish off.

Take half of the fondant left and drop in some red colouring, knead until the desired colour has been achieved.  Do the same with the other half, but with pink colour.

Rollout the coloured pieces of fondant and using your cutters, decorate your cake. I used a small brush and ‘painted’ the area with a little water to get the decoration to stick to the main cake.

Give yourself time to deliver the cake and for it to be enjoyed – but it certainly wont last longer than a couple of days – sadly the nature of gluten free baking 😦

Happy Loving x