Beware the gluten free complacency

And so the fun time of year comes around yet again 😀😀

I do love a bit of spooky and ghoulish behaviour, being scared out of my wits and dressing up, smothered in face paint. There’s nothing like it 😀😀

Let the imagination run wild, how far you go depends on how far you DARE go! And it’s much the same with cake. Last year was a gluten free chocolate cake, covered in white ‘bandages’, eyes and with a red coloured orange curd for blood. That, once cut, oooozed out. Such fun!

This year 2 cakes for you, one entitled ‘Scratch’ and the other, designed by Noah’s sister, ‘Bleeding Eyes’. Both are based around a simple gluten free Victoria sponge recipe  (the link will take you to one of my recipes – just omit the colour and you’ll just need vanilla flavouring/extract) and both are coloured differently inside. But you can do as you please.

‘Scratch’ is coloured purple with green buttercream’ whilst ‘Bleeding Eyes’ is coloured black and purple and layered with strawberry jam. In both cases the ‘blood’ is a paste made with red food colouring, honey, water and cornflour.

Gluten free bleeding eyes Halloween cake

Of course it’s not all about cake and we must always be vigilant for the  ever-present gluten! Whilst these fun and themed times of the year bring us holiday fun, we also need to ensure we are on the look out, on the back of the food packets with all the new foods that become available. Enticing us with something new each year, we need to ensure we are reading the ingredient lists on the back. Even if we have had the product before, it’s always worth looking again as the product may have had an ingredient change that we weren’t aware of. Take nothing for granted and if you really want an extra check, click the Coeliac UK website for updated product news.

Although as we have recently found out, despite something years of vigilance, complacency does creep in and we do make mistakes. We are only human. Without naming the product we had over looked the dreaded ‘barley malt extra’!! Now we have no idea what effect it might have, but we’d rather not find out. So after sharing out the contents of said products, I noticed a rather familiar taste, that sent a little alarm bell ringing. It was a rather ‘cereal’ based flavour that made me look again at the ingredient list – ‘Barley Malt Extract’!!!! The packet disappeared, Noah spat out the sweet, but it left a rather upset Noah, and the every present cry of, ‘I just want to eat normal free’.  It breaks our hearts. Normally we are able to control what Noah eats at the moment and wouldn’t normally let barley malt extract through the right security measures, we have no idea on its impact. I’m sure there will come a time again when out guard is down, or he gets that little bit older……we learn from our mistakes I suppose.

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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 Lemon Curd Eton Mess Shortbread

I’m staring at a blank screen.  Words and lots of them, but what order to put them! This little bake should come as a refreshing break in between the Halloween chocolate overload and the rich indulgence that will be Christmas. Which, by the way, I am planning a few lovely bakes over the coming weeks, so if you have anything you would like to see, let me know.

The light shortbread biscuit base, the sharp lemon curd and the smooth mix of meringue and white chocolate…once bitten – it won’t last long. A lovely afternoon treat.

gluten-free-lemon-eton-mess-shortbread

Preheat the oven to Gas 2/150c and line a brownie tray (20x10x3cm) with greaseproof.

60g Soft butter

120g Caster sugar

100g Rice flour

60g Cornflour

30g Ground almonds

1/4 teaspoon of xanthum gum

200g Lemon Curd (I used Mrs Darlington’s)

50g Ready made meringue (I used some from Waitrose) – lightly crushed

200g Melted white chocolate

Mix the rice flour, Cornflour, ground almonds and xanthum gum and set to one side.

Then beat the soft butter and the sugar together until soft and fluffy for a couple of minutes then add the dry mix in. Using a spoon or your hands, mix well until fully combined and it forms a lovely smooth dough.

Now at first it may seem to be not enough, but just break off small amounts of the dough and spread the dough across the base of the lined tray. You could of course roll it out, but this just never occurred to me – until now! Smooth out the dough into the corners until it’s all level.

Bake in the middle of the oven for about 20 – 25 minutes. Until it has a light brown surface.

Leave to cool in the tray and then carefully lift out. Use the greaseproof to help you. Spread the lemon curd over the surface and scatter the crushed meringue.

Then using a spoon ‘splash’ or flick or even pour over the melted white chocolate so it covers the curd and meringue.

Leave to cool at room temperature before cutting into squares – as large or as small as you like – but you can about 12 pieces out of the bake. Don’t pop in the fridge or the chocolate will melt too hard and the shortbread will break up when you come to cut it.

This would also make a good base for many other bakes – caramel shortbread being one of them – a popular favourite with Noah 🙂

 

 

Gluten Free Ghoulish Cupcakes

Well its certainly that time of year, Halloween is everywhere!

These little cupcakes may look like hard work but as I used a gluten free packet mix from Delicious Alchemy, it cut out a mass of work.

The other fiddly bits on top of the cupcakes, really aren’t that fiddly. have a little patience perhaps. But just take your time and plan a little ahead – may be the night before or a couple of hours before your start baking.

gluten-free-halloween-ghosts

Ingredients

I managed to make 12 cupcakes with the mix which gives you some rather full on cupcakes!

Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180c and line the cupcake tin with your cupcake cases.

1 packet of Gluten Free Malted Milks biscuits (I got these from Tesco Free From range) – you will need 6 of these for the cupcakes.

50g icing – mixed with a few drops of water to dip the biscuits in. Don’t make it too thin otherwise the icing drips off the biscuits.

1 Packet of Marshmallows

150g white marzipan

1 Packet of Delicious alchemy Vanilla Sponge Mix

3 eggs

180g soft butter for the cake mix

Orange, green, black and purple colouring

100g extra butter for the buttercream topping

160g Icing sugar

40g Cocoa

50g chocolate (melted for decoration of the eyes and ‘RIP’

Start off making the tombstones and the ghosts

Marshmallow Ghosts

  • Cut the biscuits in half and dip each biscuit in the water icing and leave on a lined tin to dry out.
  • use 12 of the marshmallows. Roll out the marzipan and cut out 12 rounds, using a 6cm cutter (I used an espresso cup!). Drape the marzipan round over the top of the marshmallow and gently pinch the top of the ‘ghost’ so that the marzipan starts to look like a ghost.
  • Once the tombstones have dried, gently pipe (or use a cocktail stick) the chocolate ‘RIP’ and then pipe on the eyes of the ghosts.

p1010722

 

This should then all dry out by the time you need it.

Mix the gluten free cake mix as per the instructions and then divide into 4 small batches and colour. Divide then this cake mix equally between the cupcake cases. Roughly one table spoon (not heaped) of cake mix colour should be enough for each of the cases. Once all the mixes have been used up – BAKE! For about  20 – 25 minutes or until and inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool.

Gluten free Halloween cupcakes

Make the buttercream topping by beating the butter until soft and adding the icing sugar and the cocoa a little at a time. When you have the desired consistency and the cupcakes are cold – spread on the buttercream. It really only needs to be deep enough to balance the tombstone in.

Decorate with the Ghosts and the Tombstones and enjoy.

Happy Halloween…

 

 

 

Gluten Free Gingerbread and Gluten Free Stuffing

In my ongoing quest to get to grips with the blog I like to try out another little review.

The lovely people at Delicious Alchemy asked if I would like to try out some new products prior to launch. Having no idea what they would be – I love a secret challenge – I said ‘Yes’. What could these new product/s be I wondered?? I duly waited for the parcel to arrive…

The tension mounted….

The box arrived… but shhhhh I mustn’t say a word, but of course I would love to play around with them 🙂

First up out of the box….

Gingerbread mix!  Gingerbread Biscuits – gluten free too!

gluten-free-ginger-biscuits-da

The smell from the open packet was divine. The guys were certainly going to love this. And, again, if mixed with a dairy free alternative you would have dairy free and gluten free biscuits. But I made them with butter so just the gluten free for us.

Again simple enough to make, but leave a bit of time a side to make these as they need resting in a fridge/freezer. Once poured into a bowl you mix the mix with golden syrup and butter (or DF alternative). And preheat the oven to 180c/Gas 4. Mix the mix well, wrap in cling film and pop into the freezer. Although I popped it into the fridge for a bit longer.

Once ready to roll (pardon the pun) cut the dough into 4 and roll each quarter between to ‘sheets’ of cling film to a thickness of around 5mm! and then cut out with your desired cutter.

Now it depends on how big your cutter is as to how many biscuits you get. I got about 10 biscuits out of the mix, but the cutter I used are rather big.

Place the cut gluten free gingerbread biscuits onto a lined baking tray and bake for about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely before removing from the tray.

These did not last long at all. They tasted fantastic. Crispy and chewy. I didn’t want to add too much icing, as I needed to taste the biscuit, but of course you can top these with whatever you can. I put some chocolate eyes in place so that you can tell what they are…. #Halloween.. They only just lasted just the day!.

Next up. some Sage & Red Onion Stuffing…such generosity

I had a couple of ideas for this…but ultimately it was for what it said on the packet.. some stuffing. And as timely as it came, we had a very impromptu roast chicken dinner on a Saturday night and this was going to be a great accompaniment. The mix is not only gluten free but also dairy free 🙂

Gluten free Sage and Red Onion Stuffing

Once poured out into a bowl, the stuffing mix is finer than most traditional stuffing mixes and you would be forgiven that the final made mix is therefore finer. The stuffing mix is made up of gluten free crumbs, dried red onions and dried sage. To this you add olive oil and boiling water, mix well and leave to stand for the crumbs to absorb the liquid. Now here of course I did something a little different.

Most people would make little stuffing balls. Once the mix is cool enough, roll an amount of the stuffing into a ball using your hands. Place the balls of stuffing onto a sheet of greaseproof on a tray and bake in the oven – 200c or Gas 7 – for about 20 minutes.

However because time isn’t always on our side in this old house, I lined a little dish with greaseproof and put the whole lot in, to make one big piece of stuffing. Popped it into the oven and baked it for about 30 minutes, until lovely and crisped on the top.

When all was done and dinner was served, the stuffing went down a treat. Despite the smooth nature of the stuffing, it tasted great and was a great gluten free accompaniment for  dinner. Thank you DA 🙂

There is a Christmas Cake mix as well! But I haven’t made that yet…its only a matter of time..

Thank you Delicious Alchemy for the opportunity to trial these new products and just because I was supplied these, the end result and opinion is most certainly mine.