Gluten Free Macadamia, Raspberry and White Chocolate Cake

Now, I haven’t done a review of last year, it’s not something I’ve done before so not really sure of the benefits. My aim remains the same, to ensure those on a gluten free diet, by choice or by design can access a variety of bakes relatively easily.  That they can see that having coeliac disease means not having to be different and baking and then the eating, can be enjoyed by everyone.  Bakes don’t have to be widely different and that adapting recipes is possible.

We have found that Noah will eat well as long as everyone else around him is eating the same.  The difficulty comes when he stands out, when he becomes different and the choices he has are limited.  Companies can learn a lot by this.  Children don’t usually want to be different in their early years, they don’t want to stand out, they want to be equal.  Generally, children’s menus when eating out with coeliac disease, are not putting children on the same level. Small changes to ingredients and some thinking around menu design can and will, make all the difference.  My experience as a chef currently means that eating out, and trusting establishments, is something we don’t do.  There are exceptions, yes, but they are still few and far between.

That said then with baking, it is also about me trying something different.  But does different mean being obscure?

This gluten free cake is wonderfully moist with the flavours all pulling together with each bite.

Preheat the oven to gas 4, 170c, 150c fan and line the base of a deep 8″ sandwich tin with greaseproof.

  • 150g gluten free self raising flour
  • 100g whole macadamia nuts
  • 280g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 100ml sunflower oil
  • 100g melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons almond essence
  • 50ml sour cream
  • 200g Raspberry Jam
  • 100g white chocolate – melted
  • additional 140g very soft butter
  • 140g icing sugar

Firstly weigh 40g of the nuts and crush them slightly and 100g of the caster sugar. Put this into a saucepan to create a macadamia praline.  Stir in 4 tablespoons of water and bring to a boil and then heat until you have caramelised the nuts. This should take around 5 – 6 minutes.  Pour the praline onto a piece of greaseproof to cool and to use later as a garnish to the finished cake.  If you leave the nuts whole, when blended the oil from the nuts will make the praline soggy. Tasty, but soggy.

For the cake then take the 150g gluten free flour and the 60g  of nuts and blend these together to form more of a ground ‘nut flour’.  Blended, or grounding, the macadamia nuts on their own will just create a soggy unworkable ‘mush’.  By adding the flour, it helps to soak up the oil from the nuts.  If the nuts are not ground enough, blitz for another minute or more.

Once you have your ground flour mix, place this the eggs, sugar, oil, melted butter, essence and sour cream all into the mixing bowl (I used a table top, stand mixer) and beat well for, again, 5 – 6 minutes until you have a light fluffy batter.

Pour into the cakes tin and bake for around 45 – 50 minutes.  Check with an inserted skewer to see if its done, if it comes out clean it is. If not, pop back in for another 5 minutes or so.

Once baked remove from the oven, allow to cool, before then removing from the tin and leave to cool completely before icing.

Once cooled down, carefully slice the cake into 3 slices, spread with jam and place the cake slices back to form the cake.

To make the praline crumbs, just place all the set, caramelised nuts into a blender and blend to a crumb.

To make the icing beat the butter until its light and fluffy, stir in the icing sugar and beat again, pour in the melted white chocolate and beat again until well combined.

You can then either spread the icing onto the cake or pipe and sprinkle on the praline crumbs




Living Gluten Free with Noah

I have often thought how I would write another non food/recipe related post. And it struck me that whilst Noah has Coeliac Disease, there are others that do not have the ability to write blogs and bake cakes and cook easily. So here is just a snippet of what an ordinary couple of weeks looks like in our household. Albeit the last couple of weeks have been around Christmas and New Year.

Gluten Free Tiffin
Gluten free Tiffin

Nothing fancy, nothing out of the ordinary, just plain and simple. A family of 4 living with a child with Coelaic Disease.

The weeks leading up to the festive break had been a little hectic to say the least. As I am sure most parents were with little ones at school. Performance after performance, for the final 4 weeks of winter term. Noah being in his first Nativity at school, saw him perform at least 5 times in a week!m It’s no wonder they are a little exhausted by the time they finish. We also had to endure Noah’s annual blood test and check up. Something he does not relish and we have the conversation about ‘when will I be normal free? I don’t like the hospital….’.

Underneath the Gluten Free Christmas Tree

So when it got to the first couple of days of the holiday, we just had ‘PJ days’.  And as for lunch (it has to be lunch, not dinner as our two eat so much better mid-day) we managed meat , potatoes and 2 veg. Grilled chicken, pork chops, gluten free sausages from Asda, with plain boiled potatoes and veg – carrots, Brussels (yes both of ours love sprouts!) or sugar snaps. Just plain and simple. We have found that mixing foods up in stews etc doesn’t normally work, but if the children can see the food, they eat it all! Although it does take Noah a few minutes to ‘warm up’ to eating. I’m sure some child psychologist would have a field day with us, as we all sit around the table, whilst Noah has a hissy fit on the floor! We get there in the end and no one goes hungry.

Christmas Eve was going to be tricky. Santa had already dropped some presents off for the ease of distribution, up in the attic. But getting them down would not be as easy as it was last year! Having been stirred into a ‘Christmas Frenzy’ by school, both children were in a heightened state of excitement.  What to do? So I booked a late cinema viewing with number 1 daughter to see ‘Star Wars’ (great film, throughly enjoyed it) and whist we got Noah down as usual, my wife was then able to do the ‘attic run’.

And so, as we started last year, and after the presents were put around the Tree,  we covered the door in wrapping paper and waited till morning.  Mind you we didn’t expect SUCH an early wake up call! 4.45am!!!   We managed to stall unwrapping for a couple of hours, but gave in, in the end.

We all had something different for breakfast, as was the requests, Noah had gluten free toast with Nutella, whilst I had Eggs Benedict and the other half had a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel! Our touch of luxury for the day. Mind you by mid-morning we could have easily had a second breakfast! So on with lunch – Roast Beef this year, by mutual consent. And because I had forgotten to buy gluten free Yorkies I had to make some. Based on previous batches, I wasn’t going to fail on a day like Christmas Day! They weren’t all that bad, and when I have perfected them I’ll share the recipe, these were a little to heavy for my liking, but they all got eaten. Again for lunch nothing extreme, just roast beef, roasties (in veg oil), sprouts, the last of the homegrown parsnips roasted, carrots and some red cabbage (for me and the other half). Noah didn’t want any pud, so he just broke into his Cadbury Selection Pack (minus the unsuitable bars).

Gluten Free Free Time

We have found that Noah is more than happy (and most certainly is his tummy) with foods that are not just gluten free but also with foods that contain no gluten ingredients. His recent blood test was testament to this. Another low anti body reading, which we had expected to rise. His first term at school has been the first time since being diagnosed that we would have no control over his diet, we would have to leave this to the school caterers. Something we were apprehensive about, and had certainly made sure they were aware of Noah’s  Dietary  requirements. But all is good! Although I can hear a Twitter friend in my ear….’Fruit is not a Pudding….!! But to be fair Noah is very good when it comes to fruit and veg. Thankfully. We have ensured he understands that because he has a ‘poorly’ tummy he needs to eat healthy..long may this last…

And something else we have found with Noah, which is what happened on Boxing Day.  When it comes to large numbers of people Noah tends not to eat.  There is just so much else going on! Although we do tend to organise food before the hoards arrive – and then it’s normally sausages, pots and veg.

And there are times of guilt. As hard as it is visiting others, I often put myself in Noah’s shoes. How must he feel seeing others eat just anything, not having to ask? I can often understand why he won’t eat and I make a conscious decision not to eat the ‘normal free’ food. It’s tough. One day he’ll have to make more of his owns choices.

And so we ended the first week of the festivities, with more of the same to come. We headed up to see Grannie & Grandad, but here there were more Pyjama Days because there was no TV or wi-fi. We did have the occasional trip out, but as usual we found the gluten free offerings limited. One can surely eat gluten free Brownies so often?

And so now we look at returning to work and school. The days of leisure and festivities are coming to an end. Life returns with a bang soon and we face again the realities of normality. Whatever that is 😀😀