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.

 

Our Gluten Free Holiday to Abu Dhabi

..well not a specific gluten free trip to Abu Dhabi (that would be both insane and expensive) but as a family holiday it certainly played a vital part of our time there.

It’s been awhile since my last post and if you have been following me on social media you’ll have seen we are having some work done in the house, which is very nearly at its end. A new kitchen is only just around the corner. But I couldn’t miss an opportunity to post about our recent holiday.

You would have thought that the normal person would have done some reasearch before going to see what the options were. The normal person. I’m not sure we would ever describe ourselves as normal, but thanks to our friends in the UAE, they had already done some looking on our behalf.

So I will do my best to recount some of the experiences we had, how easy was it, what difficulties we had and anything else that springs to mind.

 

One thing to bear in mind though was that our holiday actually began just as Ramadan began. The very day fasting began. Now  I (we) would freely admit our lack of knowledge of Ramadan, but our friends bought us up to speed very quickly. In no uncertain terms, eating and drinking (amongst other things) in public is a no-no and between certain hours of the day – but generally from dawn to dusk – ending in Iftar – the breaking of the fast with a feast.

To begin with this was rather a challenge, but we were there as guests and we felt we must obey the local laws and customs. We quickly became accustomed to this and it wasn’t that difficult to manage at all. Especially as we were informed by our hosts that there are areas/places to eat that have been granted ‘licenses’ to provide and sell food and drink, so long as they were hidden from view – either behind closed doors, curtains or food courts surrounded by hoarding. This would mean that anyone following Ramadan (a month of piety and generosity to those in need) would not be offended and any tourist or non-Muslim (there is a very large population of non-Arab workers/contractors) would be able to eat during the day (lunchtime). Naturally of course these places were not publicised and it was only through local knowledge that we were able to find them.

In the main, food courts in the Malls were closed (apart from those granted licenses) until the late evening, but supermarkets were actually open. A side point to make is that during the month of Ramadan opening hours do vary – somewhat- and nothing was publicised on any websites, so you had to turn up and find out.

Spinneys (stocks some Waitrose products) and Carrefour were the supermarkets of choice, but we did find a Waitrose as well! And the choice of gluten free foods (and for that matter free from) was astounding. I’d go so far as to say way better than in the U.K. Carrefour even go so far as to have own branded foods. The Fig roll like bites made with dates though of course) were amazing. The range of Schar products was fantastic, again a difference market and better range of goods. Just a shame we couldn’t bring it all home!

Home. Being with friends also had its benefits in regards food. We were able to perfectly manage the gluten free foods available. Buying from, then cooking from the supermarkets certainly cut out any risks and meal times were a breeze – simple self-catering if you like.

The rather trickier piece was eating out. It would be slightly remiss to travel all that way and not eat out, so with some (and I stress some)  forward planning we ventured into the City. Now outlets are up to speed on dietary requirements and indeed Coeliac Disease and gluten free foods, I’d say slightly better than the UK. But there were occasions were the translation was slightly lost. In one instance we were about to walk out of Pizza Express because the delivery hadn’t turned up with gluten free bases, when in fact that had turned up and the waiter hadn’t been informed! Noah loved his pizza (and no adverse effects either 😀).

The conclusion there is, ask. Most if not all those working in the food outlets speak English. It’s the most commonly spoken language in the UAE with the large amount of foreign workers from around the globe, it kind of makes sense. The staff come across knowledgable and eager to please and will find out if they don’t know.

A great trip, made easier with the help of friends. Other highlights included swimming with Dolphins, cycling round the F1 Yas Marina race track, 35c heat and an average 70% humidity and of course, time with friends and family. What we won’t mention is the crisis that blew up with Qatar, a most stressful 48hours.

We’ll be back as soon as we’ve saved enough. 😀😀😀

Ramadan Kareem and have a great Eid

 

Gluten Free Brioche Butter Pudding

In my somewhat haste to use up some of the (what appears like anyway) mountain of baking ingredients I seem to acquire, I made a lovely bread and butter pudding with brioche rolls and forgot to take a picture. Or more that I took a picture but was too hungry to pay it much attention before we devoured the pudding!  Not giving myself a chance to upload the photos, we just scoffed the lot up! It wasn’t until I had uploaded the photos that I saw my error – too many shadows, poor light and blurry photos.  So my great initiative to use up the food on the shelves failed at the first hurdle – as I had to buy some more gluten free Schar Brioche Rolls.. Sad but true.

gluten-free-brioche-puddingSo  a second round of bread and butter pudding had to be made (it’s a shame)and everyone had to wait until I have taken the right shot. It was a Sunday pudding, but I was getting ‘that’ photo no matter what, it only left  ‘Custard or Cream, Madam?’

Preheat the oven to Gas 3/140c and lightly grease a small pie tin – roughly 23x17x5cm

Ingredients

  • 1 x 4 packet of Schar Gluten Free Brioche Rolls
  • butter to spread on the brioche slices
  • 4 eggs
  • 350ml milk (I used semi skimmed)
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste
  • 100g dried fruit
  • 50g grated chocolate (dark or milk)

Method

  • Cut the gluten free rolls into about 6 slices and lightly butter, set aside
  • Whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla until fully mixed
  • Cover the base of the tin with around half of the butter brioche slices and then scatter with 2/3rd of the dried fruit and 2/3rd of the grated chocolate
  • Cover this with the remaining butter brioche and sprinkle the top with the remaining thirds of dried fruit and grated chocolate.
  • Pour in the whisked egg and milk mix slowly.  You’ll find that there will be some left – just let the milk mix soak into the brioche and pour in the rest once it has been soaked in.
  • I then left mine to the soak for a further 10 minutes before putting in the oven on the middle shelf for about 35 minutes – just check for a lovely wobble, firm, but still a little shimmy!
  • Serve (no need to leave for another 20 minutes whilst you take the right photo!) with custard, cream or just as it comes.

If there is some left over – you could eat it cold, or gently warmed in the microwave.

Fancy buying the gluten free brioche rolls from Amazon?

http://amzn.to/2lrQI06

schar-gluten-free-brioche-rolls