Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Gingerbread slices : Gluten and dairy free.

The turn in the weather of late has really had me craving some stodgy comfort food – gingerbread was one of my favourite winter treats to bake pre-diagnosis, so I had to find a gluten free recipe that was just as scrumptious as I remembered.

In fact, this recipe turned out even better than my usual version! With the golden syrup adding a deliciously sweet, sticky note to this lovely soft bake. It will be messy to make, but it's the perfect treat for a cold wintery day!

Tuck into a slice or two, or several in-fact.. with this gluten and dairy free version of the classic bake, making it perfect for fellow coeliacs, and those that also suffer from lactose intolerance.

175g dairy free margarine
110g dark soft brown sugar
175g golden syrup
225g gluten free self raising flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg
150ml dairy free milk

Pre heat the oven to 170c/160c fan/gas mark 3. Grease and line a 20cm x 20cm square cake tin.

Melt the dairy free margarine together with the brown sugar and golden syrup, keep stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Sift the gluten free self raising flour into a large bowl, adding the ground ginger, mixed spice, and bicarbonate of soda, mix well to combine.

Whisk the egg in the jug, then add in the milk and mix. Set aside.

Pour the melted margarine mix into the bowl and stir to combine, followed by the milk and egg mixture, stirring to blend together. The result will be a runny mixture – so don't panic, it'll come together beautifully in the oven!

Pour the mixture into your lined cake tin, and bake for 30 minutes till risen.

Remove the cake from the oven, and leave in the tin to cool down for a couple of hours, then slice into squares and place on a wire rack to finish cooling. 

These are perfect served as is, they're deliciously sticky and sweet. For a tasty treat, serve a couple of slices with some gluten and dairy free custard.

Recipe adapted from:Glutafin

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Gluten free lemon drizzle cake.

A tasty classic bake that's always scrumptious, making for a deliciously sweet treat. This lovely lemon drizzle cake has all the flavours of the classic bake, made into a yummy gluten and dairy free treat.

Since being diagnosed, I've been looking to recreate my favourite bakes in gluten free form. Naturally, a lemon drizzle cake had to be done, it's such a surprisingly simple bake, but incredibly scrumptious. Perfect for an afternoon tea, or a cheeky little snack!

This version of the classic bake mixes together a few different flours - I made a couple of changes from the original recipe, mostly after struggling to find the sorghum and tapioca flours that the original recipe calls for. The tweaks however have worked perfectly, resulting in a lovely light bake, with a little bit of a crunch thanks to the polenta (how I never baked with this stuff before being diagnosed I don't know.. it's bloody wonderful!).

175g dairy free margarine
Zest & juice of 1 lemon
150g caster sugar
65g gluten free self raising flour
60g ground almonds
25g cornflour
25g polenta
2 eggs
50g granulated sugar

Pre heat your oven to 170c/160c fan/gas mark 3, grease and line a loaf tin.

Start by melting the dairy free margarine on a low heat, then set aside.

Mix together the sugar, gluten free self raising flour, ground almonds, cornflour and polenta in a large bowl. Add in the melted dairy free margarine and stir to bring together, then add in the lemon zest. 

Add the eggs in and mix, followed by half of the lemon juice, and stir. Your mixture will be a little runny, so don't worry! 

Spoon into the tin and bake for 35-45 minutes, till a skewer comes out clean - in my fan oven this took 35 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven and mix together the granulated sugar with the remaining lemon juice. Using a cake skewer, pierce holes in the top of the cake - this will help the lovely lemon mixture to soak into your cake! Then spoon the sugar-lemon mixture on top of the cake, using the back of the spoon to evenly cover the cake.

Leave the cake in the tin to cool down - after 15 minutes, sprinkle some extra sugar on top for a lovely finish.

Once the cake has cooled, remove it the from the tin - your lovely lemon drizzle cake is ready!

Simply serve it sliced with a cuppa for a lovely treat. This cake will last well for a few days when kept in an airtight container.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Red velvet cupcakes – Gluten and dairy free.

Starting off life without gluten means I've been really missing a lot of my favourite treats, I don't think I've ever sulked so much at a Krispy Kreme stand in the middle of a supermarket.. But rather than feeling taunted by tasty treats that I have to avoid like a bad case of the plague, I've been trying to bake my own gluten free versions of some of my favourite treats..

It's a good excuse to work my way through a long list of recipes and baking books really. One recipe I've been missing more than I realized, was some deliciously sweet red velvet cupcakes, so I've been trying to recreate that classic red bake without any gluten and dairy in sight.

After finding several recipes, one stuck out as the closest to my old trusty favourite. I've made a couple of adjustments to make a scrumptious gluten free version of the classic red velvet recipe. It's deliciously sweet, perfectly red without being eye poppingly bright, and with just the right amount of frosting on top – enough to not distract away from the tasty cake itself! 

Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes)
125ml dairy free milk
1 tsp lemon juice
100g stork
160g caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
red food colouring
15g cocoa powder
200g gluten free self raising flour
50g ground almonds
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar

For the frosting
100g stork
200g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Firstly, you'll be making a simple dairy free buttermilk – it's far easier than you'd think. Simply add the lemon juice to the dairy free milk and stir, then set aside for later. Use any dairy free milk you prefer.

Pre heat your oven to 180c/170c fan/gas mark 4, and fill a cupcake tray with cases.

Cream together the stork with the caster sugar till pale and fluffy, then add in the egg and mix. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Next you'll be adding the red food colouring to create the desired shade for your bake. I used Sugarflair's 'Red velvet' paste, a firm favourite of mine – and yes, it is gluten free! Simply stir a little amount in at a time, until you reach your preferred shade of red. A little really does go a long way with this, so don't add too much to start!

Stir in the cocoa powder – this will darken the mixture, so do feel free to add more red food colouring if needed at this stage.

Sift in a little of the gluten free flour (around 1/3) and stir to combine, alternating with small amounts of the dairy free buttermilk, till a small amount is left. Then sift in the ground almonds with the xanthan gum, and mix with the rest of the dairy free buttermilk – using ground almonds in the mixture will help to give your cupcakes a lighter texture, resulting in a scrumptious batch of cakes.

Finally, stir in the white wine vinegar and mix – it may seem an odd ingredient at first, but it really helps with the bake.

Spoon the mixture into the cases, filling each around 2/3 full. Then bake for 15-20 minutes – in my fan oven these cooked rather quickly in 15 minutes.

Place the cupcakes on a wire rack to cool down before making the frosting.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, start mixing the frosting. Normally, your traditional red velvet has a cream cheese frosting, so these do stray away from the classic recipe, but you won't miss it, as this dairy free vanilla frosting is just scrumptious!

Mix together the stork with half of the icing sugar till combined, then sift in the remaining icing sugar and blend. Add in the vanilla extract and whisk for 2-3 minutes, to a lovely smooth consistency.

Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with a nozzle of your choice, then pipe swirls on top of each cupcake to finish.

The end result is a yummy batch of red velvet cupcakes, without any dairy or gluten in sight! With the ground almonds helping to add a lighter texture to the bake. They still have the same flavour as you'll be used to, with the vanilla frosting finishing them off perfectly.

Recipe adapted from: Free From Favourites

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Apple and Damson tray bake : Gluten and dairy free.

A scrumptious way to make the most of those seasonal fruits, with this yummy Apple and damson tray bake. A deliciously sweet treat, with a hint of tart-y flavouring thanks to the damsons, making for one rather tasty bake!

With a bumper crop of apples to use this year, I've been on the lookout for lots of tasty new recipes to try, so this yummy tray bake is just perfect to use a few apples - as well as some of those left over damsons, completing the scrumptious mix of flavours in this bake.

125g dairy free margarine
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp mixed spice
180g gluten free plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
250g diced apple
150g damsons (de-stoned)

Pre heat your oven to 180c/160c fan/gas mark 4. Line a 20 x 20cm square baking tin, ready for your bake.

Cream together the dairy free margarine and caster sugar till pale and fluffy, then add in the eggs one at a time and mix.

Sift in the gluten free plain flour – I used Doves Farm blend for this bake, it's perfect for tray bakes and slices! Add the cinnamon, mixed spice, and baking powder, and blend to mix in.

Add the diced apple and damsons – for these you'll want the final weight of the de-stoned damsons to be 150g, I weighed my damsons prior to chopping them at 200g, so this should hopefully help! 

Stir in the fruit to mix – the damsons will give this mix a lovely purple tinge prior to baking. Then spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for 25-30 minutes, till risen and golden – in my fan oven these took 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave in the tin for 30 minutes to cool. Sprinkle a handful of demerara sugar on top if you like to finish – this will add a lovely finishing touch to the bake.

Cut your tray bake into slices, then place on a wire rack to finish cooling. These should last well for a couple of days when kept in an airtight container.

The finished result is a lovely sweet bake, with the damsons adding a tasty tart note. Making them both gluten and dairy free means that they're perfect if your coeliac/gluten and lactose intolerant.

Recipe adapted from: Healthy Food.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Tea room exploration : Remember When Wirral.

64 Victoria Parade, New Brighton, Wirral, CH45 2PH. Open Mon – Sun 10am – 4:30pm. https://www.facebook.com/pg/rememberwhenwirral.

A quaint tea room with a very vintage feel inside, serving up plenty of home-made treats, with a side serving of nostalgia – right down to the vintage tea wares! Just a stones throw away from the New Brighton seafront, where better to take in a cuppa after a stroll along the promenade!

Remember When, certainly does vintage with style, every bit of décor around the tea room is vintage – from the table decorations, to the tea wares, and plenty of picturesque finds on the walls. If it's a journey back in time that you fancy, or just a bit of nostalgia, it's the perfect setting to take in a spot of tea in style.

The vintage theme to the tea room is certainly what drew me in – it's actually been on my 'must visit' list for some time now, so a day trip to New Brighton was certainly overdue! Just a short walk away from the seafront, you can't miss it, located on Victoria Parade, just past New Brighton's Floral Pavilion – the arched windows, and vintage décor will certainly draw you in.

Of course, tea is what they do best, as a vintage tea room you can find plenty of options to tuck into, whether you fancy an afternoon tea, or a brew. Serving up a lovely selection of treats, with plenty of home-made cakes and sweet treats to tempt. They even cater for various food intolerance's and allergies – which is what drew me to visiting this lovely place!

On my visit, there was a scrumptious selection of freshly baked goods to choose from, with a few gluten free options included. If it's a slice of sponge cake, a cream scone, or a sweet meringue that draws you in, you'll be spoilt for choice. I opted for a gluten free scone – with my gluten and lactose intolerance being happily catered for with a couple of choices to tuck into.

It's been a loooong while since I've had a scone, so this was a bit of a treat. I had some dairy free margarine and some strawberry jam to go with the scone, making for a deliciously sweet treat – if somewhat messy, but still very scrumptious!

To accompany my scone I had a pot of tea, they offer a range of lovely loose leaf blends in store, served up in vintage style in a sweet little tea pot with a strainer – really completing the experience in style!

Certainly a lovely tea room, perfect to visit if you love vintage style. The location couldn't be better – with nearby parking at Fort Perch rock, why not stop off for a cuppa and cake after a wander along the sea front!

Cake rating:
4/5 | Free from options available.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Goodbye gluten! Finally being diagnosed as coeliac.

It's been a long 14 months, even longer when I look back at the problems I had along the way, but I can finally say I'm coeliac. I always knew that something was wrong, years of unexplained weight loss, anemia, stomach issues, and countless other health problems, that just kept getting ignored and explained away.

It took two weeks of the worse case of gastroenteritis for me to finally admit that something was really wrong, but unfortunately it took longer for my gp to agree that it could possibly be coeliac disease. Had I realised that just simply uttering the words “my sister is coeliac”, would finally led to a diagnosis, then perhaps I would have been diagnosed far sooner. 

It's been a ridiculously long journey, as I've perhaps shared in a little too much detail at times, but it's helped me get through hours of countless cursing at my local NHS service.. but 14 months later, I've finally seen the consultant, explained my long bloaty journey – horrendous symptoms and all, and here I am. 

I may have had cancellations along the way, and a ridiculously long wait, but in a way it's all been worth it. Finally getting to see the gastroenterologist led to the diagnosis I'd been suspecting all along – I was pretty much relieved when they said that I am coeliac. It was enough for me to know that gluten and lactose were causing me an abundance of health problems, but to finally have an official diagnosis is incredibly relieving. 

Now I can concentrate on keeping gluten out of my diet, I no longer need awkwardly explain my situation to confused staff in restaurants, feeling like I had to justify the need to cut gluten out of my diet – that I wasn't following some faddy hipster trend.. I can happily say that I am coeliac, without feeling like I'm just being difficult.

I'm lucky that I'm already clued up on life without gluten, being related to a coeliac has already introduced me to a world of glaring at rogue bread crumbs, and constantly checking that the tasty dish your being served is definitely gluten free. My lactose intolerance has also taught me well about the joys of reading ingredient labels – every trip to the supermarket just gets longer, and longer.., as well as the awkwardness of asking for the allergy menu, so it's not as scary a change as it would be for others.

But, there's still a part of me that has to adjust to life without gluten, up till now I'd been careful with what I ate, but still not made a huge fuss about it, knowing that I wasn't yet diagnosed. Finally being given that 'coeliac' tag, an official diagnosis, has changed everything. Now I can begin to start a life without wheat, knowing that it is the cause of my health problems – it's not ibs, it's an autoimmune disease.

As I start a life without gluten, I've still got many appointments to come – from meeting my dietician, to getting my prescription sorted with my gp (I'm pretty lucky that we still have gluten free prescriptions in my county), but I can finally begin to really heal my gut - it's took a lot of strain over the years. 

I can expect a few near breakdowns when my local supermarket is out of gluten and dairy free snacks, countless sulks as I look at tasty gluten free cakes stood out in the open next to their fellow wheat-y filled bakes, and awkward parties where I have to bring my own gluten free goodie bag of treats – it's going to be just as difficult at times adjusting to everything.

So, what does this mean for my fellow cake fanciers following this cheeky little blog. Unfortunately I won't be doing any wheat-y recipes anymore (the old recipes will however stay permanently archived). But, what you can look forward to is me sharing lots of scrumptious free from treats, alongside my cheeky baking articles, tips, and cake explorations – they may be more limited than previously, due to my dietary restrictions, but I'll be happily sharing anywhere tasty where I've had some scrumptious gluten and dairy free cake!

For me, it's still going to be a learning curve, I've still got to perfect my gluten free baking techniques, and as such, I'll be sharing any hilarious disasters along the way, as well as the tasty successes.

Next up for me, is those all important appointments with the dietician, my gp, and the joys of many hospital appointments to come, but at least I finally have my diagnosis. For countless others that still have that experience yet to come, I hope my rambled complaints about endless waiting lists, and cancelled appointments can help you along the way – we've all been there, and it will eventually be worth the endless disgruntled phone calls, appointments, and blood tests.

It's certainly going to make life more interesting, but I'm looking forward to having a calm gut, and finally putting years of awkward health problems and disgruntled gp appointments behind me. So, here's to a new fully gluten free direction for Cake Porn – I can promise you plenty of cheeky, sultry, rich, and gooey gluten free bakes to come – oh my!

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Chocolate cobweb cupcakes – Vegan and Gluten Free.

A spooktacular treat for Halloween, what could be sweeter than a chocolatey cupcake laced with a yummy cobweb on top! A deliciously sweet treat, that's also vegan and gluten free.

Deliciously squishy and rich, these cupcakes are like bite sized chocolate puddings, with the chocolate icing adding a sweet finishing touch. Not just for Halloween of course, use the base as a tasty vegan and gluten free cupcake recipe anytime you fancy!

Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes).
175g gluten free self raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
40g cocoa powder
225g caster sugar
275ml hot water
60g dairy free margarine, melted
2 tsp lemon juice

For the icing
100g icing sugar
1 tsp cocoa powder

Pre heat your oven to 180c/160c fan/gas mark 4, and line a cupcake tray with cases – embrace the season and use spooktacular cases for these bakes!

In a large bowl, sift together the Gluten free self raising flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, and caster sugar, and mix to combine.
Add the hot water to the bowl , followed by the melted dairy free margarine, and mix to combine.

Finally, add the lemon juice to finish, then stir till the mixture is smooth and lump free.

Divide the mixture between the cases, and bake for 15 minutes till risen.

Place the cupcakes on a wire rack to cool down for an hour, then start mixing the icing for your cobweb topping!

You'll need two separate bowls, one for the cocoa topping, then a second for the white cobweb icing. In the first bowl, sift in 70g of icing sugar, with the cocoa powder, then add 2 tsp's of water to loosen the mixture. This should form into a lovely chocolatey water icing - you'll want it to be a little runny, but not too much.

Place a small amount of the cocoa icing on top of each cupcake, and spread into a disc on top. Leave to partially set for 10 minutes.

Then you'll want to mix the water icing in the second bowl to form the cobweb, sift in the remaining icing sugar, and add 2 tsp's of water to mix. Spoon the icing into a piping bag, and carefully snip a small section off the end of the bag, this will allow you to pipe your cobweb.

Pipe a clockwise swirl on top of each cupcake, then using a cocktail stick, drag lines through the swirl to form a cobweb shape.

Your spooky sweet bakes are complete! A yummy little treat that's perfect for Halloween!

These will last well when kept in an airtight container for a couple of days, but are best eaten on the day they're baked.

Cupcake base recipe adapted from Wallflower Kitchen.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Gluten free apple and cinnamon traybake.

Autumn must be here, as the lure of tasty apple filled bakes starts drawing you in.. This yummy traybake is the perfect seasonal treat, topped with a scrumptious layer of cinnamon flavoured apple pieces, set in a fluffy, sweet cake base, that's very more-ish.

After finding a bumper crop on the apple tree this year, it's been a good excuse to try out a new gluten free recipe (you may expect to find a couple more here soon, as I look for more tasty ways to use them in my bakes!). As the weather's started to really turn, a yummy comforting bake has definitely been needed, this tasty bake has a lovely warming note with it's generous sprinkling of cinnamon, resulting in an utterly delicious seasonal treat.

225g dairy free margarine
200g caster sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
220g gluten free plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
180g diced apple

Pre heat your oven to 170c/160c fan/gas mark 3, and line a 20 x 20cm square tin. 

Cream together the dairy free margarine and sugar till pale and fluffy, then add in the eggs one a time and whisk. Stir in the vanilla extract, then mix.

Sift in the gluten free plain flour a little at a time, mixing it as you go along. With the final sift of plain flour, add in the baking powder, xanthan gum, and 1 tsp of cinnamon. Mix well to blend.

Spoon the mixture into the tin, then you'll start mixing the apple topping to finish your traybake off.

Take your diced apple – these can be either big, or small sized pieces, however you prefer them. Then sprinkle the brown sugar, mixed spice, and 1 tsp of cinnamon on top. Stir to mix. This will create a lovely warming flavour for your bake!

Place the apple topping on top of your cake mixture in the tin - the mixture will rise around these, resulting in a scrumptious treat. 

Bake your scrumptious apple traybake for 50 minutes - 1 hour till risen and golden - In my fan oven these took 50 minutes. Remove from the oven, and leave in the tin to cool for at least 30 minutes, before slicing into squares, and placing on a wire rack to cool down.

These will last well when kept in an airtight container for a few days. They take best when just freshly baked and sliced, when still warm – but they're still just as yummy afterwards!

Recipe tweaked and adapted from: Gluten-Free on a Shoestring.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

The very long coeliac diagnosis journey : One year on.

As I type this it's been a little over a year since my gp went over my blood test results with me, it seems like such a long time ago now, even more so when I consider that I still am yet to see the consultant to start my diagnosis...

For those of you that have been following my journey since it began last year, you'll already be all to aware of the problems that I've faced along the way. Lengthy waiting lists, and a perilous elimination diet, followed by far too many cases of glutening along the way.. and yet, I still have to undergo the biopsy..

You see back in August, I should have been seeing the consultant to finally start my diagnosis journey, little did I know that just a few mere hours before I was due to travel out to the hospital for the appointment, a cancellation letter would come tumbling through my letterbox.. An irksome setback, especially considering that my appointment was cancelled at such short notice.. even more annoying was the 'reminder' text that I received the night before.

Another set back on my long diagnosis journey - after an hour of cursing and muttering under my breath, I rang to re-schedule my appointment. I'd have another month to wait for my appointment in September, still at least it was only a month to wait.. or so I thought.. 

You see, I should have been visiting the consultant today, but that appointment got cancelled once again, yes, not once, but twice, my luck really isn't working for me lately. At least this time they were thoughtful enough to ring me. With a couple of weeks to go before my second attempt at an appointment, my third attempt was booked in, for October...Bloody hell..

By the time that appointment rolls around I'll have been waiting for 13 months to see the consultant, and exactly a year since I first started my elimination diet to see if gluten really was at the root of my stomach problems. It's a long time to wait when your finding it difficult to cope with constant health problems, stomach issues, and ill health that seems hell bent on plaguing your day to day plans. 

As I face a further month long wait before I get to see the consultant, I'm finding myself at a cross roads. I already know that gluten is causing my health problems, and I've already adjusted to life without wheat. Sure I have had a few near breakdowns in supermarket car parks when I couldn't find any gluten and dairy free options (the woes of being both gluten and lactose intolerant), and I've been glutened on far too many occasions to count – including one ironic case very recently at a local gluten friendly outlet, after being accidentally served a wheat-y lunch (urgh..).

I've become used to my gluten free diet, and I've certainly noticed the changes to my health as a result, I've already discussed the changes in my past posts on my coeliac diagnosis journey, and I continue to see these results today – I'm still amazed that my patchy hair loss has completely stopped, no more embarrassing trips to the salon!

During this past year I've come to accept that I'm gluten and lactose intolerant, and after going through years of stress trying to get my gp to agree with me, I'm not entirely sure that I want to go through that again - let alone the six to eight weeks of constant illness, brain fog, vomiting, and frequent panicked dashes to the loo whilst I go back on gluten for my biopsy. 

I know that an official diagnosis is the best practice, but when I'm anxiously waiting for my appointment to finally happen, I'm starting to loose my patience with the whole process. I've reached the stage where I'm quite happy to tell people that I'm gluten and lactose intolerant. My elimination diet, and those unfortunate accidental glutening's have already shown me that my body severely disagrees with both gluten and lactose – trust me, my last case where I spent a week and a half in a horrendous haze, clutching a hot water bottle for dear life, and be-friending my toilet - thanks to a mis-made order at a cafe - I really don't want to put myself through that again!

For the time being, I'm more than comfortable with the fact that I'm gluten and lactose intolerant. Maybe the day when I finally get to see the consultant really will happen, but for now, I'm counting down the days till mid October. Who knows, maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Gluten free damson cake.

A deliciously sweet treat that makes the most of this seasonal fruit, with a generous helping of tasty damsons in the bake! An incredibly easy, and scrumptious cake that's also gluten and dairy free.

With a soft, fluffy, almost muffin-like texture to this bake, the damsons give it a lovely purple swirl inside when sliced. 

Topped off with a generous sprinkling of sugar on top to finish. It would also work a treat with plums in place of the damsons if you can't find any, or any tasty berries if you prefer – basically, it's a rather good sponge base for a tasty gluten free fruity bake!

170g dairy free margarine
170g caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
170g gluten free self raising flour
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
300g damsons (de-stoned)
2 tbsp dairy free milk
Sprinkling of granulated sugar to top

Prior to baking, you'll want to de-stone and chop the damsons. Cut them however you like, into halves, or quarters – if they're really ripe a few may just squish into a deliciously pulpy mush, these will add a lovely dark pop of colour to the bake inside!

Pre heat your oven to 180c/170c fan/gas mark 4, grease and line a round 8” cake tin.

Cream together the dairy free margarine with the sugar till pale and fluffy, then add in the eggs one at a time and mix. Stir in the vanilla extract to blend.

Sift in the gluten free self raising flour a little at a time and mix, adding the xanthan gum with the final sifting of flour, then mix to blend. I used's Asda's Gluten free self raising flour blend for this, but any will do the job nicely – I've not found a huge amount of difference between this blend, Sainsbury's, and Dove Farm's Gluten free self raising flour, so any blend that you use should be perfect!

Add the dairy free milk to loosen the mixture a little – I used almond milk with mine, but feel free to use your preferred favourite – whatever you already have open, as it's only a small amount you'll be using.

Finally, stir in the chopped damsons to mix – the mixture will start to get lovely purple tinges as you mix them in!

Spoon into your tin and bake for 50 minutes - 1 hour. In my fan oven it took 50 minutes, but a conventional oven should be a little longer. Bake until it's golden in colour on top and a skewer comes out clean. 

Remove the cake from the oven, then sprinkle a generous helping of sugar on top to finish.

Leave the cake to cool in the tin for a couple of hours, then place on a wire rack to finish cooling.

It's scrumptious when still warm – around half an hour or so after removing it from the tin. But just as yummy when it's cooled down! This should last well when kept in a tin for a few days.

Recipe adapted and tweaked from Gluten free cuppa tea.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Gluten free cherry bakewell cupcakes.

These cupcakes are rather exceedingly good.. inspired by the classic cherry bakewell, this batch of scrumptious cupcakes takes the flavours of the almond treat and wraps them up in a moist, fluffy, cupcake case.

Hands down, these are by far the best gluten free cupcakes I've baked yet, adding ground almonds into the mix gives them a fluffy, moist texture, even making for a long lasting bake – the cupcakes that did survive lasted for a few days in their container, and they still tasted just as scrumptious as the day they were baked! Definitely worth a try! They're also dairy free, so a great bake if your lactose & gluten intolerant too.
Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes)
175g stork
175g caster sugar
3 eggs
125g gluten free self raising flour
50g ground almonds
a few drops of cherry flavouring

To decorate
200g icing sugar
5 tsp lemon juice
chopped glace cherries

Pre heat the oven to 180/160c fan/gas mark 4 and line a cupcake tray with cases.

In a large bowl cream together the stork and sugar till pale and fluffy – any dairy free margarine will also be perfect if you'd prefer not to use stork for your bake. Add in the eggs one at a time, and mix. Then add the cherry flavouring and stir – this will add a scrumptious taste to your cupcakes, recreating the cherry bakewell flavour. I used's Beau's concentrated flavouring for mine, just adding a couple of drops – a little goes a long way!

Sift in the gluten free self raising flour a little at a time and mix, then add in the ground almonds and blend – this mix will add a fluffier texture to your cupcakes, as well as re-creating the classic cherry bakewell taste. For my cupcakes I used Doves Farm self raising flour blend, mixed in with ground almonds that I'd picked up from Home Bargains – they're much cheaper than most supermarkets/health stores and still just as good! (Not cake related, but they're also worth visiting for their Gluten free pasta, it's sooo much cheaper than anywhere else, and ridiculously delicious).

Once mixed, spoon the cupcake batter into the cupcake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes till risen.
Remove the tray from the oven and leave your cupcakes to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, before removing and placing on a wire rack to cool down.

Once cooled, start mixing your icing. These cupcakes are topped off with a classic water icing – much like your traditional cherry bakewell, making for a lovely finish.

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, then add a couple of teaspoons of the lemon juice to bring the mixture together, keep adding a teaspoon at a time to mix to the right consistency - it should feel slightly stiff as you mix, and as you take the spoon out of the bowl it should drizzle off slowly, if it looks too runny simply sift in more icing sugar and mix.

Once mixed, take a palette knife and place a generous helping of your icing on top of each cupcake and smooth the icing on top to finish. Top off with a glace cherry half – your cherry bakewell cupcakes are complete!

Certainly a yummy take on the classic treat, and by far one of the best batches of gluten free cupcakes I've made so far. They're perfect for any time of the day – heck, just bake a batch because you fancy some cupcakes, you don't need any excuse!

Recipe inspired by: Good Food

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Cheat your way to the perfect cupcake with these cheeky decorating tips!

We've all been there, after you've piped frosting on top of two dozen cupcakes your about ready to give up, but then your faced with a plethora of pretty edible decorations to finish them off, that's when the swearing really kicks in... Let's face it, for us amateur bakers we don't often have the time (or patience) to create baking perfection with every batch of tasty cakes, that's where a few of my favourite cheeky time saving cupcake decorating tips and tricks come in handy.

When your elbow deep in a giant bowl of buttercream, surrounded by a dozen piles of edible toppings from sprinkles, to glitter, and those all important flavourings & colourings, you start to wonder when it's going to end.. almost inevitably cursing your loved ones and friends who you stupidly agreed to bake a few dozen cupcakes for – you really do appreciate your beloved local bakers all the more after taking on a mammoth baking task yourself! Thankfully though, you can save some time in the kitchen with these rather cheeky decorating cheats!

The tasty topping.
Not all decorating cheats come in handy, especially when your used to making your own, the taste of shop bought spray frosting just doesn't cut it - not to mention the swearathon than will emerge from the kitchen after an hour wasted trying to get that damned stuff out of the packet in the first place.. it's just not worth it. But, a trusty packet of pre-flavoured icing sugar is a thing of wonder, sure it may only save a small amount of time dependent on your chosen flavour, but it's one of those decorating cheats that's as good as it sounds.

Take a handy packet of Sugar & Crumbs flavoured icing sugar, simply add your butter/dairy free margarine and whisk - it couldn't be easier! Each packet comes un-coloured, so you can opt to add additional food colouring should you wish. Simply top your bakes with your buttercream as you prefer and you've done part of the decorating work already. They're also gluten, dairy & nut free, and suitable for vegans so a tasty time saver that everyone can use.

If you prefer to mix your flavouring in then you can't go wrong with a good quality food flavouring – it'll save time and tears with your bakes! Concentrated flavourings like Beau's are perfect for a good strong buttercream, a little really does go a long way, and you can add some scrumptious flavours to your bakes with ease – simply add to your buttercream and mix as usual.

Pretty edible details.
We all love a pretty finish on our cupcakes, but why spend hours agonizing over sugar paste when you could cheat and add some pre-made toppings! I won't scold you at all for this, it's a great time saver with your bakes, especially when you have a few dozen to make!

Sugar rose and edible flowers are a lovely way to decorate your bakes with ease, PME do a lovely range of sugar flowers and other pretty edibles for your bakes – from festive trees, to hearts, and pretty butterflies, now all you need to do is open the packet and place them on top of your cakes for a lovely decorative bake!

Of course, for an instantly pretty bake you really can't beat a generous handful of sprinkles to top your cakes. Whether you want to go for a batch of pastel toned unicorn cupcakes, or a rainbow of colourful tones you'll really be spoilt for choice for some lovely sprinkles for your bakes.

Whilst you can easily pick up a handy tub of colourful sprinkles at your nearest supermarket, you may just want to treat yourself to some scrumptious sprinkles by Cake Angel. These make your ordinary sprinkles look tame. Handy jars of mini fruity sugar cubes, Rhubarb and custard flavoured nibs, and mixed tubs filled with mini jazzies and rainbow confetti - they will most certainly add a scrumptious twist to your bakes! (F.Y.I some of their sprinkles do contain milk, egg, or wheat, so do check the label beforehand).

Upgrade your sprinkles with some of these colourful mixes from Iced Jems, From galactic mixes, to pretty shells and yes, even unicorns, an incredibly easy way to make your cupcakes look amazing with a generous handful of these pretty sprinkles! (F.Y.I some of their sprinkles do contain wheat so do check the ingredients beforehand).

Another glamorous way to dress up your cupcakes with ease is to sprinkle some edible confetti on top – yes, edible confetti! Rainbow dust make a pretty selection of their confetti's in hearts, sequins, and stars for an easy way to make your cupcakes look glam! They're also gluten, lactose & nut free.

It doesn't have to be all sprinkles though, other tasty ways to make your cupcakes look pretty can be incredibly simple and effortless. Baking a tasty batch of fruit-y cupcakes? Tart them up by placing some fruit on top! Sweets are another yummy way to decorate your cupcakes with ease, a simple chunk of chocolate to complement the flavour of your bake works a treat, or why not go the whole hog and top them with a ton of sweets! All you need to do is buy the tasty sweets and place them on top as you like, a deliciously effortless way to easily decorate your bakes – plus you've got some extra tasty treats too, and you could always eat some of the sweets as you decorate, we've all done it!

Hopefully, one or two of these tips will save you some time and stress in the kitchen, besides, why spent hour making the perfect batch of cupcakes for that party, when you could be pre-testing those cocktails.. it's just as important a task, honest!

Monday, 24 July 2017

Gluten free plum crumble cake.

A gorgeously gluten free treat with this yummy recipe for plum crumble cake, a deliciously sweet bake with a tasty layer of plums, topped off with a delightfully tasty crumble topping. It's the perfect afternoon tea treat, making for an incredibly more-ish cake.

It's one of those bakes that's perfect for any fruit really, but plums really do add a deliciously sweet taste to this cake. It should be just as scrumptious baked with a generous handful of damsons in the autumn! The crumble topping adds a lovely bit of texture to the bake, finished off with a sprinkling of flaked almonds for a bake that's certainly a tasty free from treat.

175g dairy free margarine
175g caster sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
175g gluten free self raising flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 plums, sliced into quarters

For the crumble topping
150g gluten free plain flour
115g dairy free margarine
50g caster sugar
handful of flaked almonds

To start grease and line a round 20cm cake tin ready for your bake and set aside. Pre heat your oven to 180c/170c fan/gas mark 4.

You'll want to make the lovely crumble topping first – this can be rather messy so you'll want to get it all mixed up first ready to sprinkle on top of the bake later.

Place the gluten free plain flour, dairy free margarine and sugar into a bowl and start to rub it together to form the crumble. At this stage it'll be somewhat messy – it may be a bit of a clumpy, messy mixture, but persist, as it'll start to form together nicely!
If it's a little too sticky, wash the mixture off your hands and sprinkle a little more of the gluten free plain flour over the mixture and rub together again. It may not resemble your usual traditional crumble, it should form into small mounds of mixture, which should break away easily to sprinkle on top later. Set aside.

Now you'll start working on that tasty cake mixture! In a separate bowl, cream together the dairy free margarine with the caster sugar, then add in the eggs one at a time and mix. Stir in the vanilla essence.

Sift in the gluten free self raising flour and cinnamon, this will add a little bit of a lift to the taste of the cake! Fold into combine the mixture. 

Spoon your tasty cake mix into the tin, then you'll be topping it with your plum segments. Place each quarter on top of the cake in a round till finished. 

Now you'll be finishing the cake mix off with the crumble mixture that you made earlier, sprinkle this on top of the cake, fully covering it, but don't worry if there's any gaps. Then sprinkle a handful of flaked almonds on top of this to finish. 

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or till risen and golden. In my fan oven this took a little quicker, baking in just 40 minutes. Remove the tin from the oven, then leave your cake to cool in the tin for a couple of hours.

Once cooled a little, remove the cake from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool down. Cut into tasty slices to serve, it's lovely just as is, or serve it with some soya cream for a yummy tea time treat!

Recipe adapted from “Gluten free baking” Michael McCamley.