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.