Saturday, 11 October 2014


What will we do on Wednesday nights now that bake off is over? The final was thrilling and I am so pleased that my favourite won, my favourite never wins... I jinx them from the start simply by liking them!

The wee before the final was patisserie week and the bakers had to create two types of baklava, two types of entremets and a schichttorte. The first two I had heard of, the last I not not. Looking it up I was instantly intrigued, a grilled cake? Would it taste different to a baked cake? There was only one way to find out.

I used the recipe from Paul Hollywood found here. I made tweaks to make it gluten and dairy free, and also had to turn my grill down and cook for 30 seconds less than stated. 

Admittedly it does have the wow factor when you cut into it, all those layers. When I first tried a slice I did not know what to expect and so was not overwhelmed with the texture of the cake, I think I prefer my cakes baked not grilled. Having said that over the next few days the cake grew on me and I have decided I do quite like it after all. Whether I like it enough to spend two hours making one again remains to be seen. Oh and the chocolate glaze is immense. 

In final week I absolutely loved how the bakers went back to basics for the technical challenge. I firmly believe a good knowledge of the basics is what makes a consistently good baker and Nancy helped prove me right by nailing it. 

For my final bake along with bake off bake I am going to make scones, mini victoria sandwiches and some form of mini patisserie and aim to make them all perfect. I will do this next weekend when my parents come see my new flat for the fist time,after walking the hills of Edinburgh I am sure everyone will be ready for a cup of tea and a cake or two!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Chocolate and pecan traybake (gluten and dairy free)

This is a simple to make and deliciously chocolatey traybake, that's probably thanks to the 200g of dark chocolate in here! We enjoyed this so much that we finished it within days of it being made, saying that it does keep well. If you can eat dairy and gluten feel free to use butter and regular plain wheat flour.

 Definitely one to add to the collection, I can see this being made again with different flavouring and nuts for variety,

Chocolate and pecan traybake

200g dark chocolate
100g DF spread (I used pure)
85g golden caster sugar
4 eggs, separated, the whites into a greasefree bowl
85g ground almonds
75g GF plain flour (I used Dove farm)
1/8 tsp xantham gum
Pecans for decoration, anything from 50-100g

Preheat the oven to 160C/180C FAN/gas 4 and line a 25cm square cake tin or brownie/traybake tin with baking parchment. 

Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of barely simmering water and heat gently, stirring every now and then until the chocolate and butter has melted. When cool, but still melted, stir in half the sugar and the egg yolks.

Whisk the whites to firm peaks, add the remaining sugar, then whisk again until glossy. Stir a spoonful of the egg whites into the chocolate mix along with the ground almonds, flour and xantham gum then fold through the rest. Transfer to the tin and top with lightly broken pecans. 

Bake for 25 minutes, cool in the tin for 10 mins, then lift onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Gluten free nutella bread

Thus is me catching up with my bake off posts. This is from last week where the contestants had to make an enriched loaf. I tweaked this challenge slightly as their loafs involved fruit and I did not want fruit, I wanted chocolate.

The recipe for the braided nutella bread comes from the delightful Gluten-Free on a Shoestring blog and the recipe can be found here.

I did have to make my own nutella as shop bought contains dairy and I will share this recipe below.

The finished load does look beautiful and is the nicest gluten free bread that I have made so far. It was perfect warm from the oven with a little extra nutella and a pot of tea for a special weekend breakfast.

Homemade nutella (Dairy and Gluten free)

100g hazelnuts (skinned)
2 tbsp good cocoa powder (I used green and blacks)
4-5 tbsp of hazelnut milk (Or use almond or soy milk if you cannot get hold of hazelnut)
1 1/2 tbs brown sugar or maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla paste

Blitz the hazelnuts in a food processor until they from a smooth-ish paste. Add all the other ingredients and continue to blitz until combined and as smooth as possible. Transfer to a sterile jar and keep in the fridge, eat within a couple of weeks. 

This nutella is a more grown up version, it is a little more intense, darker and not as sweet. I really like this however should you wish to make it sweeter simply add more sugar/maple syrup until it as sweet as you desire. This nutella is quite thick, add a splash more milk if you desire.

As well as the bread this nutella is great on toast topped with a sliced banana! 

Friday, 26 September 2014

Gluten and Dairy Free Choux pastry.

Watching bake off this week I realised that I had completely forgotten to post my creation from pastry week, oops. To be honest I was dreading pastry week as attempting to make gluten and dairy free pastry is a tricky business. I decided that choux was my way forward and attempted some of my own eclairs. I have had previous successes making regular choux so I was hopefully optimistic that I could make this work.

And it turns out you can make gluten and dairy free choux. It is not quite as smooth and glossy as regular choux and whereas I would normally use a wooden spoon I did have to use a hand held electric whisk to get the choux dough as smooth as possible.
See, not totally smooth and glossy
Once baked however my mini eclairs looked and tasted like the regular deal. I tarted up my eclair by making them banoffee eclairs. I filled them with sliced banana, vanilla whipped non dairy cream and topped with non-dairy toffee sauce. They were declared delicious by all. Below is the recipe to make gluten and dairy free choux, feel free to jazz up you eclair with any topping or filling that you desire.

Choux pastry (gluten and dairy free) 

60g gluten free flour (I used dove farm)
2 tsp caster sugar (optional)
150ml cold water
50g dairy free spread (I used pure, sunflower)
2 large eggs

Weigh the flour then fold a sheet of baking paper to make a crease and then open it up again. Sift the flour on to the paper and add the caster sugar if you are making sweet choux.

Next put the cold water in a saucepan together with the butter, then place the saucepan over a medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon. As soon as the butter has melted and the mixture comes up to the boil, turn off the heat immediately, as too much boiling will evaporate some of the water.

Next tip the flour in, all in one go, with one hand, while you beat the mixture vigorously with the other (using the electric whisk).

Beat until you have a smooth ball of paste that has left the sides of the saucepan clean, this will probably take less than a minute

Next beat 2 large eggs then beat them into the mixture, a little at a time, mixing each addition in thoroughly before adding the next. Beat until you have a smooth(ish) glossy(ish) paste. At this stage, lightly grease a baking sheet and place a ovenproof dish with a little water in the base of the oven to create a steamy atmosphere.

To make the ├ęclairs place the mixture in to a piping bag fitted with a wide round tip and pipe mixture onto the baking sheet, leaving 1 inch between them. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes. After that, increase the heat to gas mark 7 220C/200CFAN and bake for a further 10-15 minutes until the buns are crisp, light and a rich golden colour.

Split the ├ęclairs and return to the oven for a couple of minutes to dry out the insides.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool and fill just before eating to enjoy them at their best. 

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Blueberry crumble cake

Last week it truly felt like autumn was here, it was colder, dark when I got up, dingy and grey. The only way to combat this was a comforting cake made with cinnamon and fruit, I did not quite veer into the autumn fruit territory (apples, blackberries, pears) but used some Scottish blueberries. a last hopeful cling on to summer. It worked we got a mild reprise to summer this weekend with plenty of sunshine and blue skies!

The cake is from this months good food magazine, I adapted it a little to make it gluten and dairy free and also enough to fit into a brownie tin.

The crumble topping is fantastically crisp and contrasts perfectly with the soft cake and fruit. This cake is best eaten as soon as possible as it contains fresh fruit. Also the sooner it is eaten the crisper the topping will be.

Oh and sorry for the dark photos... that is partly down to me wanting to eat it and partly down to the rubbish autumn weather I mention previously!

Blueberry crumble cake (adapted from bbc good food magazine)

150g dairy free spread (I use pure, sunflower)
225g golden caster sugar
300g GF plain flour (I use Dove farm blend)
1 tsp xantham gum
1 1/2 tsp GF baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 medium eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla paste/extract
180g natural soya yoghurt
1 1/2 tbsp non dairy milk (I used almond milk)

1 tbsp and 1 tsp of ccinnamon
2 tbsp each of golden caster sugar and brown sugar (light or dark). mixed
200g blueberries
6 tbsps GF plain flour
3 tbsps dairy free spread, cut small

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C FAN. GAS MARK 4 and grease and line a brownie tin (or traybake tin) with baking paper.

Beat the DF spread and sugar with an electric whisk until fluffy. Add the flour, xantham gum, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda to the bowl followed by the eggs and vanilla, beat until smooth. Add the yoghurt and DF milk and briefly beat until combined.

Spoon just under half of the mix into the prepared tin. Mix 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of the sugar mix and scatter half of this over the cake followed by half of the berries. Layer over the remaining cake mix, take care when smoothing it out the berries will want to come with you. Sprinkle over the remaining sugar/cinnamon mix followed by the remaining berries.

To make the crumb topping place the remaining sugar mix, flour and DF spread into a bowl and rub together until the mixture resembles chunky breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the cake, squeeze some of the crumble together to make bigger chunks as you do. 

Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes, until it is risen all the way till the centre. looks golden and the topping is crisp.

 Cool the cake in the tin for 15 minutes then transfer to a wire rack, using the baking paper to help you lift the cake, to cool completely.