Saturday, 22 November 2014

Cherry and almond loaf (gluten free, dairy free)

This is a good loaf cake for using up any leftover glacé cherries you may have lurking after your Christmas cake/pudding/mincemeat baking. Of course it you have no leftover cherries go by some because this is an amazing cake!

You may notice that the weights are in ounces, except the ground almonds which are in grams, this is because I stole the recipe from my mum.

I took this cake into work to celebrate the fact I passed my viva... 4 years of work but I am now a Dr. Finally I can have a break from reading about science and get baking and blogging.

As always if you do not have an issue with butter or gluten feel free to substitute the DF and GF components with their regular counterparts.

Cherry and almond loaf

6oz dairy free spread (I use pure)
6oz golden caster sugar
3 eggs
tsp almond extract
6oz GF plain flour (I use dove farm)
1/2 tsp xantham gum
4tsp GF baking powder
100g glacĂ© cherries, chopped into 1/2 or 1/4 depending on their size
75g ground almonds

First preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180C and grease and line a 2lb loaf tin. Beat the DF spread and sugar until creamy then beat in the eggs one at a time,  followed by the almond extract. Beat in the flour, xantham gum and baking powder until it is just combined. Rinse the cherries and dry on kitchen paper, this prevents them from sinking to the bottom of your cake. Toss the cherries in the ground almonds, this also helps them stop sinking. then fold the cherries and almond into your cake mix until the cherries are evenly distributed.

Transfer the cake mix to your prepared tin and smooth with a spatula. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes (mine took just over 40) until golden and a skewer comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

I took a little mix out of the big loaf tin to make a baby cake for the two of us to eat as a tester before I took the big one to work! Sorry for the dark photo, it was evening. I really need to work on my camera skills, if anyone has any tips do let me know!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Ginger, lemon and honey biscuits (gluten free, dairy free)

I promised you a post for apple butter victoria sponge, and was all set to do so until I woke up with a cold. I can't complain too much, it is the 2nd November and my first cold this year so I have done pretty well. My head is fuzzy and I know I will miss something out of the relatively simple but multi stage apple butter blog post. Soon I promise you, soon. 

Instead I offer you a simple recipe for ginger, honey and lemon biscuits. I like to think of these as the perfect healing biscuits if you have a cold. After all honey, lemon and ginger all feature heavily in commerical cold remidies.  And if you don't have a cold? They are still delicious little biscuits to nibble whenever you wish. 

The recipe is based on one for ginger and lemon biscuits by Signe Johansen in Scandilicous baking. As they contain honey I am going to enter them into this months alpha bakes.

Ginger lemon and honey biscuits

50g stem ginger
1 medium egg
20g golden syrup
20g honey
10g stem ginger syrup (from the jar the stem ginger comes in)
zest and juice of 1 lemon
125g non dairy spread (I used pure soya)
125g golden caster sugar
200g GF plain four
1/2 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Finely chop the stem ginger, add to a jug and mix in the egg, golden syrup, honey, stem ginger syrup and the zest and juice the lemon. 

In a separate bowl cream the DF spread and sugar together until creamy. Add in half the wet ingredients, 1/2 the flour and the xantham gum, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda then mix to combine. Add the remaining wet ingredients and mix, finally add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until everything is combined. Place clingfilm over the bowl and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Place teaspoons full of the dough onto the sheet, making sure to leave 4-5cm between them. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, until golden round the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

I really like these biscuits, they are light, not heavy and crunchy like regular ginger biscuits (which I also love) and the lemon adds a freshness to the ginger. They will keep in an airtight tin for at least a week. If they start to go soft blast them in the oven for a couple of minutes to crisp them up.  


Saturday, 1 November 2014

Final bake off and a catch up

Hi, I know my blog is just a hobby and nothing bad is going to happen should I miss a few posts but I still feel really bad having abandoned my little blog for long.

To cut a long story short I have been ill and was in hospital and so I did not particularly want to eat let alone bake.

When I did bake I was baking items that I have made previously and are already on the blog! I did my final bake along with bake off. I recreated their final technical challenge, making mini victoria sponges, mini scones, and mini brownies. You may remember that the contestants made lemon tarts not brownies but I was pressed for time and not about to make a gluten and dairy free pastry topped with a dairy free custard! They all went down very well, in particular I thought the gluten free scones were delicious.

I also entered the science bake off at work (I work in a lab), there was a prize for best decorated science cake and a prize for the yummiest cake. I made cupcakes, chocolate and salted caramel and white chocolate and raspberry. They were gluten free, the chocolate and salted caramel were lactose free and the others were low lactose with 2g of white chocolate per cupcake. My allergy friendly cupcakes won yummiest cake! I was absolutely delighted.

My first bake post hospital was a simple comforting banana bread. Sometimes a simple old classic is what everyone needs.

I am ready to start baking again, I have a fantastic apple butter victoria sponge to share with you tomorrow. If you are wondering what a fruit butter is come back tomorrow and all will be revealed.

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.