Tag Archives: gluten free

Depressed Cake Shop

Depressed Cake Shop poster

I have been asked to bake a cake for Shrewsbury’s Depressed Cake Shop on Tuesday 10th October at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery in partnership with the charity Shropshire Mind.  The Depressed Cake Shop is a chance for the community to come together and consider and discuss issues around depression.

All the cakes will contain an element of grey to symbolise the grey cloud that can hang over someone struggling with depression.

I have trialled my cake today to make sure I have the recipe spot on before baking it again for next week’s event.  I have chosen to make a chocolate orange cake based on Claudia Roden’s orange and almond cake, but with the added boost of chocolate. Nigella has a similar recipe but I have reduced the sugar by 50g and upped the treacly flavour of the sugar by using light soft brown rather than caster sugar.

Chocolate and orange cake

If you are in or near Shrewsbury next Tuesday then please pop into the museum between 11am and 2pm to support this very good cause.

Chocolate, orange and almond cake

2 oranges
200g light soft brown sugar
6 eggs
200g ground almonds
50g cocoa powder

Method
Place the oranges in a pan and cover with cold water.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 1½ hours until the oranges are soft. Drain and allow to cool. Cut the oranges in half and remove any pips. Place in a food processor and pulse until pureed. You can do this in a food mill or chop finely and push through a sieve if you don’t have a food processor.

Preheat your oven to 180°c or gas mark 4 or use the baking oven of the four oven Aga (or the roasting oven of the two oven Aga using a cake baker or cold shelf).

Break the eggs into a large bowl and beat until combined. Add all the other ingredients and stir well until the mixture is smooth. Pour the mixture into an 18cm cake tin lined with baking parchment.  Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes until springy to the touch.  Cool on a wire rack in the tin for ten minutes and then remove from the tin and allow to cool completely.

I have decorated my cake with a grey cloud made out of fondant icing coloured grey and piped with a darker grey icing made with icing sugar, food colouring and a few drops of water.

Chocolate and orange cake slice

UPDATE (9/10/17): A lovely person called Chantal emailed me to remind me that we aren’t supposed to make cakes with nuts in, in case of allergy. I really should read things properly!  So, instead I have made rice crispie cakes, because who doesn’t love a crispie cake? They are always the first to sell on any cake stall. I hope they sell well tomorrow.

 

Almond Macaroons

These are my favourite type of macaroons, wonderfully old fashioned in comparison to the fancy ones available now.  They are so easy to make and deliciously almondy with just the right amount of chewiness.

They are perfect for using up any egg whites you may have lurking in the fridge. If you have a food processor then it takes just a few minutes, and even if you haven’t it is not much more work.

They are best made on rice paper but my girls like rice paper so much they eat it before I have chance to use it.    If you don’t have rice paper then a silicone lining sheet works really well, but they also don’t stick too much to a non-stick tray as long as you lift them within a minute or two of them coming out of the oven, but be warned they are very fragile at that point.

The only problem with these is that they are completely irresistible and no good for the New Year diet.

Makes 15-18 biscuits

200g ground almonds
200g granulated sugar
40g icing sugar
3 egg whites
flaked almonds

Method

Preheat the oven to 180ºc, gas mark  4.

If you have a food processor place the almonds, sugar and icing sugar in the bowl of the processor and whizz for a few seconds.  Add the egg whites and whizz until combined.

If you don’t have a food processor them place all of the ingredients into a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or an electric whisk until well combined.

Line a tray with silicone paper or rice paper and place dessertspoonfuls of the mixture onto the tray.  Place a flaked almond on top of each one.

Place in the preheated oven or on the middle shelf of the baking oven of the Aga for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned all over.  Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes and then place onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate roulade, with a touch of the Black Forest

This was another of my contributions to my Dad’s birthday pudding bonanza.  It’s a flourless creation, which means that my gluten-intolerant sister can enjoy it.  I really like Black Forest gâteau, and anything with cherries and cherry brandy in it is always a big hit with me.  So I opted to add these, but you could add Marron Glaces for a chestnutty treat or just opt for the simpler (but nearly as delicious) chocolate and cream combo.

When I rolled it, I had as usual added far too much filling and it all oozed out.  But, actually I like it this way, it makes it look a lot more decadent and that can never be a bad thing, surely?

For the roulade (recipe from Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course):

6 eggs, separated
150g (5oz) caster sugar
50g (2oz) cocoa powder

A swiss roll tin (a shallow sided tray) measuring 29cm x 18cm, greased and lined with baking parchment.

Whisk the egg yolks until they begin to thicken, then add the sugar and whisk again until the mixture thickens a little more, but you don’t want it to be too thick.  Add the cocoa powder and mix until combined.  In a very clean bowl whisk the egg whites until they make soft peaks.  Add one-third of the egg whites to the egg yolk mixture to loosen the mixture and then carefully fold in the rest of the egg whites, retaining as much air as possible. Carefully pour this mixture into the tin and lift the tin to spread the mixture evenly.

Place in a preheated oven at 180°c, gas mark 4 or on the middle shelf of the Aga’s Baking Oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until the cake is springy to touch. Leave it in the cake tin to cool.

Make the chocolate ganache:

225g (8oz) good quality dark chocolate
225ml double cream
Cherry Brandy (to taste, I tend to put a good swig in, I know that isn’t very scientific, but keep on tasting until it suits you)

Chop the chocolate finely and place in a shallow and long dish. Heat the cream in a saucepan until just under boiling point. Pour the cream over the chocolate and leave to melt for a few moments.  Stir gently until well combined and then add the cherry brandy to taste.

Softly whip 200ml of double cream and drain a can of cherries.

Place a fresh piece of baking parchment on the worktop, it should be a little bigger than the cake.  Dust this with cocoa powder and turn the cake onto it.  Peel off the baking parchment from the bottom of the cake.  Spread the chocolate ganache over and then dot with the cherries.

Spread the softly whipped cream on top and then taking hold of one the shorter edges of baking parchment use this to roll the cake over to make a log.  If the filling oozes out, don’t worry just use a knife to spread it back onto the ends of the roulade.  If the cake cracks then that’s a bonus part of its appeal.

Enjoy in thick slices.

Chocolate Nut Cake

The name for this cake could indeed have a double meaning.  I get asked if we can make a chocolate cake at least once a week, and it is very often more regular than that.  Well, the request was sounded at about 6.30 am on Sunday morning, something along the lines of  ‘Can we make a chocolate cake that we can ice and decorate’.  The request was, of course, answered with a bleary ‘Later, maybe’.  Well, I am afraid my children are determined little creatures and so after a trip to the garden centre and before making sunday lunch for my parents and our neighbours, this chocolate cake was made and iced.  It was then decorated after dinner and before pudding – very extravagantly I have to say, and there was no time to take pictures, it needed to be eaten. Needless to say it involved a lot of sugared orange and lemon slices, hundreds and thousands and silver balls.

Here is a slice I finished off about mid-morning today.

The recipe is based on Rachel Allen’s Italian Hazelnut Cake in her Bake book (ISBN 13 978 0 00 725970 0), with the added chocolate and the addition of ground almonds as I didn’t have 200g of hazelnuts in the house. Then it was iced with a fudge frosting, which is not entirely necessary but does make a very good addition.

If you use gluten-free baking powder, then this makes a delicious gluten-free cake.

For the cake:

100g whole shelled hazelnuts
100g almonds (ground or whole, depending on what you have available or go for 200g of hazelnuts should they be available to hand)
50g good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
1 tsp baking powder
100g softened butter
5 eggs separated
175g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

Butter and line the base and sides of a 20 cm springform tin.  Preheat the oven to 170°c (gas mark 3) or use the baking oven of a 3 or 4 oven Aga.

Whizz the hazelnuts, almonds, baking powder and chocolate in a food processor until they are fine crumbs.  Add the butter and pulse until just combined.

Beat the egg yolks and the sugar with an electric whisk until the mixture has a mousse-like texture. Add the nut and chocolate mixture and the vanilla extract and mix until combined.

Whisk the egg whites in a very clean bowl until they are stiff.  Add one-third of the egg whites to the mixture and mix in well to loosen the mixture.  Add the rest of the egg whites in two batches, folding in very gently to retain as much air as possible.

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 45-60 minutes.  I placed mine on the oven rack placed on the bottom rung of the baking oven of my Aga and it was cooked in 40 minutes, so do adjust according to your oven.  The cake is cooked when it is firm to the touch and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle.

Leave the cake in the tin for 15 minutes, then take the side off, leave for another 15 minutes and then remove the base and then leave to cool completely.

For the icing:

25g good quality dark chocolate
100g icing sugar
25g butter
1 ½ tbsp milk
½ tbsp vanilla extract

Method
Place all of the ingredients into a heavy based saucepan and heat gently until melted and stir well to combine.  Beat for a minute or two until cooled and spread onto the top of the cake.

Decorate, or not, to your heart’s desire.

Chocolate cake – gluten free

choc cake

My sister is gluten intolerant so whenever she is coming to our house we try to bear this in mind.  She was expected at the party at the weekend and as there were other chocolate cakes available I thought it only fair to prepare one that she could eat.  The chocolate cake is one of Nigella’s recipes and is absolutely delicious.  I bought her Feast book (2006, Chatto & Windus) after my very good friend Annalin served us Nigella’s Espresso Martinis at a gathering at her house last Christmas. The martinis are unbelievably good.  However, I don’t think the martini recipe is in Feast after all, but there is a whole chapter called the Chocolate Cake Hall of Fame which has more than made up for that disappointment. The chocolate cake below is Nigella’s Chocolate Orange Cake, which is moist, orangey and gorgeous.  I topped it with some cupcake frosting that I had left over after making Peggy Porschen’s cupcakes from the October 2009 edition of the Sainsbury’s magazine. The combination of cake and frosting is very good and as a result of my sister forgetting about the party I had the terrible situation where I was left with cake to finish up…

For the chocolate cake:
2 oranges, weighing about 375g in total
200g ground almonds
250g golden caster sugar
50g good quality cocoa
1 heaped tsp baking powder (make sure this is gluten free!)
½tsp bicarbonate of soda
6 eggs
Method
You will need a 20 cm cake tin, buttered and lined.
If you can plan ahead then it is wise to start this the day before you want to make the cake as you need to place the oranges in a pan, cover with water and bring to a simmer and then simmer for two hours until soft.  You then need time for the oranges to cool.

Once the oranges are cool, cut in half and remove any pips.  Place the oranges in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Don’t overdo as it is nice to find little chunks of orange in the cake and you are going to be using the blade with the rest of the ingredients. Add all of the remaining ingredients and pulse again until just combined.

Scrape this into the cake tin and level the surface. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°c (350°f, gas mark 4) for 45 mins – 1 hour until it’s springy to the touch and beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tin.

Leave it to cool completely in the tin.  You could leave it undecorated and it will last for days, but I have to say with the chocolate frosting it is even more of a winner.

finished choc cake