Category Archives: Cakes

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cherry Cake

November’s Clandestine Cake Club challenge for the York group was enough to tempt me back into the fold.  The challenge was to produce a vegan AND gluten free cake.  Well, I couldn’t pass up on that kind of fun, could I?

I chose to go for a chocolate cherry cake… because YUM!  But you could really take this cake in any number for directions for a scrumptious, vegan, gluten free, packed full of flavour, moist and delicious cake!

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cherry Cake

It is equally at home being a loaf or a layer cake.  Whether you are after something for a celebration or just a little something to serve with tea.

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cherry Cake

So often I find the texture of gluten free cakes to be lacking.  There’s something just not right about them.  However, this cake proves that not only does it not have to be that way but that you can make a quick, easy, fuss free gluten free AND vegan cake without making any sacrifices at all!  What’s not to like about that?!?!

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cherry Cake

Makes 1 cake (Large loaf or 2×7″ victoria sponge tins)

1 cup gluten free flour mix (I like Asda’s own brand one.  It’s mainly rice, potato starch and tapioca flour and works well in a variety of recipes.)
1 cup ground almonds
1 cup soft brown sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder (Make sure no milk has been snuck in, you are after cocoa powder, never ever drinking chocolate!)
1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder (Most are but always best to check!)
1 cup soya or almond milk
1 tbsp Trex solid vegetable fat
2 tbsp golden syrup
200g plain chocolate (Check for milk!)
100ml soya or almond milk
cherry jam
glace cherries to decorate
plain chocolate sprinkles

– Heat the oven to gas mark 3/170C and prepare your chosen tins by greasing and lining them.  (If you use silicone tins then no need to line, this recipe won’t stick.)
– In a large mixing bowl combine the flour mix, the almonds, the sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder.
– In a small saucepan heat together the milk, fat and syrup until all melted.
– Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir well to combine into a smooth batter.
– Pour the batter into your prepared tins and bake for 30 minutes.  (Loaf tin may well take a little longer to cook in the centre.)
– Test with a skewer to check if it is done in the middle.  If the skewer comes out clean then place it on a wore rack to cool, otherwise pop it back in for another 5-10 minutes.
– To make the icing melt the chocolate in a microwave proof bowl.  30 seconds, stir it, then another 20 seconds work for my microwave but they are all different so go slowly in short bursts, checking and stirring regularly.  Alternatively you can place the bowl over a pan of boiling water until the chocolate melts.
– Pour in the milk and mix vigorously to combine into a smooth ganache.
– When your cakes are cool spread jam in the centre if using, then ice the top with the ganache and decorate with cherries and sprinkles!

 

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Filed under Cakes, Dairy Free, Easy, Gluten Free, Low Fat

Vegan Surprise Inside Cake

This delicious cake with a “surprise inside” wasn’t actually meant to be vegan.  I was playing around with different ideas and it was only when I came to write down the recipe that I realised that it was actually vegan!  Which was another happy surprise!

I decided to go for a simple bone shape hidden inside this cake as Halloween is so nearly upon us.  I contemplated doing a bat but unfortunately the cutter was too wide for the loaf tin!  This cake has a lovely springy, dense texture and is a brilliant option for kids as the cake doesn’t crumble when subjected to rough toddler handling.  This cake is really robust and travels well, even through the post!

Vegan Surprise Inside Cake

Makes 1 large loaf (plus a whole bunch of chocolate offcuts!)

Chocolate Cake:
2 cups self raising flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 cup of soft brown sugar
1 large tablespoon of Trex (or another solid vegetable fat, coconut oil might work well here!) 
2 tablespoons of golden syrup (I just go for one hulking great dollop!)
1 cup of soya milk

Orange Cake:
2 cups self raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 cup of golden caster sugar
1 large tablespoon of Trex (or another solid vegetable fat, coconut oil might work well here!) 
2 tablespoons of golden syrup (Again, one hulking great dollop!)
1 cup of soya milk
zest and juice of one orange

– Heat the oven to gas mark 3 / 170C. Line a large loaf tin with baking parchment or similar.
– Measure out the flour, cocoa, bicarb and sugar into a large mixing bowl.
– Place the soya milk, golden syrup and Trex in a small saucepan.
– Gently heat until the Trex and golden syrup are melted.
– Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, mix well to combine completely.
– Scrape out the mixture into the loaf tin.
– Bake for 30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
– Remove the cake from the oven, lift out of the tin by the paper and allow to cool.
– Slice your cake into thick slices the depth of your chosen cutter.
– Cut out one shape from each slice and place to one side.
Now for the orange cake!
– Heat the oven to gas mark 3 / 170C. Line the same large loaf tin with baking parchment or similar.
– Measure out the flour, bicarb and sugar into a large mixing bowl.
– Place the soya milk, golden syrup and Trex in a small saucepan.
– Gently heat until the Trex and golden syrup are melted.
– Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, add the zest and juice of the orange and mix well to combine completely.
– Scrape 1/3 of the mixture into the loaf tin, level it out.
– Place your cut out shapes in a neat row along the centre loaf tin, pressing down gently into the cake mixture below.
– Carefully scrape the rest of the cake batter out on top of the chocolate cake shapes.
– Bake for 30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
– Remove the cake from the oven, lift out of the tin by the paper and allow to cool.
– Peel off the paper and serve!

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Nutella Braided Ring

NUTELLA!  Is there anything finer? Nutella smothered over sweet bread?  Got you covered here!  Nutella is one of the finer things in life and I thought it deserved something fun so this Nutella Braided Ring was born! Just look at it! (I kinda want to lick the screen!)

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This recipe uses about half a jar of Nutella.  You may want to push the envelope further and use a whole jar, but don’t!  Bad things will happen!  (Oozing and burning things!)

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It’s a tricky, sticky thing to get right but it tastes amazing, with each fold of bread hugging a ribbon of Nutella to it.  It is the perfect breakfast/afternoon snack type bread, just sweet enough but still nice and filling!

Nutella Braid

Serves 12

250g strong bread flour
1 tsp salt
7g instant yeast
50g unsalted butter
135ml warm milk
1 egg
1/2 jar Nutella (or own brand, who can really tell these days?)

– Take a large mixing bowl and add the flour, then add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other.
– Mix it all together.
– Chop your butter up into little bits and add this along with the milk and egg.
– Get in there with one hand and mix everything together.
– Keep mixing by hand in the bowl.  It will be sticky but keep going and after not too long it will start to come together into a cohesive dough.
– Once you have almost everything as one ball of dough you can turn it out onto a floured worksurface and really start kneading! (There will still be some sticky bits, you can take a small bit of dough and clean round the bowl to mop up stragglers.)
– Keep working it, the trick with a wetter dough is time!
– After about 10 minutes you should have a smooth, elastic dough.
– Place in a clean, oiled bowl, cover and place somewhere sheltered to rise for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.  I found 2 hours about perfect.
– Prepare your apples.
– Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured worksurface.  Do NOT knock it down.
– Simply start to roll it out with a rolling pin.  You want it to be about 25cm deep and 45cm long.  Try to keep it rectangular.
– Spread the Nutella in a thin layer across the dough, leaving a strip nearest you to seal it together at the end.
– Carefully roll the long end of the dough towards you, keeping the roll quite tight.
– When you have a long roll gently press to seal the dough back to itself.
– Starting about 1″ in from the end cut straight through the dough all the way along to the other end.
– Now for the messy bit!  Twist each half around the other, one over the top, followed by the next, arranging the cut side so it faces uppermost.
– Gently manoeuver onto a baking tray covered in baking parchment and bring each end round to form a circle.  Press the ends together gently to secure.
– Place in a plastic bag (bin bags work well here) and leave in a sheltered spot to rise for another hour.
– Heat the oven to gas mark 6/200C.
– Bake for 25 minutes.
– Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire cooling rack.
– Enjoy!

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Filed under Breads, Breakfasts, Cakes, Desserts, Moderately easy

Apple Crown

I am a bit odd when it comes to apples.  I don’t like them.  Except for these apples.  These apples I will eat every day that they are in season and come up with ways to preserve them just a little bit longer.  I love them.  But they are the only ones.  They are the apples from the tree in my parent’s front garden.  These apples are ‘Discovery’ and are an eating apple that does a bang up job of being a cooking apple too.  When ripe they are gorgeously fragrant and the flesh holds a rosy pink blush, which makes these just the prettiest apples ever!

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In this incarnation I have worked them into a sweet braided crown the better to cram as much appley goodness into every bite as I can.  It’s a bit tricky, and some may say overloaded, but no.  More apple = better! The enriched dough makes a perfect vehicle for these lovely chunks of apple and the sticky cinnamon sauce it all creates is a delight!  I’m sure if this were to be presented on Bake Off there would be “Soggy Bottom” comments but I really can’t bring myself to care, the juicy apples and sweet cinnamon are worth a tiny bit of sog!

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If you wanted to you could brush the finished crown with an apricot (or apple jelly!) glaze to make it shine and a drizzle of simple glace icing would make it look lovely too.  Alas, I had run out of icing sugar on this occasion and couldn’t wait to share this recipe with you so you have here the unglazed crown.  Still beautiful in its own way!

Apple Crown

 

Serves 12

250g strong bread flour
1 tsp salt
7g instant yeast
50g unsalted butter
135ml warm milk
1 egg
3 apples, chopped
1 tsp cinnamon (or less if you prefer)
4 tbsp granulated sugar

– Take a large mixing bowl and add the flour, then add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other.
– Mix it all together.
– Chop your butter up into little bits and add this along with the milk and egg.
– Get in there with one hand and mix everything together.
– Keep mixing by hand in the bowl.  It will be sticky but keep going and after not too long it will start to come together into a cohesive dough.
– Once you have almost everything as one ball of dough you can turn it out onto a floured worksurface and really start kneading! (There will still be some sticky bits, you can take a small bit of dough and clean round the bowl to mop up stragglers.)
– Keep working it, the trick with a wetter dough is time!
– After about 10 minutes you should have a smooth, elastic dough.
– Place in a clean, oiled bowl, cover and place somewhere sheltered to rise for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.  I found 2 hours about perfect.
– Prepare your apples.
– Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured worksurface.  Do NOT knock it down.
– Simply start to roll it out with a rolling pin.  You want it to be about 25cm deep and 45cm long.  Try to keep it rectangular.
– Scatter the surface with 2 tbsp sugar, then the cinnamon, then the apples, then the remaining 2 tbsp sugar.
– Carefully roll the long end of the dough towards you, keeping the apples inside and keeping the roll quite tight.
– When you have a long roll gently press to seal the dough back to itself.
– Starting about 1″ in from the end cut straight through the dough all the way along to the other end.
– Now for the messy bit!  Twist each half around the other, one over the top, followed by the next, arranging the cut side so it faces uppermost.  Shove the apple back in as it falls out!
– Gently manoeuver onto a baking tray covered in baking parchment and bring each end round to form a circle.  Press the ends together gently to secure.
– Place in a plastic bag (bin bags work well here) and leave in a sheltered spot to rise for another hour.
– Heat the oven to gas mark 6/200C.
– Bake for 25 minutes.
– Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray.
– When cool the sticky puddle of sauce in the centre should separate nicely as you peel the baking paper away leaving you with your crown!
– Serve as is or glaze with jam and drizzle with icing, the choice is yours!

 

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Banana Birthday Cake For Dogs

It’s Frodo’s 6th Birthday today!

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To celebrate I bought him a new squeaky toy, humiliated him by making him wear a hat and baked him a birthday cake!

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I think it tastes bland and rubbish but the dogs loved it! It’s got no sugar in other than that from the banana so no worries about rotting their teeth, the flour is whole wheat but if your dog has allergies then you could swap to a spelt flour, brown rice flour or a gluten free mix if necessary.

Banana Cake

Ordinarily I would ice this with peanut buttercream but sadly Darcy does not like peanut butter (first dog of my acquaintance who doesn’t!) so a cream cheese frosting was an excellent substitute!

Serves 4-6 dogs (Or probably just one great dane!)

2 ripe bananas
1 egg
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tap baking powder
2 tbsp milk
200g cream cheese
125g Greek yogurt (good thick stuff!)
Dog treats to decorate

– Preheat the oven to gas mark 5/190C.
– grease and line the base of 3 x 4″ mini cake tins.
– Mash up the bananas, egg and oil in a bowl or large jug.
– Add the flour and baking powder and mix until combined.
– Add the milk and mix through until you have a smoothish batter (banana lumps are fine, flour lumps are bad!)
– Divide the mixture equally between the 3 tins.
– Bake for 30 minutes. Depending on how moist your bananas were this may need a little longer. When a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and the cake has no wobble to it it’s done!
– Remove from the tins and leave to cool on a wire rack.
– In a small bowl mix together the cream cheese and Greek yogurt together.
– When completely cool spread the layers with cream cheese and stack into a cake, spreading frosting round the outside too.
– Decorate as you wish with dog friendly treats!

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B52 Cake

If I haven’t mentioned the Clandestine Cake Club recently let me refresh your memories!  Basically, you bake a cake, turn up at a clandestine venue and chat with fellow baking enthusiasts while digging into everyone’s cake.  Sounds good, huh?  I happen to have taken over organisation of the York Central CCC  and I really enjoy the opportunity to meet new people and have a good old chat about cakes, baking and everything else going on in our lives at the time! There are clubs all over the UK, and indeed, all over the globe, so check out the website for a club near you if this sounds like your kind of thing!

This B52 cake was for the ‘The Sun Is Over The Yardarm’ event, calling for boozy cakes.  I went for one of my favourite shots, the gorgeous B52: a combination of a layer of Baileys, a layer of Kahlua and a layer of Cointreau.  YUM! To translate this into a cake I decided to go for a layer of Kahlua soaked sponge, a layer of Cointreau soaked sponge and all topped with a Baileys and marscapone icing.  This was a stroke of genius, if I do say so myself!

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Serves 12

200g unsalted butter
200g golden caster sugar
4 eggs
200g self raising flour
3 tbsp milk
zest of 1 orange
3 tbsp espresso
3 tbsp Kahlua
3 tbsp Cointreau
200g granulated sugar
375ml water
500g full fat mascapone ( DO NOT buy low fat, it will be runny!)
100g icing sugar
3 tbsp Baileys

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180C and grease and line 2 sandwich tins.
– Cream together the butter and sugar.
– Beat in the eggs.
– Fold in the flour.
– Add the milk and mix until combined.
– Divide your mixture between two bowls.
– Into one bowl add the orange zest, into the  other add the espresso and mix well.
– Pour one batter into one sandwich tin, and one into the other.
– Bake for 25-30 minutes, testing with a toothpic to check for doneness.
– In the meantime combine the sugar and the water in a small pan and heat until all of the sugar is dissolved.
– Divide the sugar syrup in two.
– To one syrup add the Cointreau, to the other the Kahlua.
– If they’re watertight keep the cakes in their tins, if you think your tin will leak, turn out the cakes onto separate plates.
– Prick the cakes all over with a toothpick.
– Gently spoon the Kahlua mixture over the coffee cake and the Cointreau mixture over the orange cake and leave to soak for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
– Once the cake has absorbed all of the liquid turn out and press the two layers together.  (They should be moist enough to stick slightly to each other without any need for icing.)
– In a new bowl mix the marscapone, the icing sugar and the Baileys together.
– Spoon this on top of the cake and swirl around until pleasing.
– Enjoy!

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Orange Bundt Cake

Everyone inevitably buys a bundt tin… or one just magically appears in your cupboards, called forth by come magical critical mass of baking tins.  Either way a bundt tin appears and though there are many creative uses for it I thought I’d go back to basics with this lovely, moist orange bundt cake.

So easy to whip together and so easy to devour with a cup of tea, it’s now one of my go-to cakes.  Especially cute as a minature version too! If you have not yet reached that critical mass and do not yet own a bundt tin you can use this recipe to make a lovely sandwich cake, I would suggest 3 layers and a chocolate buttercream but you know, go nuts!

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Serves 12

250ml vanilla yogurt
150g butter, melted
4 eggs
zest on an orange
300g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
250g caster sugar
200g icing sugar
1-2 tbsp orange juice

– Heat the oven to gas mark 3 / 170C.
– Grease your bundt tin well, making sure to get into any nooks and crannies.
– In a large jub combine the yogurt, butter, eggs and orange zest.
– In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, bicarb, salt and caster sugar.
– Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and mix well until combined.
– Pour the batter into the bundt tin and bake for 45minutes – 1 hour. (Dependent on your oven, my old oven took longer, the new one is faster, check it at 45minutes and see.)
– When a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean it’s done.
– Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
– Now for the moment of truth! How thorough was your greasing?  Hopefully after a loosen with a knife your bundt cake will turn out perfectly!
– Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
– Once cool prepare your icing.  Simply mix the icing sugar and just as much orange juice as necessary to make a thick but runny icing.
– Drizzle over the top of your bundt cake artistically… or try to anyway!

*Christmas Variation*

Add 2 tsp cinnamon and 2 tsp ginger to the mixture along with the flour and add a cup of dried cranberries in at the end.
Delicious, zingy Christmasy flavours and a nice, moist, lighter cake, which is so quick to whip up it’s perfect for the busy Christmas season!

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