Tuesday, 10 April 2018

A Celebratory Orange Cake (gluten free)


I love this gluten free Orange Cake. It is moist, heady with the scent and tang of orange and gorgeously sharable. Having had a crappy start to 2018, I decided that this would be my birthday treat..... No-one else was planning to make my birthday special with a cake, so I figured I would grab the opportunity for a bit of baking therapy and make it myself!


If I am honest, I am not really being critical of the lack of enthusiasm for my birthday from others..... It hasn't really felt like a reason to celebrate this year, partly because I am still trying to come to terms with the loss of my mother in January and that of my brother a couple of years ago. The loss of two family members so close together is a reminder that life is just too short..... Something needs to change in my world and soon...... The daily grind is not meeting my needs, either emotional or spiritual and I feel that somewhere along the way I got lost in anger and frustration and I don't want to be stuck there any more. Mid life crisis? I think so.


Whilst I am planning my route to betterness, baking cake will provide some 'down time' and a means of giving and caring..... birthday or not.

I have shared this cake before...... not on the blog, but with colleagues and friends. On every occasion, the recipients have retreated into silent munching interspersed with a happy 'mmm' (which I generally take to be a sign of grateful satisfaction), followed by feedback that has made me blush! I love that a simple cake can provide a sense of shared enjoyment...... it is a nice thing to give and is often my way of saying I care, or apologising for my shitty mood and attitude...... and recently my mood and attitude have been more than shitty!


Is it just me or do other people have periods in life when it feels that the negative energy just grabs hold and won't let go? Everything you touch bites back..... Every time you start to get back on your feet, something else happens that smacks you down. I need to find a way to change the energy......

But enough self-absorbed waffle..... let's get back to the cake..... Made with plenty of ground almonds and some home-made buttermilk, it stays moist and fresh. If anything, the crumb improves over a couple of days..... far from the often dry and crumbly gluten free offerings.


To make the cake extra celebratory, I filled and decorated it with some creamy, decadent orange buttercream, touched with a swirl of orange curd. When I have made the cake previously, I layered the buttercream and curd, but this made the cake a bit slippery to stack, so for this bake I have mixed the two elements together.


The home-made jelly made with the juice of blood oranges, not only gives this cake the wow factor, but adds a deliciously contrasting texture which marries beautifully against the sponge and velvety butter cream. Finished with a sparkle of edible gold heart sprinkles and some sugar flowers takes it from tea time cake to a show-stopping and very special treat..... For those of you who venture to make it, I hope you fall in love with it as much as we have.....


I am sharing my Celebratory Orange Cake with :


Cook Blog Share with Easy Peasy Foodie

Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too








Baking Crumbs with Only Crumbs Remain


Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching for Spice

Love Cake with Jibber Jabber






Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum


Orange Cake (makes a 2 x 9 inch or 3 x 7 inch sandwich cake)

Ingredients

Sponge 
300g plain gluten free flour (I used GFA blend A from this post)
2 teaspoons GF baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
175g ground almonds
330 ml milk
1½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
150g unsalted butter - room temperature
400g caster sugar
3 large eggs - room temperature and lightly beaten together
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
zest 1 orange - finely grated

Orange Curd Butter Icing
190g unsalted butter - softened
400g icing sugar - sifted
pinch fine sea salt
½ teaspoon orange extract
3 to 4 heaped teaspoons orange curd

Orange Jelly
120g sieved orange juice (I used freshly squeezed blood orange)
1 tablespoon icing sugar
3g sheet gelatine

Additional Decorations 
I used sugar flowers and gold stars

Method

  1. Sponge : Base-line two 9 inch or three 7 inch cake tins with baking paper and pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
  2. Weigh and thoroughly mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, xanthan gum salt and almonds (I weigh into a large airtight container and shake vigorously). Set aside.
  3. Pour the milk and vinegar into a jug and stir so that the liquid becomes clumpy. Set aside.
  4. Use an electric whisk to cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. 
  5. Gradually add the egg a little at a time and beat thoroughly between each addition until fully amalgamated.
  6. Add and beat through the vanilla and orange extracts and orange zest.
  7. Add and gently fold in the dry ingredients and the milk mixture, alternating wet with dry about a third at a time, until it has all been added. 
  8. Divide the cake batter evenly between the tins and smooth the surface.
  9. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes until well risen and a skewer inserted comes out clean. 
  10. Remove from the oven and leave in the tins for about 10 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
  11. Orange Curd Butter Icing : Beat the butter until smooth, then gradually add and beat in the icing sugar, salt, orange extract and curd until well-blended, light and creamy.
  12. Sandwich together the sponge cakes with a generous layer of butter icing. 
  13. Use a large palette knife and cake scraper to spread a thin layer of butter icing around the sides and top of the cake, then pipe rosettes tightly round the top edge (making sure there are no gaps as this will form the wall that will prevent the jelly escaping) and round the base using a large open star tip. Place in the fridge to firm up slightly.
  14. Orange Jelly : Hydrate the gelatine by placing the sheets flat, in cold water for 10 minutes.
  15. Heat the juice either in a small saucepan or in a jug in the microwave. 
  16. Add the icing sugar and stir until dissolved.
  17. Whilst the juice is still hot, add the softened gelatine and stir until completely dissolved.
  18. Set aside at room temperature, stirring frequently until the liquid is cold and just beginning to thicken very slightly (but is still liquid and pourable).
  19. Pour the jelly onto the top of the cake (inside the icing surround) and place in the fridge to set.
  20. Decorate with sparkles and sugar flowers and serve.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-18 unless otherwise indicated

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Gluten Free Belgian Waffles for Breakfast (optional dairy free)


Who doesn't love waffles? They make a perfect treat for a lazy weekend breakfast dressed in berries and drizzled with raspberry or chocolate sauce..... Having been the excited recipient of a waffle-maker last Christmas, I am thrilled to bring you the first of what will hopefully be many Gluten Free Alchemist waffle recipes.


Tapping through the pages of the internet, home-made waffles clearly make a pretty regular appearance in many kitchens both in the UK and across the pond...... I however had never made them (late to the party as always....), until now.

Of course most of the recipes out there are made with regular flour..... but I have loads of good memories of great pre-Coeliac glutenous waffles on which to base my standard...... and I wanted to make absolutely sure that when I developed my own gluten free waffle recipe, they would rival the best.


You need to judge them for yourselves, but I think I've cracked this waffle malarky and done a darn fine job. I'm really happy with these Gluten Free Belgian Waffles. They are crisp and golden on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside...... not over-sweet, but unquestionably, the perfect base to load up with your favourite toppings. Kaspas (which incidentally don't do gluten free) eat your heart out!


I won't waffle on any more (get it?!), 'cos I need to get this recipe out to you and Easter is nearly upon us...... I'll definitely be eating waffles for breakfast on Easter Sunday..... Quite possibly topped with freshly melting Easter eggs. Why don't you join me?


Belgian Waffles

Ingredients

200g gluten free, rice free flour blend (I used my home-mixed Gluten Free Alchemist Rice-Free Blend with Wholegrain Flours, but you can use an alternative commercial blend, such as Free From Fairy flour (see side bar for link)
2½ teaspoons GF baking powder
20g caster sugar
pinch fine sea salt
2 large eggs - separated
300 ml milk/dairy free alternative
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
80g butter/dairy free alternative - melted

Method

  1. In a large bowl, weigh and mix together the flour, baking powder, caster sugar and salt. 
  2. Add the yolks, milk and vanilla to the flour and whisk or blend together.
  3. Add the melted butter and fold through until just combined.
  4. Whisk the egg whites using a clean bowl and whisk heads until you have stiff peaks.
  5. Gently fold the whisked whites into the waffle batter.
  6. Cook the waffles in a waffle-maker/iron using the manufacturers instructions.
  7. Enjoy with fresh fruit, your favourite sauce or any other topping you fancy.
I am sharing these amazing Gluten Free Belgian Waffles with :


Cook Blog Share with Everyday Healthy Recipes

Recipe Of The Week with A Mummy Too






Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum






Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-18 unless otherwise indicated

Friday, 23 March 2018

Vegan Mint-Chocolate Ice Cream Bites (free from gluten, dairy, nuts)


A bit early in the year for posting ice cream recipes? Never!!!!! These Vegan Mint-Chocolate Ice Cream Bites simply can't and won't wait for summer.

Yep. You heard that right. These little babies are VEGAN as well as gluten free. Made with my recently-discovered favourite ingredient..... Condensed Coconut Milk from Nature's Charm, they are absolutely delicious...... Crisp, bite-size, minty dark chocolate shells, encasing rich mint ice-cream, flecked with extra grated dark chocolate.... Heaven!


Better still, the ice cream is no churn..... which means no need for fancy equipment. Okay.... they are still a bit fiddly (and a bit messy) to make, I won't lie..... but believe me..... they are worth every last minty, chocolatey bite.

A variation on my Vegan No Churn Rich Chocolate Ice Cream, I made these a while back when I had more time and energy, but with everything that has been happening here, they have been sitting in my photo-box (long since devoured), waiting for me to get my blogging act back together.....


The easiest way to make the ice-cream into mini-bites is using silicone mini-muffin or ice cube moulds, but if you have more ice cream than moulds, pour the remainder of the ice cream batter into a suitable-sized, clingfilm-lined cake tin and use a warm knife to cut into bars into cubes when set (before dipping into the chocolate).


This is not the first time that I have made Ice Cream Bites. I previously made some incredibly fruity, summery Raspberry Ripple-White Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream Bars and Bites. The title may have been a mouthful, but the bites were perfectly-sized morsels of sweet, creamy coconut-based ice cream, rippled with tart, frosty, Honeyed Raspberry Syrup. Not quite vegan, but easily adaptable for sure.


As with their raspberry ripple predecessors, these Vegan Mint-Chocolate Ice Cream Bites are coated in a 'magic' chocolate coating, made from melted dark chocolate mixed with a little coconut oil. If you don't know about the magic in this mix, then try making it. You don't need to be a chemist to appreciate how clever it is. The added coconut oil ensures that your melted chocolate stays liquid even at room temperature..... but when it comes into contact with the cold, frozen ice cream, it instantly sets into a crisp layer...... Sort of like the 'Crackin' chocolate sauce you get in the supermarkets, but way better and way healthier!

So if you want a bit of a treat this Easter, Spring, Summer....... or (frankly) any time of the year, give these Bites a try......


Vegan Mint-Chocolate Ice Cream Bites


Ingredients - Ice Cream

1 tin (320g) sweetened condensed coconut milk
cream from 2 x 400 ml tins full-fat coconut milk 
3 teaspoons natural peppermint extract
60g dairy free dark/dark mint chocolate - very finely chopped/grated
a tiny drop of green food colouring to gently tint (optional)

Method

  1. You will need to chill your 3 tins of coconut milk overnight prior to making your ice cream. The straight coconut milk will separate whilst chilling and the cream within the can will harden during this process. 
  2. Before you begin, ensure that the bowl you are using to make the ice cream can fit into the freezer (temporarily).
  3. When thoroughly chilled, being careful not to shake, open up the two cans of straight coconut milk and (depending on whether you have opened the can with the cream or liquid layer at the top) either tip off the coconut water into a glass and scoop out the coconut cream that is left into a bowl, or scoop the coconut cream off the top to a bowl and pour the leftover coconut water into a glass (save the coconut water to drink or put in a smoothie).
  4. Whisk the coconut cream until light and airy. If it starts to become too loose, place the bowl in the fridge for half an hour to re-chill.
  5. Add the chilled condensed coconut milk, peppermint extract, chopped/grated chocolate and food colouring (if using) and fold through until fully combined. 
  6. Place the bowl in the freezer for one to two hours (depending on how cold your freezer is) to harden slightly and then remove and whisk again to add air.
  7. Spoon the ice cream into small silicone cake moulds/ice cube moulds, level off with a spatula and place in the freezer (over night) to harden as much as possible before you coat with chocolate. 

Magic Dark Chocolate Coating

250g dark mint chocolate (I used Green & Blacks)
4 tablespoons coconut oil

Method

  1. Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave on medium setting at 30 second bursts, stirring frequently until smooth and liquid. Remove from the heat.
  2. Add the coconut oil and stir until completely melted and fully combined.
  3. Leave to cool to room temperature, before using to coat the ice cream bars.

Putting it all together :

  1. Make sure the ice cream is as cold and hard as possible and remove from the moulds.  
  2. Dependent on how warm it is when you are doing this (and how quickly the ice cream appears to soften), you may wish to put the ice cream portions back into the freezer for a short while before you proceed to the next stage.
  3. When ready, dip the ice cream portions into the chocolate mix. For small ice cream bites, you should be able to cover completely in one dip (I twisted a cocktail stick into each before dipping to allow for coating evenly without holding the ice cream). For larger ice cream bars, dip each one half at a time (holding with tongs), allowing the chocolate on one half to harden before turning over and dipping the other half. The chocolate should harden very quickly on contact with the ice cream. As it sets, place on a tray lined with baking paper and put back in the freezer to re-harden as soon as possible.
  4. When they are ready, carefully remove any cocktail sticks and store in airtight containers in the freezer.
I am sharing my Vegan Mint-Chocolate Ice Cream Bites with the following linkies :


Cook Blog Share with Recipes Made Easy

Free From Fridays with Free From Farmhouse and Le Coin De Mel






Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching for Spice

Fiesta Friday #216 with Angie, Love Food Eat and Food For The Soul





Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too

We Should Cocoa with Tin & Thyme

Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum






Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-18 unless otherwise indicated

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Hot Cross Scones (gluten free) for #FreeFromEaster


I am SO excited to share these with you. After the huge success of my Best Ever Gluten Free Scones last summer, I have created a special Easter version..... I introduce to you my gluten free Hot Cross Scones. Aren't they fab?

For those of you that follow Gluten Free Alchemist regularly, you will know that back in 2017, I joined forces with an amazingly talented group of free from bloggers who, between us, cover pretty much all and every food intolerance and allergy. Every month or two, we pull together our collective wisdom and share seasonally-themed recipes.


Last year's batch of Easter-themed goodies was so successful, that we have decided to bring you more #FreeFromEaster treats for 2018. Be sure to check out the blog links below for Easter free from foodie inspiration..... We've got you covered!

Usually I would head straight for chocolate and/or cake when I think of Easter baking, but to be honest, I am a bit caked-out at the moment and as for Creme Eggs, Golden Eggs and Mini Eggs..... well..... they already feature quite a lot on Gluten Free Alchemist. So this year, I have decided to head down a different route.


I did think about making more Hot Cross Buns (I already have a lovely selection on the blog.... There's Almond, Cherry, Apricot and Marzipan..... Apple, Cherry and Sultana..... Choc Cross Buns..... and even Chocolate Bread Pudding made with leftover buns!)...... Maybe with some random, newly inspired flavour combo..... but I have been so exhausted lately, I simply couldn't be bothered with the long rise and bake process.

Then last weekend, I had one of those light bulb moments..... My overactive, sleepless, foodie brain combined a fancy for scones with the flavours of Easter and bingo!.... the gluten free Hot Cross Scone was born.


And that's basically it! It does what it says 'on the tin'..... Tastes just like the yummiest of seasonal Hot Cross Buns, but in scone form..... Stuffed with plump juicy Turkish sultanas and beautiful shiny golden raisins...... Laced with seasonal cinnamon and mixed spice...... Slightly sweetened with a hint of caramel-rich brown sugar...... All topped with a traditional piped cross and brown sugar glaze. Gluten free Easter doesn't get better than this!

For those of you struggling to find a fail-safe gluten free scone recipe, look no further. My Hot Cross Scones are a straight adaptation from my Best Ever Gluten Free Scones which have not let me down yet. Made with a blend of rice-free flours, a little ground almond and moistened with buttermilk, they are not in the slightest bit dry or crumbly, and rival any glutenous version.


They are well-risen, of perfect crumb and are soft, moist and light....... and best of all, they are really easy to make. As with all glutenous scones, they are freshest eaten on the day they are made,....... but unlike many gluten free scones, they are also still soft and good to eat for a couple of days after. I am not one to blow my own trumpet too often, but these are seriously good.

So what are you waiting for? Grab some ingredients, don your pinnie and get baking!



Other 2018 #FreeFromEaster recipes from the amazing Free From Gang
Supersize Vegan Creme Egg - Rebecca at Glutarama
Mini Egg Brownies - Chloe at Just The Three Of Us
Super Simple Easter Smoothie Pops - Carly at Faceprint & Flavour
20 Delicious Gluten Free Easter Cakes - Jenna at A Balanced Belly
Gluten Free Mini Egg Cookies - Sarah at Gluten Free Blogger
Easter Crispie Cakes - Nathalie at The Intolerant Gourmand
Easter Bunny Biscuits - Emma at Free From Farmhouse
Bliss Balls (Hot Cross Bun Version) - Vicki at Free From Fairy
Decorated Vegan Gluten Free Easter Cake - Midge at Peachicks Bakery



Other gluten free Easter recipes on Gluten Free Alchemist 
Almond, Cherry, Apricot and Marzipan Hot Cross Buns 
Apple, Cherry and Sultana Hot Cross Buns
Choc Cross Buns
Chocolate Bread Pudding with leftover Choc Cross Buns
Rich Mocha Easter Cake
No Bake Creme Egg Biscuit Cake
Easter Creme Egg Mousse Cake
Egg Pops
Rich and Chocolatey Golden Egg Cake
Creme Egg Cup Cakes
Chocolate Cupcakes for Easter
Chocolate Bundt with Golden Eggs
Blackcurrant Flower Biscuits
Scotch Eggs 


Hot Cross Scones

Ingredients

320g plain gluten free, rice free flour blend (blend from this post, or if you don't want to mix your own, you could try the Free From Fairy brand (link in sidebar) or an alternative blend)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
pinch fine sea salt
50g ground almonds
1 tablespoon GF baking powder
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon mixed spice
90g unsalted butter - cold and cubed
35g soft light brown sugar
finely grated zest 1 orange
80g golden raisins
80g Turkish sultanas
1 large egg - lightly beaten
1 pot (284 ml) buttermilk

egg-wash
1 egg beaten with a little milk

piped crosses
50g plain GF flour blend (I used 20g tapioca flour; 15g potato flour; 15g sorghum flour)
1 tablespoon icing sugar
40 to 50 ml cold water

sugar glaze
1½ tablespoons soft light brown sugar
2 tablespoons water

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6. Line a couple of baking trays with baking paper and set aside. 
  2. Weigh and mix together the flour, xanthan gum, salt, almonds, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and spice until well-blended (I weigh mine into an airtight container and shake vigorously). Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Rub the cold butter into the flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. 
  4. Add the sugar, orange zest, sultanas and raisins and stir through.
  5. Make a well in the centre and add the beaten egg and buttermilk. 
  6. Use a flat-bladed knife to mix the wet ingredients into the dry, until it clumps together and continue to mix, until it comes together as a very sticky dough. If it looks like the dough is too dry, then add a little milk. 
  7. Lay a large piece of baking paper on the work surface and sprinkle liberally with gluten free flour/tapioca flour. 
  8. Flour your hands well and gently bring the dough together. It should be quite wet.
  9. Tip the dough out onto the floured baking paper, sprinkle a little more flour on the top and gently roll out the dough to a depth of about 4 cm.
  10. Use a medium to large round/fluted cookie cutter to cut rounds from the dough and carefully transfer them to the lined baking sheets.
  11. Bring any remaining dough gently together (trying not to over-work) and repeat the rolling and cutting process, until all the dough has been used and transferred to the baking sheets.
  12. Brush the top of each scone with egg-wash.
  13. Mix together the flour and icing sugar for the piped crosses and add the water, stirring through, a little at a time until you have a very thick, but not stiff paste.
  14. Use a piping bag or squeezy sauce bottle to pipe crosses onto the top of each scone.
  15. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until well-risen, firm and golden.
  16. Remove from the oven and whilst still hot, mix together the brown sugar and water for the glaze, heat gently in a saucepan or microwave until the sugar has dissolved and brush the glaze over each scone.
  17. Transfer the scones to a wire rack to cool. 
  18. Eat warm or cold, with a spread of butter. 
  19. Store the scones in an airtight container for 2 to 4 days if necessary (and if they become less soft, 'refresh' with a few seconds in the microwave). 

I am sharing my Hot Cross Scones with the following :



Cook Blog Share with Hijacked By Twins

Baking Crumbs with Only Crumbs Remain





Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too

Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching for Spice







Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum

Got 2 Be Gluten Free with myself and Glutarama








Free From Fridays with Le Coin De Mel and Free From Farmhouse 

Fiesta Friday #215 with Angie, Laurena at Life Diet Health and Alex at Turks Who Eat

Bake of the Week with Casa Costello & Mummy Mishaps

Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-18 unless otherwise indicated