Welcome to my blog, through which I hope to be able to share my experiences of gluten free cooking, baking, experimenting and eating.
When my daughter was diagnosed (age 6) with Coeliac Disease, our world of eating changed overnight. From breads, pastry and pasta to cakes, biscuits and puddings.......... suddenly most of what we knew was 'off the menu'. I think I must have tested every available gluten free product on the market, seeking out replacements to try and keep things as normal as possible. I was disappointed to find that what was available was often dry, crumbly and flavourless.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to turn my kitchen into a laboratory, turn all I knew about cooking on its head and start creating!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Mixed Berry 'Jaffa' Cakes (gluten free)


I have a new ingredient in my flour collection...... Glutinous Rice Flour. It is also known as 'mochiko', sticky rice or sweet rice (though it is not sweet) and is widely used in South East and East Asia. I picked mine up at a local Thai supermarket, having heard about its virtues (in particular being less grainy when used in baking), and having been keen to try it out for some time.


Being rice, it contains absolutely NO gluten despite its name, so is completely safe for Coeliacs. But its properties in cooking on first try seem interesting and more importantly for us gluten-avoiders, promising! It becomes very sticky when cooked, which makes the binding possibilities worth further exploration. The Japanese apparently use it to make rice bread (which I need to research a bit more as it could be another interesting alternative to wheat-based bread), but it is also used to make a whole range of Asian desserts, dumplings, cakes and as a coating for some fried goods.


I will be honest, I didn't know what to expect at all when using it...... but as its name suggests, it is sticky..... really sticky! And that's exactly what it needs to be in a gluten free kitchen. We gluten free bakers tend to substitute gluten in wheat recipes with either xanthan gum, guar gum or chia paste, which provide an alternative to glue together the ingredients and to prevent cakes and breads from falling apart into a crumbly mess. If a little sticky rice added to a mix can help the natural binding process to some degree, that has to be good! I hear that it also gives fantastic thickening properties for sauces too.....


If anyone out there uses it regularly, I would love to hear some tips and tricks on how best to use it/what to avoid? What I found fascinating was that the 'batter' for the cakes became more of a dough (does it need a greater quantity of liquid?), although this produced an amazing cross between a biscuit and sponge which was, coincidentally, spot on for the Jaffa cake base. Talk about lucky!!!! The texture also seemed to be more 'kneadable' than some of the 'doughs' I have made, which got me very excited and looking forward to more experimentation, especially on the bread-front.


Anyway...... I have been wanting to make gluten free Jaffa cakes for a long time....... Finally I have given them a go.......... Apart from my very good fortune with the cake-biscuit base, which was just the right texture to support the jelly-chocolate top, I decided to make my own jelly filling using some jam that I knocked together a couple of weeks ago to use up a load of fruit that was getting too soft and otherwise heading for the bin.  The jam I have yet to post, but its flavour (made with a combination of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and apple) was so amazing that I decided to base my jelly with it. My 'Jaffa' Cakes are therefore not the traditional orange variety, but are delicately flavoured with English Summer-Autumn fruits and berries, which pair perfectly with the rich, dark, crisp chocolate coating and give the insides a beautiful purple colour.

I even made a few white chocolate ones as well for comparison which are great if you have a slightly sweeter tooth..... although I most definitely prefer the dark ones.


Although I made my jelly by a traditional gelatine method, you could equally use an alternative vegetarian product such as Vege Gel if you need to. The cakes use no butter either (instead substituting coconut oil), which makes them just that little bit more virtuous.


I am so pleased with the result, that I am sharing them with a number of blog challenges :


First up : Love Cake with Ness over at Jibber Jabber, who's theme for September with the start of the new academic year is 'back to school - something new'. Not only is this a new recipe and something I have never tried making before, but for me, it contains a new ingredient too - glutinous rice flour. I have also never used jam in making dessert jelly before, so I think my 'Jaffa' cakes qualify on a number of grounds!


Next - We Should Cocoa with Choclette over at the Chocolate Log Blog, who is celebrating four wonderfully chocolatey years of the challenge. Congratulations Choclette! This month, and with the preserving season being in full flow, the theme is to combine jam and chocolate. I did make my own jam (but haven't yet got round to writing the post........... soon I promise!) and decided to use it to flavour the jelly secreted within my little 'cakes', which are then smothered in thick dark chocolate. I really must learn to temper my chocolate!!!


Laura's Biscuit Barrel Challenge over at I'd Much rather Bake Than...., invites food to celebrate birthdays (including her own) this month. Happy Birthday Laura! These would be a perfect gluten free offering for any birthday table..... But are they biscuit or are they cake?


Next they are heading over to Chef Mireille's East West Realm and Elizabeth at Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary for September's No Waste Food Challenge, on account of the jam being home-made to salvage the fruit that was on the turn, some of which was picked from the local hedgerows on my recent blackberry forage.... Way too good to waste.... I confess that I also collected the apple for the jam on a walk through a local orchard..... this one had been left on the tree..... the pickers having missed it!


Another entry for Treat Petite hosted by Cakeyboi and Kat at The Baking Explorer. This month 'anything goes'..... so I'm making the most of it!


And finally - Four Season's Food with Lou at Eat Your Veg (and Anneli at Delicieux) which, with the arrival of Autumn is 'getting fruity'. Berries combine so well with chocolate..... they make a fantastic substitute for traditional orange found in Jaffa cakes and at this time of year are available in abundance.



Mixed Berry 'Jaffa' Cakes (makes 18 to 20)

Ingredients

Jelly 
150g red fruit seedless jam (made up to ½ pint with boiling water)
3 leaves gelatine (or equivalent vege gel)

Sponge
100g glutinous rice flour
50g almond flour
1 teaspoon GF baking powder
2 large eggs - room temperature
75g soft brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla paste
70g coconut oil - melted

Chocolate Coating
220g dark (or other) chocolate

Method

  1. Jelly - Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 to 10 minutes to soften.
  2. Prepare a shallow container (about 9 inches/23 cm square), by base-lining with baking paper.
  3. Put the jam in a jug and make up to ½ pint with boiling water, stirring until the jam has dissolved.
  4. Drain the gelatine leaves and stir into the hot liquid until completely dissolved.
  5. Pour the liquid into the container and place in the fridge until completely set.
  6. Sponge - Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
  7. Weigh and mix together the flours and baking powder. Set aside.
  8. Beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla paste until fully combined. Add the coconut oil and beat thoroughly until smooth.
  9. Add the dry ingredients and fold until combined. The mixture will resemble a stiff dough. 
  10. Using non-stick muffin tins, take small balls of the dough (each equivalent to about a teaspoonful) and press them into the bottom of each muffin hole (about 5mm thick).
  11. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until just beginning to turn golden. Be careful not to over-bake.
  12. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. 
  13. When cold, place the sponges back into the muffin tins and take the jelly from the fridge. Lift out of the container using the baking paper as a base and place on a chopping board. 
  14. Using a small round cutter, cut circles of jelly and place one in the centre of each sponge.
  15. Chocolate Coating - melt the chocolate in a small heat-proof bowl either over a saucepan of simmering water or in the microwave on medium setting (30 second bursts), stirring frequently.
  16. Spoon the chocolate over each cake whilst still in the muffin tins and carefully spread to coat the top evenly.
  17. Place back in the fridge for a few minutes to set and then ease the cakes from the tin.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-14 unless otherwise indicated

32 comments:

  1. What an exciting new find for you. I do love orange Jaffa cakes but the combination of dark chocolate and mixed berries looks devine. Thanks for linking up.

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    1. I know Ness! I'm really excited about it and can't wait to experiment some more!!!

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  2. I have always loved the idea of jaffa cakes but just don't like chocolate and orange together. I had never thought of using a different flavour - these look great!

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    1. Thanks CC. The red berries went so well with the dark chocolate, but if you make them at home, you can choose any flavour you want!

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  3. I made a Chinese dessert last Thanksgiving using the glutinous rice flour and it is a texture that some either love or hate. I loved it and would love to try this dessert using it as well

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    1. Chinese desserts can be a bit love-hate I agree! Although I actually quite like them...... I am hoping though, that the properties of this flour will give me more flexibility with my bakes.

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  4. Oh wow Kate these are amazing. They look just like Jaffa Cakes and I love your use of mixed berries and trying out a white chocolate version - I'll take a handful of each please! Really interesting to read about glutinous rice flour too.

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    1. Thanks Laura. Mr GF can't stop eating them (which is rare for him as he usually is (annoyingly) quite restrained), which must be a good sign. The berries make a nice change!

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  5. They look fantastic and much better than orange based ones. Love the sound of your jam. I'd be interested to know what you find out about the rice flour, not used it myself either but sounds promising

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    1. Thanks Katie. The jam is such a lovely flavour and works really well. I'm really looking forward to testing the flour out too..... it definitely has interesting properties! I'll let you know what I find!

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  6. I love the look of these Jaffa cakes. And after all these years in the UK I have never tried one! Ridiculous isn't? I wish I could grab one of yours here. Certainly healthier than any shop-bought one. I love the dark chocolate you have used.

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    1. Thanks Alida. I can't believe you've never had a Jaffa cake..... Put it on your list of 'things to do'! These ones are (I think) nicer than the shop ones and definitely much more healthy.

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  7. I love jaffa cakes and these looks absolutely delicious! x #LoveCake

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  8. They look smashing Kate, even without the orangey bit! Thanks for entering them into Treat Petite

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  9. Wow Kate, these Jaffa cakes are amazing - I am truly impressed. Apart from the colour of the jam, they look like the real deal only much much better. Very interesting to hear about this particular rice, I'll be interested to know how you get on with it and might look out for some myself. As for tempering, it's something I have been struggling with for years. I think it's quite hard to do in small batches, but I have nailed it on the very odd occasion.

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    1. Thanks Choclette. The glutinous rice flour is a really interesting addition to my larder. I think I might try it in some sweet buns of some kind next!

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  10. Wow, what a challenge to bake with something completely unknown! Over here in the US, I've never seen a Jaffa cake. I wonder if I can track one down to try before I bake some- that way I'll know what they're *supposed* to taste like. :)

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    1. No kidding? Jaffa cakes are an institution here in the UK! They usually have orange jam in them. Definitely try and track some down!

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  11. I am so impressed by these! Thank you for entering them into Treat Petite!

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    1. Thanks Kat! Really pleased they have gone down so well!

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  12. They look beautiful! I've never heard of a Jaffa cake - apparently I am missing out!

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    1. Thanks Rebecca. Jaffa Cakes MUST be tried! Missing out for sure!!

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  13. High FIve Girlfrenn! High! FIVE! The thought of a tart combination of mixed berries paired with a dark chocolate covering is what has me awake at a quarter past midnight. Ruddy good show!

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    1. Well thanks very much B22B! Sorry to keep you awake........ but flattered anyway!

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  14. I love the sound of these so very much! What a gorgeous treat! Perfect for Halloween too :D Thank you so much for sharing with the No Waste Food Challenge and my sincerest apologies for taking so long to pop by to comment!

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    1. You're welcome Elizabeth....... and no worries.... life gets pretty busy! Glad you like them!

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  15. Oh my, these look truly amazing and I'm sure they'd be a good deal better than the mass produced gluten inclusive variety! And a fabulous entry to September's Four Seasons Food 'Getting Fruity' event. My sincere apologies for only getting around to reading your lovely post now.

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    1. Thank you Lou. That's really kind of you..... no worries about the 'delay'....... life gets so busy......

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  16. Oh wow! I love jaffa cake and my dearest is their biggest fans! Definitely something I can surprise him with soon! They look amazing!

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    1. Thanks Anne. They were great fun to make and are well worth the effort! Mr GF was very impressed!!

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