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!

Thursday, 11 February 2016

'Angelic' Strawberry & Cointreau Trifle (gluten free) - Perfect for Valentines!

Valentines Day is this weekend and I couldn't let it pass by without a quick post to celebrate its annual recurrence. Although we generally don't make a big thing of it at home and have never done the present-buying thing (at most we may grab a box of decent chocolate to devour in front of a good film and maybe exchange a card), the opportunity to become imaginative with food is too good to miss.

Unusually, this year we plan to spend the day walking the fells in the Peak District with Miss GF plus friend, so I won't be anywhere near the kitchen. However, if I was, this may be just the thing being created........ I think it is perfect for a Valentines treat...... Although admittedly, there is not a drop of (traditional) chocolate in sight!

You may recall that a few weeks back I made a lovely gluten free Angel Cake which was inspired by my childhood memories and baked to use up a load of egg whites left over after Christmas. The cake was a huge success, but as we are a small family and we like to have as much variety with our desserts as possible, I decided to put a few slices to experimental use with a trifle.

Let's face it....... trifle is an amazingly versatile little bowl of loveliness that can be made to incorporate just about any variety of sponge with a mix-up of anything from chocolate, fruit or nuts through to mousse, jelly, custard, cream, alcohol or juice. They are certainly a favourite in our house and you will find a number of gluten free versions dotted throughout the blog....... We love them all, be it a coffee-infused Tiramisu, a layered jar of chocolate-cherry Black Forest fruitiness, a boozy citrussy-berry bowl of Lemon & Berry or Raspberry-Lemon Drizzle or even one rich and decadent with Nutella. If you check out my recipe index, there are plenty of options......... I think they all make the perfect sweet end to a cosy Valentines dinner.

The observant of you will notice that the photos indicate an interloper to couple cosiness...... yes.... there is a third trifle! In our house, it is a rare event to have an intimate meal for two. For us, this is not an issue and as little Miss GF loves trifle, it would be bonkers to eat it without her.

This particular trifle combines the slightly mallowy, beautifully white sweetness of the Angel Cake with the slight tartness and colourful contrast of strawberries and blueberries. The sponge is soaked with a boozy hit of Cointreau orange liqueur (Miss GF's contained non-alcoholic juice) and the whole lot is topped with a layer of custard, a layer of whipped cream and a beautiful fresh crowning strawberry. Lush! Isn't is pretty?

Of course, if you don't fancy a trifle for Valentines, you could pick something else...... How about a luscious Zesty Drizzled Lemon Cake with rosy swirls of Strawberry Cream-Cheese Frosting? Some individual Chocolate Layer Cakes with rich chocolate ganache or mini vegan & gluten free Chocolate Cakes with Coconut Whipped Cream. Perhaps a breakfast of Vanilla Buttermilk Pancakes with berries and home-made chocolate sauce? Or...... you could really push the boat out with a seriously decadent Banoffee Cheesecake with salted caramel (probably not for breakfast though!)

If you are looking for some home-made foodie gift ideas, a gorgeous box of dark and delicious Chocolate Truffles, some Raspberry & White Chocolate Macaron, hazelnut Baci Di Dama (Ladies Kisses) cookies, Vanilla Fudge, or Marshmallow may be the temptation you need. 

However you share your love and whatever you give, do or eat........ Have a wonderful day!

I am sharing my 'Angelic' Strawberry & Cointreau Trifles with :

#FoodYearLinkup with Charlotte's Lively Kitchen...... celebrating Valentines Day.

No Waste Food Challenge with Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. As always, this trifle is a perfect way to use up left-over sponge cake.

Cook Blog Share, this week with Hayley over at Snap Happy Bakes.

Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too.

Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma.

'Angelic' Strawberry & Cointreau Trifle (makes about 5 individual trifles)


a few slices of angel cake (made from this recipe)
approx 400g strawberries
handful blueberries
2 teaspoons caster sugar
Cointreau (or Amaretti) liqueur
approx 350g fresh custard (I used shop-bought)
approx 400 ml double cream


  1. Trim hull and slice your strawberries (reserving a few (one per individual trifle) whole for decoration) and place the chopped strawberries in a bowl with a handful of fresh blueberries. 
  2. Sprinkle the sugar over the fruit and pour on a good glug of Cointreau/liqueur. Fold the liquid over the fruit and leave to marinate for a good couple of hours (or overnight) stirring occasionally.  
  3. Cut the sponge into cubes.
  4. Place a layer of fruit in the bottom of your trifle serving dishes (preferably glass so that you can see the layers).
  5. Top this with a layer of sponge and drizzle some of the juice from the fruit over the top to soak into the sponge.
  6. Add a further layer of fruit and top with sponge. Drizzle more juice over the top (if you run out, add a drizzle of neat liqueur).
  7. Spoon over a layer of custard and allow to settle over the trifle, mingling with the sponge and fruit in the gaps.
  8. Whilst the custard settles, whisk the cream to soft peaks. Spoon a layer of cream on to the top of each trifle.
  9. Top them with a strawberry and serve.
 Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-16 unless otherwise indicated


  1. Your trifles look really beautiful. As a trifle novice I am filled with admiration. Hope you have a great time in the Peak District - sounds like fun way to spend valentines - much nicer than in an overpriced restaurant :-)

    1. Thanks Johanna. Trifles are such a fab way to use stuff up...... and it's so easy to make them look pretty!
      The Peaks were fab..... just got back this evening! x

  2. Oh yum! I wish I could...!!! Sounds like you have a wonderful valentine's weekend planned. I love the peak district! I went to university in Sheffield so spent a lot of time up there escaping the stress! Have a lovely time x

    1. Thanks Vicki. Came back this evening..... had a fab weekend! Managed to get the (increasingly independent) girls walking and climbing all over the place! Hope you had a great weekend too xx

  3. Oh wow this does look like a romantic dessert, it may be on my valentines menu:-) Thanks for linking to #CookBlogShare

    1. Thanks Hayley. Trifle is so easy to make beautiful..... fab for Valentines!

  4. Yum yum.. this looks like an Italian ice cream "coppa"! One of those big ice creams with cream and cherries. Looks fantastic and it is beautifully photographed too! Happy Valentine!

    1. Thank you Alida. I have never heard of 'coppa' before, but having googled it, I see what you mean!
      Hope you had a good Valentines weekend.

  5. I think strawberries say "Valentine's" just as much as chocolate! I'm with you about Valentine's Day, we don't celebrate it in our house (aside from the cute cards the boys made at school) but it's just the perfect excuse for a bit of over the top baking. This trifle sounds just delicious.

    1. I agree Charlotte..... any excuse for a good bake-up is good with me, too! And yes..... strawberries must be up there with chocolate for Valentines.

  6. Oh WOW!!! These trifles not only look so pretty but they sound amazingly delicious! Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x

    1. Thanks Kirsty. Always great to share...... especially when it's a trifle this good! xx

  7. Oh wow. These look gorgeous. Love your photos :-). Love that you have included Miss GF in your celebrations. We don't do a lot to celebrate Valentine's in our house - just cards usually - but I will take any and every opportunity to make nice food! Eb x

    1. Thanks Eb. I always think Valentines is a bit lame...... If you are going to celebrate love, it should be with those who really matter!

  8. Oh yes, they really do look pretty Kate. I adore trifle and have made some excellent ones, but I've never been able to make them look appealing on camera. Yours most definitely do and they sound delicious too.

    1. Thank you. Trifle can be tricky on camera. I'm no technical photographer, but try to avoid getting too much reflection on the glass..... seems to help!
      It's worth the effort if you can capture the layers...... I adore trifle! x

  9. Another absolutely stunning creation! These look so beautiful! Thank you for sharing with the No Waste Food Challenge :)

    1. Awww.... Thank you Elizabeth! You're welcome. It's one of my favourite challenges! x


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