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!

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Pistachio, Lime & Olive Oil Cake with Blackcurrant Drizzle (gluten & dairy free)


Sometimes I think olive oil is in my blood. Maybe it's an Italian heritage, but I love it. The green nectar has become increasingly popular in recent years, with increased publicity about its health and nutritional benefits..... but how many of us would know how to recognise a good oil or can explain the difference between pure, extra virgin or light...... or which oil should be used for what in the kitchen?

It is like wine...... there's good and bad out there, with varying depth of colour and a huge array of flavour notes dependent on where it has been grown and how it has been produced. For any good foodie who has undertaken an oil tasting, these differences will have been appreciated and once you have tasted really good oil, there is no taking away that leap of understanding or the awareness of something which is substandard.


For this post, I have teamed up with Jamie's Italian to share the Olive Oil Buyers Guide...... A beautifully crafted infographic to help you think about your olive oil with new eyes and taste buds....... How to taste, experience and appreciate its qualities and which oil is best suited to your cooking and eating. Don't always reach for the same bottle in the supermarket...... it really is worth trying oils from different countries and producers to appreciate how amazing this ingredient is and to find which variant you most enjoy. Use this guide to help you choose and taste with care..... you may be astounded by the contrasts between them.



The last time I enjoyed a tasting session, I was in Greece, which interestingly, is understood to have the highest consumption per person of olive oil in the world...... and their oil is good! Whenever I visit, I bring back litres of the stuff. I would bring back more, but the excess baggage would be too costly.


Pressed from the fruit of the olive tree, this beautiful oil has amazing health properties. Apparently a 'spicier' oil is indicative of good levels of oleocanthal, a polyphenol which may just help to protect you against some types of cancer and ageing. Reported in some studies to help push abnormal disease-responsible proteins out of the brain, oleocanthal has been mooted as having beneficial properties towards reducing the risk of Alzheimer disease and reducing cognitive decline.

The high levels of polyphenols in olive oil, combined with abundant antioxidants (especially vitamin E) might also decrease the risk of some cancers. And if you are worried about heart disease, strokes or high blood pressure, olive oil's richness in monounsaturated fatty acids may support your protection.

What's not to love?


In celebration of this incredible, natural product, I have made an amazing cake which is both gluten and dairy free. It is my 'adapted beyond all recognition' version of Nigella Lawson's Lemon Polenta Cake.

I have not used Lemons or polenta for a start...... I have utilised the awesome qualities of olive oil in place of butter....... have substituted most of the almonds for ground pistachios and have used the zing from limes and blackcurrants to pair with the sweet softness of the sponge. In fact, I would go so far as to say this is actually a completely new cake recipe, but since my inspiration started here, I feel it only fair to acknowledge the domestic goddess herself!


This cake is (in my humble opinion) temptingly delicious....... soaked with a drizzle of deep purple hue, it screams late Summer! Okay...... so we're out of season, but hey....... I was determined to use blackcurrants for their tartness and beauty and having found a pouch of freeze-dried blackcurrant powder in my cupboard, nothing was going to stop me! Combined with a handful of frozen blackcurrants (that I snaffled from a frozen supermarket smoothie fruit mix), they were the perfect choice to pair with the rich, earthy sweetness of the pistachio and olive oil cake and were a great match to the sharp complimentary lime.

I made the cake as a tray-bake, although ummed and ahhhed over the possibility of a single large round version. Sprinkled with a handful of extra bright green Iranian pistachios, either would have been stunning, but tray-bakes always seem to produce more slices and the further you can share cake-love, the better!


I am offering this delightful Pistachio, Lime & Olive Oil Cake with Blackcurrant Drizzle to the following linkies :


Love Cake with Jibber Jabber, who's theme this month is Nuts about Cake...... Perfect for pistachios!

Treat Petite with Cakeyboi and The Baking Explorer



Cook Blog Share - this week with Easy Peasy Foodie

Sunday Fitness & Food with Ilka's Blog and Marathons & Motivation






Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma

Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too








Free From Fridays with The Free From Farmhouse & Le Coin De Mel



Pistachio, Lime & Olive Oil Cake with Blackcurrant Drizzle (makes one 20 cm (8 inch) square cake - 16 slices)

Ingredients

sponge
150g ground raw pistachios
50g ground almonds
100g plain GF flour blend (preferably without any added xanthan gum) - or use fine ground polenta
1½ teaspoons GF baking powder
160 ml good quality olive oil
200g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
zest 2 limes
juice 1 lime

drizzle syrup
juice 2 limes
10g freeze dried blackcurrant powder (I got mine from Healthy Supplies)
50g icing sugar

sugar-icing 
juice 1 lime
70g caster sugar
1 teaspoon freeze-dried blackcurrant powder
a handful frozen or fresh blackcurrants

chopped pistachios (I used Iranian pistachios) to decorate


Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
  2. Baseline a 20 x 20 cm (8 x 8 inch) square, loose-bottomed cake tin with baking paper.
  3. Weigh and mix together the ground pistachios, almonds, flour and baking powder, making sure the ingredients are well-blended. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the sugar with the olive oil until pale and thickened (about 5 minutes).
  5. In a separate small bowl, beat the eggs together. 
  6. Alternately add a little of the egg followed by a little of the flour mix and beat between each addition. Continue to add until all the ingredients are combined.
  7. Finally, beat in the lime juice and zest.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and spread to all edges, ensuring the top is even.
  9. Bake for about 40 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean. 
  10. Remove from the oven and set aside, leaving the cake in the tin.
  11. Prepare the drizzle syrup : Mix together the lime juice, blackcurrant powder and icing sugar in a small saucepan and place over a low heat, stirring until the ingredients are fully combined, the sugar has dissolved and the syrup has just reached simmer point. Remove from the heat.
  12. Run a knife around the edge of the sponge in the tin to loosen and pierce lots of holes deep into the cake with a skewer.
  13. Whilst the cake is still warm, take the still-hot syrup and slowly drizzle and spread across the surface, allowing it to penetrate into the holes made in the sponge. Set aside.
  14. When the syrup has become less tacky, carefully remove the cake from the tin (I turned mine upside-down onto baking paper, then turned back upright and cautiously removed the baking paper as quickly as possible, to avoid too much sticking).
  15. Cut the cake into about 16 squares, but then push back together into the square cake shape to close the gaps.
  16. Sugar-Icing : Mix the blackcurrant powder with the lime juice and about half of the sugar and blend over a low heat in a small saucepan. 
  17. Remove from the heat and add the remaining sugar and fresh/frozen whole blackcurrants and stir through. 
  18. Pour and spread over the sponge surface and leave to cool completely. 
  19. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios to serve.
This post is supported by Jamie's Italian. The recipe however, and any expressed opinions are my own. 

Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-17 unless otherwise indicated

34 comments:

  1. Kate this is sublime. I love how the blackcurrant syrup drizzle is amazing, especially as you used freeze dried blackcurrant powder, i need to seek some out or make my own. I have a Pistachio and Lemon cake recipe recipe that I have been wanting to make forever as both are my husbands favourite ingredients in cake, but now I am tempted by this.

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    1. Thank you Shaheen. I am a huge fan of freeze dried fruit & fruit powders and have used them a lot for many years. The blackcurrant one is so lovely and brings a beautiful colour wherever it is used.
      I think you should dig out the pistachio-lemon cake recipe. It sounds divine xx

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  2. Goodness me! This looks incredible Kate (as always). I met a lady who bought some of my flour a few days ago and she had used on of your recipes to create her little one's first birthday cake using my flour. The photo she sent me looked amazing!

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    1. Thank you Vicki. It tasted wonderful.
      Love that your flour is being used in my recipes! Is the photo on social media anywhere? x

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  3. Wow! This cake looks SO amazing! I have to try this! Visiting from the healthy blog hop.
    ~Amber @Hungrymountaineer.com

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    1. Thank you so much Amber for both your kind comments and for visiting! The flavours in this cake were amazing. The fact that it was beautiful too was a bonus! x

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  4. This looks beautiful - hard to believe it is gluten-free! I love using that Nigella lemon/polenta cake as a base for all kinds of variations :)

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    1. Thank you! I have decided gluten is pretty over-rated (for cakes anyway).... it's amazing what can be achieved without it. This cake was divine! x

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  5. I can't say I have got excited about olive oil - even when able to do tastings - perhaps I have just not met the right one yet - but I do love olive oil in a cake - that I have a fine appreciation for - and yours look superb with the blackcurrants (summer it may be but we still don't see blackcurrants round here)

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    1. Thanks Johanna. I grew up with olive oil although it took until my adulthood to realise that there could be so many variations in flavour and quality. It was perfect in this cake and I could at least feel a little smug that the fat content was healthier! x

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  6. Olive oil is fab! Love the post and the infographic. A superb cake using great ingredients. Olive oil is king in our house!

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    1. Thanks Alida. Olive oil is amazing isn't it?!

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  7. Oh wow - this cake looks amazing...I love your description of how this cake started off as a Nigella recipe, but now isn't really at all - so many of my recipes are like that - inspired by something or other but then adapted so much there isn't really any resemblance any more. Either that or two or three recipes crossed with each other - that happens a lot! Especially when I am trying to do an easy peasy take on a classic. Thanks for linking up with #CookBlogShare :-) Eb x

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    1. Thanks Eb. I am never too sure at what point you can claim a recipe as your own, but always feel that I should give credit to the inspiration or roots of a recipe. I get really irritated when I see people blatantly copying or imitating other people's recipes without acknowledgement. xx

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  8. This sounds amazing! I love the combo of flavors!!

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  9. That drizzle just looks so tempting. Love the infographic too ;) Thanks for entering these into Treat Petite x

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    1. Thanks Stuart. The drizzle was so perfect with the richness of the cake.
      I saw that you had the infographic too. I really like it! x

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  10. Wow Kate this looks like an epic cake! I have been admiring it on Instagram this looks like my perfect cake, I love the pistachios with the black currant drizzle, stunning! x #CookBlogShare

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    1. Thanks Kirsty. It was divine. I am really missing it...... may have to make another one!! x

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  11. This cake is fabulous, I am sure it tastes as good as it looks! I love using oil in baking (though I usually use vegetable, not sure why really, I should try olive), I find it makes cakes fluffy and light.

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    1. Thank you Monika. I have to say that I am a bit fussy about my oils, but having grown up with olive oil, we use a lot of it in our house. Give it a go in baking. The results are fab! x

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  12. I don't think I've ever made an olive oil cake - this looks and sounds divine so I'm definitely going to experiment with it. #CookBlogShare

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    1. Thank you Mandy. Olive oil is a gem of an ingredient. I would definitely recommend some experimentation! x

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  13. YUM! Love the idea of using Olive Oil as a flavouring in a cake! This one looks amazing & I am def going to have to give an egg free version a go!

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    1. Thanks Midgie. Good luck! I think if you can get an egg-free version to work, you will love it! And if anyone can do it..... you can! x

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  14. This looks AMAZING. I have never used olive oil in a cake before, only sunflower oil in carrot cake but I will definitely give it a go. The drizzle is such a lovely colour as well. #CookBlogShare

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    1. Thank you Connie. I love the quality of olive oil and the lightness that you get from it compared to some other oils. Let me know how you get on with it! x

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  15. I don't normally like the aftertaste of olive oil in cake, but I can definitely see it working beautifully with the lime, pistachios and blackcurrant drizzle. Once again, what a bake! Thanks for joining in with #FreeFromFridays.

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    1. You're welcome Mel and thanks for the feature! Had I not put it in myself, I would never have known there was olive oil in the cake..... But I think the tartness of the lime and blackcurrant would have cut through it for sure! x

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  16. How lush! I'll have to remember this recipe when we have glut of blackcurrants from our allotment in the summer.

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    1. Thanks Ness. I am jealous already! A glut of blackcurrants? Lucky you xx

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  17. This looks absolutely divine! Haven't had fresh blackcurrants in ages. Thanks for sharing #recipeoftheweek

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    1. Thanks Steph! Fresh blackcurrants do seem to have quite a short season, but I was even having trouble tracking down frozen ones. It was worth the hunt though..... the cake was made for them! x

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Thanks for stopping by. I would love to hear from you so please feel free to leave a message about any aspect of this post. It's always great to get feedback!