Sunday, 7 August 2016

Miss GF Makes #5 - Crazy Bright Olympic Cake & Putting Wow Cake Mix Through its Paces!

Summer has definitely arrived...... and has suddenly got ridiculously busy! What with juggling work, holiday childcare, domestic chores and a bit of blogging in between..... my time has become mega-squeezed. We are bang in the middle of the annual round of local festivals (last week we had the Whitstable Oyster Festival to enjoy and this weekend, the Regatta) and on top of that Miss GF has a birthday to celebrate next week as well.

Followers of the blog will know that Miss GF has been getting into a bit of baking of her own in recent months and to support her enthusiasm, she has been given a little series on the blog called Miss GF Makes, where she can showcase her achievements.

Although she can be a bit of a free spirit in the kitchen with a tendency to grab a load of random ingredients and mix them together as a sort of scientific baking experiment (mostly surprisingly successful), she is also happy to embrace commercial baking mixes and loves to see how far she can take them.

On our recent visit to the Allergy & Free From Show in London, she got chatting to the lovely people from Wow Cakes and told them about her enjoyment of baking and her Miss GF Makes endeavours. Her enthusiasm was obviously noted, because they asked her to test-run a cake of her choosing........

For those of you new to Wow Cakes, they are a Lancashire-based company, specialising in gluten free cakes and cake mixes. They have 3 'Ultimate' cake mixes which were being showcased in London : a Chocolate Brownie, Carrot Cake and Sponge mix...... They all tasted fab (we know because we tried them) and I would definitely recommend giving them a go. They had a good crumb, were not over-sweet and seemed like they could all be easily adapted to use different flavourings and additions....... The mixes are also nut free.

Miss GF was given free-reign to decide what mix she wanted and what she wanted to do with it. Her choice was to receive the Ultimate Sponge Mix, which she decided would give her the flexibility to make pretty much any cake she wanted..... She was very excited when it arrived addressed to her and I have to say became quite protective of it.

Having seen Miss GF navigate her way through the straight forward instructions and whip up the sponge with minimal effort, I can confirm that these mixes really are so simple to make, that even a young child could knock up a masterpiece with them. We rest our case....... Miss GF's cake was beyond expectations and I think (being a very proud Mum), incredibly well thought-out and creative.

Inspired by the Rio Olympics which have started this weekend, Miss GF decided to make a single two-tiered cake with a sponge that was coloured in line with the Brazilian flag..... yellow, green and blue..... Funky and very very bright!

Fortunately, Miss GF has never shown any adverse behavioural reaction to the addition of bright colourings in food, so we had no worries on that front. There was however a down side...... If you use as much dye as we did, expect a rather green side-effect at the other end!

The sponge mix seemed to take on the colour without any negative impact..... but we had to be very careful when folding through, as the batter had become quite thick and gloopy as a result of the xanthan gum in the flour-blend. This is a fairly normal hurdle with xanthan-added GF bakes, but one which we find needs extra care with commercial mixes as you have less choice on the order you add your ingredients and they often instruct to whisk the wet ingredients into the dry. In my own recipes, I rarely do this as it seems to have an adverse affect on xanthan-inclusive batter and can make for an over-firm, less fluffy cake structure..... I prefer to beat or fold in by hand using a spoon.

Either way, the Wow Ultimate Sponge turned out fine. It is light, but quite close in texture, which would make it perfect for birthday cakes that you might want to cut into shapes and sculpt.

Miss GF had already added extra vanilla extract to the sponge and (being quite a lover of vanilla) decided she would also cover the whole thing in vanilla butter icing, to ensure an element of surprise when the cake was cut into, revealing the garish colours. Topped with some icing Olympic Rings, Miss GF then finished off the base and sides with some equally bright, matching M&Ms.

Her piece de resistance was the sugar-work triangles that she made to go round the top of the cake sides....... the idea being to make the cake into an Olympic stadium. Apparently, she had learnt how to do basic sugar work at school (that's clearly a bit of the curriculum I missed!), so she gave me a lesson as well..... by the incredibly simple method of melting the sugar and drizzling it onto baking paper into shapes.....

I think you'll agree..... Miss GF has created quite a special Olympic masterpiece! Creative and original for sure and certainly a serious road-test for the Wow Ultimate Sponge Mix, which proved itself to be exceptionally good!

I am sharing with the following linkies :

Love Cake with Jibber Jabber. August's theme is 'It's a Mystery'. There are a couple of mysteries in this cake..... How did I miss that Miss GF had learnt sugar-work in school? and of course there is mystery within..... When you cut through the vanilla frosting, you reveal one crazy crazy sponge!

Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma

Tea Time Treats, with Lavender & Lovage (and new hosts Travel's for Taste and Jo's Kitchen). August celebrates Afternoon Tea Week.

Cook Blog Share with Hijacked by Twins

#TheFoodCalendar with Charlotte's Lively Kitchen..... Celebrating the Rio Olympics

Free From Fridays with the Free From Farmhouse

Olympic Cake - made with Wow Ultimate Sponge Mix


1 x Wow Ultimate Sponge Mix (from the Wow Cake Company) Additionally required : 225g unsalted butter - softened; 4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (for extra vanillariness)
blue food colouring
yellow food colouring

1½ x batch of vanilla butter icing (I used this recipe and increased the ingredients by half)

black, red, blue, yellow and green ready to roll icing
some bright 'Olympic' coloured M&M's (or alternative bright sweets)
approx 250g caster sugar (for the basic simple sugar work)
edible glitter


  1. Heat your oven to the temperature as instructed on the cake mix and base line 2 x 7 inch/ 18 cm non-stick round baking tins.
  2. Follow the instructions to make the sponge batter. We added an extra hit of vanilla extract for a flavour boost.
  3. Before the batter is put into the cake tins, divide into 3 equal amounts and add blue and/or yellow food colouring to make each batter yellow, blue or green.
  4. Dollop large spoonfuls of each batter randomly into the cake tins, being careful not to stir or mix together. 
  5. Once the batter is all in the tins, use the back of a spoon to ease it into any gaps and evenly distribute and level in the tins, being very careful not to mix the colours together.
  6. Bake the sponge according to your packet instructions.
  7. When ready, remove from the oven and turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Make up your butter icing whilst you are waiting for the cake to cool, by beating your softened butter with icing sugar, vanilla extract and a little milk (we always use almond or coconut milk) as in this recipe.
  9. When the sponge is cold, sandwich together with a layer of butter icing and then completely cover the outsides with the remaining icing (reserving a small amount for sticking decorations to the cake later) and smooth with a palette knife or icing smoother.
  10. Make the olympic rings from the ready to roll icing (making sure they are small enough to fit the top of the cake). Miss GF used a thin acrylic rolling pin as a mould to get good circles.
  11. Whilst your circles are still soft, use a sharp knife to cut out small pieces and set together on non-stick baking paper as if they were linked. We looked at the required link pattern for Olympic rings on the internet and then painstakingly replicated the pattern. Leave to harden for a couple of hours.
  12. When the ring arrangement is firm enough to handle, carefully ease it onto the top of the cake using a palette knife (you may need to adjust it slightly when it is in place).
  13. Decorate the base and sides of the cake with M&M's/sweets, carefully sticking them with a little of the remaining butter icing if required.
  14. To make the simple sugar work : Miss GF simply placed the caster sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and gently heated, stirring frequently, until it began to dissolve. 
  15. When the sugar starts to dissolve, increase the frequency of stirring until you have clear, liquid sugar. Turn the heat right down and keep a close eye to ensure it doesn't burn at all.
  16. Place a large sheet of non-stick baking paper on a flat, heat-proof work surface and using a spoon (Miss GF just used the silicone spoon she had used to stir), drizzle the liquid toffee into triangle shapes, wiggling the flow across the centre to join the sides together with patterns.
  17. Leave to go cold and hard (this only takes a few minutes).
  18. Use the sugar triangles to decorate round the top of the cake.
  19. Sprinkle a little edible glitter to finish.
With thanks to the Wow Cake Company for sending Miss GF their Ultimate Sponge Cake mix to try. We were not paid to write the post and as always, all views expressed here are my own.

Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-16 unless otherwise indicated


  1. Oh WOW! This cake is amazing! I love the bright colours and all of the cake decorations! Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x

    1. You're welcome. I was very impressed with Miss GF's efforts! x

  2. Hey Miss GF you are one fabulous baker! I love this looks so exciting. How on earth did you decide what to do with the mix? I never would have thought of this and I think it is wonderful...I think Roo would agree too! The sugar work is beyond brilliant. Have a very happy rest of your holidays and enjoy watching the Olympics!

    1. Awww... Thanks Vicki. Your comment made Miss GF (and her Mum) very proud. Her cake plan seemed to appear from thin air...... but once the colour idea was decided, the rest just seemed to follow! I guess when you are a child, there are no limitations!
      You enjoy the rest of the summer too xx

  3. wow! What a bright cake and what a beautiful cake... love this so much!

    1. Thank you Dom. Bright is an understatement.... I needed sunglasses to go into the kitchen!

  4. This is brilliant - such vibrant colours in the middle. The sugar decoration on the top reminds me of the design of the London Olympic stadium.
    It's always good for me to learn about decent GF cake mixes. As my household aren't GF I worry about cross contamination when baking for people that cannot have gluten (I'm prone to use the same spoon to measure out the sugar and flour so a tiny bit of cross contamination is quite likely). I much prefer to use a cake mix as that way I know I'm keeping everything completely safe. I've made a note of this one for future reference as it sounds delicious (although I may miss out all the food colouring to avoid unexpected consequences!)

    1. Thanks Charlotte. Miss GF is impressed that you recognised her inspiration for the sugar work... the top of the Olympic stadium was what she had in mind!
      It can be quite tricky baking for GF guests and worrying about cross-contamination for sure! I think cake mixes are definitely one way round minimising the risk and we were impressed with this one..... They do an amazing Carrot cake which I can also thoroughly recommend.x

  5. My kids would LOVE this! They're all about the Olympics right now. My 4-year old is convinced she's on her way in gymnastics. Haha! ;)

    1. Ha ha! It is definitely a kids type of cake! Mr GF thought it looked like play dough!
      And Miss GF is a gym fanatic too....... It's great to be inspired though and if your 4 year old wants to make the olympics, there is always a possibility that she might! x

  6. Wowee that looks amazing! I wish I could decorate cakes like Miss GF - definitely deserving of a gold medal - and I think I am going to try those sugar toffee decorations next time I am doing my best to decorate a cake.

    And interesting to hear about your experiences with xanthum gum - I was told that because GF baking has no gluten it doesn't matter how much you stir it - but haven't baked much with xanthum gum so will take this on board

    1. It's certainly different Johanna! Miss GF holds no limits when it comes to cake ideas and decoration and was very pleased that she could show me how to do sugar work (rather than the other way round!). It was amazingly simple.... just remember to heat slowly, and drizzle quick!
      The xanthan gum is an interesting one. I generally avoid ANY whisking after it has been added to the batter and only fold enough to get an even mix. Over-mixing definitely makes a significant (negative) difference to the texture in a xanthan-added cake.

  7. This is absolutely amazing! Such a creative bake!

  8. What an amazing cake! Well done Miss GF you've made a far better job of it than I ever would! The Wow Cake mixes look very handy for anyone not sure about baking gluten free cakes.

    1. Thanks Ness. I think she did a better job than I could have done too!
      The Wow cake mix certainly seemed pretty versatile and came out well.


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