Monday, 24 October 2016

Pistachio, Orange & Raspberry Fondant Fancies (gluten free) - Week 9 GBBO

Remind me never to make Fondant Fancies ever again! Delicious as they are (and these ones are amazing...), I think they have to be the most fiddly faddly and time-consuming cakes that I have ever made.... really!

I made them as a gluten free challenge to this week's Great British Bake Off..... Week 9 (semi-final) : Patisserie Week. I chose them mainly because I didn't have 'time' for the puff pastry Palmiers and wasn't over-enamoured with the technical 'Savarin' cake...... When I saw the show-stopper, I thought 'Fondant Fancies! Yay! They look nice!'.....

Nice maybe..... but these little blighters took me pretty much all day to pull together. The idea of puff pastry, even gluten free, seems speedy in comparison. Hats off to the GBBO bakers..... I have no idea how they managed to make them in, what was it...... four hours?

It wasn't that the processes were particularly complicated, it was more the number of components and the amount of time needed to cool and chill the sponge between piecing together the elements. Whilst it seems the empty freezers on GBBO are largely there to chill hot food quickly, at home this feels like a false economy and it seemed to take forever to cool a steaming sponge at room temperature. And then of course there was the usual weekend washing, ironing and dusting to fit in in between.....

To be honest, there is part of me that wished I hadn't started the protracted set of recipes which were required for the Fancies. I have very recently upped my 'day job' hours from four days to five (which in real terms takes up about five and a half to six), so am already time-down and struggling to fit in the basics of domesticity. Whilst I am sure I will be more than grateful for the extra cash at the end of the month, I am already really missing my baking and sorting day!

I was gutted to miss out on the last two weeks of the GBBO bake along - one due to a failed roulade (which I will re-make and blog soon as the flavours were amazing) and the other, because we were away all weekend, so this week my gluten free efforts were determined to make an appearance.

Besides, with Miss GF being gluten free, it would be criminal not to ensure that (at least once in her life) she gets to eat a home-baked (not Mr Kipling over-sweet stylie) Fondant Fancy....... Aren't they the stuff of childhood memories?

Having said all of that, these Fondant Fancies are really quite divine. What am I moaning about? The end result has to be worth the effort...... surely. Each constituent part of the cake is individually memorable, yet together they create a flavour and texture explosion that wows the tastebuds.

The use of pistachio in the sponge imparts an incredible deep nutty flavour which pairs perfectly with the citrus tang of the orange. The little burst of fruity summer raspberry hidden within brings a juicy surprise, which with the raspberry buttercream and little sprinkle of freeze-dried raspberry decoration ensures a triple-balance of complimentary flavours. The use of sharper fruit and the lemon juice mixed in the fondant also help to offset the sugary sweetness of the fondant.

I confess, although the plan had been to make my own raspberry coulis to pop in the centres, in the end, the corners were cut and I grabbed a jar of Tesco Finest Raspberry Sauce, which at least contained plenty of real fruit and delivered the tang that was needed.

I did however make the marzipan with the help of Miss GF, from the simplest of recipes which I originally got from Laura at I'd Much Rather Bake Than.... Don't be fooled though.... simple is no way second-rate. This marzipan is so good..... Mr GF who is a bit of a marzipan connoisseur rates it among the best he has had.... And the best part is that you can make it in less than 10 minutes (including the weighing) if you have your ingredients to hand. I tell you...... since discovering this recipe (thank you so much Laura), I will never buy marzipan again.

I am sharing my incredible gluten free Pistachio, Orange & Raspberry Fondant Fancies with the following linkies (well the recipe did make rather a lot of them, so sharing seems the right thing to do....) :

The Great Bloggers Bake Off with Mummy Mishaps - Week 9 - Patisserie

The Bake Off Bake Along with This Particular and Rhyme & Ribbons
Sunday Fitness & Food with Ilka's Blog and Marathons & Motivation

Treat Petite with The Baking Explorer and Cakeyboi

Gluten Free Fridays with Vegetarian Mamma

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

Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum

#FoodCalendar with Charlotte's Lively Kitchen - celebrating the annual Great British Bake Off challenge

Inheritance Recipes with Pebble Soup and Coffee & Vanilla - Making these was the best shot at Miss GF getting to experience childhood memories of Fondant Fancies (although frankly, these are way better than even my most 'enhanced' memories....)

Cook Blog Share with Sneaky Veg

Bake of the Week with Casa Costello

Other Gluten Free Alchemist Marzipan and Pistachio recipes that you might like...

Best gluten free Battenberg Cake
Chocolate-Covered Marzipan Christmas Stars
gluten free Pistachio "Macaroons'
gluten free Pistachio, Hazelnut, Apricot & Apple Biscotti
gluten free Pistachio & Vanilla Shortbread Cookies
Swordfish Cooked with Lime, Pistachio & Coriander
gluten free Pistachio Soft Nutty Cookie Mounds

Pistachio, Orange & Raspberry Fondant Fancies (makes 25 cakes)


180g plain GF flour blend (I used blend A from this post)
70g ground (unsalted) pistachios
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
1½ teaspoons GF baking powder
pinch fine sea salt
250g unsalted butter - softened
250g golden caster sugar
5 large eggs - room temperature
finely grated zest 1 orange
1 teaspoon orange extract

a few teaspoons raspberry sauce (I used quality shop-bought, or make your own as in this recipe)
2 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam

Marzipan (you need approx half to three-quarters this quantity)
225g ground almonds
225g icing sugar
1 large egg - lightly beaten
1 teaspoon almond extract

250g unsalted butter - softened
200g icing sugar
raspberry flavouring drops - to taste (I bought mine from Lakeland)
red food colouring paste (to desired shade)

Fondant Icing
750g ready-made white fondant icing - cut into small pieces
juice 1 small lemon (sieved)
approx 80 ml cold water
orange or red & yellow food colouring paste (to desired shade)

to decorate
50 shelled (unsalted) pistachios
a sprinkle of freeze-dried raspberry powder
edible glitter (optional)


  1. Sponge : base-line a 9 inch/23 cm square non-stick baking tin with baking paper and pre-heat the oven to 190 C/375 F/Gas 5.
  2. Grind your pistachios in a food processor until fine, but be careful not to let them become a paste.
  3. Weigh and mix together the flour, ground pistachios, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt, making sure all lumps are completely broken down. Set aside.
  4. Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric whisk, until pale and fluffy. 
  5. Add the eggs one at a time and whisk thoroughly between each, ensuring the mixture is well-blended and smooth.
  6. Add the grated zest and orange extract and beat again.
  7. Carefully fold in the dry mix until fully amalgamated (but be careful not to over-mix).
  8. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and smooth the top evenly.
  9. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the top springs back and a skewer comes out clean.
  10. Once baked, turn onto a wire rack to cool completely. When the cake is cool, place in the fridge to firm up slightly ready for cutting.
  11. Cut a piece of baking paper to the size of the tin and mark it with a 5x5 grid of equal-sized squares. Set aside.
  12. Marzipan : to make the marzipan, mix the ground almonds and icing sugar in a large bowl, add the almond extract and egg and mix together with a flat-bladed knife until the mixture comes together as a dough.
  13. Knead until smooth and wrap in clingfilm until ready to use.
  14. When ready, take the sponge from the fridge and place the grid-marked paper over the top. Using a cocktail stick, poke a small hole through each intersection of the lines, so that you can see the squared pattern across the top of the sponge.
  15. Using a small sharp knife, carefully cut a small hole into the centre of each square and fill with raspberry sauce.
  16. Warm the raspberry jam so that it is runny and brush a thin layer across the top surface of the sponge.
  17. Roll the marzipan into a piece large enough to cover the top of the cake and (using your paper template) cut the marzipan into a 9x9 inch 23x23 cm square.
  18. Place the marzipan square across the top of the sponge, covering the sauce-filled holes and gently press to stick.
  19. Place the cake in the fridge/freezer to chill for about 10 minutes and then place your paper template over the top and using the cocktail stick, poke holes through to mark the lines and squares.
  20. Remove the paper and using a very sharp knife, cut the cake into squares. Separate the squares slightly and place back in the fridge whilst you make your buttercream. 
  21. Buttercream : Beat the softened butter to loosen and then gradually add the icing sugar a little at a time until fully incorporated and creamy. 
  22. Add the raspberry flavouring to taste and then add a little red food colouring paste to the pink shade desired.
  23. Remove the cakes from the fridge and carefully spread a layer of buttercream on the four sides of each (not on the bottom or top) with a palette knife. Place back in the fridge to firm up whilst you make the fondant icing.
  24. Fondant Icing : Cut the ready-made fondant into small pieces and place in the bowl of a free-standing mixer with the beater attachment in place. 
  25. Add the juice of a lemon (sieved) and start the mixer beating.
  26. As the icing begins to soften and breakdown, gradually add the water, continuing to mix. You may not need all of the water (or you may need a little more), but continue to add until you have a thick, but pourable consistency.
  27. Add food colouring paste until you have the desired colour. (If not using straight away, set aside at room temperature and cover the bowl with clingfilm).
  28. When ready to ice the cakes, prepare a wire cooling rack by placing on top of a large sheet of baking paper (to catch the drips). Coat all but the bottom side of the cakes with a layer of fondant icing and place each cake on the rack to drip-dry.
  29. Decoration : As the icing begins to firm up slightly, top each cake with a couple of unsalted pistachio nuts, a sprinkle of freeze-dried raspberry powder and a little edible glitter.
  30. Set aside at room temperature to set completely.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-16 unless otherwise indicated


  1. I already loved your Battenberg cake but this recipe tops them all. thank you so much for adding it to the #Inheritancerecipes

    1. Awwww... Thank you Solange. What a lovely comment! You're welcome x

  2. Looks really pretty and tasty♥

  3. They look amazing!! Thank you for sharing with #InheritanceRecipes :) Solange has already pinned this recipe to our IR board but I'm pinning them to Bake Sale Ideas as well...

  4. They sound amazing and quite an undertaking. I bet you can sympathise with the GBBO bakers now. I'd much rather have one of yours than a Mr Kipling any day (even if his were GF) Beautiful presentation as always

    1. Thanks Katie. I never much liked the Mr Kipling ones as a child, but these were absolutely delicious (although there did seem to be rather a lot of them for a small family so we shared widely!)
      I am in awe of the GBBO bakers having tried to do a few weeks of GF parallels this year..... I have no idea how they get through it! x

  5. I really wish I could just grab one of these beauties off the screen! Amazing, like all your gf recipes! Pinning and stumbling!

    1. Thank you Ilka. That's really kind of you. I have to admit though, they are rather tempting! x

  6. Ooh yes please, they really look and sound AMAZING Kate. Seriously what's not to love about them, raspberries, pistachios and marzipan,....homemade marzipan as well! I absolutely love marzipan, but have never made homemade so will defo try this (probably on our christmas cake). And yes, Miss GF should definitely get to try a fondant fancy, i fondly recall my Grandma getting them periodically for us to enjoy after a meal :-) Yum!
    Angela x

    1. Thanks Angela. This homemade marzipan recipe is so so easy and very very moreish! Absolutely recommend you try it! x

  7. how pretty - they look like elegant high tea fare - I have never had home made fondants and after looking at your recipe I am not sure I will ever have the time and patience to make them (esp not while holding down a 5 day a week job) - fine work indeed

    1. Thank you Johanna. They do look rather sophisticated don't they? And they were delicious!
      I am not sure I will ever make them again though.... They were ridiculously time-consuming!

  8. Wow, they look amazing! You've certainly made up for missing a couple of weeks! Well done- fiddly they are

    1. Thanks Hannah. It felt like a couple of weeks work for sure! ......Another gluten free bake version to tick off the list! x

  9. These are perfect, the flavours sound wonderful x

  10. These look so very pretty - I am not surprised they took so long to make, but they do look amazing. I agree about how fiddly and time consuming Fondant Fancies appeared to be, which is why I know they were not for me. Thank you for linking up xx

    1. Thanks Jenny. They were fiddly, but I am so proud of the results! x

  11. They are so pretty, love the colours and flavours. Your fancies are very tidy and uniform, unlike many in the show!

    1. Thank you Lucy. I think the uniformity was more luck than judgement...... I couldn't even be bothered to try the sponge!

  12. Oh. My. Goodness. These little fancies are to die for, Kate! You've really gone to great lengths to create this stunning recipe, despite upping your hours at work, chores, erm... life! I am impressed by your dedication to spend a whole day on these, and look how they turned out! They also contain some of my favourite ingredients. Berries, citrus, nuts... these are my kind of treats. Thanks for sharing on #FreeFromFridays

    1. Thanks Mel.... I'm not sure dedication was the intention..... It was more of a case of 'I'm committed now.... better get on with it! The flavours were amazing though. For a sweet cake, they tasted really fresh! x

  13. Ooooh Kate! These look so good and so pretty! The hubby has just seen them too, I need to make them x

    1. Ha ha! They are pretty tempting! The sponge for these was really good..... I will definitely be using for other recipes too x

  14. Just watching them make these on GBBO put me off giving them a try. I'm not great a fiddly jobs, the first would have looked decent but they would have got progressively worse as I lost focus the more I made. I only ever make small batches of these things to try and keep my attention up.

    Yours look really lovely (much better than the ones on GBBO) and they sounds delicious. I'm going to take a look at the marzipan recipe you recommended as I want to start making my own.

    1. Thank you Charlotte. What lovely comments.
      Please try the marzipan. It is such a fab recipe. I use it lots!

  15. Wow Kate these look amazing! I am so impressed at your dedication and it looks like it was worth it as you have stunning cakes here. Thanks for linking up with #CookBlogShare

    1. Thank you Mandy. You are so welcome! Thanks for hosting xx

  16. I've always wanted to make but yeah, the whole process looks A LOT. BUT they do (and yours especially) look amazing if you put the effort in. I'll have to bite the bullet and try making them.

    1. Thank you MissPond. They are quite a pain to make, but I am really glad I gave them a go. Being gluten free, we can't buy them ready made, so making them was our only option! SO worth it (at least once......) x

  17. Yours turned out beautifully! x

  18. These look fabulous! I love the combo of flavors and look forward to trying this...I don't think mine will be as pretty though :-) Thank you for linking up at Sunday Fitness & Food!

  19. These are absolutely stunning Kate! And belive me I feel your pain about how fiddly these are to make! Thanks for linking up with #TreatPetite

    1. Thanks Kat. You're welcome! 'Pain' describes the experience pretty well! x

  20. These are as pretty as a picture. Worth the time and effort at least once I'd say, just so you can say you've made your own. Excellent baking!

    1. Awww... thank you. Definitely worth the effort..... once! You never know, if I ever get a whole day with nothing to do, I may just have another go!

  21. such a lovely combination of flavours - yum :) #cookblogshare

  22. Che spettacolo! They look so lovely. Brava!

  23. These look amazing and sounds delicious. Going to give these a go soon. x

  24. These look and sound amazing. Must give these a go soon xx

    1. Thanks Susan. Definitely worth the fiddliness! Let me know how you get on xx


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