Monday, 6 August 2018

Funfetti Cake - gluten free


Funfetti cake. Beautiful huh? This one is gluten free and decorated with 'Unicorn' sugar confetti. I've wanted to make one for... well... ever. So now I have!

Miss GF turns 13 this week (where has the time gone?) and I had hoped that I could make it as her birthday cake... It is such a show stopper. But this year Miss GF has taken a dislike to her birthday. She has decided that in no uncertain terms, she does not want a birthday.


Like what???? Really? 13th birthday.... no birthday? What the heck is a parent supposed to do with that bombshell? A girl should love her birthday shouldn't she? Lap it up and enjoy the attention right? Apparently not. Not only have we been told 'no cake', but also 'no presents'... Yeah.... right!

The trouble is that we are damned if we do and damned if we don't. I know that if we don't 'do' the birthday, the message she will take from it will be harmfully negative. If we do 'do' the birthday, we will be bollocked for not listening to her. Talk about a roadblock... Although in reality, I guess it really is a no-brainer.... I know what I would rather be berated for.


Unable to make this cake for her actual birthday (she knew this was what I had planned), I decided to make it anyway... as an unbirthday 'just' cake. I sort of had my heart set on it, so it seemed a little bit crazy to put it on hold.

I am so glad I did. Although quite sweet, the texture of the sponge was almost better than perfect. The buttercream was light and creamy and the 'Unicorn' funfetti (which I found in Morrisons, from Dr Oetker) was so bright and pretty.


The sponge was a slight variation on my Best Gluten Free Vanilla Sponge, which has such a fantastic crumb and is brilliant for layering. With the heat, I was worried that it might affect the consistency of the mixture, but if anything, it improved it. The warmth made the butter amazingly soft so that it creamed to a sumptuous paste with the sugar. When I gently added the eggs a little at a time and whisked, they too absorbed the magic and the resulting batter was smooth and silky.... rose to perfection and remained moist and spongy for several days.

I just love it when gluten free cakes fool the hardiest of gluten-eaters and this one went out of its way to prove that gluten free doesn't have to be dry, gritty or tasteless. In my (very humble) opinion, this sponge is as good, if not better than any glutenous cake I ever remember.


The funfetti adds a certain charm too, giving the cake a rather enchanting appeal... Although getting from 'naked' to 'funfettied' resulted in one hell of a kitchen mess.... funfetti all over the floor, a lot of swearing and a hoover doing overtime. I am no expert on cake decoration by any means, but sticking sprinkles all over cake sides always presents me with a nervous dilemma. I really have no idea what I am doing, and end up picking up piles of whatever it is I want to stick to the sides and combining the actions of throwing and squashing in one. If anyone can give me some advice on getting a better result without such a mess, please, please let me know!


Funfetti chaos complete, I was actually quite pleased with the resulting appearance of the unbirthday 'just' cake.... So happy in fact, that I am sending a few slices over to the following to share the 'unbirthday' love...

 

Bake Of The Week with Casa Costello and Mummy Mishaps
Cook Blog Share with Recipes Made Easy
Love Cake with Jibber Jabber

 

Baking Crumbs with Only Crumbs Remain
Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too
Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum

 

Got To Be Gluten Free with Glutarama and Gluten Free Alchemist
Fiesta Friday #236 with Angie, Foodie On Board and Canvassed Recipes
What's For Dinner with The Lazy Gastronome



Other Celebration Cakes on Gluten Free Alchemist
Chocolate Birthday Bundt
Chocolate Kiss Cake
Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Frosting and Rosy Swirls
Golden Egg Cake with Chocolate Sponge
Coconut Cake with Marshmallow Flowers
Coffee and Walnut Cake
Flourless Orange Cake with Honeyed Raspberry Coulis
Mocha Celebration Cake
Orange Cake with Orange Curd Butter Icing and Orange Jelly
Raspberry & Lemon Drizzle Bundt Cake
Vanilla Sponge with Icing Roses
Zesty Drizzled Lemon Cake


Funfetti Cake (Makes 1x 9 inch (23 cm) two-layer or 1 x 8 inch (20 cm) three-layer cake)


Ingredients

Cake
320g plain GF flour mix (I used Blend A from this post)
160g ground almonds
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons GF baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
330 ml milk
1½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
170g unsalted butter - softened
360g caster sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs - room temperature - lightly beaten
100g funfetti

Butter Icing & Decoration
230g butter - softened
460g icing sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
jam of choice
approx 80 to 100g funfetti to decorate

Method

Sponge
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4 and base-line the non-stick baking tins that you are using with baking paper.
  2. Weigh and mix together the flour, almonds, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt, making sure the ingredients are fully combined and all lumps are broken down (I weigh into an airtight container and shake vigorously). Set aside. 
  3. In a jug, stir together the milk and vinegar and leave to stand for 10 minutes (it will become clumpy). 
  4. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with a whisk, until pale and fluffy.
  5. Add and beat in the vanilla extract.
  6. Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat together with a fork to break up the egg. Add a little at a time to the butter mixture, beating thoroughly between each addition until smooth and creamy.
  7. Alternate folding in the liquid and flour mix to the butter-batter about a third at a time, gently and quickly until just combined. As the mix starts to even out, add the funfetti and fold through. Be careful not to over-mix.
  8. Divide the mixture between the baking tins and smooth the tops.
  9. Bake for approximately 30 minutes until golden and the top springs back to the touch. A skewer should come out clean.
  10. Cool for 10 minutes in the tins, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Buttercream, Decoration & Putting it all Together
  1. In a large bowl, beat the softened butter until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the icing sugar a little at a time and continue to beat so that it remains smooth.
  3. Add and beat in the vanilla extract. The mix should be smooth and spreadable. If it needs to be loosened, add a tiny drop of milk at a time and beat again until you have reached the desired consistency. 
  4. Layer the sponge cakes together : Spread a layer of buttercream on one side and a layer of jam on the other and put together. Repeat for the additional layer of a three layer cake.
  5. Place the layered cake into the fridge for about an hour to firm up slightly.
  6. Remove from the fridge and using a palette knife, spread an even layer of buttercream around the sides of the cake and also on the top. Use an icing spreader to smooth the surfaces.
  7. Decorate the sides with funfetti, by sticking handfuls gently and carefully until happy with the effect. (It helps if the cake is on a cake turntable, but don't tilt as the layers may slide).
  8. Pipe decoration onto the top of the cake as you wish and sprinkle a little more funfetti on the top. 
  9. Enjoy.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-18 unless otherwise indicated

Saturday, 4 August 2018

9 Amazing Gluten Free Recipes - the Highlights of July's #G2BGF (Got To Be Gluten Free)

Thank you so much to all of you who joined July's Got To Be Gluten Free (#G2BGF) recipe challenge. It was lovely to see what you have been making and without a doubt, we had 9 amazing gluten free recipes.


To be Honest, with the incredibly high temperatures we have been having, I am surprised that anyone has been cooking anything. The heat in the kitchen has been way too much to bear on occasion. I know that at GFHQ, we have been living outdoors as much as we can and eating whatever involves the least effort and the least time in the oven or on the hob.

But cook you have and it is now my pleasure to revisit and share your delicious gluten free creations, whilst I drool over the prospect of scoffing the lot.

I will start with the two savoury offerings. I love that people share savoury dishes in the link-up. It is a great reminder that eating healthy gluten free food is straight forward and that being gluten free is really not that bad after all!


Monika over at Everyday Healthy Recipes shared her delicious Easy Turkey Stuffed Eggplant (Aubergine) Recipe and boy, does it look good. A fuss free dish which is perfect for an easy, healthy, summer meal, it looks like it has been whipped straight out of a restaurant on the Med. I am also thinking that with all those massive courgettes and marrows that we have taking over out vegetable plot, the stuffing may be a perfect accompaniment to other stuffed vegetables as well.


Next up, Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe brought us a beautiful Lettuce, Broccoli and Pea Soup, which she made when in need of greens after a trip to a theme park with the kids. I have never put lettuce in a soup, but it sounds very yummy and incredibly healthy. Isn't this soup such a wonderful colour too?


On to our sweet treats... We have three desserts and 4 cake and biscuit recipes, starting with a creamy, zesty, No Churn Lemon Ice Cream made by Vicki the Free From Fairy, which she tweaked from 'Nan's' recipe after a visit to New Zealand. I love that Vicki's ice cream is made a little healthier with yoghurt and less sugar. It's so easy to reach for ultra sweet treats when the weather is hot, so having an alternative is perfect. I know I will definitely be making this at home.


From Gluten Free Alchemist, I shared a Lemon, Ginger & Dark Chocolate Tart, bursting with surprises in both flavour and texture and which would make a show-stopper to wow the guests at any gluten free dinner party. Made with gluten free, chocolate-coated ginger biscuits, they can be easily substituted for a wheat biscuit if you are lucky enough not to have to worry about gluten.


The other delicious dessert was linked by my lovely co-host Rebecca over at Glutarama. Not only gluten free, but dairy free as well, her Gooseberry Fool Crumble makes for a refreshing, light summer pudding. Bringing back memories of getting caught 'scrumping' for gooseberries through the neighbours fence when she was a child, Rebecca's days of sneaky fruit picking may be over, but her love of these tart berries remains.


Rebecca also brings us her gluten and dairy free Baked Doughnuts (Two Ways) - a ring version and some filled with jam, which look like they have a perfect crumb. I am absolutely sold on the ring doughnuts with a hint of cinnamon and that crispy glaze.


It's great to have Nina from Eat Allergy Safe join us this month with her Citrus and Glace Cherry Cupcakes, which are free from gluten, dairy and nuts. They sound absolutely scrummy and so summer fresh, with a mixture of citrus zest from orange, lemon and grapefruit.... ideal for a free from party, afternoon tea, or simply because life's too short not to eat cake.


We also have a gorgeous-looking gluten free and vegan Berry Courgette Loaf with a rather pretty Blackcurrant Glaze, brought to us by The Peachicks Bakery. Not only is Midge a total whizz in the kitchen when it comes to rustling up stunning vegan bakes, but it seems she is a master gardener too! This loaf is stuffed full of courgettes and blackcurrants from her allotment.


And finally, I brought a recipe for gluten free Jam Thumbprint Cookies, filled with my homemade Rhubarb, Strawberry & Cointreau Jam. Crisp and light, these cookies melt in the mouth, leaving a delicious jammy, fruity chewiness.

So that brings us to the end of July's round up. Thank you again to all of you who joined us. We would love you to come share your gluten free recipes and posts with the August #G2BGF which is now live over at Glutarama. Can't wait to see what you bring this month x

Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-18 unless otherwise indicated

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Simple Strawberry Baileys & Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream (no churn)


Meet my new favourite summer recipe... Strawberry Baileys Ice Cream. It's incredibly creamy, very grown-up and best of all, it's no churn. It's exactly what we need right now with the UK heat wave. I mean... can you believe the weather we are having this year? It's just incredible!

I know that hot weather isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I absolutely thrive in it. Maybe it's my Italian roots filtering through, but I can't get enough of the feeling of warmth on my skin and being able to wear shorts and sunglasses.


I always feel so much better for the vitamin D boost that sunshine gives and the energy top up that allows me to dust off my bike and cycle down the coastal wall... sea on one side... beach huts on the other.

As for ice cream... to be honest, I can (and do) eat it all year round, but the summer heat gives its enjoyment that extra appeal. Summer ice cream deserves an extra wow factor, whether in flavour, sprinkles or chocolate coating. It also needs to be easy to make, because it's way too hot to be in the kitchen... so this no churn ice cream is absolutely perfect.


If you haven't come across Strawberry Baileys yet, it is rather lush, although I think you may find you need quite a sweet tooth to enjoy it neat. On the other hand, it makes the most incredible ice cream, especially when mixed with some roasted strawberries (which I found lurking in the freezer from last year).

Strangely, despite a very hefty slug of Strawberry Baileys, it doesn't taste that alcoholic (although there is a hint of 'burn' as Miss GF calls it), but be warned... that makes it even more dangerous. It remains a very adult ice cream and while you may be tempted to eat the whole batch in one hit straight out of the tub, you may seriously regret that you were that uncontrolled.


This recipe makes just over a litre, but since I was stupid enough to pour the batter into a tub which was too small, I also made a few ice cream lollies... cute and perfectly portioned! Whether in a cone or a bowl, this ice cream it seems, pairs perfectly with a sprinkling of chopped Iranian pistachios and some freeze-dried strawberries or raspberries. Let's face it... a bit of fruit and nut bling makes everything prettier too.


Either way... you HAVE to try this.... it's incredible.... and being somewhat hooked on no churn ice creams that have a spirit twist right now, I am already dreaming up the next treat.... What do you think I should try?

I am sharing my no churn, Strawberry Baileys Ice Cream with

Recipe of the Week with A Mummy Too
Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum
Cook Blog Share with Lost In Food

What's For Dinner with The Lazy Gastronome
Fiesta Friday #234 with Angie, Apply To Face Blog and The Pantry Portfolio
Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching For Spice


Other No-Churn Ice Creams on Gluten Free Alchemist :

Rhubarb
Cookies 'n Cream
Baileys
Cherry-Chocolate Brownie
Balsamic Roasted Strawberries & Cream
Vegan Mint Chocolate
Christmas Mincemeat
Mint Choc Chip



Strawberry Baileys & Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream (no churn) - (makes approx 1¼ litres)


Ingredients


Roasted Strawberries
500g strawberries (washed, hulled and halved)
1 tablespoon caster sugar

Ice Cream
1 tin (397g) sweetened condensed milk - chilled
600 ml double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
approx 240 ml Strawberry Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur
Roasted Strawberries (as above - crushed)

Optional decoration : 
chopped pistachio nuts
freeze dried strawberries/raspberries

Method

  1. Place the tin of condensed milk in the fridge to chill (preferably overnight).
  2. To make the Roasted Strawberries : Place the cut strawberries in a roasting dish and sprinkle with the sugar. Leave to stand at room temperature for about 45 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6.
  4. Stir the strawberries through, before roasting in the oven for 45 to 60 minutes. Stir intermittently. The strawberries are done when the juice has thickened into a syrup.
  5.  Remove from the oven and cool completely. Once cool, crush the fruit with the back of a fork. You should now have approx 200 ml sticky strawberry pulp.
  6. For the Ice Cream : In a large bowl, mix the strawberry pulp with the chilled condensed milk and keep cold in the fridge.
  7. In a separate bowl, whip the double cream and vanilla paste until it holds its shape in soft peaks. Set the whisk aside (you will need again shortly).
  8. Add a tablespoonful of whipped cream to the condensed milk mixture to loosen.
  9. Add the rest of the whipped cream to the condensed milk-strawberry mixture and fold through until evenly combined.
  10. Add and fold in the Strawberry Baileys about 60 ml at a time, tasting the batter as you go to check that you are happy with the flavour intensity.
  11. The batter will have loosened slightly, so whisk again to thicken until it starts to hold its shape.
  12. Transfer the ice cream batter to a suitable airtight freezer container and freeze for several hours until firm.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-18 unless otherwise indicated

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Jammy Thumbprint Cookies - gluten free


Who doesn't love a cute, jam-filled Thumbprint Cookie? They are irresistible little mouthfuls of joy. There is something about these crunchy, sugar-coated baskets of gooey jamminess, which leaves me dipping my hand in the biscuit tin like a mechanical grab truck on a mission.

Perhaps it's the deliciously tantalising contrast in textures between the filling and its edible vessel... Perhaps it's the teasing fun in nibbling round the edges and saving the centre-piece until the end... Perhaps it's the pull of popping the whole thing into the mouth at once and allowing the biscuit to crumble and melt, leaving a fruity, jammy chewiness. All of these are my favourite ways to eat them... what would yours be?


Whatever it is, I really struck lucky with this recipe.

Usually, I make a recipe three or four times, tweaking and amending to get it as good as I can, before posting it on the blog. Not with these! Somehow, when I threw my ingredients in the bowl and started to stir, the cookie gods were with me... willing my bowl of batter to a perfect consistency and my finished bake to a perfect crumb.


Just one attempt and these babies were spot-on delicious. Even the jam stayed put and despite dolloping a rather generous spoonful into each 'pond' prior to baking, didn't boil and bubble itself over the edge. The making of these Jammy Thumbprint Cookies treated me to alchemist success.

I have previously made and shared a very different thumbprint cookie recipe on Gluten Free Alchemist... A Nutella-filled chocolate-hazelnut cookie, which was just divine. You could of course fill these latest thumbprints with puddles of Nutella and if you want a healthier (and tastier) set of ingredients than the commercial version, it is incredibly easy to make your own Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread.


On the other hand, I decided these thumbprints would be rather delectable with my home-made easy Rhubarb, Strawberry & Cointreau Jam. I was right too! The sweet crunchiness of the cookie is perfectly offset by the slightly marmalade-bitter fruitiness of the jam. If you don't believe me, then give them a try. They are so quick to make, there really is no excuse!


I am sharing my Jammy Thumbprint Cookies with :

 




Got To Be Gluten Free (#G2BGF) which I host with the lovely Rebecca from Glutarama
Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum
Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching For Spice

 

Cook Blog Share with Everyday Healthy Recipes
Bake of the Week with Mummy Mishaps and Casa Costello
Baking Crumbs with Only Crumbs Remain


Fiesta Friday #233 with Angie
Recipe Of The Week with A Mummy Too



Jammy Thumb Print Cookies

Ingredients

150g unsalted butter - softened
60g icing sugar
220g plain gluten free flour blend (I used the GFA rice-free blend from this post)
20g corn flour (starch)
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
pinch fine sea salt
1 large egg (room temperature) - beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

demerara sugar to roll
jam of choice

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas 3 and base-line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and icing sugar until pale and fluffy.
  3. Mix together the flours, xanthan gum and salt in an airtight container and shake vigorously to blend.
  4. Add the dry ingredients, beaten egg and vanilla extract to the creamed butter-sugar mixture, and beat together with a silicone/wooden spoon until smooth and evenly blended.
  5. Pour some demerara sugar into a separate bowl, ready for dipping the dough-balls.
  6. Take spoonfuls of the dough and roll into balls with your hands, before rolling each in the demerara sugar.
  7. Place the dough-balls on the baking paper and using the flat of your thumb, make a deep dent in the centre of each.
  8. Fill each of the thumb-prints with jam (be careful not to over-fill) and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the tops are golden and beginning to firm up.
  9. Turn off the oven and leave the biscuits in the oven to cool as the oven cools.
  10. Once the oven has cooled, remove the cookies and store in an air-tight container.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-18 unless otherwise indicated

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Easy Rhubarb, Strawberry & Cointreau Jam

Serving Rhubarb Strawberry and Cointreau Jam

With strawberry season in full flow and the garden rhubarb growing on over-drive, it seems the timing is perfect for finding ways to preserve the summer flavours and to make jam.... Specifically : Rhubarb, Strawberry and Cointreau Jam.

Inspired by Camilla over at Fab Food For All (who is clearly an expert in all things 'jam') and her recipe for Simple Rhubarb & Gin Jam, I seized the pan by the handle and chopped, boiled and stirred my rhubarb and strawberries into jammy oblivion, adding a little hit of Cointreau orange liqueur and a drop of orange extract into the mix.

Rhubarb, Strawberry and Cointreau Jam in a jar

I have never really considered adding liqueur to jam before, but I have to say, the Cointreau (now devoid of all alcoholic content as a result of the heating process), combined with a little extra pure orange extract, added an extra dimension and gave it a slight wave of 'tangy marmalade meets jam' on the palate. Divine!

I have previously made Strawberry, Rhubarb and Pomegranate Jam, which was gorgeous, but the weighting for that recipe was very much towards strawberry as the dominant ingredient. For this jam, the star flavour is absolutely the rhubarb... Its tartness offsetting the sweetness of the sugar, but mingling perfectly alongside the distinct fruity sweetness of our deliciously British summer-red strawberries. I just love the rich, almost rust colour that it gives the jam as well.

Rhubarb, Strawberry and Cointreau Jam ready to serve

In the past, I have always used a sugar thermometer for accuracy of temperature (I particularly love my Thermapen). Never being one to become skill-complacent however, for this jam I tried the 'wrinkle' technique, which involves chilling a couple of saucers, before dropping a little 'think it's ready' jam onto the surface to set for a minute and then poking the side of the jam drop to see if it 'wrinkles'. It makes all sorts of sense... After all, jam has been around for far longer than thermometers!

As you can see, it worked a treat and the resulting jam has the most perfect texture... Thick and set, but still spreadable and almost, but not quite fluid, with deliciously chewy fruity bits running through it.

A jar of Rhubarb, Strawberry and Cointreau Jam

This Rhubarb, Strawberry and Cointreau Jam is so delicious in fact, that I am sharing with the following linkies :

 

Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching For Spice
Cook Blog Share with Recipes Made Easy
Recipe Of The Week with A Mummy Too

 

Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum
What's For Dinner? with The Lazy Gastronome
Fiesta Friday with Angie, Life Diet Health and Apply To Face Blog

A Serving of Rhubarb, Strawberry and Cointreau Jam


Rhubarb, Strawberry & Cointreau Jam (makes approx 4 standard-sized jars)

Ingredients

700g trimmed, washed rhubarb - cut into pieces 1-2 cm
200g trimmed, washed strawberries (halved/quartered, dependent on size)
900g granulated sugar
120 ml lemon juice
60 ml Cointreau
1 teaspoon orange extract

Method

  1. Place your washed, trimmed and cut fruit into a large bowl with the sugar, lemon juice, Cointreau and orange extract. Stir thoroughly and leave for two to three hours or overnight.
  2. When you are ready to make your jam, sterilize your jars : Wash the jars in hot, soapy water, rinse with very hot water and then place on baking trays into a cold oven. Turn the oven on to 140 C/275 F/Gas 1 and bring the oven to temperature. Once at temperature, leave the jars in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, before turning off. Leave the jars in the oven as it cools until you are ready to fill them. Wash the lids in hot, soapy water, rinse thoroughly and then sterilize using boiling water, before leaving to drain.
  3. Ahead of time, place 2 saucers in the freezer to chill (ready to test when the jam is done).
  4. Tip the fruit mixture into a very large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and gently heat, stirring continually, until the sugar has dissolved completely.
  5. Now bring the mixture to the boil, stirring intermittently as the fruit softens, crushing against the sides to release some of the juice. 
  6. Once boiling, turn up the heat to bring to a rolling boil and allow to boil for about 8 minutes. Keep an eye on it, to make sure it doesn't boil over.
  7. If using a jam thermometer, you are wanting the mixture to reach jam-set point (105 C/220 F). If not using a thermometer, remove the pan from the heat after about 8 minutes boiling and place a few drops of the jam on one of the cold saucers from the freezer. Place in the fridge for one minute. Now push the sides of the jam with your finger and if it has formed a gel and wrinkles, the jam is ready.
  8. If the jam is still liquid, place back on the heat and boil for a further 2 minutes, before re-testing. Continue this process until the jam is ready, each time using a cold saucer.
  9. When the jam is ready, pour into the sterilized jars, and seal with the lids immediately, before allowing to cool.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-18 unless otherwise indicated