Having an 11 year old who loves cooking has its upsides and its downsides. This week I have experienced both.
On the upside : you get amazing home-baked treats like this chocolate cake; you can be sure they are learning one of the most important lessons in life….. to cook well, eat well and know what goes into their food (for good and bad); and your young chef will gain skills and confidence in the kitchen and will not automatically consider ‘ready meals’ as dinner.
On the downside (and particularly if your child is as determined and independent as mine) : you will have no choice about the need to eat cake, even when you are trying to consume less calories (yeah I know…. a small price to pay!); you come home to endless kitchen chaos and will frequently find your hands in the sink or grabbing the hoover before you have even taken your coat off (trust me….. even if they have the intention at the start of the process to clear up the many bowls, pans and utensils, by the end, that intention has clearly evaporated); and perhaps most scary of all, when their confidence grows to the extent that you no longer have any control over when and how they enact their cooking urges (and they have a couple of hours between school and your arrival home on their own), you constantly worry about whether they will be safe with the knives/hob/oven/kettle. You cannot wrap them in cotton wool and you don’t want to stifle their desire to learn and explore food……. You try to prepare them for the risks and how to manage when something goes wrong, but sometimes something happens and you realise that you didn’t quite prepare well enough!
Last Tuesday we had a school meeting early in the evening which I needed to attend. I left work a little early to dash home, pick up Miss GF and get back to the school. As I turned the key in the lock and pushed the door, the unfolding scene revealed the timeliness of my arrival. A couple of minutes later and we could have had complete disaster on our hands!
I was greeted with loud shouting……. “very bad thing happening….. very bad thing happening……. don’t know what to do……”……. I dropped may bags and ran through to the kitchen……. I was greeted by a worried Miss GF and flames leaping in a pan on the stove. With a quick glance to see what was alight, I grabbed a hand towel, threw it at Miss GF and shouted instructions to get it wet under the tap as I checked nothing else was alight. Throwing the wet towel over the burning pan, the flames were extinguished as quick as they had no doubt appeared…… everything was fine and no other damage was done…… but a very very important lesson was learnt…… for both of us!
Miss GF had decided to make pancakes using a recipe card she had picked up at the supermarket. It used coconut oil to fry (which is always more unstable, especially if you are not used to it), and she had placed the pan over the hottest ring on the hob (even on low, it is vicious) and left it there between pancakes, while she arranged her fluffy stash on the plate. Fortunately there was very little oil in the pan, but the flames were spectacular nonetheless and had I not returned when I did, I have no doubt that the damage could have been worse.
We have, of course talked through hob safety and agreed that it is not safe to do anything which involves frying without either myself or Mr GF being available. Interestingly, although I grew up with the message that you smother a pan fire with a wet tea towel (and I was grateful for that knowledge this week), having googled what I should have done, this is no longer the given wisdom. If you have a pan fire, the first suggestion is to put a lid carefully over the flames peeling down from the front side of the pan or if you have a fire blanket or extinguisher, use that! I will certainly be investing in a fire blanket and small extinguisher as soon as possible.
Interestingly, once the panic was over, Miss GF seemed quite unperturbed and was able to finish making her pancakes with renewed wisdom. I can vouch for the fact that they were actually very tasty.
Her chocolate cake (which was distinctly less flammable and caused no panic or pending doom) was also an after school baking bonanza. Made using a Cake Angels sponge recipe, Miss GF adapted to use ingredients that we had available and even managed to accurately estimate how much baking powder she would need to add to plain GF flour to make it ‘self-raising’.
I think the pictures show how amazing her cake turned out…… the sponge was light but fudgy, deeply chocolatey and perfectly risen. Inspired by our recent tasting of a Sponge chocolate cake, she chose to fill with chocolate butter icing and decorate simply with a dusting of icing sugar and a sprinkling of white chocolate. I have to agree…… sometimes less is more!
Well done Miss GF! Despite that scary flame moment, you are always an incredible young cook and an inspiration in the kitchen. Your chocolate cake was divine!
I am sharing her delicious Chocolate Fudge Cake with :
Love Cake with Jibber Jabber, who this month is celebrating ‘Cake For All’.
We Should Cocoa with Tin & Thyme
Cook Blog Share with Easy Peasy Foodie
Brilliant Blog Posts with Honest Mum
Other large gluten free chocolate cake recipes on Gluten Free Alchemist
Chocolate Fudge Cake – Makes 1 x 8 inch/20 cm sandwich cake
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
400g golden caster sugar
25g cocoa powder
75 ml milk
½ tablespoon lemon juice
3 large eggs – beaten
Chocolate Butter Icing
125g good quality dark chocolate – chopped
120g unsalted butter – softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
180g icing sugar
½ to 1 tablespoon almond or other milk
icing sugar to dust
grated white chocolate to decorate
- Sponge : Base-line 2 x 8 inch (20 cm) round deep loose-bottomed non-stick cake tins with baking paper and pre-heat the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas 3.
- Mix the coffee powder with the water and place with the chocolate and butter in a saucepan. Heat, stirring frequently, over a medium heat until just melted. Set aside.
- Mix together the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, bicarbonate of soda, sugar and cocoa powder in a large bowl, making sure the mixture is well blended and all lumps are completely broken down. Set aside.
- Heat the milk either in a microwave or in a small saucepan over a low heat until almost simmering and then take off the heat and add the lemon juice. Stir until the milk thickens and looks curdled.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until well blended and light.
- Add the milk mixture to the eggs and beat again.
- Pour the milk-egg mixture and the chocolate mix into the flour and stir with a large spoon or spatula until you have a well blended and smooth batter.
- Pour the mixture into the two tins and bake for 1¼ to 1½ hours until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin for at least 30 minutes, before loosening the sides with a spatula and turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Butter Icing : Place the chocolate in a small glass bowl and melt in the microwave on medium setting, 30 second bursts, stirring well between each until smooth (or in a heatproof bowl set above a saucepan of lightly simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth).
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter with a little icing sugar and the vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually add the rest of the icing sugar, the melted chocolate and enough milk to ensure a thick, creamy, spreading consistency, beating between each addition. (if it seems a little too loose, keep beating until thick and/or add a little extra icing sugar).
- Putting the cake together : When the sponges are cold, place one on a serving plate and spread the buttercream in a thick, even layer across it.
- Top with the second sponge, dust with sifted icing sugar and sprinkle with grated white chocolate.
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