Gluten Free Apple and Carrot Spiced Harvest Cake

Apple, Carrot Gluten Free, Harvest Cake,

This is truly my favourite time of year for gluten free baking. Not only does the weather get you into the kitchen to experiment but it also coincides with my birthday and with one of my favourite holidays Halloween; which just puts the icing on top. My husband and i love having people over for dinner and we’ve been thinking of a few recipes that we could make for the next firework night and just for cosy gatherings on the lead up to Christmas.

After much American inspiration online i’ve been tempted to explore the Harvest Cake, something which looks so pretty and hearty, full of carrots, apples, courgette, pumpkin- anything you can imagine around this time of year, grated and put into a cake. A good way to get rid of a glut or- indeed the apples left from our neighbours Apple tree that has always spilled over into our garden for the few years we’ve lived here, which was unfortunately to our surprise, chainsawed down one morning. RIP Mr Apple Tree, and our cats favourite climbing frame.

Despite the partial Fruit and Vegetables in this gluten free cake, it is still made with a load of sugar and butter, but per slice i dare say it isn’t too bad. However if you were to serve this warm with a huge pool of homemade vanilla custard as i am going to suggest, then i believe you should forget about the diet and have a bloody nice pudding.

Apple, Carrot Gluten Free, Harvest Cake,

Gluten Free Apple and Carrot Spiced Harvest Cake

Makes 6 Generous slices in a 9″ cake tin.

Ingredients:

150g Soft Brown Sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)

200g Unsalted Butter

3 Medium eggs

3 Small Apples, 2 Grated and 1 for decoration to slice.

1 Medium Carrot or Courgette

190g Gluten Free Plain Flour

1 and 1/2 teaspoons of Gluten Free Baking Powder

Pinch of Salt

2 tsp Cinnamon

1 tsp Mixed Spice or a pinch of the following – Ground Ginger, Nutmeg, Ground Cloves (plus extra for sprinkling)

Start by preheating your oven to 180 degrees C and Line and grease a 9″ cake tin. My advice would be to line the edges as well, as lifting on my second attempt of this cake- it caught the side and cracked slightly unexpectedly; if you line the sides you will not get this issue!

Cut your unsalted butter into cubes and pop into a mixer with the soft brown sugar. Mix this until creamed together on a slow speed.

Take your bowl off the mixer and add in one egg at a time mixing with a spatula- you do not want to over beat this but ensure its well combined.

Add in 2 grated/ well chopped apples and 1 grated carrot to the mix and stir in delicately.

Add the baking powder to the flour in a separate bowl and make sure it is evenly distributed, Now add in a pinch of salt and the spices.

Spoon and fold in a quarter of the flour spice mixture at a time, to the sugar and egg mixture until all combined evenly. Do not over mix.

Transfer the cake mixture into your greased and lined cake tin.

Cut up the remaining apple into thin-medium slices and lay these on top of the cake. Scatter over a generous amount of sugar and a teaspoon of extra spices.

Pop in the oven for 40-50 mins until the top has gone golden and you can pull out a toothpick clean.

Leave to cool completely or it will crumble on transfer, then slice and serve with piping hot custard.

Enjoy WB x

Pastr..easy. A guide to gluten free pastry.

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A Guide to Gluten Free Pastry.

Enemy Pastry

Since knowing I had a gluten intolerance, I avoided pastry like the plague. It was never going to work. Damn gluten free pastry. Always collapsing, falling apart, breaking, burning, crumbling, singing Justin Beiber; you name it. So I scrapped it all together for around a year until I was feeling up for experimenting again.

I’ve learnt a lot in the past two months about how to master an edible gluten free crust. It was definitely a challenge, but once you know how it’s simple. Honestly.

The things I’ve learnt are:

Never really handle your pastry at all.

Your body temperature will just spoil all those cold ingredients, which help to make a pastry crust well formed. You need all the help you can get. A food processor is excellent to pulse the ingredients slowly together. If you don’t have a food processor, bringing the mixture together with a spatula that’s been in the freezer for half and hour is a good alternative.

Baking Paper is your saviour.

When I mean don’t touch your pastry at all. I really do mean it. Once you’ve combined your pastry together, roll into a ball with a spoon and transfer onto a big sheet of baking paper. Layer on another sheet on baking paper on top of the ball of pastry and roll out so it’s big enough for your tart tin. Place in the fridge for an hour to set. Then when you’re ready, simply take off the top layer and flip over into your tin, this is a foolproof method in my opinion to get a really even crust.

Gluten Free pastry can burn easily.

Using ground nuts in crust recipes is tasty and really combines well, but it does burn super quickly. When pre-baking the crust, even though a recipe may say 15 mins, keep an eye on it every 3 mins. Oven’s do vary and I’ve been left with very burnt pastry… !

Here’s a recipe I’ve put together for any gluten free pastry virgins, take your time, and enjoy.

I was undecided on whether to make an apple tart or a huge jam tart so I combined the two. Huzzah. One of my favourite combinations: Apple and Raspberry, and the perfect thing to make as the summer turns into autumn…

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Gluten Free Apple and Raspberry Jam Tart with a Hazelnut Crust.

Hazelnut Crust

 (Adapted slightly from Honeybun’s Peach and Apricot tart crust recipe- found in their Gluten Free Baking book)

Fits a 23cm loose bottomed tart tin.

40g Chilled Butter, cut in cubes

60g Ground Hazelnuts

35g Icing Sugar

20g Sorghum flour (or Brown Rice Flour)

30g Tapioca flour

¼ Teaspoon of baking powder

1 egg yolk

2 tsp’s of Milk

Extra butter for greasing the tart tin.

 

Filling

3 Tablespoons of Good quality, Seedless Raspberry Jam

Knob of butter

3 Granny Smith Apples, cored peeled and sliced thinly.

3tsps of Cinammon

Grating of Nutmeg

2 Cloves

2 tablespoons of Light Muscavado Sugar (plus more for sprinkling)

Squeeze of Honey

 

Pastry case:

Pop the flours, ground hazelnuts, butter, icing sugar, baking powder into a food processor or fridge cold mixing bowl. Pulse or work your butter into the pastry until big crumbs form. If you aren’t using a food processor go for a cold fork.

Add your egg yolk and combine into the crumb mixture.

Add the milk very gradually until the mixture is smooth but not too wet. If the mixture does get a bit wet, add a teaspoon of tapioca flour. Not wet enough? Add a tinsy bit of milk.

Lay out one sheet of baking paper and place the ball of pastry dough on top. Avoid touching with warm hands!

Lay another sheet of baking paper on top of the ball of pastry and roll evenly with a rolling pin. You want your pastry to be around half a centimetre thickness. Roll until it fits your tart tin size.

Pop in the fridge for a good hour till cold.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.

Line your tart tin with baking parchment and grease well.

Take out your pastry and peel off the top layer of baking parchment.

Flip onto the greased tart tin and as it may be stiff, carefully ease the pastry into the sides with your hands. Take off the baking parchment carefully and hide any holes with pastry from the outside by pressing it in with your fingers.

Prick the pastry with a fork all over and pop in the oven for 10-12 mins until golden brown. Keep an eye on it after 5 mins. The ground hazelnuts will burn quickly!

Take out your cooked pastry and leave to one side to cool completely.

Filling:

Place a big knob of butter into a sauté pan.

Add in your sliced apples, cloves and heat slowly on a low heat until the apples have been coated.

Take the apples off the heat, add in the cinnamon, honey, nutmeg and sugar and mix well.

Put the apples back onto a higher heat until the mixture has all come together and the apples have soften a bit more. Don’t soften your apples too much or the assembly process will be rather difficult!

Set your apples aside to cool slightly.

Spread the raspberry jam in the pastry case so it forms and even layer, no more than a coating or it will become very watery with the apples and as Mary Berry says, ‘you don’t want a soggy bottom’.

Assemble your slightly warm apples onto the jam base. I like to form mine like flower petals but you can go round in a spiral which also looks cool.

Squeeze over a drizzle of honey and sprinkle over a bit of sugar and cinnamon.

Pop back into the preheated 170dc oven for 10-15 mins. I like to take mine out when the tops of the apples start to darken slightly and caramelize.

Leave to cool completely before getting out of the tin.

Serve warm with clotted cream or crème fraiche.

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Time for a pudding moment.

Chocolate puds. Mmm. Are you picturing it?

These are very special chocolate puddings. Gluten Free of course.

I was approached by London chocolate makers Charbonnel et Walker to devise a yummy, special recipe for them using some of their delicious chocolate.

How could I say no?

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I felt a big tinge of excitement when the package of chocolate arrived; I had to resist eating the entirety before my cooking day, Sunday. It was only a night, and for those of you sweet lovers, I’m sure you can relate to how hard it is to resist bars of unopened chocolate.

Then I thought. Sometimes I buy chocolate and it’s gone within seconds. Sadness occurs and the panic begins to start when you’re slowly savouring the last piece in your mouth. When cooking with chocolate however, you can create something that will last almost a few days and if successful resistance, a week perhaps. If you’re like me and you just can’t finish your evening without a pudding moment, this recipe will ensure you get that moment every night without hassle.

So there was I, the frugal chocolate maker, in the kitchen armed with Dark chocolate with Ginger and Fine Dark Chocolate. There is so much pleasure in chopping chocolate, you just know it’s going to be melted next.

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I’ve been going through a ‘Financier’ phase- small cakes made of almond flour, they are so dainty and light to eat. So very moist. Don’t you hate that word? Moist? They’re usually made with added fruit- my favourite being raspberry ones, so i thought a natural combination to add a bit of zing, with some orange marmalade and zest, was a wonderful idea.

It felt like a Christmas-y choice of flavours but Sticky Ginger, Chocolate and Orange Financier Pudding Cakes seemed like a yummy pudding to look forward to every day of the working week. Especially with lots and lots and lots and lots of double cream. I topped my puds with chocolate ganache and cubes of crystallised ginger for even more decadence.

Crystalissed ginger cubes, chopping board, chocolate

These are so very sweet. Ginger chocolate should really be used more in my cooking- it provides a very powerful flavour even if using just a small quantity. Enjoy in front of some rubbish evening television while your partner’s tutting at your obsession with chocolate. ;)

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Sticky Ginger Chocolate and Orange Financier Pudding Cakes.

Makes 12

Financiers

125g unsalted butter

50g Charbonnel et Walker Fine Dark Chocolate (chopped)

50g Charbonnel et Walker Dark Chocolate with Ginger (chopped)

300g Shred less Marmalade

150g Light Muscavado Sugar

Pinch of Salt

2 Large eggs

75g Ground Almonds

75g Gluten Free Plain Flour

1 ½ teaspoons of Baking powder

Pinch of Salt

Non Stick 12 Cup Muffin Tin

Ganache

100g Charbonnel et Walker Fine Dark Chocolate (chopped)

100ml Double Cream

Optional decoration

Zest of 1 orange

Crystallised Ginger cut into cubes

 

Financiers

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line your muffin tray with paper cases.

Put the Butter in a saucepan to melt on a very low heat. Once melted, stir in the chopped 50g of ginger and 50g of fine dark chocolate to melt. Take the pan off the heat to do the majority of the melting.

Add the Light muscavado sugar, salt, shredless marmalade and stir well.

Fold in each of the eggs delicately until all is combined.

Sieve through and mix together the plain flour, almond flour and the baking powder in a separate bowl.

Gradually add the sifted flour mix to the gooey chocolate mix bit by bit until well combined. Do not mix roughly.

Pour the mixture into your muffin tray up to ¾ of the way.

Put in the oven for 25-30 minutes – or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Ganache

Bring the double cream to the boil then remove from the heat.

Stir in the chopped chocolate and whisk thoroughly until smooth

When your cakes are cool – dip them into the ganache and shake them until any excess comes off.

Top with the orange zest or Crystallised Ginger.

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Let’s get ready to crummbbble.

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Apples and Sultanas

Sometimes you just don’t have a good cooking week. Mine happened this week. I got all the ingredients prepared for a lovely lentil pasty recipe which I was going to write up for a mid week blog after testing and I was sure that it would turn out perfectly. I made the mistake of putting too much quinoa flour into my pastry dough and it turned out to not come together as I’d hoped, more of a crumbly mess. So there I was, about to fold dough around my wonderful pasty filling I’d prepared earlier and it just collapsed and to quote Eddie Izzard ‘Like a flan in a cupboard’.
Ash looked at me demanding attention (an hours prep time is just too long to last without cuddles) so I sat down, made a cup of tea and felt perplexed at my failed attempt. As with most things, kittens can usually make you feel better.

My fiancé Rob text me and asked me what I’d made for him that was yummy today, and my heart sank-; this is how much I care about my cooking. I was so determined to get something done before he got home (and for own self belief). I immediately put together a crumble, without a recipe at hand, but a note pad incase I came up with something interesting for the blog. I also managed to get some last minute jam tarts in the oven too ☺

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Sometimes you have to say to yourself, why make so much effort for something that tastes just as good as a crumble on a cold day?
Voila. Here is my –If everything else goes wrong, store cupboard Apple and Sultana crumble. Perhaps not an inspiring recipe but undeniably, a savior and essential to most of the British.

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Apple and sultana crumble

Crumble

50g of plain gluten free flour

40g of gluten free rolled oats

50g of unsalted butter (and a knob extra for topping)

Pinch of nutmeg

Filling:

400g of cooking apples, cored-peeled and quartered.

2 tablespoons of Manuka honey

2 tablespoons of water.

Couple of handfuls of sultanas

4 Cloves

Tablespoon of caster sugar (optional)

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius.

Chop up your cold butter into cubes and rub this into the flour, oats and nutmeg until it forms a crumble. (I must add, that i am terribly lazy and that I’ve found a better crumble is actually made in a mixer or food processor as the butter is distributed evenly; but hey I like to stick to traditional methods, when I haven’t had a disaster previous.)

Pop the prepared apples into a saucepan with the honey, water, cloves and sultanas. Leave to stew for around 15 minutes on a medium to high heat. If you wish this to be slightly sweeter, and more of a caramel, add a tablespoon of caster sugar now.

Place the stewed apples into a pie or appropriate dish and top evenly with the crumble mixture.

Put dots of butter over the top of the crumble mixture to produce a golden finish.

Cook for 30-40 minutes dependent on how golden you like it.

Serve with cream, and more cream.