Gluten Free Lemon and Coconut Chiffon Cake

Birthday Cake for Summer

Gluten Free, Nut Free, Chiffon Cake, Lemon, Coconut

Almost every family occasion i get assigned the cake making task, and unusual really though, as making a cake to suit our families allergy needs when we’re all together (gluten, peanut/almond free) is really not difficult; but i can imagine if you’ve never done it before that you wouldn’t know where to start apart from Google it.

This cake was inspired by those fluffy white cakes that you see on American blogs and websites like Martha Stewarts which looks so incredible, layers upon layers – that look so airy and light much like Angel Food Cake which i adore. As this was my brothers birthday his one major request was for it to be Lemon and with not too much icing. I’ve also gone through a phase of not really liking too much icing on cake, mainly very sugary tasting thick icing. So instead i opted for coating just the top with Lemon Cream cheese frosting topped with coconut shavings and Lemon Zest. If you love your icing and the white cloud cake look i would highly recommend doing double the quantity and coating the whole thing!

The cake is light, airy and extremely lemony pushed together with the lemon curd. Another glorious idea would be to sandwich the cake with just lemon curd and fresh whipped cream topped with icing sugar, but as this cake needed to be transported to a hot sunny BBQ location this option wasn’t ideal unless i layered it there and then.

This cake is a very versatile celebration cake recipe and can either be done as one /two/three layers just halve or halve and add the quantities however you please.

The whole family devoured it at the Birthday BBQ, and just as my little niece Lara was getting tired and a bit troublesome, as soon as she ate a bit of this cake all was better again…and that’s exactly what all cake is meant to do in the first place. Remedy all.

Gluten Free, Nut Free, Chiffon Cake, Lemon, Coconut

Gluten Free Lemon & Coconut Chiffon Cake

Serves 8 (Generous slices, 2 Layer 9 inch cake) Gluten Free.

Instead of the cream cheese frosting you could layer this cake with lemon curd and fresh whipped cream.

For Dairy free you could layer with lemon curd and top with Icing sugar


6 Large Eggs Separated

220g Caster Sugar, plus an extra 1 tbsp.

A pinch of salt

100ml Flavourless Oil

Juice and Zest of 2 Lemons

220g Rice or Corn Flour

1/2 a tsp of Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Bicarbonate of Soda

½ tsp. White Wine Vinegar

1 Jar of Lemon Curd

20 Grams of Desiccated Coconut


(For just the top layer, double if icing all around)

300g Full Fat Cream Cheese

Squeeze of Lemon Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Icing Sugar (at least 100g but add more if necessary)

Coconut shavings to decorate

The Cake method

Grease and line two 9 inch deep baking tins and set aside. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees fan.

Put the Egg yolks, Sugar, Oil, Salt, Lemon Juice and Zest into a bowl and whisk together thoroughly until combined.

Use a sieve and sift in the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and use a spatular to fold this into the egg mixture slowly. Set aside.

In an Electric mixer whizz together your egg whites until they form soft peaks, add in a tablespoon of caster sugar and continue whizzing till firm peaks form- you must be able to put the bowl over your head without it falling! Add in the white wine vinegar and whizz once more for 2 seconds.

Fold your egg white mixture into your lemon batter mixture with a spatula, slowly folding until completely combined- it should be one solid colour.

Separate your mixture between the two cake tins and pop straight into the preheated oven for 20-25 mins.

Do not open the oven until 20 mins has passed or it will cause the cake layers to sink.

Remove your layers from the oven when golden brown and you can remove a toothpick cleanly.

Leave the cakes to cool in their tins while you make the icing.

The Icing Method

Mix the cream cheese, icing sugar, 10 grams of the desiccated coconut, lemon zest and juice in a bowl with a cold spoon. Do not over beat or it will become a bit runny. Pop in the fridge until ready to ice.

When the cakes are cool, add lemon curd to the top of one layer and sprinkle over the 10grams left of desiccated coconut. Get a cold spatula and ice the top with the cream cheese frosting and decorate with coconut shavings and more lemon zest!

Now go and eat a huge slice and celebrate :)

Well would Jubilee-ve it!

I thought it would be bad to not supply you with a totally simple gluten free recipe for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee festivities sooo huzzah! Here it is in all it’s glory; a gorgeous Fresh Raspberry and Vanilla Mascarpone Shortbread Tart.

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I’ve seen lots of recipes in food magazines over the past weeks, all very much trying to replicate the British flag in cake form, and while this is fantastic – and I love a good cooking challenge, I know some of us will just want to enjoy the extra day off we get rather than spend hours in the kitchen moulding icing in the shape of her majesty’s face.

Like most cheesecakey tarty things, the base and filling can be made in advance- and for the better even, as the base becomes much firmer after a good night in the fridge.

The shortbread biscuits I used were Sunstart one’s but I’m sure any would do the job, and if you can’t find any gluten free shortbread biscuits you can use what ever you can find really, I reckon using custard creams would make an unusual base, you would get a rather ice creamy taste. Yum.

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Simple Gluten Free Fresh Raspberry and Vanilla Mascarpone Shortbread Tart

If you do want it to be more like a cheesecake just double all amounts.


500g Gluten Free shortbread biscuits (about 18)

100g melted unsalted butter


1 Vanilla Pod

250g mascarpone

100g cream cheese

1 tbsp of icing sugar


300g Fresh Raspberries

Pop the shortbread biscuits into a hole-free plastic bag (I learnt the hard way) and smash them into tiny pieces. This is good for getting out any aggression.

Melt the butter and stir into the crumbly biscuit mixture in a big bowl, making sure all the crumbs are covered.

Pour the biscuit mixture into a 23” springform or loose tart or cake tin.

Pop in the fridge while you make the filling

Cut the vanilla pod in half and scrap the seeds out carefully with a knife.

Stir the vanilla seeds and the rest of the filling ingredients in a big bowl

Taste, if it’s not sweet enough for you add a tiny bit more icing sugar but bear in mind the shortbread base is very sweet.

Pour the mixture onto the biscuit base and flatten with the back of a spoon or spatula.

Leave in the fridge to set (overnight does a good job but a couple of hours would be fine too)

Top with the fresh raspberries

Serve at your Jubilee afternoon tea! Enjoy J

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Gluten Free Marmalady ‘Hot Cross Bun’ Cakes

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Back in the days of gluten life, a hot cross bun was the ultimate indication that the Easter holidays were almost here. The supermarkets boost and stock hot cross buns from the beginning of March and as I was shopping in M&S (oh please I only go to Marks and Sparks for ‘my bits’ – The Mighty Boosh), it was clear that us gluten intolerant were not to be partaking in the ridiculously early Easter indulging. Still it’s these kinds of moments that make me think ‘I can make something better anyway’ and stick out my tongue like Helga from the 90’s American animated series Hey Arnold.

Public Holidays are amazing aren’t they really, they all center primarily around eating. And although some feel that Easter’s focus is the chocolate egg well, I think 2012 should really be about celebrating our baking spirit that’s been ever growing after all these ‘bake-off’ programmes. And please darling, don’t let us forget the Queen’s Jubilee in June, afternoon tea has never been so sought-after.

So after my M&S experience, I was determined to experiment with some recipes I’d collected over the years. I decided to stick with my family routes in the end and adapt one simple classic fruit recipe that my mum used to make. The recipe was originally a big fruitcake that was sometimes made during the spring or iced and alcohol induced for Christmas. I wanted something a bit more light and tangy, so after finding my half empty jar of marmalade (for some reason it’s the least used toast spread in my cupboard!) I persisted to experiment with it in the cake and as a glaze on top.

I think I found Easter heaven in a cake. Enjoy!

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Marmalady ‘hot cross bun’ cakes


125g unsalted butter, softened
125g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
2 eggs
125g (1 1/2 cups) gluten free self raising flour
1 teaspoon of xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons of mixed spice
100g of sultanas

1 tbsp of milk
2 tablespoons of marmalade

Marmalade glaze

Marmalade without shreds

Teaspoon of water


100g icing sugar

Water or milk

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Fill a muffin tray with paper cases.

Sift your flour, xanthan gum, mixed spice and salt in a bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter, milk and sugar until pale and fluffy. Then add eggs, one at a time, beat until all combined.

Fold in sifted flour mixture alternately with marmalade and sultanas.

Spoon batter evenly into the paper cases. Bake for about 25-30 minutes and leave them to cool completely.

Create the glaze by popping about a teaspoon per cupcake into a saucepan with a teaspoon of water. Heat the mixture until hot and liquefied. Using a pastry brush, gently glaze each cake with the mixture.

When marmalade is set slightly, make the icing by combining icing sugar and water to form a paste.

Place the icing in a piping bag and pipe a cross onto each cake.

Eat with a lovely cup of Darjeeling tea or something with character!


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The cat that got the buttercream

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Although I hate to go on about my adorable kitten all the time, I was always taught to write about insights into your life in blog posts; so here I am doing just that. My relatives have been saying ‘You got Ash so your blog would get hits!’ so not true, but hey it hasn’t not helped ;p

I may have mentioned this on Twitter but as you know, I have a slight (okay huuugge) obsession for Tea. Any kind, Matcha, Fruit, English Breakfast… I could go on but I’ve found out that Ash’s favourite is Peppermint. I think, thrice now I’ve made a Peppermint tea and found it half gone after popping to the loo. How peculiar indeed!

And again, he was there eating my Jasmine Tea buttercream off my freshly, pretty baked cake. I’m sure the butter had something to do with it.

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Brought some coconut last week and hadn’t found time to use it and I mostly got inspiration from these Chinese, fresh cream swirl cakes that I used to buy at the Chinese supermarket when I could tolerate gluten; I really wanted one today.

I love tea, there I said it again. I love the variety I suppose, and even better now I’ve decided to write a load of recipes experimenting with different kinds of infusions. It really gives the cake a very slight fragrant taste, not as powerful as adding say lavender of which I dislike. I prefer all the flavours to blend together and then you just get this last hint of jasmine. Of course, do experiment yourself with the amount of tea you put in.

It really is about how you like your tea.

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Flower of the mountain Jasmine tea and coconut cake

 Cake Ingredients

200g soft unsalted butter, plus a bit extra for greasing pans

200g caster sugar

2 tablespoons of strong strained Jasmine tea

1 teaspoon of dried Jasmine tea crushed in a pestle and mortar

4 medium eggs

100g self-raising gluten free flour, plus extra for dusting

50g of dried coconut

50g almond flour

½ teaspoon of xanthan gum

Frosting Ingredients

200g icing sugar, sifted

50g unsalted butter, at room temperature

Tablespoon of dried Jasmine tea crushed in a pestle and mortar

Dried Coconut for topping (that’s been steeped in water for 10 mins, then strained)



Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.

Grease 2 x 20cm sandwich tins. Place the butter, sugar and crushed,strained tea into a bowl and beat well to a creamy consistency.

Beat in the eggs gently then fold in the flour and coconut. Mix until all combined.

Divide the mix evenly between the cake tins, place into the oven and bake for about 20 mins until just turning brown.

Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool on a wire rack after taking them out of their tins.

Make your frosting. Add 50g of butter to 200g of icing sugar and the tablespoon of finely crushed Jasmine tea, mix until well combined and of a good icing consistency.

When your cake layers are cool enough for icing, put a 1/3 of the icing in the center for the filling and spread evenly, coat with a light layer of coconut.

Pop your other layer on top and ice once again, dusting with coconut and any other decorations you wish to put on! Flowers are nice :p

Serve with a cup of Jasmine, just after it’s rained and the sun comes through. Or indeed, to your cat.

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Cooking with a little thing i call ‘Magic’.

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I wish I was a magician. Or a witch. Maybe I’ve just been watching too much Harry Potter and because I have a kitten now, feel it impossible to not pretend I’m going to Hogwarts with my own Crookshanks in this icy weather.

The country has gone mad it seems, for fairy tales and magic. BBC has their Magicians programme, ITV with their Penn and Teller- Fool Us, and the two new films that show very different versions of Snow White coming out soon (Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror Mirror). Maybe I have been watching too much HP but I’m thinking the world’s gone mad crazy wanting to be magic. Like me. Insert smiley childish face.

These television programmes and films show that it’s not just a particular audience that magic inspires, it truly is because ‘magic’ appeals to everyone. Everyone loves a good secret or in terms of cooking, ‘concoction’. When I was young I remember being amazed that my mum could produce all these types of foods and ingredients, and you can’t help thinking we’ve kind of developed a ‘witch nature’ with all our casserole dishes and the means to keep all our different aromatics in our pantries. Like most magicians and practicing witch’s, I like to experiment in the kitchen, and although things don’t usually seem like they would work from the outset sometimes, you have to always stick to the game plan and hope for a miracle, or indeed ‘wait for the magic to happen’.

So there I was, armed with nothing in my bank and hardly anything in the fridge either; apart from the staples and an abundance of oriental sauces, (We got them a few weeks ago in our ‘we WILL make Chinese from stratch phase’) So I got out my cauldron- sorry SAUCEPAN. Yes- saucepan, and started making a oriental soup with some Italian pancetta.

Half way through I was beyond doubting this would come out well, but alas here I am with a recipe entitled with arguably the best magician in all the land- Houdini.

It works, firstly because I made it work but secondly because actually the aromatics that infuse pancetta such as fennel, peppercorns and nutmeg really do already exist in oriental cooking. So, go figure.

Magic in reality (and in food) really is a good bit of lovely faith and sometimes-good coincidence eh?

So if you’re feeling frugal and in good faith, why not be Houdini for a day?

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Houdini’s Kind o’ Oriental Soup

Groundnut or flavourless Oil

1 or 2 spring onions

100g of cubed pancetta or any form of Lardons

2 Cloves of chopped garlic

A diced small cube of ginger

100g of Green Beans chopped (or darling, whatever greens you have in your cupboard!)

1 vegetable stock cube (To make 1 ½ litres of stock)

2 tablespoons of Japanese gluten free soy sauce (I actually use Clearspring’s Tamari soya sauce)

2 Tablespoons of Fish sauce

1 dollop of Gluten free Oyster sauce.

1 packet of fine Rice Vermicelli noodles (or which ever you fancy!)

Black pepper

Squeeze of lemon or Lime


Before you start cooking on the heat, make sure you get all your ingredients out ready and prepared- it’s so much easier when making oriental food. So chop up your ginger, pancetta, garlic, and greens. Get your sauces and stock cube at the ready.

Put a glug of olive oil in a deep pan on a low – medium heat. Add in your pancetta, ginger and garlic until it all sizzles wonderfully.

Prepare your stock with boiling water in a jug, add in the fish sauce, oyster sauce and soy sauce. Give it a good stir.

Pop your stock in the deep pan with the pancetta, ginger and garlic, followed by the greens.

Season with a bit of black pepper and lemon/lime

Let all the ingredients come together for a good 20 minutes on the hob, stirring and tasting occasionally.

Add in your packet of Vermicelli noodles and leave to cook for 5 minutes.

Season, once more to your taste.

Serve your noodle soup in a big bowl and eat in cold weather for true magical comfort.

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All of the day and all of the night… pie.

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Food writers have always featured in their writings about the memories food brings throughout our lives and I really couldn’t agree more. It’s pure bliss to be able to think about recipes that my mother used to make (unfortunately she passed a few years ago). Remembering the exact moment I tasted it for the first time and the moment all those happy siblings around the table suddenly turn to ultimate combat when you’re all fighting over the last piece of cake, pie, tart, cookie…endless delights.

Of course this recipe has been done through and through, and of course, being my creative and adventurous self, I wanted to adapt the recipe or at least make it a bit different. So I spent most of the day and most of the night toying with meringue.

However there is a reason that these recipes just don’t change at all. There is not much change in recipe methods or styles of lemon meringue pie, and the occasional lemon and lime version always crops up but in my opinion it just never really hits the mark. Classic is best but today I felt like adding some Manuka honey- I’ve had a lot of it lingering in the cupboard begging to be used (other than just on some toast). I was looking at Dan Lepard’s  chocolate and honey meringue recipe a couple of weeks ago and as you can imagine my mind suddenly clicked.

So, here we are. A rather rustic, traditional dessert with a tiny twist- one that doesn’t really break that classic taste all too much…

Still there’s still the debate whether it’s better hot or cold. I like it warm personally, with cream. What about you?

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A rather (Warm and Soothing) Lemon and manuka honey meringue pie

[Substitution notes: I find that the all purpose Doves Farm brand of gluten free flour works particularly well for this recipe- i also added half a teaspoon more of Xanthan gum but this isn’t really necessary if the purpose blend has it in already. ]

200g Gluten Free Plain White Flour

100g Cold Butter

5 tbsps Cold water

Pinch of salt.

Zest and juice of 2 unwaxed lemons

175g caster sugar (110g for the filling and 75 for the meringue)

5 tbsp cornflour

3 medium Eggs separated.

2 teaspoons of 6+ Manuka honey

Put your oven on to 190 degrees C.


Make the pastry case by mixing the flour and salt together in a bowl. Add in cold butter in small pieces and mix together with your hands or a mixer until it crumbles. Then add the cold water bit-by-bit till doughy. The mixture can be a bit sticky but after 30 minutes in the fridge it should be more pliable.

Roll out your pastry and pop into a pie dish leaving a good amount of crust edge. Prick the base over with a fork and pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes (You can now make the filling while it’s in the oven for convenience) until it just turns golden and take out to rest.

Lower the oven temperature to 160 degrees for later.



Separate your eggs into whites and yolks and put aside. (I did do an extra yolk and egg white so I could brush it over my pastry cases and use my left over pastry for an extra tartlet)

Place the lemon zest and juice, 100g of the sugar and 300ml cold water in a pan over a medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.

Mix the cornflour with 6 tablespoons of cold water, then stir this into the lemon mixture and mix very well! Increase the heat, bring to the boil and cook for about 1 minute, stirring continuously, until smooth and thickened.

Allow to cool slightly then beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. Pour the very warm filling into the cooked pastry case and level the surface.

In a large bowl or mixer, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then gradually whisk in the remaining sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until thick. Fold in 1 teapoon of the honey very gently- (its very thick honey!). Spoon the meringue over the filling and spread out evenly in the center. If you make patterns in the meringue it will make it look pretty! Drizzle the rest of the manuka honey over the peaks.

Bake for 40 minutes and serve warm or cold :) Classic.

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‘I think’ said the sweet potato ‘therefore I yam’.

When watching endless amounts of repeated, Christmas F.R.I.E.N.D.S episodes over the years I never really knew what a yam was until I read a few recipes referring to this ingredient that looked identical to a sweet potato. A staple of comfort food, and naturally my staple for comfort television was indeed F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

There is a thread of articles on The Guardian U.K website at the moment about ‘What comfort food means to us’ and how food will always in some way lift your mood, and in some way change the way you feel. So, aptly I’ve come to blog about what this category of food means to me.
The essence of a really great comfort food is simplicity for me. It does not necessarily have to be unhealthy, but it really has to aid that really depressive state we get either after a hard day of work, or waking up to a torrential downpour. My comfort food would ultimately start with two slices of toast. It really is magical because of it’s diversity to be whatever you want it to be a massive cheese toasty or the ultimate sugar fest of peanut butter and nutella. (Being gluten-free I can’t thank the brand Genius enough in the U.K, for releasing convenience –edible- bread) But sometimes it’s about the ingredient, and sweet potato does hit the comfort food nail on the head.

I made a salad.

I wanted to make something all in one go that would have a self sourcing dressing when cooking the sweet potato, so the flavour would transmit all around the different textures.

The garlic-cooked whole in the roasting tray turns sweet and then counterbalances with the lemon drizzle later on.

The chickpeas provide a nutty undertone, which brings it all together.

Comfort food is ultimately about adapting for yourself, what I’d love to know is what you would change about this recipe to make it ‘comfort’ for you?

Sarah x

L’Amour looks something like yam salad

1 Sweet potato

Bunch of cabbage greens (dependent on how healthy you want to feel)

½ a Lemon

Good quality Olive oil

2 or 3 Cloves of garlic

A handful of tinned or prepared Chickpeas

Salt and Pepper

Preheat your oven to 230c (that’s 450d for you peeps overseas)

Peel and cut your sweet potato into cubes and place into a well olive oiled roasting tray; you will use the oil later for your salad dressing.

Pop in two cloves of garlic whole. Season well with salt and a tad of pepper; I tend to season it with pepper at the end to avoid bits burning and what not.

Pop the tray in the oven for about 20-30 minutes (dependent on how roasted you want them)

After 5 minutes put your cabbage greens into simmering water for 15 mins; you want to keep their freshness and crisp.

Dress your plate with the sweet potato leaving the oil in the roasting tray…

…add the chickpeas and cabbage.

Squeeze over half a lemon and then give all a good merge. Mmm.

Crush the whole garlic’s in the roasting tray so all the juice runs out, give this a stir and pour over the salad.


I finish the bowl and feel completely satisfied.