Sunday, 18 September 2016

Gin and Tonic Cake

It was my mum's birthday the other week. Inspired by one of the cakes made by a contestant on the Great British Bake Off, I made her a gin and tonic cake.

The recipe I was following was advertised as a recipe for a gin and tonic cake. Unfortunately, despite me putting eight shots of gin in it, four in the cake and four in the syrup that I drizzled over it, the gin was indiscernible.

Mary Berry would not have been impressed. Luckily we'd bought some supermarket own-brand gin, so I didn't waste the Bombay Sapphire. We used that to make gin and tonics later.

Also the syrup didn't have the finish on it that I would expect. And I was in constant fear that the cake mix would curdle from the amount of extra liquid going into it. I had to add extra flour.

But the cake was beautifully moist, with the syrup oozing all the way through. So I have made a number of changes to the recipe, which will hopefully improve it.

Before I share the recipe, just a note about ingredients. All the cake ingredients should be at room temperature before you start. Otherwise the cake mix can curdle.

You will need:

For the cake:
4 eggs
250g self raising flour
250g softened butter
250g caster sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
a loaf tin, greased and the base lined with greaseproof paper
a cocktail stick or wooden skewer

For the syrup:
150g caster sugar
150ml gin
dash of tonic water
juice of 1 lemon

To finish:
125g icing sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Cream together the butter and sugar for the cake until light and fluffy.

2. Make sure your flour is weighed and then add the eggs one by one. Add 1-2 tbsp of flour with each egg, this will stop the mixture from curdling.

3. Fold in the rest of the flour along with the lemon zest and juice.

4. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour until a metal skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. If it's not done after 45 minutes, cover it in foil so it does not brown too much.

5. While the cake is baking, mix together the caster sugar, lemon juice, gin and tonic water and stir until the sugar dissolves. Take the cake out of the oven and put on a cooling rack, with something below it to catch drips.

6. Mark the cocktail stick about 2 inches up. While the cake is still warm, use the stick to pierce the cake all over with 2 inch deep holes, leaving about 2cm between holes. Reserve 2 tbsp of the syrup, and then pour it over the cake.

7. Beat the icing sugar into the last two 2tbsp of syrup and drizzle over the cake to finish. When the cake has cooled, eat it with a large G&T!

Happy Boozing!

Um, I mean, baking.


Saturday, 10 September 2016

Gluten-free Raspberry and Coconut Slices

Last week I held a gluten-free bake sale at work to raise money for Coeliac UK, the charity I am running a half marathon for on 9 October.

I made raspberry and coconut slices and chocolate brownies, while colleagues and friends helping me out made apple cake, sweet potato cake, lemon drizzle, chestnut and rum cake and more brownies.

It was a great success - we raised over £100 and my company agreed to match this amount. This puts me over the target of £350 for Coeliac UK!

I'm thrilled to have reached my target a full month before race day. But I'm even more thrilled that we proved that gluten-free cake can be every bit as tasty as gluten-y cake.

Some people (we all know who I'm talking about, Mum) were not very supportive and thought it was a bad idea to bake only gluten-free cakes.

But there was barely any cake left at the end of the day and I think £100 is a pretty good result.

So without further ado, here is the recipe for my gluten free raspberry and coconut slices, which I adapted from a non gluten-free recipe and another recipe for gluten-free shortbread.

You will need:

For the base:
250g gluten-free flour (I used Doves Farm)
pinch of salt
150g butter
90g caster sugar
an 8 inch spring-form cake tin, base lined with greaseproof paper

For the topping:
100g dessicated coconut (finely grated if possible)
half a jar of seedless raspberry jam
2 eggs, beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Rub the butter and flour for the base of the slices together until they resemble breadcrumbs. Mix in the salt and sugar.

2. Knead the mixture together until it just sticks together, then put it in the baking tin and flatten it with your hands until it covers the base of the tin. Bake for 10-15 minutes until it starts to get a faint golden tinge, then take out of the oven.

3. Warm the jam on the hob or in the microwave until it becomes runny, then spread it over the biscuit base with the back of a spoon.

4. Mix together the coconut with the beaten eggs and then spread over the jam.

5. Bake for around 25 minutes until golden brown on top.

A lovely, sweet treat that doesn't need many changes to make it gluten-free.

Happy (gluten-free) baking!