Gluten free Raspberry and Coconut loaf.

A few weeks ago my boyfriend took me to Kipling Gardens in Brighton for a picnic. He asked me what food I wanted for our picnic and although I had many requests, my main one was meringue baskets. I had been seeing these all over the supermarkets and wanted to try them out. I know I like meringue, so I wasn’t trying anything new, but I’d never eaten it in this style before. We got some blueberries, raspberries and cream to go with our meringues, and all together it was delicious. I will also have to give eton mess a try now. Being on the low fodmap diet has opened me up to trying lots of new foods, the meringue baskets were one, and eton mess will be the next. However, this post isn’t about my new found love of meringue, and the many different ways it can be eaten, it’s about the delicious raspberries I ate with that meringue, and how I was inspired to bake with them.

 
I headed to where I usually steal inspiration from, Pinterest. But I couldn’t find anything on Pinterest that made me want to bake with raspberries. Then I remembered that I had also wanted to bake something with coconut in it and A Volia! Inspiration had struck. A raspberry and coconut loaf with raspberry jam on top sprinkled with coconut made me instantly pulling out my mixing bowl and hand whisk. I searched Pinterest again and found this recipe which isn’t gluten free but I decided to swap the flour in it for gluten free flour.

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Ingredients
225g Self Raising Flour
175g Unsalted Butter
175g Caster Sugar
3 Large Eggs
200g Fresh Raspberries
4tbsp raspberry jam (you can decide if you want more or less)
75g coconut (roughly, you can have as much or as little as you want

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees/gas mark 3 and line a loaf tin.
  2. Mix all the ingredients (apart from the raspberries) together in a large bowl until fully combined, about two minutes with a handheld mixer. Mix in the raspberries very gently as you don’t want them to break. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for an hour. You can tell if the mixture is done by sticking a skewer into the middle, if it comes out unclean, cover with foil and bake for another 15 minutes.
  3. Allow the loaf to cool completely before removing from the tin and spreading the jam on the top. Sprinkle with coconut. If your jam is coming out the fridge, spoon 4 tbsp into a bowl and keep mixing it around until it becomes more spreadable. I did this so that the loaf wouldn’t break when spreading the jam.

Kept in an airtight container the loaf should last three days, if it lasts that long.

Although this was delicious, and I discovered that Raspberry and coconut make a lovely summery combination, the loaf was very crumbly. I had this problem a few weeks ago when I made a lemon sponge cake, the cake worked, but once you cut a slice it was too crumbly to eat unless you had a fork.

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Does anyone have any tips for gluten free baking when following a recipe that isn’t designed to be gluten free? Should I use Xantham Gum? I did try using it in the loaf, but it didn’t really help. Does anyone know how much you should use so that it acts as the elasticity gluten normally provides to keep cakes or loafs together? Does anyone have any other tips to help me with my problem? Like how to keep a cake moist when using gluten free flour? I really want to learn more about baking gluten free so any help anyone can pass on would be fantastic.

 
Yes, I know I should probably just use gluten free recipes. But I have some great cake recipes that I want to make gluten free, I just don’t know how.

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Macaroons

I love macaroons! I had my first Macaroon on my 21st birthday after I saw Zoella talking about them. I have a feeling that almonds are not allowed on the Low FODMAP diet, but this diet is all about reintroducing foods and finding out what works for you, and Macaroons defiantly work for me.

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I had been trying to find something to bake for ages because I just hadn’t been feeling inspired to bake anything. Then one morning whilst drying my hair it hit me, why not make my favourite sweet treat that is impossible to buy where I live (the ones from M&S and Waitrose have gluten in them FYI). Plus, my brother had gifted me a macaroon making set that I hadn’t got round to using. So, I dusted off the kit (by dusted I mean washed) and looked for a recipe that seemed simple and easy.

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I used this recipe from Lorraine Pascale, and it worked really well.

Ingredients

For the Macaroons

125g Icing Sugar

125g Ground Almonds

90g Egg Whites

2 tbsp Water

110g Caster Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

For the Whipped Cream filling

150ml Double or Whipped Cream

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170/C/325F/Gas 3 and line a large baking tray with baking paper. I used a silicon Macaroon baking sheet that I brother gave me.
  2. Put the icing sugar, ground almonds and 40g of egg whites together in a large bowl and mix to a paste.
  3. Put the water and caster sugar in a small pan and heat gently to melt the sugar. Then turn the heat up until the mixture boils. The mixture should go syrupy and thicken.
  4. Whisk the remaining 50g of egg whites in a small bowl until medium-stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl, then pour in the syrup, whisking until the mixture becomes stiff and shiny. Add vanilla extract, or a flavouring of your choice. If you want coloured macaroons, add a few drops of food colouring.
  5. Tip the meringue mixture into the almond paste mixture and stir gently until the mixture becomes stiff and shiny again.
  6. Spoon into a piping bag, I used the little gadget from the macaroon set. Pipe a little mixture under each corner of the baking paper to stop it sliding if using. Pipe a little mixture under each corner of the baking paper to stop it sliding around. With the bag held vertically pipe 4cm flat circles. Leave about a 2cm gap in between the circles. The mixture should be quite loose to give it a smooth finish. Once they are all piped, give the tray 2-3 slams on a flat surface to flatten them and remove any air bubbles.
  7. Leave to stand for 30 minutes. Then bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes with the door slightly ajar until firm. Mine took a little longer than 15 minutes. To see if they were done I looked at the bottom of the macaroons on the sheet to see if they were cooked or not (do not try and lift them off the paper to see if they are cooked), I tried to guess how baked they were from what I could see on the side of the macaroon.
  8. Remove from the oven, then lift the paper of the baking tray and leave the macaroons to cool on the paper. I didn’t do this as I had the silicon mat.
  9. Whip the cream and add 2 tsp of the vanilla flavouring (or flavouring of your choice). I used 1 tsp and it wasn’t enough to flavour the cream, so I would recommend two.
  10. When cooled, sandwich the macaroons together by size with the whipped cream. If refrigerated, these can keep for a couple of days; I found that after three days they went soft.

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These Macaroons weren’t that difficult to make and I definitely impressed my colleagues with these delicious treats. These would make a great treat for someone’s birthday, or a special occasion, and saying you made them yourself will definitely wow those who are enjoying them.

I have now discovered that macaroons are best enjoyed when freshly made at home.

Hot Cross Buns

Does anyone else hear a recorder playing when someone says Hot Cross Buns?

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I’ve never had a Hot Cross Bun, because I hate those shrivelled, disgusting sultanas and raisins inside them. But the smell of hot cross buns has always been heavenly to me. To me they smell like a warm and spicy welcome home. I also hate making dough. It is so much effort, you have to knead it and let it rise. I like to eat my baked good as soon as possible, and bread takes too long to prepare.

But my craving for hot cross buns was increasing. I kept seeing various flavours of hot cross buns in the supermarket, but still none without any sultanas or raisins. So I decided if I wanted them my way then I would have to put the effort in. You only get out, what you put in! The kneading and waiting around wasn’t actually that bad, especially once the whole dough had been formed. I could already sense how delicious these hot cross buns were going to be because of all the hard work I was putting in, plus the orange and cinnamon smelt good too.

I wasn’t exactly sure how to knead, and the twelve buns I made weren’t all the same size or shape, but that didn’t mean they weren’t heavenly. I am someone who prefers flavour over appearance. I have no creative flair, and I can’t make a cake look pretty in an Instagram picture to save my life. If what I makes tastes good, then I am happy with it.

Again, I turned to the Queen of Baking, Mary Berry, for a recipe. I made a few changes, such as not using sultanas, and I used the grind from one large orange for the flavouring. The buns were full of a rich, warm and spicy flavour, and I had them straight out of the oven, so the butter I spread on them melted in beautifully. That would have been quite the Instagramable image, had I remembered to take a picture and not stuff my face so quickly.

Ingredients

For the Buns

450g strong white flour

1 level teaspoon salt

1 level teaspoon ground mixed spice

1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ level teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

7g sachet fast-action yeast

50g caster sugar

50g melted butter, cooled

150ml tepid milk (I was cheeky and gently heated my milk over the stove until it was the same temperature as my little finger)

5 tablespoons tepid water

1 large egg, beaten

The grated zest of 1 large orange

75g currents (if you must)

For the Cross

75g plain flour

5 tablespoons of water

To Glaze

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons water

Method

  1. Measure the flour, salt, spices, yeast and sugar into a large bowl and stir to mix. Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted (cooled) butter, milk, water and egg, adding the currents and orange zest to the mixture last.
  2. Mix to a soft dough, then turn out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with oiled Clingfilm and leave to rise until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours in a warm room. (Because this is an enriched dough, it will take longer to rise than a plain dough.)
  3. Whilst the dough is rising lightly grease 2 baking trays with butter, and oil more Clingfilm to cover the two trays. Preheat the oven to 220oC/Fan 200oC/Gas Mark 7.
  4. Turn the risen dough out on to a lightly floured work surface again and knead for 2-3 minutes. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and shape each one into a round bun. Place the buns on the prepared baking tray and cover with oiled Clingfilm. Leave to rise until they have doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  5. Mix the water and plain flour together to create a smooth paste. Place the mixture into a piping bag and cut of the end. Pipe a cross across the risen buns.
  6. Bake the buns in the pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes until brown and hollowing-sounding when the base is tapped. While the buns are baking, dissolve the sugar in the water over a gentle heat. As soon as the buns come out of the oven, brush them with the syrup to give a sticky glaze.

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These have actually pushed me into wanting to try normal hot cross buns, and making more bread! I will definitely be making these again next year. I hope everyone else is enjoying all the hot cross buns and Easter themed chocolate at this time of year.

Happy Easter!

Toodlepip

Orange Cake.

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When I was little I hated oranges. I’d eat an orange flavoured sweet, lolly pop or drink orange juice. But the orange itself made my skin crawl. I’m still not crazy about oranges, and I still can’t bring myself to peel and eat one, but I was perfectly prepared to grate and juice one in order to make a cake.

Whilst in New Zealand I decided I wanted something sweet before walking around Hobbiton for two hours. There was a big, beautiful and well baked orange cake presented beautifully on a cake stand under a shiny glass case. I wanted it. I restrained myself and only got one slice. This cake was glorious. It was moist and fluffy, and the orange drizzle icing around the side had not dried too hard and added a sweet blast of orange to the flavour.

When I got back home I knew exactly what I wanted to bake first. I went straight to the Baking Bible for an orange cake recipe, and the queen of baking came through with a fantastic recipe. If you want to bake a cake that (in my opinion) counts as one of your five a day then I would definitely recommend this recipe.

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Heart or butt??? You decide
Ingredients

For the Cake

175g softened butter

175g caster sugar

3 large eggs, beaten

175g self-raising flour

1 ½ level teaspoons baking powder

Grated rind and juice of 1 large orange

To finish

About 2 tablespoons apricot jam

100g icing sugar

Finely shredded rind and juice of ½ orange

Methods

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180oC/Fan 160oC/Gas 4. Grease a 20cm (8 in) deep round cake tin then line the base with baking parchment.
  2. Measure all the ingredients for the cake into a large bowl and beat until thoroughly blended. Turn into the prepared cake tin and level the surface.
  3. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 35 minutes until well risen and springy to the touch. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.
  4. Measure the apricot jam into a small pan and gently warm through. Brush over the top of the cake. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and mix in the orange juice a little bit at a time until you reach a coating consistency. Pour over the top of the cake and gently spread out with a small palette or round bladed knife. Leave to set and then decorate with the shredded orange rind. Don’t add shredded orange grind whilst the icing is drying, it just doesn’t look too pretty (you’ll see what I mean in the pictures).

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I was a little disappointed with the rise of my cake. I would have liked it to be higher, and the icing around the side dried quite hard, but it was still delicious. The cake itself was still light and fluffy, and the orange flavour came through beautifully in every bite. It was quickly and easy to bake, which is my favourite kind, because you can eat it asap!

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When I was little all I ever wanted was for my baked goods to be chocolate flavoured, I hated the idea of baked goods with fruit in it. Since then I’ve made banana bread, carrot cake, blueberry muffins and many other fruity flavoured bakes. I never knew what I was missing out on.

If you have any suggestions for fruity bakes do let me know.

ToodlePip!

Biscoff Baking

When I was a child I got my haircut by a woman who always gave me and my little brother a Biscoff Biscuit to eat. Now, I absolutely hated the way my mom got my haircut as a child, but I always got excited about visiting the hairdressers for the Biscoff biscuits. I have basically been finding the silver lining in everything since I was three.

I haven’t been to that particular hairdresser for about thirteen years, and it wasn’t until I came across Biscoff spread at my weekly Tesco shop that I even remembered these delicious biccys existed. I’m not sure if this spread is new, or if it has been around for a while and I’m just late on the bandwagon, but I feel like I see it everywhere now. After watching Zoella make a Biscoff cake I instantly decided that, I too, need to make that cake. My boyfriend was thrilled by this news as it meant he would be eating the spread on something, as opposed to eating it straight from the jar with a spoon. We are all guilty of having been there.

For the cake recipe I visited Jane’s Patisserie blog. Her blog is filled with loads of amazing and unique recipes that incorporate your favourite snacks or chocolates. Her recipes are also easy to follow, if I can follow it, anyone can. I did not only enjoy eating this cake, but I also enjoyed making it. However, I found that trying to eat a three layer cake was harder to get through than I thought it would be. I was literally begging people to help me eat it. So, for more digestible portions I decided to make Biscoff cupcakes instead. For this I also used Jane’s recipe.

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For the Vanilla cupcakes I used

  • 175g Unsalted Butter
  • 175g Light Brown Sugar
  • 175g Self Raising Flour
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1-2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1-2 tbsp Whole Milk

For the Biscoff Cookie Butter Buttercream

  • 150g Unsalted Butter
  • 300g Icing Sugar
  • 200g Biscoff Cookie Butter (If you can’t find the spread, crush 10 biscuits and add to the icing mixture. I use this method when I make an Oreo Buttercream. The flavour of the biscuits will come through.)

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To make the cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/160 Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 and line a cupcake or muffin tin with 12 – 14 cases. I used a muffin tin and this made 10.
  • Beat the butter and light brown sugar until fluffy. Combine the eggs, self-raising flour and vanilla with the butter/sugar and mix well until combined. If the mixture is too stiff you can add a little bit of milk at a time to get a smooth light consistency.
  • I used about a tablespoon and a half to dollop the mixture into the cupcake cases. These should bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes or until a skewer poked into one of the cupcakes comes out clean and they are springy to touch. I found that mine took about 23 minutes to bake. Leave these to cool in the tin for five minutes before leaving to cool on a wire rack.

To make the cookie butter buttercream

  • Combine the butter and icing sugar. This takes quite a while to do. You can do this with an electric mixer on a slow speed. Start by beating the butter and then gradually add the icing sugar until it is combined and smooth.
  • Add the cookie butter or cookie crumbs and keep mixing. Add the milk gradually until you reach the desired texture you want.

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These cupcakes were just as delicious as the cake! I also find that cupcakes are more fun to eat; you can put them in pretty little cases and decorate them differently. If you like Biscoff, I would definitely recommend this recipe. On Jane’s website you can also find the Biscoff cake recipe, along with a Biscoff Cheesecake recipe. Jane’s Patisserie

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Toodle pip! x