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Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Gluten Free Fairy Cake Experiment

So, let me explain. I have long known that I have a wheat intolerance. We discovered this as part of some comparative genetic testing done when my brothers and I were children. In my teens I actually went wheat free at a time when it was very hard to do so and gluten free foods were... in a word, naff. It really was awful, but I did it. And I lost two stone in six months and I was healthier than ever. but then I went to university and the tight budget and lack of availability of wheat free foods meant I went back. 

Years and two children later, I have had struggles with blood pressure in my second pregnancy, I put on weight as you do in pregnancy, despite losing it all and more after my son, I am sat here after my daughter's birth feeling a lot bigger than I want to be. And what with a lot better availability, choice and quality in free from foods, I am giving it a try again. Another post I may detail the gluten free staples that have taken over from the wheat ones. A few weeks later I am noticeably losing the baby weight and feel so much healthier. and this time I think i can make at least a minimal gluten diet work!

BUT, and it is a big but, baking. Its the summer holidays and I need to do something with my school age boy! So we decided to try the experiment. Can you make cakes that rival the wheat based ones? 

There are now things that weren't on the market in the 80's and 90's when dealing with allergy diets. First and foremost we embarked this experiment with Dove Farm's Gluten Free self raising flour as our base.


Now freely available in most large supermarkets. I picked mine up from my local Tescos. So, the base recipe. I actually used the one from their website, but is helpfully on the side of the packet. We only did a half batch I will note because it was an experiment, and with only one small boy and me to eat them, I didn't want to do too many at once! But the recipe is as follows for a full batch:

150g butter
150g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
150g of your chosen self raising flour
1 tablespoon of milk

Simply cream the butter and sugar together. 
Beat in the eggs and vanilla
Beat in flour and milk
Spoon into cases and cook for 10-12 minutes at 180 degrees in a fan oven (200 degrees in a conventional oven)

I half filled silicone cake cases and cooked for 12 minutes which yielded these beautifully risen cakes:



While they cooled I raided my cupboard for a raft of decorating options for my lovely son to choose from:


Please note that this post has not been endorsed by any brand I am only showing what I chose to use of my own free will from in my cupboards

Once they had cooled I removed them from the silicone cases and into paper ones to make decorating easier. My little pirate chose the can of easy swirl icing (which only does ten cakes as stated on the can, just be aware its not a cheap icing solution but an easy one), chocolate beans and sugar confetti. So I swirled and he decorated. 


Its serious business this cake decorating, and definitely requires a pirate hat! Between us we wound up with this little bevy of beauties:


I don't think we did bad at all. And the verdict?

Neither the pirate or I noticed a single difference between an ordinary fairy cake. Honestly, there were none!  Its a fantastic replacement flour and will live in my cupboard from now on. 

On another allergy note, I have not tried it, but I am reliably informed that if you need to be dairy free as well, you could replace the butter with hard margarine such as stork, and almond milk to replace the cows milk. So give it a try and enjoy!

Till next time,

Kat xxx

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