Thursday, 22 September 2011

Cake for my gorgeous gluten free Gemmy

This weekend we went back to the city, shaking off the dust and mud of the countryside and donning our finery for a family wedding. I do love an excuse to dress up in a pretty dress and heels and know that I won't be needing to avoid sheep dung and mud!!

 My eldest nephew David finally made an honest woman of his very lovely bride Kirstie. They make a lovely couple and had a touching ceremony which included lighting candles for members of the immediate family who are no longer with us. The wedding breakfast was great fun . I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with members of my extended family and cuddling my newest baby niece.

Any trip  back home invariably ends up with me phoning my gorgeous girl friend Gemmy and asking for a bed for the night for me and my little family. Gemmy is a fabulous hostess (they cook the best sunday lunch around) but then I would say that as I probably need a bed sometime soon! To thank Gemmy and her husband for their fabulous hospitality I decided to make them some of my carrot cake muffins. The choice of recipe was partly due to the number of carrots from our garden that needed using up and Gemmy loves my carrot cake!  This recipe is actually for a carrot cake but it makes a big cake which can sometimes be a bit OTT, particularly if you like to watch your weight!  So I came up with the idea of making individual cakes using half the recipe.  This  recipe has been named as the best carrot cake in the world ever after I used it in the school cookery book that I collated for my son's school PTA fundraiser!

The recipe below is gluten free and for a full sized cake but it is easily transformed back into a regular recipe by swapping the gluten free flour for ordinary plain flour and excluding the Xantham gum. For 8 muffins just half the recipe and bake for around 18minutes.

The best Carrot cake in the world ever!

Pre heat the oven to 180c. Grease and  line two 20cm cake tins. I use my cake tin liners from Lakeland.

250ml corn oil
175g caster sugar
3 eggs
175g  gluten free plain flour (I use Doves gluten free flour mix)
2tsp Xantham gum (Doves Farm make this, you can get it in Tesco and Sainsburys)
1.5 tsp gluten free baking powder (check the label on your baking powder)
1.5tsp bicarbonate of soda
3/5tsp salt
1.5tsp ground cinnamon
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
115g chopped walnuts
225g carrots finely grated
5tsp  vanilla extract
2 tbsp soured cream

For the frosting
175g  full fat cream cheese chilled
25g unsalted butter at room temperature
225g icing sugar sifted

Place the corn oil and sugar in a bowl and beat well with an electric mixer until thickened.

Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. The mixture should now be pale and fluffy.

Sift the flour, Xantham gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt into the egg mixture and beat well.

Fold in the carrots, walnuts, vanilla extract, and soured cream.

Divide the mixture between the tins and bake in the oven for 1hr 5minutes or until a  skewer inserted into the centre of the tin comes out clean.

Once cooked, turn cakes out of the tins onto a wire rack to cool.

For the frosting place all the ingredients in a bowl and whip until light and fluffy.

Sandwich the two cakes together with a little of the frosting then cover the whole cake with the remains of the frosting. Swirl the frosting as you go to give the classic carrot cake look.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Cake for the workers

My husband arrived home from work a couple of days ago with a request; Can you make some cake for the sales team meeting? Apparently they have a bit of a passion for my Mars bar crispie cake or Christine's cake as I like to think of it.
Christine was a very dear freind of mine who gave me this recipe many years ago when we were both working as nannies together. The children all loved this recipe and as it was so easy to make they could get involved and help make the cake.
Christine was an amazing woman who lost a long battle against cancer 18 months ago. She was an inspiration to everyone who met her and fought every day to stay with her two daughters for as long as she could.
In the last year of her life she set up a charitable foundation raising money for Macmillian nurses and local cancer charities - . The  foundation team have continued fundraising and hold events throughout the year to raise much needed funds for charities that did so much for Christine and her family and many other families throughout the UK.

So here in print is my tribute to Christine Wilde a missed and very dear friend.

Chirstine's Mars bar crispie cake.
3 mars bars
2 tbsp golden syrup
80g butter
120g rice crispies
200g milk chocolate ( I use galaxy or dairy milk. This is not a recipe for cooking chocolate)
You will  need a 20cm square tin, lined with foil, or a silicone baking tin

Chop the mars bars up into small pieces. Melt them together with the golden syrup and the butter in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Leave until completely melted then stir until a smooth consistency is achieved.
Place the rice crispies in a large mixing bowl,  pour the mars bar mixture into the rice crispies. Stir until well mixed.

Transfer the mixture to the tin. Even the mixture out and then place in the fridge until set.

Melt the chocolate in bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Be warned 'eating' chocolate is a little bit more temperamental than 'cooking' chocolate so be careful!  Once melted, pour the melted chocolate over the rice crispie mixture. Chill again until set.

Once set cut into squares with a sharp knife.