Citrus Cupcakes (makes 12)

Citrus Cupcakes by The Fat Foodie

Sometimes I bake cakes purely because a pretty cupcake case has caught my eye that begs to be filled with something delicious. This was the case (excuse the pun) when I saw some beautiful, bright, sunshine-coloured cupcake cases in Flying Tiger the other day. (I tried to find a link to their website so you could buy them yourself, but they don’t have them listed on their site unfortunately.)

Ordinarily I’m a real chocolate cake fan, loving the deep, moist fudginess that is inherent within all decent chocolate cakes, but I recognise that sometimes there’s nothing nicer than a light fruit-flavoured cake and these cupcake cases were ideal for making gluten-free citrus cupcakes in.

As the days are getting sunnier and warmer it’s nice to move away from the heavy puddings and crumbles of winter and embrace lighter flavours, such as those found in citrus fruits. Although I made my citrus cupcakes flavoured with lemon and orange you could choose to flavour them with lime or even grapefruit if you had a mind to. All you’re looking for are the strong oils in the fruit’s zest to impart a citrus note into the cake’s sponge.

These citrus cupcakes are light, but moist (even though they’re made with gluten-free flour) and keep for a good few days in an airtight tin. Although if your family’s anything like mine it’s highly unlikely that these delicious bakes will last that long. I might need to make another batch…

Ingredients:

220g caster sugar
120g fine polenta
50g gluten-free flour
90g ground almonds
60g dessicated coconut
A pinch of salt
The zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
120g dairy-free butter
100g coconut oil (melted)
4 eggs
60ml rice milk
For the buttercream icing:
100g dairy-free butter
240g icing sugar
1 tbsp rice milk

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas mark 4.

Lay out your cupcake cases onto a flat baking tray.

Measure all of the wet ingredients into a mixing bowl.

Measure all of the dry ingredients into another bowl.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well.

Pour equal amounts of the cake mix into each of the cupcake cases, lay them on the baking trays and bake in the oven for around 25 mins. (They’re cooked if a skewer pushed into the middle of a couple of the cakes comes out entirely clean.)

Leave to cool on a cooling rack.

Make the buttercream icing by placing all of the buttercream ingredients into a jug and whisking until a smooth icing is produced.

Once the citrus cupcakes are cool, decorate them with the buttercream icing.

Citrus Cupcakes by The Fat Foodie

Citrus Cupcakes by The Fat Foodie

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Chocolate Bundt Cakes (makes 12)

Chocolate Bundt Cakes by The Fat Foodie

The 13th of May was the 1 year anniversary of my blog and today is my 100th blog post, so I thought I’d follow in the footsteps of The Great British Bake Off and bake a ‘Showstopper’ to mark the occasion. I originally started my blog (which turned into The Fat Foodie website) as a way to showcase my writing skills in order to try to get a particular job that I really wanted at the time. Sadly, I wasn’t successful in getting the job and although as a result, I did think about calling it a day with the blog (I think at that point there was only a couple of months worth of blog posts on it), I’m really pleased I didn’t.

My website has become an extremely enjoyable activity for me. This might sound odd, but prior to starting the blog I never thought in a million years that I would have my own website. I wasn’t (and still am not) a ‘computery’ ‘techie’ type of person, so to find myself regularly contributing to the internet still thrills me every Sunday and Wednesday morning when I boost my blog posts through my social media channels.

I guess the experience of starting and maintaining my own website has taught me that we shouldn’t hold on to a rigid view of our own sense of who we think are because we can change over time to become something other than what we believe to be true. We can adapt and develop skills that we never knew existed within us and this can help us to contribute to the world in ways that we never considered possible before. That’s what my website has done for me.

So all I’ve got left to say is thanks very much for visiting my website and reading my posts. I hope to continue for a good while yet! Now on to the showstopper!

The other day I was in Lidl and a box of six silicone bundt cases caught my eye, particularly because they were only £1.99. Silicone baking cases are renowned for being pricey so I didn’t hesitate to pick up two boxes. I’ve been mulling over what I was going to bake in them for a while now, but I eventually decided to go with chocolate bundt cakes because I don’t think you can beat a decent chocolate cake in terms of both visual impact and taste.

These chocolate bundt cakes have a hefty whack of good quality dark chocolate in them due to the inclusion of cocoa powder and the dark chocolate drizzled over them. These two forms of pure dark chocolate are further enhanced by the dark brown sugar, which creates a deep, fudgy flavour. In terms of difficulty, these chocolate bundt cakes are really simple to make, involving nothing more taxing than measuring out your wet and dry ingredients into separate bowls and then just blending them together to create your cake mix.

Other than the beautiful taste of the chocolate sponge, I think the real impact of these cakes comes from whatever you decide to bake them in, such as the silicone bundt cases, but you could just as easily use plain old cupcake cases. You certainly don’t need to dust them with edible gold glitter either. It’s just I’ve got the stunning visual impact of my website to take into consideration, you know?  😉

Ingredients:

220g dark brown sugar
120g fine polenta
50g gluten-free flour
90g ground almonds
80g cocoa powder
A pinch of salt
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
120g dairy-free butter
100g coconut oil (melted)
4 eggs
60ml rice milk
100g dark chocolate (for decoration)

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas mark 4.

Lay out your silicone bundt cases or cupcake cases onto a flat baking tray.

Measure all of the wet ingredients into a mixing bowl.

Measure all of the dry ingredients into another bowl.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well.

Pour equal amounts of the cake mix into the silicone bundt cases and lay them on the baking tray.

Tap them firmly on a work surface a few times (to help prevent bubbles in the base of the bundts) and bake in the oven for around 25 mins. (They’re cooked if a skewer pushed into the middle of a couple of the cakes comes out entirely clean.)

Leave to cool on a cooling rack before taking the bundts out of their cases.

Once cool, melt the dark chocolate in the microwave and drizzle it over the chocolate bundt cakes.

Feel free to dust the bundts with completely unnecessary edible gold glitter if you like.

Chocolate Bundt Cakes by The Fat Foodie

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Free-From Custard Creams

Free-From Custard Creams

When I first went gluten-free and dairy-free one of the free-from products that astonished me at their cost was biscuits. I mean, £3 for a Genius gluten-free loaf from Sainsbury’s is ridiculous, but £1.80 for 8 chocolate chip biscuits from the Sainsbury’s free-from range is just obscene. I know you’re paying for the convenience factor, but fresh biscuits cost next to nothing to make at home so I felt really cheated and ripped off at the cost of free-from versions from a number of shops.

These free-from custard creams are so cheap to make (I’d estimate that a batch of around 12 custard creams cost considerably less than £1 to produce) and they’re really easy to whip up in a hurry. I just measure all of my ingredients into a plastic jug and use an electric whisk to blend it together into a biscuit dough. You don’t even need to roll out the dough and cut them out because you just roll them up in your palms and flatten them out on the baking tray. You can’t get any easier, can you?

I normally sandwich my custard creams with buttercream icing, but these have a little bit more caster sugar in them than my standard custard cream recipe so they’re really nice plain without a filling, but by all means sandwich them if you like. My buttercream recipe can be found here and you can just use dairy-free butter to keep the mix free-from. Equally, you could drizzle melted chocolate over the top of them or icing sugar.

Whether you decide to use the filling or use a sweet drizzle over the top of the biscuits, they’ll still save you a huge amount of money compared to buying them ready made in a shop.

Ingredients:

70g dairy-free butter

30g coconut oil

80g gluten-free flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F Plain Flour)

20g cornflour

50g custard powder

70g caster sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp xanthan gum

Method:

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas mark 6.

Measure all of your ingredients into a plastic jug and then mix it all together with an electric whisk.

Lay greaseproof paper out onto two baking trays.

Take small handfulls of custard cream dough and roll into a ball before flattening between your palms and placing them on the baking trays. Continue until the mix is all used up.

Press the tines of a fork onto the top of each biscuit to create the distinctive mark of a custard cream and bake in the oven for 12 to 15 mins or until they are golden brown.

Free-From Custard Creams About to be Baked

Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a cooling rack.

Once cold you can sandwich them with buttercream icing or drizzle with a topping if you like.

Freshly Baked Free-From Custard Creams

Free-From Custard Creams

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Rhubarb and Ginger Cake

Rhubarb and Ginger Cake by The Fat Foodie

This rhubarb and ginger cake is one of those delightful ‘chuck all of the ingredients into a bowl and mix’ jobs, a cake baking technique that’s a firm favourite with me. I’ve written before about the ‘generosity’ of gardeners in their ‘donating’ of rhubarb to me and with the turn of spring this year has turned out to be no different. (I jest, of course.) My Dad gave me a lovely bunch of lurid, thin pink rhubarb stalks the other day and although I’d been debating about making them into a jam, after flicking through Emma Hatcher’s The FODMAP Friendly Kitchen Cookbook I decided to try making her rhubarb polenta cake.

It would be more accurate for me to describe this as a variation of Emma’s recipe because I made quite a few changes, the most important of which was adding a generous amount of ground ginger. I always think that rhubarb and ginger marry well together. My aunt and uncle who are both avid allotment gardeners make a delicious rhubarb and ginger jam that’s to die for. In fact, if you try to steal some from my Dad you run the risk of death, so it really is ‘to die for’. Worth it though…

When I read that the flour base of this rhubarb and ginger cake was polenta, ground almonds and gluten-free flour I strongly suspected that the cake would be dry and tasteless, but from the minute I started mixing the cake together I could see that this assumption was very wrong. It mixed together like a ‘normal’ cake would without the granular texture I’ve come to expect from gluten-free cakes and baked very well indeed.

The base ingredients of this cake work so well that this could easily become my go-to gluten-free cake mix to use with other flavours. Accordingly, the finished product is a light, moist vanilla-scented cake that’s generously dotted with little chunks of soft, tart rhubarb and complemented by the warming presence of the ground ginger. The rhubarb and ginger cake is beautiful on its own, but I think it would lend itself well to a dollop of crème fraîche or a dairy-free equivalent. However you serve it, I guarantee it’ll be well received by all.

Also, if you want to try the original recipe from Emma’s book you can find it online on her publisher’s website here at Yellow Kite Books.

Ingredients:

120g fine polenta meal

75g ground almonds

50g gluten-free flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F Plain Flour)

3 tsps ground ginger

2 tsps xanthan gum

2 tsps baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

150g sugar

120ml vegetable oil

120ml rice milk

1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

120g rhubarb (chopped into small pieces)

Method:

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas mark 6.

Prepare an 8″ cake tin with greaseproof paper or a cake tin liner (a wonderful invention which makes cake baking infinitely easier than having to cut out circles of greaseproof paper to fit your tins!).

Cut the rhubarb into small pieces.

Measure the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and give it a good stir so that they’re all fully mixed.

Measure the wet ingredients into a jug or bowl.

Toss the rhubarb in the dry ingredients and then add the wet mixture and stir really well.

Pour into your cake tin and bake for 35 to 40 mins or until a skewer pushed into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Leave to cool and then serve.

Rhubarb and Ginger Cake by The Fat Foodie

Rhubarb and Ginger Cake by The Fat Foodie

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Fruit Custard Tarts (makes 4)

Fruit Custard Tarts by The Fat Foodie

Now that we’re starting to see a bit more sun on a daily basis thanks to the arrival of spring I’m finding myself more inclined to make desserts that incorporate lighter flavours, such as these fruit custard tarts. When I started eating dairy-free one of my best revelations to come from the vegan community was finding out that Bird’s Custard Powder doesn’t contain dairy. I found this really surprising, but I suppose it’s just because you expect such a sweet vanilla-based substance to be already creamy even before you add anything to it. Regardless, I’m grateful!

It feels a bit cheeky to be posting the recipe for these fruit custard tarts because they’re so easy to make, especially when I haven’t made my own custard, but they are really delicious so I figured I’d share it anyway. The pastry is very light and a bit crumbly, but I think that works very well with the sweet custard and berries.

It makes life so much easier if you bake the pastry in tart tins which have a removable base, but it’s not absolutely essential and you can just use a piece of greaseproof paper in the base to help take the pastry cases out of the tins instead. Also, don’t try to take the pastry cases out of the tins until they’re completely cold otherwise they’re more likely to break.

You can use any fruit you like in these tarts. I’d bought some raspberries and blueberries that were reduced to a ridiculously cheap price and that’s what I used, but you could make them more exotic by using coconut oil instead of butter for the pastry tarts and topping them with chunks of fresh pineapple. Whatever you choose to top them with, these fruit custard tarts are light, creamy and filled with flavour, perfect for dessert on a warm summer’s evening (or an optimistic Scottish spring night).

Ingredients for the tart cases:

70g gluten-free plain flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F Plain Flour)

30g ground almonds

1 tsp xanthan gum

20g caster sugar

3 tbsps rice milk

40g dairy-free butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for the custard filling:

80g Bird’s Custard Powder

40g sugar

1 pint (580ml) rice milk

Method:

Make the custard in accordance with the instructions on the pack and set it aside to cool.

To make the pastry for the tarts, put everything except the milk into a mixing bowl and rub the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers until it looks like fine sand.

Preparing the Dough for the Fruit Custard Tarts

Add the milk a little at a time, stirring all the while, until it forms a dough. (You might not need to use all of the milk. It can depend on the individual batch of flour you’re using.)

Preparing the Dough for the Fruit Custard Tarts

Set your tart tins out on a large baking tray and cut out two little squares of greaseproof paper for each tart that are big enough to line the base of your tart tins. (See the photo below if necessary.)

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas mark 6.

Put a piece of greaseproof paper in the bottom of each tart tin. Divide your dough into four and place a small lump of dough in each tart tin and mould to fit the tart tin.

Put another piece of greaseproof paper on top of the pastry and put baking beans on top.

Putting the Dough in the Tart Tins

Bake in the oven for 15 mins and then remove the baking beans and bake for another 10 mins (or until the pastry cases are golden brown). Leave the tarts to cool on a cooling rack.

Baked Tart Cases

When the tarts and custard are cold, fill each tart case with custard and top with fresh fruit. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.

Freshly Filled Fruit Custard Tarts by The Fat Foodie

Freshly Filled Fruit Custard Tarts by The Fat Foodie

Freshly Filled Fruit Custard Tarts by The Fat Foodie

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