New team at work, new birthdays, new likes/dislikes/allergies. We have a coeliac and someone who is allergic to peanuts, and while the coeliac is fine with missing out on cake (she’s used to it, poor thing) I don’t think anyone should have to miss out if they don’t have to. So here we have some gluten-free (and peanut-free) cupcakes.
This is a recipe I’ve not used before, plus the added gluten-free factor meant that I was really worried these might not work out, but they seem to be pretty good! I tried making the pineapple flowers to add a bit of sparkle and they were surprisingly easy and delicious. If I were to do this again though, I’d make the pineapple flowers first and let them cool while I made the cakes.
3 cups plain gluten-free flour (or regular flour, if you like)
2 teaspoons baking powder
250g butter, softened
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
440g tin crushed pineapple, drained (reserve the juice as you may need it later)
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla well. Add the eggs one at a time and beat lightly between each addition. Sift in the flour and baking powder in two batches, and fold in to the batter. Add the pineapple and the coconut and mix well. I found the batter to be really thick, so I added about 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice as well, and could probably have added more.
Spoon batter into lined cupcake tins and bake at 180C for about 25-30 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Makes 24.
Pineapple Flowers – you will need a whole fresh pineapple for these. Cut the skin off and take out the eyes. Slice into rounds as thinly as you possibly can. Make a sugar syrup by melting 2 tablespoons of sugar into 2 tablespoons of water in a saucepan, and boiling briefly. Brush the pineapple slices with the syrup and lay on wire oven racks. Dry in an oven at 120C for about an hour. Take the pineapple off the racks and push them into mini muffin trays (or egg cartons) to shape them, and allow to cool.
I made a cream cheese icing, and decorated the cakes with toasted coconut as well as the pineapple flowers. Yum! And cute!!
It was my fiancé’s birthday last week, and one of the things I do for him each year is make him whatever birthday cake he would like the most. Up until now the most memorable was the black forest disaster from a few years ago (the cake itself was wonderful, me dropping it upside down on the ground and then being swooped by magpies for it was not). This year he requested a layered mash-up of two of his favourite cakes, Chocolate Stout cake and Red Velvet cake, the common link being that I usually put the same icing on both of them.
The result was a crazy mess of deliciousness!
Note: He was not turning 301 – that’s 30 + 1 because we didn’t have the right candles!
I made both cakes and cut the stout cake into three layers and the red velvet cake into two layers. I made one quantity of cinnamon cream cheese icing, and used it to sandwich the layers together, alternating flavours, and then finish with the rest of the icing on top.
It was not a pretty cake! If I ever do this again I will definitely make more icing to put in between the layers and also to cover the sides. But, despite how it looked, it tasted amazing. Incredibly rich, although the red velvet added some lightness, and huge! Thin slices were more than sufficient to put everyone into a sugar coma.
I was given a bunch of soft bananas by a colleague who knows I love to bake, and thought I could possibly make something tasty from them (thanks Clayton!). Instead of a banana bread style recipe, I opted for more of a traditional cake. This wasn’t originally intended to be a dairy free cake, it just so happened that way based on the ingredients I had in the fridge. (I’ve made this twice in the last 2 weeks, but unfortunately was not able to get very good photos on either occasion – it disappeared too quickly!)
Sliced up and ready to share!
The cake itself is very easy – I made the whole thing in my KitchenAid mixer, but if you don’t have one it would still be a simple one-bowl process using electric beaters.
125g Nuttelex (soft butter or butter substitute)
1 ½ cups caster sugar
3 mashed overripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
100ml almond milk (or regular milk)
1 ½ cups self-raising flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 20cm round cake tin, and line the base with baking paper. Place butter, sugar, banana, eggs, and vanilla in a bowl and beat for a couple of minutes. Add the milk and beat again. Add the flour and bicarb soda and beat again until combined. Pour into cake tin, bake for 1 hour. Cool in tin for about 10 minutes, then turn onto wire rack to cool.
I then iced this with lemon cream cheese icing, slightly defeating the purpose of making the cake dairy free to start with! It was delicious though.
To make my cream cheese icing I beat 1 block of softened Philadelphia cream cheese with a couple of tablespoons of soft butter. Then I add icing sugar while beating, until it’s the right consistency and taste, and I add some fresh lemon juice at the same time until it tastes how I want it. This makes quite a lot of icing, but it’s super yummy!
To me, red velvet cake always has a sense of decadence around it. The texture really is velvety, thanks to the buttermilk, and the cream cheese icing is so luscious.
I’ve made these cakes quite a few times this year upon request, and what I love is that they are so easy – can be made entirely in my kitchenaid mixer – yet they never fail to impress.
This recipe that I use is an adaptation of the one from the famous Hummingbird Bakery, and makes about 24. Continue reading