Gluten Free Christmas: Coconut Snow Cupcakes

It’s almost Christmas Day! It’s been a busy festive season for me, but I still have one Christmas recipe to share with you this year –  my Gluten Free Coconut Snow Cupcakes.imageThese cupcakes are a little different to your traditional Christmas bakes, perfect for anyone who isn’t a big fan of dried fruit but still festive enough to be served on Christmas Day – I think they would also be lovely served at a New Years Eve party! imageI got these cute star decorations from HEMA – they are actually cocktail sticks but I thought they would make cute cupcake toppers, but you can use any cupcake toppers or edible decorations of your choosing!


Gluten Free Coconut Snow Cupcakes

Ingredients

For the sponge:

200g golden caster sugar

200g Butter, softened (or dairy free alternative)

200g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour

2 tbsp dessicated coconut

1 tsp Baking Powder

3 tbsp Milk (or dairy free alternative)

1/2 Vanilla pod deseeded (or 2 tsp of vanilla extract)

1/2 tsp coconut extract (optional)

2 large eggs

For the buttercream icing:

150g unsalted butter, softened (or dairy free alternative)

250g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

1 tsp vanilla extract

To  decorate:

3 tbsp dessicated coconut

edible glitter (optional)

Method

1) Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C/Gas Mark 3 and line a cupcake tray with cupcake cases.

2) In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.

3) In a separate bowl cream the butter, vanilla extract and sugar together with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy.

4) Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. With the mixer on a low speed, add the egg a bit at a time along with a tablespoon of the flour mixture.

5) Once the egg is fully combined, add the rest of the flour and the milk until you are left with a smooth mixture.

6) Spoon approximately one and a half tablespoons of the mixture into each cupcake case, being careful not to overfill them.

7) Bake for approximately 20 – 22 minutes – the cupcakes are ready when they are golden brown and firm to touch.

8) Leave the cupcakes to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling while you prepare the buttercream icing.

9) To make the buttercream, beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy and almost white in colour.

10) Once the cupcakes have cooled, spread the buttercream forest in over each cupcake using a palate knife, then sprinkle each one with desiccated coconut and a touch of edible glitter to finish.

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That’s it for my Christmas recipes this year! If you’re looking for more gluten free Christmas baking inspiration why not check out my Gluten Free Stollen Muffins, Gluten Free Gingerbread Wreath or you can find a full list of my Christmas recipes over on my Recipes page.

 

 

Gluten Free Fondant Fancy Cupcakes (Inspired by ‘The Great British Bake Off’)

Today I’m going to share with you my Gluten Free Fondant Fancy Cupcakes recipe which is inspired by the showstopper challenge from the Semi Final of ‘The Great British Bake Off’.

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Last week’s show saw the remaining four bakers battling it out over Patisserie for a place in final, but sadly Selasi didn’t make the cut. He might not have made it to the final, but he did win over the hearts of the nation and I will definitely miss him during this week’s show. Speaking of this week, the final will be a very bittersweet occasion, as although I am excited to see who wins, I am sad that this is the last episode of GBBO as we know it.

What I’m going to miss most is how the show has inspired me to bake things I’d never thought of trying – this includes fondant fancies, which were featured on last week’s show.

I used to love Fondant Fancies and seeing them on the show has made me feel super nostalgic – I remember having them at my Grandma’s house when I was little and how I always would choose the pink ones, because I liked them best!

I will admit though, Fondant Fancies looked incredibly difficult and fiddly to make, so I decided to go for a more simple approach. My Fondant Fancy cupcakes are much a easier to achieve, but they are every bit as delicate, dainty and delicious as the fondant fancies I remember.

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These cupcakes would be lovely served at afternoon tea or a birthday party and are sure to impress, despite being deceptively simple.

Gluten Free Fondant Fancy Cupcakes

Makes approximately 16 small cupcakes

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

150g softened butter (or dairy free alternative)
150g caster sugar
150g gluten free self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk (or dairy free alternative)

For the buttercream:

100g softened butter (or dairy free alternative)
100g icing sugar

For the fondant icing:

300g ready to roll icing
50ml cold water
A few drops of pink food colouring

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C/gas mark 3 then line two cupcake trays with 16 cupcake cases.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy.

3. Add a tablespoon of flour, then beat in the eggs a little bit a time before sifting in the remaining flour and baking powder. Add the milk, then beat the ingredients together with the electric hand mixer until combined.

4. Spoon two teaspoons of mixture into each cupcake case, being careful not to overfill them. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and firm to touch.

5. Leave the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack. To make the buttercream, beat the butter with an electric hand mixer until it’s very light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and continue to beat until all the ingredients are combined, then transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a medium plain nozzle.

6. Once the cupcakes have cooled, pipe a blob of buttercream onto each cupcake then place them in freezer to firm up while you make the fondant icing.

7. Cut the ready to roll icing into pieces and place them in a large bowl. Add a splash of water and using a spatula start to break up the icing until it starts to become more paste like. Add the rest of the water and beat with an electric hand mixer until the fondant becomes more runny.

8. Save a couple of tablespoons of the white icing to decorate the top of the cupcakes. Add a couple of drops of pink food colouring to the remaining icing and mix until the fondant turns a light pink colour.

9. Remove the cupcakes from the freezer. Spoon a little of the pink fondant icing over each cupcake, then use a palate knife to spread out the icing making sure that the buttercream is covered.

10. Put the left over white icing into a piping bag fitted with a small writing nozzle. Pipe the icing across the top in a zig zag pattern.

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Gluten Free Viennese Whirls (Inspired by ‘The Great British Bake Off’)

Bake Off is finally back on our TV screens, so queue the nationwide baking frenzie and attempts to recreate bakes from the show at home – sometimes with varing success!

This was certainly the case when I attempted to make a gluten free version of Viennese Whirls, the technical challenge from this year’s Biscuit Week.

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I discovered Mary Berry’s recipe on the BBC Food website and decided to give it a whirl (see what I did there?) – I thought a gluten free version would work quite well and that all I needed to do was change the flour… I was quite wrong!

I followed Mary’s recipe to the letter and all the the tips the bakers mentioned on the show, including insuring the butter was soft enough and chilling the whirls before baking. Unfortunately, they turned out a crumbly mess and I couldn’t even get them off the baking tray without them disintegrating into a million pieces

The recipe definitely required a few further tweaks to work gluten free, so it was back to the drawing board.

I think that the first attempt went wrong because the mixture was too soft and a bit oily which resulted in the mixture melting in oven, despite the fact that I’d chilled the whirls in the freezer for 15 minutes prior to baking.

On my second attempt I decided to use margarine instead of butter, which combatted some of the oiliness, and I added a touch more dry ingredients, which resulted in a firm but pipeable mixture. Again, I  chilled the whirls before baking which helped them to keep their shape.

This time they came out overbaked, which I think is due to the oven temperature being quite high in Mary’s recipe – if you don’t check the biscuits every 30 seconds after the first 13 minutes, you might accidentally overbake them and I definitely wouldn’t recommend leaving them for the full 15 minutes without checking them!

By the third attempt, I knew I had found the right balance of ingredients but decided to drop the oven temperature from 190 degrees to 180 to help to slow down any potential overbaking.

It was definitely third time lucky. The result was a whirl that had kept its shape, was golden but not over baked and was actually stable enough to get off baking tray and be filled. They also tasted delicious and melted in the mouth – heaven!

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Gluten Free Viennese Whirls

Recipe adapted from Mary Berry’s Viennese Whirl Recipe from ‘The Great British Bake Off’ found on the BBC Food website.

Ingredients

For the biscuits:

250g soft margarine (or dairy free alternative)

70g icing sugar

225g gluten free self raising flour

50g cornflour

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling:

Strawberry Jam (Mary’s recipe said Raspberry, but I prefer Strawberry)

100g unsalted butter (or dairy free alternative)

200g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/160 degrees C fan/gas mark 4.

2. Line 3 baking trays with baking paper, then use a 5cm cutter to draw 8 circles onto each sheet of paper, making sure they are well spaced out. Turn the paper over so the circles are underneath.

3. In large bowl, cream together the margarine, sugar and vanilla with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the gluten free flour and cornflour and beat with the hand mixer until all the ingredients are fully combined.

4. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a medium star nozzle – I like to use plastic disposable piping bags because I think they are easier to use.

5. Pipe 24 swirls inside the circles on the baking sheets. Place the baking sheets in the freezer for 10 – 15 minutes to help the swirls firm up before baking.

6. Bake for 13—15 minutes, until  pale golden-brown in colour. I reccomend checking them every 30 seconds after the first 13 minutes as the edges can catch and they can easily overbake.

7. Leave the whirls to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes then transfer them to wire rack to cool completely.

8. To make the butter cream, beat the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy and almost white in colour. Transfer into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle.

9. To decorate: Spoon a little jam onto the flat side of half of the biscuits, then pipe a swirl of buttercream over the top. Place a biscuit on top of each one to create a sandwich, then dust with a little icing sugar to finish.

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No Churn Raspberry and Mascarpone Ice Cream

After what has seemed like months of endless grey clouds and drizzle, the sun finally decided to grace the UK with its presence and Britain has just enjoyed a week of uncharacteristically warm weather, which some of us Brits are quite frankly not used to.

Despite the fact it has been uncomfortably hot at points, I have tried to make the most of the sunshine as it will be over all too soon and at the weekend I had my first (and probably last) barbecue of the year and made homemade ice cream.

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When I think of summer one of the first things that pops into my mind is ice cream. When I was a little girl my dad worked as an ice cream man and the summer holidays consisted of playing outside with my sisters, endless supplies of ice cream and ice lollies and the occasional trip out in the ice cream van, if I was good!

So, I’m sure you’ll understand why the hot weather meant that I just had to have ice cream and what could be a more perfect excuse to make my own? It’s also surprisingly  easy – it’s a no churn recipe, so you don’t need an ice cream machine but an electric whisk is always a good idea.

When it came to choosing flavours, I decided to use mascarpone cheese as a nod to my Dad (he’s Italian so it seemed like the perfect ingredient) and raspberry which is a lovely sharp contrast to the creamy mascarpone – this recipe is incredibly versatile though, so you can go to town creating tonnes of interesting flavour combinations!

No Churn Mascarpone And Raspberry Ice Cream

For the Raspberry Sauce:
125g fresh raspberries
1 tbsp caster sugar
25 ml cold water

For the Ice Cream:
250g cheese mascarpone, room temperature
397g can sweetened condensed milk
600 ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method: 

1. To make the raspberry sauce: place the raspberries, sugar and water into a food processor and blend to a puree. Push the purée through a sieve to remove the seeds then set it aside for later.

2. For the ice cream, soften the mascarpone cheese with an electric whisk until it is very soft, add the condensed milk and vanilla extract then whisk until the mixture is smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the double cream until it forms soft peaks, gently fold through the condensed milk and mascarpone mixture without knocking too much volume from the cream, but ensuring that all the ingredients are combined.

3. Drizzle half of the raspberry sauce over the ice cream mixture but don’t fold it through. Spoon the mixture into a large freezable container and place in the freezer for at least 6 hours or overnight and refrigerate the remaining raspberry sauce.

4. Thaw the ice cream before serving with the remaining raspberry sauce.

Gluten Free Vanilla and Coconut Slices Recipe

It’s summer and what better time of year for an afternoon tea party?

If you are looking for something gluten free and a suitably impressive bake to serve at afternoon tea, look no further than my delicate and delicious Vanilla and Coconut Slices recipe. 
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What could be more tempting than these cakes? They not only do they look attractive enough to serve at afternoon tea, but they are light enough and not too filling – leaving you more room for all those cucumber sandwiches!

The sponge itself is filled with desiccated Coconut and laced with Vanilla and the icing isn’t your traditional buttercream but a lighter version made with Trex – if you want to know how to make snow white buttercream then keep reading!

Gluten Free Vanilla and Coconut Slices

For the sponge:
200g Caster Sugar
200g Butter, softened (or dairy free alternative)
250g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour (I used Doves) plus 2 tbsp dessicated coconut
1 tsp Baking Powder
4 – 5 tbsp Milk (or dairy free alternative)
1/2 Vanilla pod deseeded (or 1 tsp of  vanilla extract)

2 large eggs

For the Icing:
25 g Butter (or dairy free spread)
100g Trex  (Crisco in America)
175g Icing Sugar
2 tbsp Milk (or dairy free alternative)
1 tsp clear Vanilla essence (or put your deseeded vanilla pod into your icing sugar to flavour it)

plus
2 tbsp of toasted coconut to decorate.

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/160 degrees C Fan Assisted/Gas Mark 4.

2. Grease and line a square baking tin.

3. This is an all in one method – sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl then add the remaining ingredients. Beat with an electric hand whisk for 2 minutes then scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Beat the mixture for a further 2 minutes or until all the ingredients are fully combined.

4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the mixture with a palate knife

5. Gently tap the tin on the work surface to get rid of any air bubbles then bake for 30 – 35 minutes until the cake is risen, golden brown and is firm to touch.

6. Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool slightly before turning it out onto a wire rack. Leave the cake to cool completely while you make the icing and toast the coconut.

7. Place the coconut in a large oil-less frying pan over a medium heat. Gently toast the coconut until it is golden in colour.

8. In a large bowl, beat the vanilla essence (if using), trex and butter until soft.
Then add the icing sugar and milk and beat until you are left with a light and fluffy icing. 

9. Once the cake has completely cooled you can start to assemble the slices.
Firstly, trim the edges of the cake.
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10. Cut the cake down the middle into two halves then cut each half into 5 slices – You should be left with 10 slices in total
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11. Cut each slice in half horizontally ready to be filled with the icing.

12. Spread a generous layer of icing over the base of each slice then sit the other half of the sponge on top.

13. Spread icing over the top of each slice then gently sprinkle each one with the toasted coconut.
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These slices keep just fine in an airtight container and don’t need to be refrigerated – in fact, they were baked on the hottest day of the year so far which didn’t even cause them to collapse into a soggy mess!

I hope that if you have an afternoon tea party coming up that you will try my recipe. If you are looking for more gluten free baking inspiration check out my recipe page or keep up to date with what I’m making on Instagram or Facebook.