Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Call me the allergy-friendly baking queen

It feels slightly wrong to post the above picture and following recipe as technically it is not my handy work. I shall explain. I have a friend who has recently been told she shouldn't be eating gluten. I was horrified at the news as there are so many foods I love, and would love to share with her, that are just full of the stuff. So many things have gluten in them, basically anything that uses flour, as well as lots of other random things that you wouldn't even think of.

As you'll have realised from the previous post about egg-free desserts I am always up for a challange, especially a baking one. I love it when my vegan friend visits, not only because she is one of my favourite people in the whole world, but because it gives me a chance to experiment with all sorts of fun things.

Saying "I'm giving up gluten" just sounds like a challenge to me. So in return for her showing me the amazing delights of Columbia Road flower market, and not only humouring my decision to buy a lemon tree, but helping me back with it, I promised her a gluten free baking session. We relocated to my North London Kitchen (which is considerably larger than hers) thanks to a lift from the musician boyfriends (who couldn't help mocking the lemon tree, swearing the fruit on it was glued on and the lemon scent just kitchen cleaner that had been sprayed over it), and donning our wonderful girly aprons we set to work.

She wanted something chocolate and cute so I suggested cupcakes and she jumped at the idea. An hour and a half later, and one curry and pizza delivery later (the poor musicians hadn't had lunch and were starving and we'd monopolised the kitchen with mixing bowls and chocolate wrappers) we had gluten free cupcakes. All the mixing and decorating are down to her, I just helped cream the butterceam icing and fill some of the cake cases.

We used roughly this recipe adapted from 500 Cupcakes and Muffins by Fergal Connolly. It made 12 regular cupcakes and 4 muffin sized ones.

300g gluten-free plain flour
175g caster sugar
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
2 beaten eggs
4 tbsp melted butter
300ml milk (I used soya milk)
1 tsp vanilla
210 g chopped chocolate (we mixed white and dark)
3tbsp cocoa

Preheat oven to 200C

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugar and baking powder. In a large bowl beat the eggs, then add the butter milk and vanilla and mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until combined, then add the chocolate. Spoon the mixture into the cases until they're about 2/3 full. Bake cupcake sized ones for 20 minutes, muffin sized for 25 mins. leave to cool before decorating.

We used a white chocolate buttercream for the filling and decorating.

I think you could adapt this recipe and swap in dried fruit or nuts etc for the chocolate, leaving out the cocoa.

Cute fairy cakes were definitely the perfect way to end a fantastic day and a busy weekend.

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