Strawberry and Vanilla Cheesecake Gluten Free

I admit I’ve had strawberries on the brain this last week.  In my efforts on embracing the good life the vegetable plot is growing, and strawberries are one of this years projects.  My new plants are in, and we are waiting for them to grow.  However in the mean time, what better excuse for a free from cheesecake? Oh and we had a houseful for Mother’s Day and cheesecake is always a winner. Plus this is a no bake cheesecake so it’s easy to make as well. 

My error with this was that I personally think it would be better in an 8 inch tin, but I misplaced mine so the 9 inch had to be the tin of choice ( I don’t  think my guests noticed anyway). 

  

Ingredients 

Base

  • 250g biscuit I used gullon as they are nut free. You can click Here to buy them. 
  • 80g melted butter

Filling

  • 600g  full fat cream cheese
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 200ml double cream 
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence. 

Method

  • Crush the biscuits either in a bag with a rolling pin, or in a food processor
  • Add the melted butter and pulse until you have a damp rubble.
  • Press into the base of a spring closing cake tin and leave to set in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

  

  • For the filling whisk the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla together. 
  • I whisk the double cream separately until it forms stiff peaks. Then gently combine this with the cream cheese mixture. 
  • Put this on top of your biscuit base and leave to set in the fridge ideally overnight. 
  • I decorated with fresh strawberries and mini meringue kisses. 

  

  

Gluten Free Tiger Cake. 

As you may, or may not know, I have a three year old.  Those of you with kids will ( probably) tell you how, at times, the toddler years can be challenging, and I’m not just talking about allergies. 

I’ll paint you a picture, currently the obsession of LR is Thomas The Tank, Dinosaurs, Paw Patrol ( the theme tune makes my ears bleed) and animals. Which leads us on to the fact my birthday is this week and she thought it would be great if I have a birthday cake. Only Thing was madam thought a tiger cake would be great. Now if it’s anything like the dinosaur I attempted the other week, the cake was going to be a car crash- trying to explain that to a head strong tot was even worse.   The stropometer reached a level I think we have never seen before, and quite frankly I’ve no desire to see again.

So why am I babbling about my cake decorating disasters? Well the compromise was a tiger cake in the form of stripes ( sort of ) with chocolate and vanilla layers to look ( sort of) like a tiger,  and LO was promised to be able to like the bowl so the actual cooking could commence. 

  
 Don’t worry about the vanilla sponge looking a rather odd colour, yours will look great, ours had the addition of orange food colouring to add to the tiger theme. 

Ingredients 

  • 4 eggs
  •  100ml milk ( of choice) 
  • 250 ml oil I have used either coconut or sunflower
  • 250g caster sugar 
  • 1tsp vanilla extract 
  • 475g self raising flour ( I use Doves farm Gluten free) as a side note you can sub 75g of flour for ground almond which helps make the cake moist we don’t due to nut allergies. 
  • 25g Cocoa or raw cacao powder. 
  • 1tsp baking powder

Method 

  • Preheat oven to 180C /Gas Mark 4 
  • Line a 23cm cake tin 
  • Lightly beat the eggs then mix with the milk, oil and vanilla extract. Add 175 g of flour and whisk until smooth
  • Get 2 bowls pour half this mixture in 1 along with 1/2 tsp baking powder and another 175g of flour
  • In the other pour the rest, add the cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp baking powder and the remaining flower. 
  • In the centre of your tin put 2 large spoonfuls of white mixture, then the same of chocolate directly on top. Keep doing this until the tin is full

  

  • Don’t worry if it’s not perfect circles I had to improvise a bit at the side but it adds to the effect of the cake. 
  • Put in the oven and cook for 40-50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. 
  • I let it cool for 10 mins in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

  

Et voila there you have your marble ( I mean tiger) cake. My only notes to add would be that I think it would look great decorated as a chocolate drippy edge cake with the full works in terms of a mountain of chocolates on top.  

It’s better eaten fairly quickly as well, I find the gluten free version has a tendency to go dry quite quickly, but it goes wonderfully with a cup of tea, and I fact the dry sponge I made into a chocolate and orange trifle….. Buts that’s another post. 

Green Banana Flour

Am I going bananas? It this a thing? Well ( some would argue yes to both if they know me) green banana flour is the latest grain free flour to hit the ever growing “free from” market.  I can hear health fashionistas jumping for joy from here.  However my burning question was what is it exactly, and do I need to try it/ incorporate it into our allergen riddled lifestyle? 

I’m interested both personally, and professionally, I’m often asked about diet and lifestyle and giving advice to patients, so I was keen to find out. That and by nature I’m quite inquisitive so one no show the other afternoon had me looking at the research. 

In the green phase banana has a high starch/ resistant starch content. This type of carbohydrate isn’t as quickly absorbed by the body- keeping us feeling fuller for longer, and helping to regulate insulin levels ( Bras et al 2013).  Also by nature it is high in potassium and gluten, dairy and nut free. 

  
Natural Evolution kindly sent me some flour to experiment with, and I’ve had great fun with some creations. It is a difficult flour to get to grips with in baking, you need less than conventional flour and a fair amount of liquid. Bear with it though. It gives a lovely almost nutty taste and a fairly light fluffy texture.   My tip ( as advised by Natural Evolution ) was to start out trying a spoonful in your smoothie, it provides  a thicker texture and I swear I felt more satisfied after, which is a bonus in a morning if you are In a rush. 
So my next trial was a cake, and being autumn, coupled with the fact we grew a lot of apples I decided on a spiced apple cake.  This works well either on its own ( with a coffee obviously) or as a pudding with custard. The nutty taste of the flour also lends itself well to spices like cinnamon and mixed spice. 

Ingredients 

  • 140g banana flour
  • 50g brown rice flour
  • 150 g sugar of choice (caster, stevia etc) 
  • 1tsp gf baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp xanthum gum
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice 
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of oil eg, coconut, vegetable or grape seed ( I used coconut) 
  • 1/2 cup of milk of choice
  • 1-2 sweet apples. 

Method 

  • Preheat your oven to 180 and line a cake tin. 
  • Melt your oil if using coconut. 
  • Mix dry ingredients together. 
  • Beat the eggs and add to the oil. 
  • Mix wet and dry together. 
  • The mixture goes like a crumbly dough- add your milk at this point and mix well. 
  • If it’s still a bit dry add some more milk a splash at a time until a smooth batter is achieved
  • Pour half into a tin and add a layer of Apple. 
  • Cover with the rest of the mixture
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. 
  • Leave to cool in the tin for ten minutes then transfer to a rack. 

  

Serve and enjoy.

  

Have you tried green banana flour yet? What are your thoughts or tips? Let me know in the comments below. 

Chocolate Courgette Cake 

Since I’ve gone all good life ( as my friends tell me) my garden is in full produce production. Courgettes are one such thing that I have a glut of. There are only so many ratatouilles that you can eat, although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like them, so on went the thinking cap and amongst other things a courgette cake was one of my ideas. 

  
Now don’t be put off by thinking ( baby George style) “yuck, veg in a cake” you cannot tell and the sponge is wonderfully moist. This is great as my version is gluten free as well, which can have a tendency to dry out, but the moisture from the courgette gives the cake a fudgy texture. It’s great warm as a pudding with some kind of creamy addition or with your afternoon cup of tea. 

I topped it off with a dark chocolate ganache which works well- be warned though your kids get plastered in it. Mind you its a win win as licking the bowl does keep them quiet for a while. I take no responsibility for the messy chops and clothes though. 

Ingredients 

  • 350g self raising flour ( I used Doves farm gluten free) 
  • 50g Cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp mixed spice 
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 300g caster sugar 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 175 ml melted coconut oil 
  • 2 medium courgettes grated 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 

Method 

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C and line a 24cm cake tin. 
  • Grate your courgette and set aside.
  • In a bowl sift together the flour, cocoa, mixed spice and xanthan gum. 
  • Mix the eggs with the sugar and melted oil and vanilla extract and then fold in the courgette. 
  • Combine wet and dry ingredients and pour into your cake tin.
  • Cook for roughly 40 minutes or until your inserted skewer comes out clean. 

If you want to make a ganache place 200g of chocolate ( I used kinnerton)  in a bowl Andreas until boiling point 100 ml of double cream.  Pour this over the chocolate and stir well. Once the mixture has cooled and thickened then pour on top of your cake. 

  

Review -Mrs Crimbles Gluten Free Madeleine

   
 
  Pre coeliac diagnosis, and having spent a fair amount of time in France I was quite fond of a Madeleine. Post diagnosis and many many attempts at creating a gluten free version I just could not succeed in perfecting the gluten free version of this French classic.  I just resided with the fact that this would be on my lust after, but never having list. ( along with the McQueen peeptoe heart shoes, and Johnny Depp). 

 Anyway I digress, my ears pricked up when I heard about Mrs Crimbles bringing out a new gluten free version of the classic Cake. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I found said cakes in my local garden centre of all places. Fosse way Garden centre in case you were wondering. 

They only had the classic version, but you can also get a chocolate version as well direct from Mrs Crimbles. Now they do carry a ‘ may contain’ nut warning which I’m assuming is an actual risk as Mrs Crimbles makes a bakewell type slice with almonds, so I tried these during a post soft play nap (mini me, not myself) 

  
I was impressed, they are all individually wrapped which is handy if you are out and about, and being a normal Madeleine they are the usual size as well- perfect with a cup of coffee. You get a good waft of vanilla when you open the packet, and once you cut into the cake the texture is closed pack like I remember they used to be. 

These taste lovely, you get a fairly strong vanilla taste- I like that, and no artificial aftertaste. In fact they are quite moreish, so stopping yourself from reaching for another is challenging. Another point is that they are aren’t dry when you bite into them, as some gluten free cakes can be.  All in all I am impressed with them, and I look forward to trying the chocolate ones at a later date.  Well done Mrs Crimbles. 

Have you tried these yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

Review- Mrs O’s Fuss Free Cake Mixes 

If you have never heard of Mrs O’s Fuss Free mixes then you are in for a treat. A small company producing easy baking mixes that are all Egg, Dairy, and nut free, and now gluten free. This made my ears prick up as nut free in a mix is hard to find. You can have a look for yourself  Here at the different goodies you can buy.

  
I was kindly sent a gluten free cake mix to experiment with and see what we all thought. Now I will confess I was skeptical ( I am by nature anyway) of an egg, dairy, and gluten free mix being any good in terms of rise, taste and texture, but I never form judgement until I’ve tried anything.

The mix is very easy to use, add to the mix :

100g melted dairy free spread ( I used butter in one trial and it works just as well)

200 ml rice milk

1tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp white wine vinegar.

Mix it up and hey presto your cake batter is ready ( it looks and feels like an egg containing mixture as well)


I made cupcakes and added raisins, little one loves them and was demanding them ( Waitroses’ are nut free). These take a shorter cooking time, roughly 20-25 minutes compared to 45-50 minute for a larger cake.

Now I have to say I was impressed with the rise in the cakes both small and large, and the texture was light and fluffy. Incidentally they keep better as well, still being soft and moist the day after, unlike some gluten free cakes can do.

 

I trialed the Victoria sponge on family, only one other is coeliac, and the verdict was the cake was tasty, moist and that the rise was impressive ( add puns later). I have to say I agree, the addition of the vanilla means you have a lovely flavoured sponge, with no artificial after taste left in your mouth.  I used cream as a filling with jam, I think buttercream would make the whole thing too sweet, but that is just me. It works well with other flavours to, I think a coffee cake will be next on the list.

It was great that mini me could also join in and no worry of her swelling up which is a bonus, and aside from the cooking time the whole thing took all of 10 minutes to put together which is great.

IMG_0963

The only slight disadvantage I could see some people having issue with is the cost of the product which ranges from £5.50 to £8.50, but for me peace of mind and convienience if you are in a rush are huge advantages, and well worth a try – I’m looking forward to the gluten free brownie mix when it’s available.

Disclaimer- I was sent this product to trial, but all views are my own, honest opinion.

Review, Carl The Caterpillar Cake from Tesco 

Yes it’s called Carl, yes I’m 32, no I don’t care. It was my birthday yesterday and having seen this cake being advertised, and being gluten free my inner child said I needed one.  Off I went on a mission to find said insect friend. Guess what I found one to. 

  
Carl is £6, serves 12 and is a chocolate cake, covered in fondant With chocolate buttercream sandwiching it all together. As a tip I found it in the Free From section of Tesco and not with the other cakes in the bakery department. 

The packaging is bright and eye catching, perfect for all age groups ( the new Easter packaging on hot cross buns is great as well), it even comes on a cake board so can be served straight away. All good bonus points. But really we are all waiting for the taste test. 

  
There is a lot of fondant on this cake, which I confess I found very sweet, so ended up picking it off. The cake itself is moist with a fairly generous amount of butter cream and a good chocolate flavour of the actual sponge cake. On the whole I liked it, although It was probably a bit too sweet for me. I do admit I had a minor wobble on eating it when I saw the sugar content, but for a birthday treat and bike ride later I can take it. 

  
I can see this will be a winner for children, and it means that no one will be left out and also a godsend for those of us who can’t/ don’t like icing cakes. It’s worth mentioning though that it is unsuitable for nut allergy sufferers – don’t worry I didn’t eat in and glout in front of mini me. I bought a just free tray bake the is 100% nut free. 

So there we have it, not a bad product and good value for money. Have you found and tried this cake yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.