Dr Oetker Dr Schmoetker

SINCE cake-making unexpectedly entered my culinary lexicon with the horrifying realisation I couldn’t just go out and buy one, I’ve relied happily on Dr Oetker for icing. The supermarket own brand fondants all seem to be ‘may contain nuts’ so it was a blessed relief to have a ready-to-roll  I could easily track down in most stores.

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Until now. If you’ve come across Dr Oetker Regal-Ice lately you will no doubt have noticed ‘may contain nuts’ has arrived there, too. All of a sudden I’ve realised we have another birthday on the horizon and I need to find out exactly what the risk is – and possibly hunt me down a safe alternative elsewhere. Continue reading “Dr Oetker Dr Schmoetker”

Absolutely the BEST cake recipe ever

Nut free, dairy free, egg free (optional: gluten and wheat free)

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I CANNOT even begin to say how easy and amazing this allergy safe cake recipe is.

As usual, I left it until the last minute to get prepping for Sid’s birthday (how clearly I remember last year pledging to perfect all manner of sweet treats by the time he turned three. Ha!) and in a state of panic tweeted my worries about finding the right recipe.

Back came a link to something called ‘Wacky Cake’, an American concoction apparently created during the Depression era when fresh ingredients were rationed. It contains no egg, no dairy, no nuts and can be baked with gluten free flour, too. It uses vinegar or lemon to replace the egg and it works.

Continue reading “Absolutely the BEST cake recipe ever”

Higher Lank Farm’s fruity fairy cakes

Wheat free, gluten free, egg free, nut free, soya free (optional: dairy free)

IMG_6870I RECENTLY posted about our fab stay at Higher Lank Farm, where the lovely Lucy became the first person outside our immediate family to cook for Sidney. Among the treats were her fruity fairy cakes – little sponge revelations where spoonfuls of stewed apple or apricot replaced egg.

I wish I’d had this recipe months ago. It’s so easy – barely more than half an hour from start to finish – and even the non-allergics love them.

When Lucy appeared with a pile of mini apple ones during our welcome ‘high tea’, Sidney wolfed down five. They keep brilliantly in the freezer, defrosting in just half an hour if you need them in a hurry. They’re delicious plain, or iced with a glacé cherry topping, or decorated with a thick layer of lemon buttercream and sprinkles.

Even better, Sid was able to help Mum make a batch of them last week and immensely proud of his efforts he was, too: it’s heart-warming to see him baking. I so want him to take delight in food and not (always) view it with fear.

The only tweak I’ve made here is to omit Lucy’s inclusion of xantham gum. For some reason my early efforts resulted in horribly chewing gum-textured cakes (whereas hers were fluffy and light) and there seems to be no downside to leaving it out. In any case, xantham is already in the Dove’s Farm flour blend.

Ingredients

4oz caster sugar (I use Billington’s unrefined)

4oz Dove’s Farm gluten free white self raising flour

4oz unsalted butter or Pure Dairy Free Sunflower Spread

1tspn baking powder (try Barkat)

2 heaped tablespooons of either stewed apple or stewed apricot

The juice of one lemon if using the apricot recipe

Method

Peel and chop the fruit and stew without water, constantly stirring, until softened to a pulp. Mash well.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Ideally, use a food processor to really whizz it up – not enough mixing can lead to a ‘granular’ sugary texture.

Add in the sieved flour and baking powder, and two heaped tablespoons of the fruit. Add the lemon juice for the apricot cakes. A tiny touch of milk for the apple cakes can also help, but isn’t vital.

Whizz the lot in a food processor until smooth. Using an ice cream scoop or a dessert spoon plop the mixture into little fairy cake cases in a baking tray (these ingredients will get you around 12 cakes) and cook in a non fan oven on 180.

Bake until golden brown, which depending on your oven can take anything from 15 to 25 minutes. Don’t ask me why, but if I ever try to double this recipe and batch bake more the cakes sink – yet when I stick to the amounts here and bake 12 at a time, they come out perfectly. I read somewhere once that doubling up gluten free baking recipes isn’t straightforward so maybe there’s something in it.

For plain icing I mix Tate & Lyle or Whitworths superfine with water (most other brands contain an ‘egg trace’ warning) while I followed this lemon buttercream recipe to dress the apricot cakes and added Dr Oetker sugar strands, which are wheat, nut and egg free.

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Easy peasy shortbreads

IMG_5425Wheat free, gluten free, egg free, nut free

THIS Dove’s farm recipe is as quick and easy as it looks.The biscuits worked a treat on first attempt – a rare find, I find.

I’ve made them as recommended with lemon zest and juice, and again with a little less lemon, ditching the zest and throwing in a handful of chocolate drops. Next time I’m going to try substituting the lemon for orange. Then we’ll go for a coconut version, too, I think. Ooh, the possibilities… Continue reading “Easy peasy shortbreads”

Banana & carrot cake

(Wheat free, gluten free, egg free, nut free, dairy free)

DSC_0785SUDDENLY Sidney’s second birthday was upon us and I realised that, nope, I hadn’t spent the entire past year transforming myself into the queen of allergy friendly baking after all. And I had no idea what cake I was going to make.

For his first we managed, after much effort, to create a decent Victoria-style sponge, but I didn’t want to churn out the same staple year after year. I needed a repertoire of treats. Plus we were now free to eat banana, Sid having outgrown that ridiculous allergy at 18 months… and banana can be a handy substitute for egg in cake recipes.

Continue reading “Banana & carrot cake”

The perfect cheesecake (two ways)

IMG_4390YOU’LL BE hard pressed to find a shop or deli-bought cheesecake that doesn’t contain egg, let alone wheat or nuts. But it’s actually really simple to knock up an allergy-friendly alternative that tastes just as good… and maybe even better.

I first made this recipe, just before Sid was born, for my husband’s birthday. (I’m not a mental baker, but I was six months pregnant and we weren’t going out on the razzle so I decided a cake would be a substitute – albeit a poor one!). I’ve adapted it here for Sidney using Tru Free digestives, which are egg, nut, wheat and gluten free. Continue reading “The perfect cheesecake (two ways)”

Grandma’s ridiculously quick & fruity flapjacks

Wheat free, egg free, nut free (optional: dairy free)

SID’S Grandma (my husband’s Mum) is a master baker of lovely cakes – deliciously moist Victoria sponges, boozy sherry logs at Christmas, butterfly “buns” (as Yorkshire idiom would have ’em), coffee sponges, pies, meringues, crumbles…

Obviously, Sid has never been able to sample any of these concoctions although, luckily, he’s too young to know any different. But as he nears two and is starting to notice (and care) what other people are eating, I’m delighted to say that Grandma’s traditional flapjacks have been reinvented to fit his silly dietary demands – wheat free, egg free and, as ever, resolutely nut free. Continue reading “Grandma’s ridiculously quick & fruity flapjacks”