As someone with coeliac disease, afternoon tea is sometimes a bit depressing. You sit there watching other people devour luscious cakes and bickies you can’t have. Although I try and limit how much cake I eat (a losing battle, I fear), I have come up with some foolproof gluten free recipes for teatime treats which will fool even the most experienced palate into thinking they’re having the real thing…
I’m not going to show photos. It means I’ll have to actually make the cakes, which is asking for trouble… Or they’ll turn out wonky, which they occasionally do, in which case you’ll find them somewhat less visually appealing. Give them a try and set your own benchmark.
Let us begin with two I’ve made more times than I care to remember. I make no apologies for the different measures used. It’s how I developed the recipes at the time. Don’t mix metric and imperial weights. Cup sizes are metric: 1 cup = 250ml. Self raising flour is all purpose flour with added baking powder. If you can’t get this, add the amount you usually do for cake making.
Flourless Lemon Polenta Cake
130g/5oz each of ground almonds (almond meal), shredded coconut and fine polenta (cornmeal)
1tsp GF baking powder
Finely grated rind of 3 lemons (tart ones are best, not Meyer or Lemonade lemons)
270g/9oz each of softened butter and caster/fine sugar. If you can get brown caster/fine sugar, even better
4 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Juice of two lemons
8oz icing/powdered sugar
Juice of approx 1/2 lemon
Mix ground almonds, coconut, polenta and baking powder in a bowl, stir in lemon rind. Beat butter and sugar together using an electric mixer till pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating in well, then add vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients and lemon juice till just combined. Pour into a greased and lined 24cm/9″ cake pan and bake at 160C/300F for 1 hour or till golden, and the usual knife/skewer test comes out clean. Cool in tin, turn out onto a plate base side up. Sift icing/powdered sugar and gradually stir in enough lemon juice to form a thick glaze. Spoon over cake, allowing it to run down the sides. Refrigerate for half an hour or till the glaze is set. This will keep for a few days in an airtight cake tin, but I doubt it’ll last that long…
Caramelised Pear Cake
4 Beurre Bosc pears, or other grainy textured, robust variety, peeled, cored and quartered
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup caster/fine sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 medium eggs
1 1/4 cups GF self raising flour, whichever variety you prefer. In Australia, White Wings gives me the best results.
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
Grease a 24cm/9″ springform cake pan and line the base with foil. Put caramel ingredients in a pan with a tablespoonful of water, and stir over low heat till melted. Simmer for a couple of minutes till it thickens. Pour into the prepared cake pan and arrange pear slices on top. Beat the butter and sugars together till pale and creamy. Add vanilla extract, then eggs, one at a time, beating well between each one. Sift in flour and fold in, add milk, and stir to combine well. Spoon mixture evenly over pear slices, smooth surface. Bake for 1 hour at 170C/325F, or till a skewer/knife inserted comes out clean. Sit for 5 minutes in the pan before inverting onto a plate. Best eaten warm with cream or icecream, but it’s pretty damn good cold too.
If you need to substitute ingredients and you’re not sure what’ll work, send me a comment and I’ll get back to you pretty quickly with suggestions.