Tag Archives: cake

Lime and Coconut Cake (gluten-free)

Lime and Coconut Cake (8386)

Excluding Nigella’s Chocolate Olive Oil Cake from Nigellissima (recipe coming soon) I never tried making a gluten-free cake before this one. When I wrote something about this on my Facebook wall, I received quite a number of private messages (and public comments) asking me for gluten-free recipes. To be honest, I never imagined how much interest this was going to generate. I find that more often than not, many recipes claiming to be gluten-free, sugar-free or anything-free, are in fact gimmicky, as in shady, in their use of ingredients. During the past week I have spent hours searching for good ones and I only bookmarked a few.

Lime and Coconut Cake (8380)

I wasn’t going to post this one so soon, but I would never leave my readers and friends without this beautiful cake. A few hours after I baked it I gave a couple of slices to my neighbour, without having a taste myself. I cannot explain why but whilst mixing and making a mess in the kitchen I knew instinctively that this lime and coconut cake was going to work. I don’t know about you, but there are only a handful of established cooks I trust. The River Cottage gang is seriously making the list these days, and this particular recipe has become one of my go-tos. It’s effectively a lime version of the classic lemon drizzle cake, with rice flour. For the drizzle please make sure to use icing sugar instead of regular sugar though. You will get a smoother syrup this way.

  • 125g rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)
  • 175g soft unsalted butter
  • Zest of 3 small limes
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lime oil (optional)
  • 50g dessicated coconut

For the drizzle:

  • 75g icing sugar
  • Juice of 3 limes

Grease and line a loaf tin (approx. volume 1 litre), making sure to leave extra parchment paper at the sides. It will be easier to lift the cake from the tin later. Preheat the oven to 175C/Gas mark 4.

Sift the rice flour, baking powder and xanthan gum (if you choose to use this) in a medium-sized bowl, and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and lime zest, add the sugar and continue beating until you have a light and creamy mixture.

Add the eggs, one by one, adding 1 heaped tablespoon of the sifted rice flour mixture after each egg, and whisk this completely into the butter mixture before adding the second and third egg. Add the lime oil, if using.

Gently fold the remaining flour, preferably using a metal spoon. Fold in the coconut.

Tip the cake batter into the prepared tin, smooth the top, and bake for around 40 minutes, until it turns a nice golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. With the same skewer punch small holes into the surface of the cake, without reaching the bottom. Keep the cake in the tin.

Lime and Coconut Cake (8382)

Make the drizzle by heating the icing sugar and lime juice in a small saucepan. When fully dissolved, slowly pour half the liquid onto the cake, somewhat evenly. Cool the cake for 10 minutes on a wire rack, still in the tin, and pour the remainder of the syrup. Leave the cake to cool completely, before taking it out onto a serving plate. Smoothness and syrupiness galore!

It will keep for around 5 days in an airtight container. but it will retain the moistness for a couple more days in the fridge. So don’t throw it away!

Enjoy!

Rob x

(Recipe adapted from River Cottage Handbook No. 8: Cakes, by Pam Corbin, Bloomsbury, 2011.)

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Nigella’s chocolate and olive oil cake from “Nigellissima”

Chocolate-and-Olive-Oil-Cake-(6373)

When I purchased Nigellissima, this was the first recipe I wanted to try. I have previously come across other recipes with vegetable oil instead of butter as one of the basic elements of cake, but never olive oil. It could be that my reading isn’t extensive enough. Having said that this is somewhat of an unusual recipe. It really does work well though, and it has become very popular in this house. My lovely neighbour also told me it was “delicious” and I trust her judgement. Nigella’s recipe is great for those who are allergic to gluten, but you can also choose to replace the ground almonds with plain flour (the measurements of which she gives both in the book, and see the link below). I made it with almonds, as I always have a stash in my pantry, especially in the colder months when I make crumbles by the dozen. The almonds give extra moisture and oiliness to the cake, and by the end you should have something in between a sponge and a cake. If you want something easy but different this is the recipe you should go for, and it takes no time to prepare just before your guests arrive for lunch. Perhaps today for Halloween. All you need now is an espresso. A real one. Black and black.

Rob xx

Additional note (11.12. 2013): I have made this cake again and have posted new updated photos. Click here for the full recipe.

Anything-you-want-to-add-to Cake!

Cranberry-Cake-(5957)

Pretty weird as a title I know, but that’s how I felt when I baked this little beauty. My chocolate bakes which I have promised you will be posted soon, but today I thought about writing about a simple Madeira style cake which I love to prepare when I’m really up against it. I can never *not* have anything good to eat in this house, and neither should you – not that you must listen to everything I tell you but it’s nice to be prepared! Also there’s no need to remind my lovely readers that J eats for four, e di più!

I have been meaning to post this recipe for quite a while (I think I made this for the first time in the beginning of summer) but never came round to writing about it. Here it is today though. My inspiration comes from a recipe which you can find in Nigella’s HTBADG for Cherry Almond Loaf Cake. It’s a fantastic cake because you can replace the dried cherries with any other dried fruit you fancy. It’s as simple as that really. I love it because it’s easy and good for those days when chocolate won’t do either – a rarity, but it can happen. I used cranberries which worked really well. They are my favourites! One thing I will say is that since this cake is very moist, it has a tendency to take a bit longer than usual to bake completely. And it might remain moist in the middle, especially if you accidentally pierce a berry, but on the whole, a skewer or knife should come out clean. OK, here we go:

  • 200g dried cranberries
  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 225g soft butter
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 6 x 15ml tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/Gas 3. Grease and line a loaf tin.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar till they become creamy and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs slowly, then the vanilla extract.

Sift the flour and baking powder together and slowly fold them into the egg mixture, with the ground almonds.

Fold the dried cranberries and the milk and pour this cake batter into the prepared loaf tin. Don’t worry if the mixture seems thick. It’s supposed to be that way.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, but most importantly when a skewer comes out totally clean. Leave in the tin on a wire rack until the cake cools completely.

Enjoy!

Rob x

Moist Almond Cake.

Almond-Cake-(5255)

This recipe goes quite a few months back. I had an unusual number of lemons lying around doing nothing. This is not the norm in this house. As any good Mediterranean foodie I really really love lemons…in anything, not just in baking. That makes it perfect for use all year round.

Now how about this: the following recipe has almost nothing to do with lemons, so why am I rambling on about them you ask? It’s because the *original* recipe used the zest and juice of two lemons, but being such a klutz in the kitchen I zested my lemons, juiced them, placed the zest and juice into two small ramekins ready to go into the batter…yes…and of course I forgot about them!  I tipped the batter into the cake tin, into the oven it went and by the time I went about doing other things like checking any mail and cleaning the kitchen in between prepping other dishes, it was too late to add the lemons. This is definitely not the first time something like this happened, but nonetheless I was still angry with myself. I thought that the cake would lose out too much on flavour and maybe it would have lost some of the moistness. I am happy to say that I couldn’t have been more wrong. One has to admit one’s mistakes! The cake was good and moist. Thinking back, how couldn’t it not be?

This recipe is taken from How to Be a Domestic Goddess. Nigella says: “It is a plain cake, but gloriously plain.” It’s not meant to be a warning – this cake is meant to be made and enjoyed like all the simple things in life. It’s a cake for all seasons with or without the lemons. J preferred it without because he loves almonds. I think that it’s great either way. One thing I love here is the minimal amount of flour used; there are only 50g. The ground almonds take care of the rest. Here’s the recipe without the lemony element. I will make a note for those who would like them to be included as I go along. Here it is then!

  • 225g unsalted butter, softened or slightly melted
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 50g plain flour
  • 225g ground almonds
  • ½ teaspoon almond essence (I used ¼ teaspoon almond extract instead)
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons if using*
  • a piece of kitchen foil big enough to cover the top of the cake**
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4 and line or grease a 23cm springform tin. (I tried this cake twice also using a normal round cake tin. Make sure you *really* grease the tin well. But be careful; this cake is damp and very fragile.)
  2. In a large bowl beat the sugar and butter together till you have a white mixture. Be patient – it *will* turn white. Beat in the eggs one by one and also add the flour, one quarter of it at a time. (Beating the eggs properly ensures some rise in the cake as there is no raising agent here.)
  3. Now add the ground almonds, the almond essence, and if you like tip in the zest and juice from the two lemons at this point.* Stir very very gently. This is important to keep the air in the batter.
  4. Tip the mixture into your prepared cake tin and bake for around an hour. This is only a rough estimate (as you can see in the book). Mine took 55 minutes exactly in both cases. So always keep an eye on it. After around 25 minutes cover the top of the cake with some kitchen foil to avoid burning.** You want it to turn a nice golden colour. Any more than that and it could burn. When the cake is done the skewer should come out clean. Don’t worry if there is a little gooeyness stuck to the knife or skewer. It’s ok if there’s just a little!
  5. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool in the tin for a little while. Then turn it on to a wire rack and let it cool completely. What I did at this point, and this is totally up to you, is to melt around 100g of dark chocolate with a knob of butter on a small pot of steaming water. Drizzle this over the cake. It’s an unfussy way of putting a little decoration. I don’t bother with anything else at this point – it will be gobbled up anyway! Nigella has some great tips on how to serve this cake too: either with some lemon ice cream or with raspberries or both! Enjoy and tell me what you think if you try it.

Enjoy!

Rob x

Cola Cake

Coca-Cola-Cake-(5167)

I love food, but let’s be honest, there are things that I don’t like to eat (or drink for that matter) that much. One of these is tea…I just can’t take tea. I don’t like the smell and I don’t like to prepare it. I do sometimes for J if that counts for something. I know that you will forgive me for this one small thing anyway! Another pet-hate of mine is raisins. Yes I know…I know…how can I not like raisins?! Believe me I would change this if I would! I bake with them often though, because they are a must-have in a lot of cakes and so on, and they’re so Christmassy too! So I do have a little taste every now and again.

Now I must tell you that this year I’ve decided to approach Christmas food in a different way. I did not make a Christmas cake because it takes us until July to eat it all, and frankly, Summer is no season for a cake that rich! Secondly we’re only two people at home so I don’t want to end up with loads of leftovers in the fridge. But we might have some friends over for the holidays so I don’t want to skimp either. After one of the joys of Christmas is being able to feed people and prepare a feast, even on a budget. I’ve already tried all my recipes so I feel prepared and I am so looking forward to this year’s festivities.

Recently I’ve come across a recipe from Nigella’s HTBADG for a Coca Cola Cake. Please don’t be frightened and don’t panic because there’s absolutely no reason to! You don’t need much and it’s there for a reason: it makes your chocolate cake so moist and wonderful that you won’t want to look back and do it any other way. I promise! It’s quick and easy to prepare as always and it’s a great bake for this period of the year, when it’s likely to have people visiting at short notice. (I love having people over; if I were still in Malta I think I would set up camp in my kitchen!) Storing this cake in foil in a cool place will keep it beautifully moist and fresh for around three to five days. But you can forget about that because it’ll be gone by two! Enjoy and tell me what you think if you do try it.

Things you will need for the cake:

  • 23cm Springform round cake tin, lined with kitchen foil, then greased.
  • 200g plain flour
  • 250g caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1 large egg
  • 30g yoghurt mixed w/ 100ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 175ml Coca Cola (Please – not diet!)

Ingredients for the icing (optional but hey it is Christmas!):

  • 225g icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 x 15ml tablespoons Coca Cola
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas Mark 4, and place a baking sheet on the middle shelf. In the meantime prepare the cake tin by lining it with kitchen foil and grease it will a some butter so nothing sticks. You can use this foil to store the cake in, away from anyone who might want to eat it all!
  2. Take a large bowl. Put in the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and mix. In a measuring jug beat in the egg, yoghurt, milk and vanilla extract. Grab a saucepan, put it on gentle heat, and melt the softened butter, cocoa powder and Coca Cola. Pour this cola mixture in the dry ingredients, mix well with a wooden spoon or a whisk. Then pour in the ingredients from the measuring jug. Combine everything well and pour the batter into the cake tin.
  3. Place the tin on the baking sheet in the oven and bake for approximately 40 mins till a skewer or a knife comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool for around 20 minutes in its tin, and in the meantime prepare the icing.
  4. In a small saucepan place the butter, Cola, and stir on a gentle heat till the butter has completely melted. In a small bowl, sieve the icing sugar. When the butter has melted, switch the heat off and remove the pan onto your kitchen surface and add the vanilla.   Gradually spoon the icing sugar into the saucepan beating well as you go along. You should end up with a spreadable icing which will still be a bit runny. So don’t worry.

Pour this icing while the cake is still warm. It will melt slightly but it adds to the gooey yummy-ness of this cake.

If you want to turn it up a notch, bake two cakes, spread some of that yummy hazelnut spread in between the two, sandwich them together and ice as usual!

Enjoy!

Rob x