Sunday, 20 February 2011

Dariy Free Chocolate Brownie

Again this is an adapted version of the brownie recipe in the Humingbird bakery book.  It is garanteed to go down well. It never fails me and takes seconds to make that I always make this when people come over. It works for afternoon tea, as well as a pudding warmed up with a dollop of ice cream. Yum.


200g dark chocolate
175g  soya spread
325g caster sugar
130g plain flour
3 eggs
I use Dr Oetker dark cooking chocolate bars only say may contain but don’t list dairy products in their ingredients so I assume it is just that the factory uses milk in other products and they write this to cover their backs.  If you use dark dark chocolate it tends to be too rich for brownies and they don’t turn out so well.  For the spread I use dairy free soya spread as this tastes similar to unsalted butter. If you can use the soya version rather than the sunflower or olive version. Also fresh eggs really help make this brownie lovely and light and slightly sticky. Mmmm

This recipe works well by hand, I had never tried doing this is a food processor before last week as it is so easy to make I can’t justify the extra washing up the processor causes! However as I discovered when I did do it in a processor it does get the mix far smoother but I have to say this didn’t impact on the taste!
Preheat the oven to 170’C and prepare your tin. I tend to use baking paper to line the tin.  Just a long strip going across in one direction with extra hanging over wither side to life the cake out with after cooking.

1)      Put the chocolate (broken up into chunks) into a heatproof bowl with the margarine and melt this in the microwave.  Keep a close eye on this. Don’t multitask at this stage just watch over the chocolate and keep taking it out and stirring to combine it as it melts.
2)      Add the sugar to the chocolate mix and stir in until smooth.
3)      Add the flour and stir in. It will seem a little stiff and doughy at this stage. Do not fear the eggs will change that!
4)      Now add the eggs into the bowl and mix, you will notice that the mix becomes lovely and smooth and probably has air bubbles on the surface.
5)      Pour this into your prepared tin and put into the oven for 30 – 35 mins
6)      Keep an eye on it from 30mins on, when you take the cake out, if you gently wobble to tin from side to side if the cake wobbles and moves in the centre you know the mix is still liquidy and not quite ready. Put it in for a further 5 mins. Keep taking it out and checking like this until it is no longer wobbling in the centre. When you think it is finally done take the cake out, and insert a skewer, if the skewer comes out clean you know that is is cooked!
7)      Leave the cake in the tin for 30 mins until it is more solid, then lift it out of the tin onto a rack.  I like to turn mine upside down and use a sharp wet knife to slice the brownies into squares. Then I cut a shape out of paper like a heart or Christmas tree etc nd place this in the middle of the square and then sprinkle icing sugar on the top of the brownie do when you lift of the paper shape you have a pretty topping!

Coconut and Lime Cake

This is a brilliant recipe :-D I love making this. For a dairy free version just substitute the butter in the butter ice for dairy free margerine. If you use soya marg it just tastes like unsalted butter and you won't be able to tell!

1) Grate a 200g block of creamed coconut
2) Mix half of this into the cake mix before baking.
3) For the frosting mix the other half into butter icing (6oz butter and 9oz icing sugar) with the zest and juice of two limes. If you have any stir a shot or so of malibu into the butter icing and mix.
4) If you have any desicated coconut then try litle dry frying this in a pan to brown in a little and leave to cool (this is a must do, do not skip this bit... bad things happen like icing slipping off the cake. I talk from bitter experience!)

5) Decorate the top, sides and middle of the cake witht he butter icing and when done stick the toasted coconut around the edge and decorate the top with slices of lime.  Yum.

Dairy Free Banana and Cinnamon Muffins

This recipe has been taken from the Hummingbird Recipe book and adapted to be dairy free. The muffins taste good, but s with all muffins with fruit in, they need eating up fast!


350g plain flour
¾ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
160g caster sugar
375 ml alpro-soya natural plain yogurt
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
70g dairy free spread, melted
400g peeled banana, mashed


This makes 12 muffins.  Preheat the oven to 170’C and put the muffin cases in the muffin tins ready and raring for baking!

1)       Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl (flour, salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon) and mix them up.
2)      Put the yogurt, egg and vanilla extract into a processor or glass jug and mix up well.
3)      Pour the yogurt mix into the flour mix slowly and combine a bit at a time if mixing by hand and if using a processor beat on a slow speed until all of the ingredients are well mixed.
4)      Pour in the melted dairy free spread.
5)      Stir in the mashed bananas and mix well.
6)      Spoon into the muffin cases until 2/3 full and sprinkle over a little extra sugar and cinnamon.
7)      Bake in the oven for 20-30 mins. Try inserting a skewer or I use the end of my thermometer as it is always handy, It should come out clean.
8)      Leave the muffins to cool on a wire rack.

Gluten Free Sponge Cake

My mum found out she couldn't eat wheat about 10 years ago, it took a long time to get used to her new diet and to find substitutes. For quite a few years she couldn't find cakes or any sweet treats that she could enjoy, the shops hadn't jumped on the free from bandwagon at that stage and recipe books weren't as abundant. I trawled the internet a lot and came across this recipe which I have adapted a little over the years! This cake rises a lot more than normal sponges and also tends to get less dry. It tastes so good that when I make it no one even knows it doesn't have wheat in it!!
All of the below ingredients tend to be stocked in supermarkets like Tesco in the UK. We tend to order rice flour and tapioca flour on the internet in bulk to save a bit of money and so we don’t risk not finding it.

The recipe makes 36 cupcakes (UK size or 12 big muffin size cases) or one victoria size cake.


235g rice flour
100g tapioca flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp xantham gum
4 eggs
250g caster sugar
150g mayonnaise (2/3 cup)
235ml milk
2 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 165°C (although all ovens are different so experiment a little)
If you haven’t already done so if you are making a victoria cake prepare your baking tins. I like to use margarine smeared around the tins. If you are making cupcakes, get the cases out now and fill the cupcake tins with the empty cases so you re ready when it comes to filling them with mix.
If you have a food processor I recommend cracking it out, if not do not worry!

1)      In large mixing bowl mix together the dry ingredients (rice flour, tapioca flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and xantham gum) and set aside. Make sure that you use exactly one flat teaspoon of xantham gum. A tiny bit too much and the middle of your cake will remain gloopy and won’t cook.
2)      In the processor if you have one or alternatively in a separate mixing bowl mix the eggs, sugar and mayonnaise until smooth. 
3)      Add the flour mix to the mayo mix and add in the vanilla essence. Mix until it is all well combined.
4)      Now pour half into two cake tins or alternative spoon some into cupcake cases until two thirds full.
5)      Cook for 30 mins at 165’C.  To test whether it is ready after 30 mins I take my pointy thermometer and stick it into the middle of the cake. The thermometer should come out clean. If there is any cake mix on the thermometer then I know it need a little longer.  Keep a close eye on it if this is the case.
6)      Cool on the tins for 15 mins, then remove from the cases and place on racks to continue cooking.
7)      When cooled enough ice the cake. For this you will need:
100g butter
140g icing sugar
Drop of vanilla essence
This is enough to fill the middle with butter ice. Once you have done this you could layering some good quality strawberry jam in the middle and sprinkling icing sugar on top or for  more luxurious finish make another batch of butter ice and put this on the top!

See my coconut and lime cake icing recipe here. 

Saturday, 19 February 2011


I am a sucker for macaroons :-) I found a little shop in London that sold macaroons which tasted better than most of the ones I have tried in Paris! I loved the front of the shop, it was so colourful :-)

I bought a book from Chatsworth shop on how to make them but I found it too complicated. Yesterday I came across this website:

It explains simply how to make them. I tried this recipe yesterday rather than the book from Chatsworth at it proved more successful than my last attempt. I keep over whipping the egg whites and when I add my food dye it separates and looks curdled. The instructions for any macaroon recipe say to leave the egg whites separated for 24 hours before using so I am going to try making them again doing this. I separated my eggs last night... The attempt yesterday ended up cracked, overcooked and and well, just not macaroon quality!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Dairy Free Chocolate

One of the things that I miss
the most since giving up dairy products is chocolate :-) Cadburys Dairy Milk was my favourite. I liked it smooth, creamy and cold! Until yesterday I had tried Sainsburys milk chocolate bars, chic orange and choc crisp. All not bad at all but quite sweet, these are in most supermarkets now just in different wrappers. Some larger Sainsburys also sell Celtic chocolates, the milk chocolate truffles being addictive! Asda also sold dark chocolate dairy free selection boxes similar to Cadburys Roses :-) however yesterday on discovering that the town i have started working in has a Waitrose I ventured out to see what delights were on offer there and discovered their Organica Chocolate Couverture Bar. All I can say is it is goooood! I haven't found that I have craved chocolate in the same way I used to with Cadburys but this chocolate bar changes it all!! I managed to munch my way through the entire thing in two days. It's amazing!

After years of sewing, perfecting my cake recipes and trawling the internet for inspiration I felt the time has come to record my discoveries somewhere for myself and others who may benefit.  Most of the females in my family can't eat wheat and fortunately while I can dig into a nice chunck of freshly baked break I can't eat dairy so I have learnt to cook without these ingredients. My mum and I have been adapting recipes, making minor changes to being just plain adventurous.  I would like to pass these onto other people who struggle to find a good victoria sponge cake or a nice chocolate brownie recipe!  So  I hope that you enjoy my new blog as much as I enjoy creating it :-D

Clare x