It’s nearly time for the most spooky and scary time of year again, Halloween! If you are having a Halloween party or just giving out sweets, these pumpkin cupcakes with spiced cream cheese frosting will do the trick!
I love Halloween, it’s the best occasion to be creative with your bakes. These cupcakes are a great way to get the kids into the kitchen and interested in baking. They can be decorated in different ways. These cupcakes use up the left overs from the pumpkins.
Recipe for Gluten Free Halloween Pumpkin Cupcakes:
- 110g unsalted butter
- 240g coconut sugar (you can use brown sugar)
- 2 large eggs
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 100g of pumpkin puree (roasted)
- 245g gluten free self raising flour
- ½ tsp xantham gum
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 125ml buttermilk (or 120ml milk with a teaspoon of lemon juice)
For the white ghost icing:
- 75g cream cheese
- 150g icing sugar
- 1tsp lemon juice
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
For the ginger buttercream:
- 125g unsalted butter
- 300g icing sugar
- 4 tsp crystallised ginger syrup
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Orange food colouring (add as much as you want depending how orange you want it)
- Preheat your oven to 160° fan/180°/350°f/gas mark 4, and line a cupcake tin with 12 cupcake cases.
- In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is smooth (this takes 5 mins I like to put a timer on). Then beat in the vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl combine the flour, xantham gum, cinnamon and ginger give it a stir so all the spices are mixed in.
- Break the eggs into a cup and mix, poor half the mixture into the butter and sugar. Then add a spoon on flour (this stops the mixture curdling). Do this until all the egg is mixed in. Then add the the pumpkin and beat until just combined.
- Add one third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat in, then add half of the butter milk and beat. Repeat these steps until all the flour and butter milk has been added.
- Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases and fill just to the top.
- Bake for 25 mins. Check if the cakes are cooked by inserting a skewer. They are cooked if the skewer comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes then place on a cooling rack to completely cool before icing.
For the white ghost icing:
- Cream the cream cheese for 3 minutes until light and fluffy
- Then add all the other ingredients and beat until all the ingredients are combined.
For the ginger icing:
- Cream the butter, syrup and lemon juice for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add the icing sugar and cinnamon and beat until smooth.
I used a large nozzle piping bag to create a swirl effect. you could of course ice with a flat knife. I topped the cakes with Halloween decorations and googly eyes.
After making the homemade jam, I wanted to bake something with it. The first thing that came to mind was Jammy Dodgers (find the jam recipe on my blog). I loved eating these when I was a little girl.
I have always loved baking, but biscuits are tricky gluten free because they are much more crumbly, however these hold their shape really well. This biscuit recipe is really easy to make, but looks really impressive .
These are made with coconut sugar so they are much healthier for you than a normal biscuit. I find the coconut sugar actually adds a really nice flavour. I actually prefer these biscuits to the ones with caster sugar. If you want to be completely refined sugar free then you can use sugar free jam. These biscuits are great to make in any season. I used raspberry jam but you can add any flavour jam you like.
Every summer I love to go the seaside with my family and dog who loves to have a walk on the beach and paddle in the sea. We always have a picnic. These biscuits are perfect to have in the hamper with a cup of tea. These are now going to be in the cake tin when we go out for day trips.
My tip is to roll out the dough straight away, don’t rest it because it becomes to crumbly to roll out.
Gluten Free Jammy Dodger Recipe:
- 110g unsalted butter
- 55g coconut sugar
- 165g gluten free plain flour
- 1tbsp whole sheep milk (but you can use normal milk)
- ½ tsp vannila bean paste
- 1 jar of raspberry jam
- Preheat your oven to 170°/150 fan/ gas mark 3 ½ and line 3 baking trays with baking parchment.
- Put the butter, vannila and coconut sugar in a bowl and beat until the sugar is light and fluffy (I beat it for 4 mins on a medium speed),
- Next beat in the flour with a pinch of salt and beat in the milk until it forms a soft dough. Beat in a little more flour if too soft.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 mins to bring it together.
- Cut the dough in half. Roll out half the dough using a round cutter and place onto the baking tray, then roll and cut out the rest . Use a small star cutter and cut the middle of half of the biscuits (these will be the top).
- Put into the oven and bake for 15-20 mins until they feel firm to touch ( I baked mine for 19 mins in a fan oven).
- Once cooked leave on the baking tray for 5 mins then place to cool on a cooling rack (be careful when moving the biscuits because they are delicate).
- To assemble the biscuits put a teaspoon of jam onto the biscuit that does not have a star shape on it. Then place the star cut biscuit on top.
Last year for my birthday my parents gave me the chance to go on a jam making course. The experience was such fun that I was very keen to make my own jam. Sadly last year I was too late to pick my own fruit, but last week I went to a ‘pick your own’ fruit farm ready for my jam making.
The first time I ever made jam was when I was four. I went on holiday to Ireland and went blackberry picking with my cousins. I remember the jam I made was the best thing I had ever tasted. I think it was the freshness of those blackberries.
Making jam when you have picked your own fruit means its fresher and makes better jam. This year the raspberry crop was the best. The blackberries are now starting to be ready to be picked. I picked and made raspberry , strawberry and blackberry jam .
My tip is to only make a kilogram of jam at a time which is 6 jars of jam. If you make it in this amount I find that it is easier to control the temperature, and all the jam I have made has set really well. Also make the jam as soon as possible after you have picked the fruit.
I loved the raspberry jam the best.
Recipe for raspberry jam:
- 1 kg raspberries
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 pack of jam sugar (1 kg with pectin added)
- Before you start making the jam, sterilise your jars. Put into the oven on 180°(fan) for 30 mins. After 30 mins take the jars out of the oven and leave to dry. Also put a plate in the freezer or fridge to cool (this will be used to test if the jam has set).
- Tip half the raspberries into a preseving pan and add the lemon juice. Mash the berries to a pulp with a potato masher, then cook for 5 mins.
- Tip the cooked berries over a sieve. Once all the juice has drained off , firmly work the pulp through the sieve until you are left with the seeds only.
- Tip the juice back into the preserving pan and over a low heat stir in the sugar. Then add the remaining raspberries and bring to the boil.Boil for 5 -7 mins (make sure you stir occasionally this will stop the sugar crystallising around the side of the pan).
- Spoon a teaspoon of jam onto the cold plate and put back into the fridge for 2 mins. The jam will be ready if it wrinkles when you push a spoon into it. If it does not, boil again for another 3 mins (I find it needs an extra 3 mins).
- Once ready take off the heat. Get a small piece of butter and stir it into the jam, this stops a skin forming when the jam is cooling.
- Leave to cool for 30 mins stirring occasionally. Once cooled poor into the jars and leave to cool for another 30 mins . Then put a ring of parchment paper the size of the lid to stops a skin forming. Then put the lids on.
- Unopened store in a cupboard and once opened store in the fridge.
I made this cake for my mum’s birthday a week ago and she loved it so much she asked me if I would make it again. As it is mothers day on Sunday I have decided to make it again!
I found a recipe for a cake I had made before which worked well but as I’m now on a gluten free diet I needed to adapt the recipe. I also thought it would be good if the recipe had reduced sugar as I’m trying to cut down on sugar in my diet.
This cake is made with coconut sugar and has maple syrup in the coconut and orange frosting. This means the cake is much better for you, so don’t feel bad if you have a second slice in the same day! I also wanted to add extra spice to the cake to help add natural sweetness.
Make sure you buy the ingredients for the coconut frosting the day before. The coconut frosting requires you to put a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight, so the top sets and you can whisk it up to make the frosting the next day.
Recipe: Gluten free Carrot Cake with coconut and orange cream frosting with lemon curd.
For the cake: (Recipe adapted from the book ‘Great British Bake Off Everyday’)
- 4 large eggs
- 125ml light olive oil
- 230g coconut sugar
- 225g gluten free plain flour
- 2 ½ tsp gluten free baking powder
- ½ tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp allspice
- 375g carrot grated (6-7 medium size carrots ) but if you have less amount don’t worry
- 75g desiccated coconut
- 100g raisins
- Zest of one orange
For the syrup:
For the frosting:
- 1 zest of an orange
- 1 tsp maple syrup (can add more depending how sweet you want it)
- 2 x 400ml can of coconut milk (Put into the fridge the night before to harden)
Half a jar of lemon curd (optional)
pistachio nuts , desiccated coconut and orange zest
- Firstly make the cake. Prepare 2 x 20.5cm cake tins greased with butter and the base lined with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 180° / 350 °F/gas 4 .
- Put the eggs , olive oil and coconut sugar in a bowl, whisk with a free stand mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand held electric whisk for 5 mins until everything is frothy.
- Sift the flours, baking powder, xanthan gum and spices into a bowl and gently fold with a metal spoon until everything is combined. Add the grated carrot, coconut, raisins and zest of an orange to the bowl and fold in with a spoon until everything is incorporated.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tins and spread out evenly, making sure to get to the corners and you have smoothed the top. Put into the oven and bake for 35 mins until a skewer comes out clean.
- While the cakes are cooking make the syrup. Put the juice of an orange and lemon in a pan and reduce for 10 mins. (I don’t add sugar) .
- Once cooked take out of the oven leave for 5 mins, take out of the tin and place on a cooling rack. While the cake is still warm make small holes with a skewer in the sponge and pour in the syrup .
- While the cake is cooling make the coconut frosting. Take the coconut cans of milk out of the fridge and scrape the top that has set over night into a bowl (you don’t need the liquid bit at the bottom. It can be used for homemade curry later in the week. Whisk until soft peaks form, the add the zest of an orange and 1 tsp of maple syrup and whisk for a further 3 mins. Add more maple syrup if you want depending how sweet you want it.
- Once the cake is completely cool then start assembling the cake . Place one of the cakes upside down on the cake stand or plate depending what your going to serve it on . Spread half the jar of lemon curd on the cake ( if you are using it) and then add half of the coconut frosting. Place the other cake on top and spread the rest of the coconut frosting .
- To decorate lightly toast desiccated coconut for 5 mins in a pan, until it goes lightly brown, Put on top of the cake then sprinkle pistachio nuts and add zest of an orange.
Happy spring everyone! This year I decided that I wanted to learn and develop gluten free bread recipes. I have been wondering what recipe to share next, as it is St Patrick’s day on Sunday, so I thought this must be the next recipe.
Gluten free Soda Bread!
I have grown up with soda bread. Before I went ‘gluten free’ I use to cook my aunties recipe. Every time I went to Ireland to visit there was a fresh loaf. It’s delicious with jam for breakfast. I love the light texture so now I am gluten free I was determined to develop a gluten free recipe.
It has taken me a long time to develop this recipe, as I have found that gluten free soda bread crumbles much more easily than a normal soda bread, and the texture can be denser. I have found that using four types of flour, instead of only using two, really helps keep the structure, and the bread does not crumble when cut, and has a light texture.
This recipe keeps really well and can be made ahead and frozen. This bread is a perfect way to start a St Patrick’s day celebration with smoked salmon, or served with an Irish Stew later in the day.
It’s a great bread and I always try to make two and freeze one as there is nothing better than having homemade bread for open sandwiches.
Gluten Free Soda Bread Recipe:
Note: This cooking gives the best result. Bake for the first 20 mins in a 170°c oven , then turn the oven down to 150°c to cook for another 10 mins. Finally, take out the bread and place on a baking tray upside down and put back in the oven for 10 mins.
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 90g teff flour
- 75g brown rice flour
- 50g potato flour
- 25g gluten free brown bread flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½ tsp gluten free baking powder
- 40g sunflower seeds
- 1½ tsp rapeseed oil plus some for greasing the tin
- 2 tsp molasses
- ½ tsp xanthan gum
- 2 eggs
- 100ml goats milk
- 50ml sheep yogurt
- 1 tbsp brown rice flakes (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 170° and grease a loaf tin with rapeseed oil. Then cover the bottom of the tin with rice flakes (optional) . Just shake off the ones that don’t stick to the tin.
- Measure out the goat’s milk and sheep’s yogurt . Add the apple cider vinegar and set aside.
- Combine the flours with the baking soda , salt and baking powder in a bowl, then stir in the sunflower seeds.
- Add the oil, xanthan gum and molasses to the milk and yogurt mixture Using a hand blender pulse, until everything is well combined. Add the eggs to the milk and use the hand blender to mix in the egg (I like to do that for 3 minutes)
- Finally make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir until everything is well combined.
- Pour into the greased tin smooth the top. Put into the oven for 20 mins . After 20 mins turn down the oven to 150° and cook for a further 10 mins. Take the bread out of the tin and place upside down on a baking tray. Put back in the oven and cook for a final 10 mins.
- Take out of the oven wrap in a wet tea towel, which stops the bread from drying out. Leave to cool in the tea towel.
For the past year I have wanted to stop eating cakes made with refined sugar, now I have lost my sweet tooth. I still like to make and eat a dessert for a celebration or if we have people over for dinner.
At Christmas I received a fantastic cook book from my cousin, which is gluten free and refined sugar free, called ‘Clean Cakes’ by Henrietta Inman. I decided I wanted this to be the first recipe I tried, because my dad and I love desserts made with pear.
I served this cake on boxing day, along side my mince pies, to my family and did not tell them it was refined sugar free . It had the seal of approval so I had to share this recipe with you. This recipe is made with coconut sugar which really works with the walnut. This cake is very light in texture which I was not expecting. It tastes delicious! This cake keeps really well in a tin for up to five days.
You must try this recipe as it has changed my perception of baking refined sugar free. In my opinion it one of the best cakes I have tasted .
I really recommend any one to buy the book ‘Clean Cakes’.
Recipe : Gluten free and refined sugar free cake from the book ‘Clean Cakes’ by Henrietta Inman
- 70g chopped walnuts
- 180g raw honey
- 5 large pears
- 120g unsalted butter
- 80g apple puree
- 60g brown rice flour
- 80g coconut sugar
- 60g teff flour
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2½ tbsp arrowroot
- ½ tsp gluten free baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ¼ tsp xanthan gum
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- Heat the oven to 170ºc fan/325ºc/Gas Mark 3. Grease and line the bottom and sides of a 23cm spring form cake tin.
- Line a baking tray with baking parchment and spread the walnuts on top. Toast for 5 mins and then allow to cool before chopping into small pieces.
- Spoon the honey into the base of the tin. Peel and slice the pears then arrange into the base of the tin.
- Using a mixer. whisk the butter, sugar, apple puree and vanilla extract until soft and smooth. Combine the flour, arrowroot, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, xanthan gum and salt. Change the whisk to a paddle then add the dry ingredients a table spoon at a time alternating with the egg (this can be done by hand). Finally add the chopped walnuts.
- Spoon the mixture over the pears and bake for 30 minutes.
- Leave to cool in the tin for about 30 minutes and then remove the sides. Invert on a plate and then remove the bottom of the tin and paper.
December is one of my favourite times of the year, because it is the countdown to Christmas! Through out December I love to do my baking in advance. I believe these are perfect to take over to someone’s house through the festive season or to a Christmas party.
I love to serve these on boxing day when my family come over. They are a great way to finish a meal, as they are light but delicious. This recipe freezes well so I always make extras.
This recipe is a bit different to a traditional mince pie because, instead of having a pastry top, it has a frangipane topping. I used the pastry recipe from Nigella Lawson’s book ‘Domestic Goddess’. I have loved baking this pastry recipe since I was a little girl, so I thought let’s make it gluten free .
After going gluten free last year, I was worried that this pastry would not work with gluten free flour, but, I’m delighted to say it works perfectly if you follow my tip below.
Tip: I have found that instead of putting gluten free pastry in the fridge, just start rolling it out and work with it at once, otherwise it goes hard and breaks.
Pastry recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson’s book Domestic Goddess.
Gluten Free Mince Pies
Ingredients for the pastry:
- 175g gluten free plain flour
- 30g ground almonds
- 65g icing sugar
- a pinch of salt
- 125g cold unsalted butter (straight out of the fridge)
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2-3 tablespoons of iced water
Ingredients for the frangipane
- 150g unsalted butter
- 150g caster sugar
- 150g ground almonds
- 40g gluten free plain flour
- 2 medium eggs
- 2 tbsp Cointreau (you can use Rum or Brandy if you like)
Also a good quality gluten free mince meat for the filling.
- To make the pastry put the flour, almonds, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to mix.
- Add the chopped butter and pulse to a fine bread crumb consistency.
- Add a third of the beaten egg yolks and pulse.
- Keep adding the egg yolk and pulse.
- Finally, add a table spoon at a time of the water until the pastry starts stick together.
- Tip the pastry in a large bowl and bring together to form a ball.
- Grease the medium size muffin tin and preheat the oven to 170°C/fan or 190°C/gas mark 5.
- Cut the pastry in half as it is easier to handle and roll out on a lightly floured surface.
- Use a circle cutter and gently place into the tin. Use your fingers to gently press into the tin and prick with a fork.
- Bake for 12 minutes.
- While the pastry is in the oven make the frangipane topping.
- Put all the frangipane ingredients in the food processor and beat together.
- Once the pastry has cooled a little put a tbsp of mince meat into each case and top with a tbsp of frangipane. If you like you can sprinkle some flaked almonds on top.
- Put back in the oven for 20 mins. Let the pies cool completely in the tin before removing.
My favourite cake is a good old Victoria sponge. I make it with gluten free flour but you can just use normal flour if you like. It is fantastic with homemade jam and vanilla buttercream.
Recently I went on a jam making course for my birthday and I picked up some great tips. (look out for my next post which will be on me making homemade jam.)
I know some people think that gluten free cakes can be dense but I found if you use the creaming method instead of the all in one method and fold in the flour it makes a nice light cake.
Recipe: Gluten Free Victoria Sponge
- 175g gluten free self rasing flour
- 175g golden caster sugar
- 175g unsalted butter
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
For the filling
- One batch of buttercream
- 1/4 jar of strawberry jam
For the buttercream:
- 160g icing sugar
- 70g butter
- 1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
- Preheat the oven to 160 fan. Line two 180cm cake tins with parchment paper at the bottom of the tin and butter the sides.
- Cream the butter vanilla paste and sugar in a bowl for 5 mins until the butter and sugar is light and fluffy.
- Then measure out the flour in a bowl and set aside.
- Crack the eggs in a jug and mix with a fork.
- Then put the mixer of a medium speed and pour a third of the egg into the butter and sugar then beat in. Add a tablespoon of flour and mix in . (This will stop the mixer from splitting)
- Repeat this step until all the egg is incorporated.
- Finally fold in the rest of the flour.
- Once folded in do a final stir to make sure every thing is incorporated and spoon the mixture evenly between both tins.
- Place in the oven for 30-35 mins, the cakes will be done when a skewer come out clean.
- While the cake is cooking make the buttercream put the all the butter, icing sugar and vanilla paste in a bowl and mix until it comes together as a creamed mixture it may take time.
- When the cakes are ready to come out of the oven put a timer on and leave them to cool for 10 mins in the tin after 10 mins take the cake out of the tin and leave to cool completely
- Once cooled spread the jam on one of the cakes and spread the buttercream on the other cake. Then place the butter cream cake on top of the jam layer.
- ( Doing this instead of putting the jam and buttercream on the same layer will mean that the buttercream will not run into the jam so when you cut into the cake you will have defined layers. )
Happy summer, the sunshine is finally appearing after a very snowy March. Recently after work on a Saturday I have been going for a walk in Primrose Hill. My colleagues have been asking to take cakes in. I have been craving muffins. They are perfect to take on the go and I find them less rich than a cake. When working it gives me the energy to keep me going for the rest of my shift. So I have been making lots of different flavors and this one is my family and friends favorite.
Gluten free coconut muffins!
The great thing about this recipe is it does not take long to bake , so if I have the ingredients I can make them easy and quickly.
My mum and I have decided to buy English organic frozen fruit for these muffins. It means that I can make the muffins when ever I like . I always make sure I have sugar, flour and milk in the fridge. The English frozen fruit is actually sometimes cheaper than non frozen fruit.
I always loved eating coconut muffins when I was studying for my A levels last year. I would go and have a cup of tea and I would order a lemon and coconut muffin, but now I am not eating gluten I have to make my own. Its hard to find gluten free muffins in tea shops.
These muffins are actually made with almond milk. I made them both with coconut and almond milk and I found the almond milk works best.
I now take these into work every Saturday but I never get bored of them.
I hope you like making and eating this recipe too !!!
Recipe: Gluten free coconut muffins
- 200g self raising flour
- 150g caster sugar
- 25g desiccated coconut
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 100ml sunflower oil
- 1 egg beaten
- 150ml almond milk
- Blackberries (about half a packet)
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Put the flour, sugar, coconut and salt in a bowl and mix together.
- Make a well in the middle and then add the oil and egg and mix together.
- Add the milk and mix together. Stir in the blackberries (don’t worry if they get squashed that will mean you get a better distribution of blackberries).
- Finally spoon into muffin cases (makes 12 muffins)
- Bake for 30-35 mins. (They will be done when the skewer comes out clean)
- Once done leave the muffins to cool then take out of the muffin tray and leave on a cooling rack to cool completely .
When its been a long and tough week and stress is getting too much, I feel like I need a breakfast to cheer me up at the weekend before I head into work.
What to have? Pancakes !
Why pancakes ? Well it was one of the first dishes my mum taught me. When I was younger my first few attempts were raw. I did not have the patience to wait for the batter to cook. Fast forward until now with lots of practice , and I have the patience to let the batter to cook !
Pancakes are my Dad’s favorite breakfast. He lived in America for two years, and on a Saturday morning he would go and have American pancakes. He knows his pancakes , so if I don’t impress him I know that they are not quite right.
This recipe came about by accident. I wanted to make pancakes for breakfast but I had not got enough sheep milk, so I decided to use sheep yogurt as well. It worked well. I used gluten free flour. I wanted these pancakes to have less sugar so I used vanilla extract to help sweeten them.
These pancakes are not just for Shrove Tuesday !!!
Recipe: Gluten free yogurt pancakes topped with fresh berries.
Makes 6 Pancakes
- 100g gluten free self raising flour
- 25g rice flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- 100ml sheep milk
- 25g sheep yogurt
- 1/4 tsp of vanilla extract
- 25g goats butter (melted)
- plus goats butter for cooking.
- Put the flour, baking powder , sugar and salt into a bowl. Mix together gently with a spoon.
- Add the sheep’s milk, yogurt and egg into a jug and stir.
- Add the vanilla extract and melted butter into the flour mix and stir together
- Add the milk, yogurt and egg and mix until everything is incorporated (don’t worry if the batter is lumpy that is good).
- If the mixture is a bit thick ( it can happen depending how thick the yogurt is) add another splash of milk and mix the mixture. It should drop off the spoon.
- Melt butter in a frying pan. Spoon a spoon full of mixture into the pan (I like to cook 2 at a time). Cook on one side for 3 mins then flip and cook for another 2-3 mins depending how thick the pancakes are. (they should be golden brown on each side)
- Put the pancakes in a low oven while you cook the others. Repeat this cooking method until all the pancakes are cooked.
- Top with fruit and maple syrup.