My husband has recently been diagnosed as being gluten, dairy and egg free but loves cakes. I bought a couple of cook books but found some of the ingredients hard to find and the cakes didn’t taste or resemble real cakes. I, therefore, decided to play around with ingredients and found the following recipe works.
The dried fruit can be any combination and I have used currents, sultanas, cranberries, raisins, cherries and cut peel. If using glace cherries, rinse them, dry them with kitchen towel and then roll in a combination of some of the flour and almonds. This stops them going to the bottom of the cake.
Ground almonds help firm up the cake and supplement the gluten & wheat free flour. With regard to flour, I recommend Dove Farm as the preferred option.
The xanthan gum is essential for all gluten free cooking and again, I prefer Dove Farm. You just add the teaspoon to the flour and sift into the mixture.
There are a range of dairy free spreads but I tend to use Vitalite.
I have discovered that brown sugar is the best option with these cakes as it gives substance to the mixture as well as providing colour.
The egg replacement I use comes from Holland and Barrett and normally with this recipe I would use 3 large eggs. I find using the egg replacement, you have to add one more egg in the mix. You simply put four teaspoons in a small jug and add 8 tablespoons of water, then stir until everything is mixed together.
I also found that it was best to cook the cakes in small individual cake tins and used cake release to ensure they come out easily.
In my oven I cooked the cakes at 160 degrees for 30 minutes but this may vary.
Individual fruit loaves
These are a particular favourite and are ideal to freeze. Kept in a cake tin, they last for well over a week.
Using the basic recipe above, the fruit comprised sultanas, raisins and currants and light brown sugar was used instead of the usual caster sugar. I also added the grated zest of one lemon to the fruit.
Cream the sugar and dairy free spread together using medium speed on a food mixer.
Gradually add the juice from one lemon and the replacement egg and mix on medium speed.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and sift in the flour, almonds and xanthan gum – I always do this with a large metal spoon. If you want the cake to taste more lemony, add some lemon extract. If you need to, add a drop of dairy free milk.
Using an individual loaf cake tin, spray each section with cake release.
Spoon in the mixture dividing evenly. The cakes do not rise that much so you can fill them to the top. I added some flaked almonds and pressed them into the top of the mixture so that they don’t fall off when cooked. Chopped nuts also work well.
Place in the middle of the oven and cook for about half an hour. Use a cake tester to check if they are firm.
Leave in the tin to cool slightly and then remove to cooling rack.
These make nice desserts as they can be served with dairy free chocolate sauce and fruit. Also, with dairy free ice-cream or yoghurt.
Using the same recipe, I replaced 1ozs of the flour with 1ozs of good quality cocoa powder – Barry Callebaut is ideal or alternatively Divine which is sold in Oxfam outlets.
For the fruit, I used cranberries and cherries, and dark brown sugar to give colour and texture. I also added some chocolate sauce to the creamed butter and sugar – you can buy various dairy free options and Asda has a good range.
When you add the mixture to the tin, be sure to fill the individual sections to the top as the cakes do not rise like normal ones.
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