Gluten Free Baking

We are about to move house. This is hugely exciting because I LOVE our new place but it means I have been preoccupied with two things I’m not very good at: packing and cleaning.

As such, I’ve been acting like a bipolar person, swinging from extreme highs where I imagine how our couches, rug and pictures are going to look in our new living room, to fits of swearing as I’m choking on dust and cutting myself yet again on the damn Stanley knife.

Oh, and then there’s fending off the 19-month-old, who wants to help by grabbing and scrunching the packing tape as I’m about to close a box, hiding said tape in the dirty clothes basket or my Wellies, and trying to climb into the boxes himself (after throwing in Teddy).

The Little Pudding kitchen is still firing, of course. There is always time for baking, no matter how much mayhem is going on around me! There’s a great poster from the Keep Calm series hanging in a cute little shop near my house at the moment which says: “Keep Calm and Eat a Cupcake.” Well, exactly.

Last week, when my lovely little monster was in daycare, I caught up with some girlfriends for afternoon tea, one of whom is gluten intolerant.

Pear and fig friand at Town in Bangalow

I promised to bake something, so I decided on white nectarine and raspberry friands (recipe at the end of this post), inspired by a beautiful pear and fig friand made on rice flour that I had at Town in Bangalow on our last trip up north.

I have cooked with spelt flour before, but never with rice flour, so when they came out of the oven I was quite surprised by how light in texture they were. They didn’t rise as much as usual, but most importantly, they kept their rich, buttery flavour. Delicious and pretty on the plate!

My next GF challenge was a chocolate cake, made for my friend Mel, who was hosting a lunch that weekend for her hubby’s colleagues. She was staring down the barrel of cooking for at least six people who didn’t eat wheat! I was more than happy to help her out with dessert.

I vaguely remember baking a decadent flourless chocolate cake once or twice from Donna Hay’s Flavours book, but, like many of my cook books, they stayed in Mum’s cooking “library” at Family HQ when I moved out. And the Mothership was, unfortunately, away.

Because I am ridiculous and keep all of my Donna Hay and Gourmet Traveller mags, I had a stash to refer to and quickly found what I needed in a recipe from GT’s Emma Knowles for a Chocolate Espresso Cake. I adapted it to suit the GF brief by again using rice flour and tweaking a couple of measurements (recipe at the end of this post).

It worked a treat and MY GOSH it was good. I know this because I forgot to take photos of the one I made for Mel, so I had to make another, which I used my March Photo Challenge pic for “delicious.”

Yes, I’m still mad for instagram. I love how the filters make it so easy to take absolutely beautiful photos; even my brownies look good and it is hard work to make a brownie photogenic!

I’m thoroughly addicted. Here is a random pic of the irises sitting on my dining table I took today. So pretty.

What’s your latest fad? And have you ever tried gluten free baking? Any favourite GF recipes to share??

Larissa x

Gluten Free Nectarine and Raspberry Friands

Makes 12

1 ½ cups almond meal
½ cup rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups icing sugar
250g butter
6 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 white nectarines, sliced thinly
½ cup frozen raspberries, lightly crushed to scatter

Preheat oven to 180C.
Place cupcake wrappers into a 12-hole muffin pan.
Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat.
Combine sifted rice flour, baking powder and icing sugar in a large bowl with almond meal.
Stir in egg whites and vanilla, followed by melted butter.
Pour into prepared cupcake wrappers.
Top each friand with three slices of nectarine and scatter over crushed raspberries.
Bake for 25 mins or until golden.
Serve lightly dusted with icing sugar.

Gluten Free Chocolate Espresso Cake

20g Dutch cocoa
125g almond or hazelnut meal (I used almond)
60g rice flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
180g quality dark chocolate
100g quality milk chocolate
200g butter
25ml coffee liqueur or strong espresso (I went for the liqueur, using Tia Maria)
5 eggs, separated
220g caster sugar

Preheat oven to 180C.
Grease and line the base of a 22cm springform pan.
Place sifted cocoa, rice flour and baking powder into a large bowl and stir in the almond or hazelnut meal.
Melt the chocolate, butter and liqueur or coffee in a heatproof bowl over gently simmering water.
Remove from the heat and cool slightly before whisking in the egg yolks.
Whisk egg whites with an electric mixer until firm peaks form (2 mins appx) then gradually add the caster sugar, whisking until the mixture is thick and glossy (about 3 mins).
Stir the melted chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients.
Then gently fold the egg white mix into the chocolate mixture until all combined.
Pour into prepared tin and then gently drop the tin onto a benchtop a couple of times to remove any air bubbles.
Bake for 35 to 40 mins or until a skewer comes away almost clean from the centre of the cake. It may be a little fudgy but don’t go any longer or it may dry out on the edges.
Cool the cake completely in the tin before releasing the springform and turning it out onto a serving plate.
Serve dusted with icing sugar or cocoa, top with a pile of berries and have a bowl of double cream or ice cream on hand. An extra shot of liqueur would be nice too!

More delicious gluten free baking recipes with a citrus flavour here.


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