With Christmas coming up I thought I’d start experimenting with some alcohol containing cupcake recipes. For mine I wanted a sweet flavour rather than a huge alcoholic hit so I used Koppaberg strawberry and lime gin. If you don’t have any flavoured gin to hand, I’m sure a standard gin will do as the coulis already has a fruity flavour. Makes 12 medium – large cupcakes.
Method Preheat oven to 160*C fan/180*C standard I use an all in one method for my cakes as I find this works better with the allergy free/special dietary ingredients. 1. Mix with a whisk in a large bowl the flour, dairy free spread, caster sugar, eggs, baking powder and vanilla extract until all combined and a smooth batter is achieved. Add food colouring if using it and mix again until pink/red. 2. Split the cake mixture evenly between 12 cupcake cases. 3. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until a starting to brown and a bouncy consistency is achieved. 4. While the cakes are baking, start the coulis. In a pan on a low to medium heat mix the strawberries, raspberries, icing sugar and 4 tbsp gin. I recommend just using 2 tbsp of icing sugar, but add more if it looks watery. 5. Keep pan on the heat for approximately 10 minutes until fruit has collapsed into a coulis. 6. Mash up any larger lumps of fruit and use a blender if need be. 7. Allow cakes and coulis to cool. 8. In a clean bowl mix the buttercream, first cream the butter, then add icing sugar and slowly turn up the whisk speed. Then add the vanilla and gin and continue to whisk. 9. Cut a 20 pence piece size hole into the centre of the cool cupcakes, this should go about 2/3 of the way down into the cupcakes. 10. Syringe/spoon the coulis into the holes in the cupcakes, make sure they are pretty much full to the top. 11. Pipe the buttercream on top of the cakes in whatever pattern you like. (Sprinkle lime zest onto buttercream to decorate) 12. Serve and enjoy!
This recipe is a bit of a cheat using shop bought, pre rolled, gluten free pastry. However it does include the process of caramelising onions which takes about 45 minutes, so make sure you leave yourself some time to let them cool before assembling the tarts. Makes 3-4 tarts.
For caramelised onions: 3 large red onions. 2 tbsp of garlic olive oil. (normal is fine but garlic does add to taste) 3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar. Pinch of salt. 1 tbsp of brown sugar (caster is also fine)
Fot tart: 1 packet of pre rolled, gluten free pastry. (obviously if you want to make your own you can) 3-4 tbsp of green pesto. 125g mozarella.
To caramelise onions: 1. Start by chopping onions into thin long strands. 2. Add to pan with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and sugar. 3. Cook on a low to medium heat for about 45 minutes, stirring at regular intervals to ensure everything is mixed and nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan. 4. The onions will eventually start to caramelise and go a nice deep purple colour and of a sticky consistency. 5. Put in a bowl and leave to the side to cool, as adding hot ingredients to the pastry can cause problems with rising.
Tarts: Preheat the oven to 170*C fan oven. 1. Cut pastry into approximately 5cm circles. 2. First add the pesto, spread a layer out across the base of your pastry rings. 3. Add about a table spoon and a half of the onions on top of the pesto. 4. Tear up the mozzarella and spread across the onions. 5. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes until the outside of the pastry has browned nicely. 6. Serve with chips or a salad!
Ingredients 1 Large white onion cut into rings (I found batter sticks better to white than red onions) Vegetable oil 85g GF plain flour 1Tsp baking powder 1/2 Tsp salt 1/4 Tsp chilli powder 1 Tsp cajun seasoning 50ml almond milk 50ml water 1 Tbsp cornflour
Method Heat up enough oil in a pan to completely cover onions when dropped in. Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, chilli powder and cajun seasoning in a bowl. Add almond milk and water to form a thick batter that sticks to the back of a spoon. Put cornflour in a food bag with sliced onion and shake until onion gets a slight coating on. Shake off any excess flour. Dip the coated onions in the batter until generously coated. Add coated onions to hot oil and fry until crispy (depending on pan size you might need to repeat this process more than once until all onions are done). Drain off the excess oil, I used kitchen paper. Serve as a starter, side dish or a snack and enjoy!
Ingredients 300g/2 boxes of gluten free HobNobs or similar 175g butter/dairy free alternative 400g of condensed milk 3 egg yolks 4 limes 300ml of dairy free double cream (trying to reduce the lactose levels but normal cream is fine) 2Tbsp of icing sugar
Method Heat the oven to 160*C fan/140*c Smash up the two packets of HobNobs until they are crumbs. Melt the butter until it is liquid either in a microwave or a pan. Add the butter to the crumbs, making a sticky mixture. Put the mix into a loose based tart tin, making sure you fully line the base and sides. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes, remove and cool. I cooled mine in the fridge. While base is cooling put egg yolks in a bowl and whisk until they are thicker and foamy. About 3-4 minutes should be enough. Add the condensed milk and whisk for a further 3 minutes. While whisking juice and zest the four limes. These should slowly be added to the mixture as the whisk runs for a further 4 minutes. Pour the mixture into the now cooled base, put back in the oven for 15 minutes. Cool and then chill in the fridge for approximately 5 hours or more. When ready to serve whip up the double cream and icing sugar with a whisk on a high speed. Once thick enough consistency, use to decorate top of tart. Remove from base, slice, serve and enjoy!!
Ingredients For meringue: 300g caster sugar 6 egg whites For topping: 400g of strawberries 150g of dairy free white chocolate 50g of dark chocolate 300ml of dairy free double cream
Method Preheat oven to 140*C Cover two baking trays with grease proof paper. In a mixing bowl whisk egg whites for about 4/5 minutes until a white fluffy foam is achieved. Gradually mix in the caster sugar about a tablespoon at a time until a white glossy consistency is achieved that forms stiff peaks when the whisk is removed. Split the mixture between the two trays, shaping into disks, with a thicker outer rim so they can be filled. Bake for 45 minutes – an hour. Bake until the meringue solidifies and is crispy on the outside, be careful it doesn’t burn. Allow both meringue disks to cool on a wire rack. Once cool, take one disk, top with half the topping ingredients; cream, strawberries, and melted white and dark chocolate. Then top this with the second meringue disk and top with the remainder of the toppings and serve immediately! Enjoy!
Ingredients 50g dairy free spread 95g GF plain flour 200ml water 3 eggs 3 tsp caster sugar Pinch of salt 110g of dark chocolate 400g of dairy free double cream (whipped)
Method Preheat oven to 200*C. Line baking tray with grease proof paper and grease. Sift flour onto a plate with sugar and a pinch of salt. Crack eggs into a bowl and beat. Melt dairy free spread on a low/medium heat and add the water. Bring pan to the boil. Remove from heat and add the flour mix, stirring together at a very fast pace. Return to heat and stir vigorously for 30 seconds until a dough like consistency. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly and add the eggs, ensure the mixture is cool enough or you will essentially cook ans scramble the eggs. This will form a thick smooth paste. Pipe or use two small spoons to make a small ball of dough on the baking paper about 5cm in diameter. Repeat making even sized balls, spread out on baking paper, until all dough is used. *if dough is not thick enough, you can use baking tray for cakes/muffins to pipe the mixture into* Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Prick each profiterole with a thin skewer to allow steam to escape. Wait until chilled. Whip cream with a whisk until thick consistency achieved, can add icing sugar to sweeten. Pipe cream to fill each profiterole. Melt the dark chocolate on a plate over boiling water or more easily in a microwave but be careful not to burn it. Dip each profiterole into it. I also added edible glitter for extra decoration! Once chocolate is set, serve and enjoy!!
I’ve decided to share with you some of my simple, easy to follow gluten free and almost always dairy free recipes. (I will also be trying to add in some vegan alternatives to egg where possible) I try to only use basic ingredients that are readily available in local supermarkets, using mainly GF plain and GF self raising flour, as I know a lot of people don’t have in or struggle to get hold of other weird and wonderful varieties. I absolutely love both cooking and baking and it has been a big part of my life over the last few years.
As I struggle a lot with standing around and bending over due to my chronic illness, I thought I’d also add in a few tips for those who, like me, struggle with basic day to day tasks.
I try to bake a couple of times a week (illness dependent) and keep the tasks and processes involved to a minimum. My first handy tip is definitely to keep a chair/stool/anything that you can sit down on handy. If it’s high enough to still reach the work surfaces it’s an added bonus. I spend a lot of my time sitting down and resting or actually weighing out my ingredients from my stool. If near a plug, I can even plug in my heated back pad.
For mixing my ingredients together, my Mum and Dad bought me an amazing stand food mixer for Christmas (Kenwood multi one) that literally does everything. From mixing my cakes, chopping up veg and even grating cheese. It has made my life when baking 100% easier. These are quite pricey so if that isn’t an option for you, I would definitely recommend an electric hand held whisk/mixer which I previously used.
Finally there are also all kinds of cool gadgets out there you can get to help you in the kitchen such as adapted knives, tools with better grips on and things to help out with cake decorating. I use cake tins that have removable bases, so it’s easier to get the baked cake out without having to tip it as this can be difficult, especially if heavy. My last little saving grace came around because I personally struggle using a piping bag as my fingers often get stiff and sore. I bought myself a solid plastic desert decorator from Hobbycraft in the sale, you only need to push a button down on the top to pipe the icing out. It’s saved my hands from so much unnecessary pain.
These are all my little tips and tricks to help you out in the kitchen. I hope they’ve been helpful and happy baking!
Method Preheat the oven to 180*C/160*C fan. Add all the above ingredients in a bowl, sifting the flour in and then mix with an electric whisk or with the paddle attachment of a stand food mixer on a medium speed for 2-4 minutes. Make sure ingredients are completely combined and you have a smooth consistency of the mixture. Separate mixture out evenly into paper cake cases. Bake for 15-20 mins in the center of the oven until golden brown and they feel spongy to the touch. Leave to cool for 30 mins and then decorate as you like.
Decoration I decorated these cakes using Betty Crocker Vanilla buttercream icing and some sugar paper unicorns I got from B&M, but feel free to decorate yours however you like!