Salted Caramel Chocolate Espresso Cake {gluten-free}

This gluten-free Salted Caramel Chocolate Espresso Cake is one of my favourite cakes from the cake stall. A chocolate lover’s sponge sandwiched together with silky salted caramel swiss meringue buttercream and drizzled with thick luscious salted caramel.

This gluten-free Salted Caramel Chocolate Espresso Cake is one of my favourite cakes from the cake stall. A chocolate lover’s sponge sandwiched together with silky salted caramel swiss meringue buttercream and drizzled with thick luscious salted caramel. Happy Valentine’s Day!

This gluten-free Salted Caramel Chocolate Espresso Cake is one of my favourite cakes from the cake stall. A chocolate lover’s sponge sandwiched together with silky salted caramel swiss meringue buttercream and drizzled with thick luscious salted caramel.

To me, Valentine’s Day is really just an excuse for being a bit fancy. Not just any old flowers will do, it should really be roses. Not just any old bottle of plonk will do, it should really be champagne. If you think a bar of Dairy Milk will suffice, even if Fruit and Nut is your favourite, then you are kidding yourself. Valentine’s Day surely means an assortment of Paul A Young chocolate individually selected. And if there is not a Salted Caramel in there then Valentine’s Day might as well be off.

This gluten-free Salted Caramel Chocolate Espresso Cake is one of my favourite cakes from the cake stall. A chocolate lover’s sponge sandwiched together with silky salted caramel swiss meringue buttercream and drizzled with thick luscious salted caramel.

So, if nothing says romantic to you than chocolate cake, then for one you are in fine company, and for two, the chocolate cake really needs to be intimately involved with Salted Caramel to make it Valentine’s Day worthy.

This gluten-free Salted Caramel Chocolate Espresso Cake is one of my favourite cakes from the cake stall. A chocolate lover’s sponge sandwiched together with silky salted caramel swiss meringue buttercream and drizzled with thick luscious salted caramel.

When I transitioned my cake stall over to gluten-free then this Salted Caramel Chocolate Espresso Cake was the first to make the transition as it’s an absolute favourite of mine and my customers. It looks beautiful and it really delivers on chocolate flavour with a hint of espresso. If you are not a coffee lover then you can easily leave it out, bar a couple of teaspoons which helps to amplify the chocolate flavour. With both cocoa for richness and 70% melted chocolate folded into the batter, the result is true luxury. Buttermilk gives the sponge a gentle tanginess and using a light olive oil instead of butter makes the cake light and moist.

This gluten-free Salted Caramel Chocolate Espresso Cake is one of my favourite cakes from the cake stall. A chocolate lover’s sponge sandwiched together with silky salted caramel swiss meringue buttercream and drizzled with thick luscious salted caramel.

To make the cake gluten-free I swapped plain wheat flour for a combination of oat flour and white rice flour which is a great alternative, especially as oat flour gives the cake a toasted butterscotch flavour that sits so happily here.

This gluten-free Salted Caramel Chocolate Espresso Cake is one of my favourite cakes from the cake stall. A chocolate lover’s sponge sandwiched together with silky salted caramel swiss meringue buttercream and drizzled with thick luscious salted caramel.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream is the best way to finish this cake, it smoothes over the sponge like a dream with it’s buttery silky texture and is never too sweet. It is so much easier to whip up than you think and the generous pouring of salted caramel into the finished buttercream amps up the end result to 11 and then some.

This gluten-free Salted Caramel Chocolate Espresso Cake is one of my favourite cakes from the cake stall. A chocolate lover’s sponge sandwiched together with silky salted caramel swiss meringue buttercream and drizzled with thick luscious salted caramel.

I recommend treating yourself to a generous slice of Salted Caramel Chocolate Espresso Cake over Valentine’s Day. It’s ideal for lovers, broken hearts and happy friendships. Plus it’s just a little bit more fancy than your regular chocolate cake.

This gluten-free Salted Caramel Chocolate Espresso Cake is one of my favourite cakes from the cake stall. A chocolate lover’s sponge sandwiched together with silky salted caramel swiss meringue buttercream and drizzled with thick luscious salted caramel.

Print Recipe
Salted Caramel Chocolate Espresso Cake {gluten-free}
A chocolate lover’s sponge sandwiched together with silky salted caramel swiss meringue buttercream and drizzled with thick luscious salted caramel.
This gluten-free Salted Caramel Chocolate Espresso Cake is one of my favourite cakes from the cake stall. A chocolate lover’s sponge sandwiched together with silky salted caramel swiss meringue buttercream and drizzled with thick luscious salted caramel.
Prep Time 1-2 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
12 generous servings
Ingredients
  • 125 g 70% dark chocolate
  • 165 g white rice flour
  • 60 g oat flour
  • 90 g cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons espresso powder
  • teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 400 g buttermilk
  • 160 g caster sugar
  • 160 g soft light brown sugar
  • 170 ml light olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract
Salted Caramel
  • 250 g caster sugar
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 40 g butter
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt I used Fleur de Sel
Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • 240 g egg whites around 8
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 200 g light soft brown sugar
  • 500 g unsalted butter at room temperature, cubed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ quantity of salted caramel see recipe
Prep Time 1-2 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
12 generous servings
Ingredients
  • 125 g 70% dark chocolate
  • 165 g white rice flour
  • 60 g oat flour
  • 90 g cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons espresso powder
  • teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 400 g buttermilk
  • 160 g caster sugar
  • 160 g soft light brown sugar
  • 170 ml light olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract
Salted Caramel
  • 250 g caster sugar
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 40 g butter
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt I used Fleur de Sel
Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • 240 g egg whites around 8
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 200 g light soft brown sugar
  • 500 g unsalted butter at room temperature, cubed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ quantity of salted caramel see recipe
This gluten-free Salted Caramel Chocolate Espresso Cake is one of my favourite cakes from the cake stall. A chocolate lover’s sponge sandwiched together with silky salted caramel swiss meringue buttercream and drizzled with thick luscious salted caramel.
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 170°C and line and grease 2 x 8 inch round cake tins.
  2. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie then set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, espresso powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt until well mixed.
  4. In a separate bowl mix together the buttermilk, sugars, olive oil, eggs and vanilla then beat into the flour mixture.
  5. Finally mix in the melted chocolate until completely incorporated.
  6. Divide the mixture between the 2 cake tins and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
  7. Turn out the cakes and cool on wire racks before filling with buttercream.
Salted Caramel
  1. To make the Salted Caramel pour the caster sugar into a small saucepan into an even layer and heat on a medium temperature until the sugar melts. Do not touch with a spoon but you can encourage the melting by swirling the saucepan around occasionally if you like.
  2. Once melted, carefully stir in the double cream and butter, the caramel may harden slightly but just keep on stirring the bubbly mixture until the caramel is smooth. Remove from the heat then stir in the salt.
  3. Chill the caramel for a few hours until it has thickened up.
  4. Use half of the cold caramel in the buttercream, reserving the rest for drizzling over the cake.
Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  1. To make the Salted Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  2. heat the egg whites and caster sugar in a bain marie, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the temperature has reached 71°C.
  3. Remove the egg whites and sugar from the heat and pour into a stand mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk until the mixture forms firm peaks.
  4. Change the attachment to a paddle attachment. On a low speed add the butter slowly cube by cube. When you have almost added all the butter the mixture will look curdled. Do not fret – this is supposed to happen and just means you are nearly done. Just continue to add all the butter. Once the butter is totally incorporated the buttercream will miraculously become a smooth velvety consistency.
  5. Add the salt, vanilla extract and half of the chilled salted caramel. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Assembly
  1. Spread the buttercream over one of the chocolate cakes, then place the second chocolate cake on top. Cover the cakes with a thin layer of buttercream as a crumb coat. This will ensure the first layer of buttercream catches all the loose crumbs of the cake. Place the cake in the fridge for an hour for the crumb coat to firm up.
  2. Once the crumb coat is firm then cover the cake with the rest of the buttercream. Place back in the fridge for an hour for the second coat of buttercream to firm up which will help form a solid base for the caramel drizzle.
  3. Warm up the reserved caramel in a saucepan for about 30-60 seconds until it is just at pouring consistency.
  4. Pour the caramel all over the top of the cake, starting at the centre and working out, encouraging some of the caramel to drip over the side.
  5. Serve the cake at room temperature.

Favourite Gluten-Free Cakes

I sell my cakes at local farmers’ markets in London but lucky for those who don’t live nearby I also love sharing the recipes for all the cakes I sell and if you want to receive more of my cake stall recipes then I have a FREE mini e-book of the top 3 Favourite Gluten-Free Cakes which are on my stall including Fig, Almond and Salted Honey Cake, Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes and Minted Brownies. The recipes are really special to me and if you want a copy of them then just click the button below!

Download

Chocolate and Raspberry Valentine Biscuits

Chocolate and Raspberry Valentine BiscuitsI’m totally in love with my freeze-dried raspberry powder. It’s proving to be an indispensible ingredient in my larder and I’m learning more about the different ways I can use it all the time. I’ve already used it for making the most amazing homemade lip balm to add colour and flavour, in my Raw Cranberry and Nut Energy Bars and now I have just used it for the purpose that I actually bought it for – raspberry buttercream.

raspberry powder

If I’m making fruit flavoured buttercream like lemon or strawberry then usually I would use natural extract but although the buttercream has always turned out delicious there is an almost undetectable aftertaste. Using fresh fruit doesn’t quite work for me as it can sometimes be a bit lumpy, I’m not a big fan of picking lemon zest out of my teeth and fruit puree can be a bit wet.

Chocolate and Raspberry Valentine Biscuits

These freeze-dried powders though are brilliant. Just a little dab of the raspberry powder tastes of pure zingy unadulterated fruit, I just used a tablespoon of it in a bog-standard butter and icing sugar buttercream and it livened it up immeasurably. Not to mention it paired like a dream with these intensely cocoa packed biscuits.

In fact these biscuits turned out even better than expected. They didn’t quite have the polished look I was aiming for but all was forgiven as soon as I ate one, then another, then another and I didn’t even make them for me so it’s just as well I made a whole bunch.

Chocolate and Raspberry Valentine Biscuits

The chocolate biscuits were an easy-to-come-together mix just chucked into my Kitchenaid for it to do all the heavy lifting. I added a bit of cornflour to the mix so that the finished biscuit was softer and not too crisp so they melted wondrously into the filling of buttercream sandwiching the two biscuits together.

I had two different heart shaped cutters and cut out an even number of large hearts, then for half of the hearts I cut out a mini heart from the inside. The biscuits only took just under five minutes in the oven as I had rolled out the dough super thin. Then once the biscuits were cooled, which again hardly took any time at all, I smeared a thin layer of buttercream on the whole hearts then stuck the holey hearts on top so the buttercream could peek through.

Chocolate and Raspberry Valentine Biscuits

By all means make these for your Valentine, they will love you even more. However, it is an equally good idea to just make these for yourself, after all I think we all need to love ourselves a little bit more from time to time.

Chocolate and Raspberry Valentine Biscuits
Makes about 26 biscuits

175g butter
175g caster sugar
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
175g plain flour
25g cornflour
50g cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt

For the buttercream:
225g butter
225g icing sugar
1 tablespoon freeze-dried raspberry powder
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

  1. Cream the butter and sugar until light but don’t overmix otherwise it will make the biscuits too crumbly.
  2. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, cornflour, cocoa powder and salt then add to the rest of the mixture and mix until it all comes together into a dough.
  4. Wrap in greaseproof paper and rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C.
  6. Roll the dough out to about a 3-5mm thickness then cut out an even number of hearts, re-rolling and cutting out more hearts until all the dough has been used up.
  7. Then for half of the hearts cut out a mini heart shape from the inside.
  8. Bake the biscuits in batches on non-stick baking trays for 4-5 minutes, then once removed from the oven leave to cool for 5 minutes on the tray. Remove from the tray and finish cooling on racks.
  9. Meanwhile prepare the buttercream by creaming together the butter and icing sugar for 5-10 minutes until incredibly light and fluffy.
  10. Add the raspberry powder, vanilla extract and salt and mix until combined.
  11. Once the biscuits have cooled smear some buttercream evenly on the top of the whole hearts then place the holey hearts on top to create sandwiches. Repeat with the rest of the biscuits.

Lemon, Honey and Sesame Chicken

Lemon Honey and Sesame Chicken - a quick, easy and delicious gluten-free dinner
Chinese means Valentines Day to us. There have only been a couple of times where we have bothered booking somewhere smart and fancy, but really set menus and other couples don’t really signify romance to me. On Valentines Day you will either find us holed up in Chinatown where you can always get a table, a huge dinner and unobtrusive service or at home cooking a banquet together where the emphasis is not on the end result but the act of cooking as a couple.

In fact one of my most memorable Valentines nights was when we decided to cook ourselves a night out in Chinatown. We mixed over-the-top cocktails that insisted upon using every alcoholic drink in our cabinet and was tantalisingly aqua marine with umbrellas and glace cherries. We drank these far too quickly whilst pouring over Chinese cookbooks and making a royal mess as well as sesame prawn toasts, char siu pork, egg fried rice and broccoli in oyster sauce. We finished with the requisite deep fried bananas which always ensures a blistered tongue and vanilla ice cream which melted as soon as it hit the bananas.

Spending hours in the kitchen isn’t as fun as it normally is at the moment with my increasing bump getting in the way of the kitchen counter, my lower back threatening to give out at any minute and bending down to get my bottom kitchen cabinets requiring about five minutes of recuperation time. So, we need to make haste with our Valentines preparations and there is no quicker and more delicious Chinese dish to make at home than this Lemon, Honey and Sesame Chicken. It’s a meal that I can happily make for the two of us, or if Luke is away then just me on my lonesome, it really is that little bother. Not to mention it tastes a million times better than the bland and greasy MSG filled takeaway at the end of the phone.

Lemon Honey and Sesame Chicken  - a quick, easy and delicious gluten-free dinner

Lemon, Honey and Sesame Chicken

Serves 4 (or 2 with plenty of yummy leftovers so you can have cold Chinese the next morning)

4 boneless chicken thighs with skin, diced
1 lemon
3 tablespoons cornflour
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari or coconut aminos)
3 tablespoons sesame seeds

  1. Place the cornflour, five-spice, garlic powder, zest of the lemon and salt in a bowl and whisk together until evenly mixed.
  2. Toss the diced chicken into the cornflour mixture until thoroughly coated.
  3. Heat up the coconut oil in a large wide bottomed saucepan or wok until hot then add the chicken, cooking on a medium to hot temperature until crispy and cooked through.
  4. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  5. Whisk the honey, soy sauce and juice from half of the lemon together until combined then pour into the pan. Bubble up for a minute then add the chicken back in along with the sesame seeds and cook for a further minute until piping hot.
  6. Serve with rice stir-fried with beansprouts, spring onions and soy sauce.

Blond Chocolate Mousse Cake {gluten-free}

Blond Chocolate Mousse Cake
Blond is the supposed fourth flavour of chocolate, created by Valrhona.  The Dulcey bar picks up where white chocolate leaves off with a deeper butterscotch flavour.  According to Valrhona lore it was created by accident after white chocolate was left cooking on the bain marie too long.  Think fancypants Caramac, then forget that immediately as Valrhona turn their nose up at such comparisons.

Blond Chocolate 2
Blond Chocolate 3

You can inhale the indulgence simply by tearing the foil off of this chocolate bar.   I have used it here whipped into a pillowy caramelised mousse sitting abed a soft darkly intense chocolate cake and topped with a cloud of cream.

Blond Chocolate Mousse Cake2
Blond Chocolate Mousse Cake3

This chocolate mousse cake has been a long time in the making.  I initially bought my bars of blond chocolate back in October especially to make this cake.  And then, I just never made it.  I was constantly tweaking the recipe, I couldn’t decide how I wanted it to look, what I wanted my base cake to be, what I should top it with.  I was keen to get it right, and after a few false starts I think I have hit upon the perfect way to really show off the dreamy blond chocolate.

This all would have been fine if the cake had been round but it’s Valentines and I thought I’d push the boat out.  I didn’t have a heart shaped cake tin so instead baked the chocolate cake in a round tin then cut it into a heart shape.  The mousse needed a firm structure to set to so I became an arts and craft ninja.  I covered card with parchment paper and wrapped it round the cake, securing it to the bottom of the cake board with masking tape so the mousse wouldn’t leak out whilst it set.  I was as surprised as anyone that it actually worked out.
Blond Chocolate Mousse Cake5

This is really a special occasion cake, the kind that you take your time over.  It’s a perfect dessert cake, designed for long lingering looks across a candlelit dining table.

Blond Chocolate Mousse Cake {gluten-free}

Chocolate Cake
Adapted from the cake layer of Martha Stewart’s Mississippi Mud Pie

40g unsalted butter
100g dark chocolate
40ml strong coffee, at room temperature
¼ tsp salt
3 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs, separated
140g caster sugar

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and grease a 18cm springform cake tin.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a bain marie, then set aside.
  3. Mix the coffee, salt, and vanilla together and set aside.
  4. Whisk the egg yolks with half the sugar until light and almost doubled in volume.
  5. Add melted chocolate mixture and beat until just combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  6. Add coffee mixture and beat until just combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  7. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Gradually increase speed to high and slowly add remaining the rest of the sugar, beating until soft peaks form.
  8. Gently fold in a large spoonful of egg white mixture to chocolate mixture with a metal spoon. Add remaining egg whites a spoon at a time and continue gently folding until they are almost completely combined; do not overmix.
  9. Pour into cake tin and transfer to oven. Bake until cake is set but still jiggles slightly, about 25-30 mins. It may not appear completely cooked.
  10. Cool in the tin. Remove, cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  11. Cut the cake into the shape of a heart, then surround with card, covered with parchment to create tall walls around the cake which when you add the mousse on top will hold it in place.

Blond Chocolate Mousse
Adapted from Delia Smith’s Chocolate Mousse

200g dulcey chocolate
3 eggs, separated
2 tbsp caster sugar

  1. Melt the chocolate in a bain marie, let cool for a couple of mins then stir in the egg yolks.
  2. Whisk the egg whites to a soft peak stage, then add the sugar and carry on whisking until the whites have firmed up a bit more.
  3. Using a metal spoon, fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to loosen it, then carefully fold in the rest. Pour the mousse on top of the cooled cake, refrigerate and let set for at least 2 hours.

Chocolate Lace Wrap

200g dark chocolate
Pinch of salt

  1. Melt the chocolate on a bain marie and add the salt.
  2. Measure two lengths of parchment which will fit around each half of the heart.
  3. Pour into a piping bag or a food bag with the corner cut off.
  4. Pipe whatever pattern you choose on the parchment. Place in the freezer for two mins exactly then remove by which time the chocolate should have firmed up so that it is malleable but not stiff.
  5. Immediately but gently wrap the chocolate lace around the cake before the chocolate gets too solid, it should stick to the mousse.

Whipped cream

200ml double cream

  1. Whip the double cream with the sugar to a billowing cloud. Do not overwhip.
  2. Dollop onto the top of the cake.

Chocolate Curls

There will be extra chocolate leftover after you have finished your chocolate lace wrap, scrape it up into curls with the end of a pallet knife and add to the top of the cake.

Happy Valentines everybody. But especially to my three funny valentines.

Cat in a Bag
Little Valentine
Puppy

 

Chicken Liver Paté

Chicken Liver Paté

I am an unabashed romantic.  I will forgive anything as long as there is a compelling love story at the centre of it.  I am a definite shipper, the cursed television viewer who looks for the slightest chemistry between two characters and then invests totally and completely into their eventual realization of their unspoken feelings.  Will they or won’t they, that is the question.  Ross and Rachel, Mulder and Scully, Logan and Veronica, I’m all in.

It’s a horrible affliction and means that I have to search for my fix in the most lowly of places.  Despite my better judgement and fancy degree in Film Studies I watch every poorly conceived rom com or overwrought romantic dramas regardless of the quality.  This week alone I have re-watched How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Never Been Kissed, 50 First Dates and I explored new territories with Thanks For Sharing.   The only thing I cannot tolerate is badly written chick-lit, I have to draw the line somewhere.

All that said, I don’t have the same attitude to my own personal life, I shy away from romanticism, scoff at sincerity, get highly embarrassed by grand gestures and PDA?  No effing way.  So this Friday I will be celebrating Valentines Day the only way I know how, with food (and my forgiving husband).

We served something similar to this paté at our wedding, also in small preserving jars.  This thought only struck me as I was pouring the paté into the vessels.  And since this particular recipe was requested of me by my husband it made me smile as this has coincided perfectly with Valentine’s week.

If you want to prepare an easy but delicious starter ahead of time which you can whip seductively out of the fridge on Friday then this fits the bill well.  I would recommend serving with some fruity chutney and celery sticks which is exactly how I will have it for my Valentine’s meal.

Chicken Liver Pate 2

Chicken Liver Paté

Adapted from Felicity Cloake’s How to Make the Perfect Chicken Liver Paté in The Guardian

1 tbsp butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
300g chicken liver
1 garlic clove, crushed
60ml madeira
1 tsp thyme leaves
70ml double cream
75g butter
¼ tsp nutmeg
75g butter for sealing

  1. Place a medium sized frying pan on medium heat and melt the butter. Add the shallot, the chicken liver, the garlic and some seasoning. Fry for 3-4 mins until the shallot is translucent and the chicken liver is cooked on the outside but still a little pink in the middle.
  2. Add the madeira and the thyme leaves and turn the heat up for a minute or two so that the madeira can reduce to 2 tbsp.
  3. Remove from the heat and put in a blender with the double cream, 75g butter and nutmeg. Whizz up until very smooth and check for seasoning.
  4. Pour the mixture through a sieve to get rid of any little bumpy bits, then decant into jars.
  5. Leave to cool for half an hour then melt the last 75g butter and pour over the top of the pate to seal.
  6. Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours so the paté can set.