Best Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake {without xanthan gum}

The Best Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake is made without xanthan gum and is deliciously fluffy, light and moist. It is filled and covered with a dreamy vanilla swiss meringue buttercream and is the cake you will turn to time and time again when you need a simple yet stunning gluten-free cake.

Best Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake on a cake stand on a wooden table

To say that I am excited about this recipe is an understatement. This is one of the cakes that I am most proud of ever since I began baking gluten-free several years ago.

Best Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake on a cake stand on a wooden table

The vanilla cake is an especially important cake for any baker as not only should the cake shine in its own right but it is also the building block through which many other cakes can be made. Just change the buttercream to chocolate and you have a perfect chocolate vanilla birthday cake, add some lemon or orange zest to the sponge and buttercream and you have a citrus cake. Add chopped nuts to the batter, chocolate chips or even sprinkles for a funfetti cake. Your basic vanilla cake is where it all starts.

Best Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake on a cake stand on a wooden table

There is nowhere for the ingredients to hide in a simple vanilla cake. No fancy flavours that may detract from an inferior texture and no cheeky add-ins that make ploughing through a dry cake a satisfying treat. A gluten-free vanilla cake is a strong ask. The sponge has to be light and fluffy but not dry, moist but not claggy and the taste has to sing with the simplicity of vanilla. All of the stumbling blocks of gluten-free baking are put to the test in the vanilla cake and I wanted to prove to the gluten-free cake detractors that cakes baked without wheat can have a beautiful texture, tremendous taste and pleasurable mouthfeel.

Side view of Best Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake on a cake stand on a wooden table

Before I discuss my flour choices for the Best Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake, it’s important to mention a missing key ingredient that you might be familiar with if you have baked a gluten-free cake before. This gluten-free cake is without xanthan gum which is often used in gluten-free baking to mimic the effects of gluten. I have never found a need to use this omnipresent ingredient, instead relying on careful flour selection to give the desired texture instead. I will be discussing my choice to not bake with xanthan gum in my next post but for now you can breathe a sigh of relief that if you are intolerant to xanthan gum or can’t be bothered to buy yet another ingredient to clog up your shelves you can still enjoy the Best Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake.

Best Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake on a cake stand on a wooden table

So without xanthan gum to rely on I have to choose which alternative flours to include wisely. Firstly I was very particular that I didn’t want to make my go-to gluten-free vanilla cake with almond flour so as to avoid any nut allergy issues. I also wanted to produce a cake that used as few flours as possible. This latter point has been the main difference between this gluten-free vanilla cake and my previous go-to gluten-free vanilla cake. It has not been uncommon for me to blend up to five different gluten-free flours to get a taste and texture that I love. For this recipe though I limited myself to just three gluten-free flours for the blend, to make it as accessible as possible, keep costs down and our larder slim.

Best Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake on a cake stand on a wooden table

So I used my favourite gluten-free flours, the ones I rely on the most and the three gluten-free flours I would recommend as essential ingredients for the impassioned gluten-free baker.

Sweet Rice Flour
Gluten-Free Oat Flour
Tapioca Flour

Now as a disclaimer, these three flours are not going to be suitable for everyone. Oat flour, even gluten-free oat flour, can be a contentious issue for some coeliacs or people with a hardcore gluten intolerance. Tapioca flour also can cause irritability for some and although none of my clients yet has mentioned an issue with sweet rice flour, my goodness I bet some of you readers are shaking your head sadly at its inclusion here. However, these are the flours that work well for me and my intolerance issues and the majority of the gluten-free clients I serve.

Best Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake on a cake stand on a wooden table

If you would like to learn more about these individual flours and why they work so well in a gluten-free cake and allow the avoidance of xanthan gum then I have written individual posts about sweet rice flour, oat flour and tapioca flour which should hopefully shed some light on their brilliance and usefulness.

In any vanilla cake, gluten-free or not, the quality of your ingredients is absolutely key. Do use the best unsalted butter and whole milk from a local dairy if you can, the freshest eggs from the happiest chickens and the best vanilla extract (not essence) that you can afford. You can taste every ingredient in a vanilla cake. This particular Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake is even more tasty than a wheat version due to the flavourful flours but they enhance the vanilla taste and do not overpower it.

Best Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake on a cake stand on a wooden table

Finally I have chosen to fill and cover the cake with my absolute favourite Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It is light as air, dreamy as a cloud and buttery as hell. If you have never made or tasted swiss meringue buttercream then you will be transported. As soon as I started using swiss meringue buttercream in my early days as a baker my layer cakes suddenly became a superior offering. Despite the need to heat the egg whites with the sugar, using a thermometer as a guide, then whipping them into a meringue before adding your butter one cube at a time, the method sounds more intimidating than the practice. Once you have dabbled in the delights of swiss meringue buttercream then you will never look back.

Best Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake on a cake stand on a wooden table with little boy in background

This recipe for the Best Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake has taken me some time to perfect, it has been simmering away in the background of my kitchen for a while but now I am so happy to share it with you. This cake is perfectly fluffy, moist and holds together beautifully, giving lovely even slices that do not crumble when it sees a knife.

slices of Best Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake on a wooden table

If you make the Best Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you make the recipe or use it as a building block for another delicious gluten-free cake creation I’d also love it if you tag me on instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your creations and variations of my recipes.

Close up of Best Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake on a cake stand on a wooden table

Best Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake {without xanthan gum}

The Best Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake is made without xanthan gum and is deliciously fluffy, light and moist. It is filled and covered with a dreamy vanilla swiss meringue buttercream.
Prep Time1 hr 15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keyword: best gluten-free vanilla cake, gluten-free vanilla cake, gluten-free vanilla cake recipe
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 882kcal
Author: Georgina Hartley

Ingredients

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake

  • 225 g unsalted butter
  • 400 g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 150 ml whole milk
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 160 g sweet rice flour
  • 140 g oat flour
  • 40 g tapioca flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 9 egg whites 270g
  • 450 g caster sugar
  • 540 g unsalted butter at room temperature, cubed
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake

  • Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan assisted oven/gas mark 3/320°F and line and grease 2 x round 8 inch cake tins.
  • Beat together the sugar and butter until pale, light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating on a low speed.
  • In a measuring jug whisk together the whole milk and vanilla extract and set aside for a moment.
  • Whisk together the flours, baking powder and sea salt in a large mixing bowl until completely combined.
  • Add the flour mix alternately with the milk, adding the flour in three additions and the milk in two (begin and end with the flour), scrape down the sides of the bowls as needed and mix until just combined.
  • Divide between the cake tins and bake for 45 minutes or until an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Heat egg whites and caster sugar in a bain marie, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the temperature has reached 71°C.
  • Remove the egg whites and sugar from the heat and pour into a stand mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
  • 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 frosting will miraculously become a smooth velvety consistency.
  • Add the salt and vanilla extract. Mix until thoroughly combined.

Nutrition

Calories: 882kcal | Carbohydrates: 93g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 54g | Saturated Fat: 33g | Cholesterol: 192mg | Sodium: 170mg | Potassium: 192mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 71g | Vitamin A: 33.9% | Calcium: 6.9% | Iron: 5%

SHOP THE RECIPE

The cake tins I always use are these PME Anodised Aluminium Round Cake Pan 8 x 4-Inch Deep which are wonderful as they have completely straight sides so your cakes will be beautifully neat, the anodised aluminium means the heat disperses evenly throughout the cake without cooking the sides too quickly, which some darker cake tins do. The cakes slip out of the tins easily and they come in all the sizes you would need, although typically I use the 8 inch tins.

I love these Kitchen Craft Paul Hollywood 2-Tier Stackable Wire Cooling Rack, 40 x 26 x 35 cm (16″ x 10″ x 14″), don’t be put off that they are part of the Paul Hollywood range as they are actually really useful as they are nice and high which allow more air to get to your cakes to cool quickly. Some cooling racks are too close to the kitchen counter which traps in more moisture as the cakes are cooling down which could lead to a wetter sponge. These are great.

You need to use a double boiler or bain marie to make the swiss meringue buttercream and this KitchenCraft Induction-Safe Stainless Steel Double Boiler Porringer/Bain-Marie Pan, 16 cm (6.5″) is perfect. Double boilers are way more useful than you think they are going to be. I use one every time I melt chocolate, make a curd, butter sauce or indeed swiss meringue.

For checking the temperature of your egg white sugar syrup when making your swiss meringue buttercream don’t be without a Classic SuperFast Thermapen 3 professional food thermometer in grey colour It gives quick and accurate temperature readings meaning you can don’t have to guess at any temperatures when making candy, caramel or fancy buttercreams. I use mine all the time.

If you want to replicate the flower and leaf design on this cake then I used the Wilton 489785 Decorating Tip-No. 125cr Large Flower Petal for the leaves.

And the Ateco Extra Large Stainless Steel closed Star 848 Pastry Piping Cream Icing Tube Nozzle for the flowers.

I find these huge disposable piping bags are the most robust ones you can buy, I do get a huge pack of them as the worst thing is to get ready to ice your cake and discover you don’t have any piping bags left. I use disposable as I bake a lot of cakes and find washing up the re-usable piping bags takes a lot of time and I can never get them totally clean. I use these piping bags for everything from cupcakes to drizzling melted chocolate to piping a straight level of buttercream evenly over a whole layer cake. This 1 Roll of Savoy Disposable Piping Bags – 100 21 Bags by Cn-Ice is an absolutely invaluable piece of kit in my baking.

It’s not easy to buy certified gluten-free sweet rice flour in the UK, for some reason Bob’s Red Mill is astronomically expensive. However I have finally found a brand which is 100% certified gluten-free and it’s fantastic. The brand is yourhealthstore Premium Gluten Free Sweet Rice Flour (glutinous) 1kg

Oat flour can be picked up at most health food shops and if I run out that’s where I head to. However, like all alternative flours it can be expensive so I find the most economical way is to buy it online. I go through bags of the stuff as it’s the flour I use most regularly so I like to buy in bulk. My favourite brand is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Whole Grain Oat Flour 400 g (Pack of 4) at a reasonable price. Even better if you go the subscribe and save option.

It’s not difficult to get hold of tapioca flour in the UK. You can often find 100g pots of Doves Farm Tapioca Flour in the supermarket but it’s quite costly and doesn’t give you very much. You can find more varied brands in health food shops in bags of about 500g. The cost depends entirely on the brand you purchase. My preferred brand is Bob’s Red Mill GF Tapioca Flour 500 g (Pack of 2) as it’s certifiably gluten-free and I order it through Amazon.

Some of the links above are affiliate links so if you decide to buy anything using the links then I will get a small commission from Amazon at no cost to you. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

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Guide to Gluten-Free Flours: An Introduction

text saying Gluten-Free Flours: how to start gluten-free baking, which flours to use and how to convert wheat recipes: fromthelarder.co.uk

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.

Raspberry Matcha Cake {gluten-free}

Raspberry Matcha Cake {gluten-free}

Sriracha Honey Beef Stir Fry

Sriracha Honey Beef Stir Fry is the easiest gluten-free dinner, stuffed with veggies and packed with flavour.

Sriracha Honey Beef Stir Fry in a bowl on a table with chopsticks

Most nights I eat my dinner at 5pm with Cole. Not everyday though as sometimes he has dinner at nursery, other times I want to eat later on with Luke when he gets home or maybe I just want something a little more grown up or spicy for dinner. I am sure I have bored you all senseless on how trying I am finding our bedtime routine these days. It takes hours to get both Cole and Beau settled down for the night. Just when one has fallen asleep, the other wakes up and I have to begin all over again. It’s so frustrating. When the ordeal is over I crawl back downstairs exhausted but desperate to have some time to myself. At this point I really don’t want to start slogging away at the stove. I want to be on the sofa, Billy Buddy snoozing next to me, watching Queer Eye and stuffing my face with food.

So I’ve developed a handful of 10 minute easy gluten-free dinners that means I can spend as little time in the kitchen and as much time on my derriere as possible until I have to hit the hay at 9.30. Yes, I am indeed living quite the life at the moment.

Sriracha Honey Beef Stir Fry in a bowl on a table

This Sriracha Honey Beef Stir Fry has so far been one of my favourite easy dinners yet. It’s spicy, sweet and full of energy boosting protein and loads of veg. This gluten-free dinner has three main components, beef mince, which is ultra quick to fry, one of those stir-fry veg bags from the supermarket and a 30 second sriracha honey sauce to pull them both together.

A bowl of vegetable stir fry mix

It has taken a lot of strength for me to admit defeat and buy one of these stir-fry veg bags as I prefer to prepare all my vegetables from scratch but my time is precious at the moment and I’m succumbing to shortcuts. The key to using these pre-prepared veg bags is to make sure all the vegetables are evenly cut. I often find I have to trim the broccoli up a bit and slimline the onion slices so everything is cooked evenly. I also pimped mine up by adding some sliced red and yellow pepper to my veg mix as I just can’t let it lie. All the mixes are different though depending on the supermarket so you might be fine with yours just the way it is.

The other tip to this easy gluten-free dinner is to use really good beef mince, you just can’t cut corners here. I have made this with beef mince from my local butcher, then made again with an organic beef mince from the supermarket. There was no comparison, the mince from the butcher was so much more superior (and cheaper!). The meat from the supermarket completely changed the dish since the mince was so watery. Instead of the sriracha honey sauce silkily coating the meat and vegetables, it pooled thinly in the bottom of the pan and a lot of the flavour was lost. So please, use good beef mince.

Sriracha Honey Sauce in a bowl with a whisk

The Sriracha honey sauce is the best bit and uses just four ingredients, sriracha, honey, coconut aminos (or tamari) and sesame oil. It’s so good and gives an otherwise hum drum stir fry an incredible punchy flavour.

I can make this dinner in 10 minutes from start to finish and choose to have it on the nights when I don’t want carbs as they are not missed at all here. By all means though serve this bad boy with rice if you want to. If you add the carbs it will go further but dinner will take a smidge longer as you wait for the rice to cook.

Sriracha Honey Beef Stir Fry in a bowl on a table with chopsticks

Sriracha Honey Beef Stir Fry

Sriracha Honey Beef Stir Fry is an easy gluten-free dinner, stuffed with veggies and packed with flavour.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: British
Keyword: sriracha honey beef stir fry, sriracha honey beef stir fry recipe
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 809kcal
Author: Georgina Hartley

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 400 g beef mince
  • 1 teaspoon garlic granules
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 450 g crunchy vegetable stir fry mix
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos or tamari
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons furikake optional but tasty and adds crunch

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large flat bottomed sauce pan or wok.
  • Add the beef mince, breaking it up into small pieces then sprinkle over the garlic granules and the pinch of salt. Continue frying for about 4-5 minutes until the beef mince has browned.
  • Meanwhile whisk together the sriracha, honey, coconut aminos and sesame oil and set aside for a moment.
  • Add the vegetable stir fry mix and cook on high heat for 5 minutes until the vegetables are just passed crunchy. Then pour over the sriracha honey sauce.
  • Stir everything together for a minute or so then remove from the heat and sprinkle over the furikake before serving.

Notes

Serve with or without rice, depending on your mood for carbs.

Nutrition

Calories: 809kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 54g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 142mg | Sodium: 1555mg | Potassium: 1296mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 751.8% | Vitamin C: 27.9% | Calcium: 11% | Iron: 25.3%

SHOP THE RECIPE

Coconut aminos is a larder staple for me which is a gluten-free and soy-free alternative to soy sauce. I personally prefer the taste of coconut aminos to tamari (which is gluten-free but does contain soy) but it is a little pricier. The brand of coconut aminos I love is Cocofina Organic Coconut Amino – Alternative to Soy Sauce 250ml which has a delicious flavour and is what I used in this recipe.

Some of the links above are affiliate links so if you decide to buy your flour using the link then I will get a small commission from Amazon at no cost to you. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

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Blackberry Lemon Pudding {gluten-free}

Blackberry Lemon Pudding is the most deliciously sweet and tart gluten-free dessert, cakey on the top with an ooey gooey blackberry lemon sauce puddled beneath.

Blackberry Lemon Pudding on a plate

This Blackberry Lemon Pudding is the dessert of late summer. With the summer heat chastening it might just be safe enough to turn your oven on again and if you do then you must make this delicious dessert.

Blackberry Lemon Pudding on a table

Blackberries are without doubt my favourite berry. I have a deep affection for them as they grow abundantly in our area of North London so July to August we are never in short supply. It’s rare though that I actually pick the berries myself as Luke is obsessed with local foraging, as I’ve mentioned before. He only need leave the house for a half hour Billy walk to return absolutely laden with plump juicy berries. Of course it’s usually on a Monday when I am faced with three days of solo childcare so have no hope in hell of doing anything worthwhile with the berries save keeping a few in the fridge for eating. The rest have to be frozen for weekend baking.

Blackberry Lemon Pudding on a plate

I spend all week dreaming up the best use of the blackberries and my favourite recipe that I have made this blackberry season is this Blackberry Lemon Pudding. It has been such a huge hit in our house with the tartness of the blackberries pairing beautifully with lemon.

Blackberry Lemon Pudding on a plate

This gluten-free sponge uses a simple mix of a plain gluten-free flour blend (I use Doves Farm which is xanthan gum free) and ground almonds, leavened only with whisked egg whites. Lemon juice is added to the finished batter which gives the result of the batter separating during the bake so a soft cakey sponge gives way to a sweet lemon blackberry sauce puddled beneath.

Blackberry Lemon Pudding on a plate

I have made this Blackberry Lemon Pudding for a few Sundays now after our roast dinner and each time it is received with rapture, especially when served with a rich dollop of unsweetened whipped double cream.

Blackberry Lemon Pudding on a plate

Blackberry Lemon Pudding {gluten-free}

Blackberry Lemon Pudding is the most deliciously sweet and tart gluten-free dessert, cakey on the top with an ooey gooey blackberry lemon sauce puddled beneath.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keyword: blackberry lemon pudding, blackberry lemon pudding recipe, gluten-free lemon pudding
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 351kcal
Author: Georgina Hartley

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs separated
  • 75 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 190 g caster sugar + 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
  • 3 lemons juice and zest
  • 40 g gluten-free plain flour
  • 40 g ground almonds
  • 200 ml whole milk
  • 200 g blackberries

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 160°C.
  • First whisk the egg whites until they have reached soft peaks. Scrape the egg whites out of the mixer or the bowl and set aside.
  • Don’t worry about cleaning the mixing bowl and into it add the butter, sugar and lemon zest then beat until light and creamy.
  • Add the egg yolks one at time.
  • Whisk together the flour and almonds then beat into the mixture as well.
  • Stir in the milk and lemon juice, the batter may look a little curdled but don’t worry about it.
  • Then fold in the egg whites into the lemon batter until completely incorporated and finally stir in the blackberries.
  • Pour the batter into a 1 litre ovenproof pudding dish and bake for 50 minutes. Check after about 35-40 minutes to make sure the surface isn’t browning too much, if it is place a tent of foil over the top.
  • Remove from the oven, leave for 10-15 minutes to rest then sprinkle with caster sugar and serve with whipped double cream.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Lemon Sponge in Delicious Magazine

Nutrition

Calories: 351kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 48mg | Potassium: 202mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 11.4% | Vitamin C: 43.2% | Calcium: 9.5% | Iron: 7.7%

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Cumin Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Dip

Cumin Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Dip is a super simple vegan appetiser, rich in flavour and personality.

A bowl of Cumin Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Dip on a plate of crudites

This Cumin Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Dip came about in my current bid to cram more veggies into my everyday eating. I love vegetables and have never had a problem fitting them into breakfast, lunch and dinner until my time allotted to preparing my meals was suddenly halved on the arrival of Beau. Pasta Pesto Tuna was on rotation for dinner every other day at one point with nary a vegetable in sight. Vegetables require washing, peeling and chopping, none of which activities appeal at 8.30pm when the children have finally been settled and I have half an hour to make, eat and wash up dinner before crashing out at 9.

A bowl of Cumin Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Dip on a plate of crudites

I wrote on Instagram this week how I had a mini meltdown last week which led to no new posts on the blog. I may not have been able to achieve any concrete work due to extreme sleep deprivation and a string of recipe failures. But, what I did achieve was a week of mindful eating. I successfully cut out starchy carbs in the evening which I have found pull my energy and focused on getting as many veggies as I could into my day. It also turns out that not needing to prep carbs for an evening meal actually means dinner gets on the table, or my lap, a lot quicker too. Double win.

Now normally I’m not a big snacker but getting up several times during the night to tend to both children is making me so hungry during the day. So instead of ripping open another packet of oatcakes to scarf as I wait for the kettle to boil I am making sure to chop up a batch of carrot, cucumber and celery sticks at breakfast time to munch on during the day. If Cole assists with this little task then he can’t help but snag himself a fair number of the crudités there and then which has bonus points of getting vegetables in my picky pre-schooler too.

Butternut Squash and Red Peppers in a roasting dish

Now crudités are a pretty crappy snack on their own if I’m honest so I’ve been getting into my dips to make them a more exciting prospect. And since dips don’t live and die by houmous I’ve been branching out a little. I admit was quite proud of myself that my new favourite dip was based around yet more vegetables. I really feel like I’m top of the class at this whole veggie power movement. Not only that but Cumin Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Dip tastes amazing.

Butternut Squash and Red Peppers in a roasting dish

The butternut squash and red pepper are roasted together with peppery olive oil then whipped in the food processor with a splash of creamy almond milk. The added flavouring is kept simple because of the richness of the roasted vegetables with toasty warming cumin. I’m really loving cumin at the moment and like to add the whole roasted seeds in, some crushed, but mostly whole as I love the crunch.

A pestle and mortar filled with cumin seeds next to a plate of crudites

This Cumin Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Dip is sophisticated enough that you can serve it for a crowd. It also stands up quite well to sitting on a table for a length of time, houmous can go a little crusty and guac turns brown. This guy though is quite happy chilling on a table for an hour or two without being worse for wear. The dip is vegan so will get you on the good side of your vegan pals but is so good that your carnivore buddies will be scooping it up like there’s no tomorrow.

A bowl of Cumin Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Dip on a plate of crudites

And you know what, if you serve it on a plate with a pile of chicken fingers your pre-schooler might just take it upon himself to dip dip dip there too. This Cumin Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Dip is an absolute keeper, we’re really living the veggie dream in our house.

Cumin Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Dip

Cumin Whipped Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Dip is a super simple vegan appetiser, rich in flavour and personality.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Appetiser
Cuisine: British
Keyword: butternut red pepper dip, butternut red pepper dip recipe
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 169kcal
Author: Georgina Hartley

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2 large red peppers
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil to serve

Instructions

  • Pre-heat your oven to 180°C.
  • Prepare your vegetables by peeling, de-seeding and cutting the butternut squash into half inch cubes. De-seed and stalk the red peppers and cut into one inch pieces.
  • Pour the olive oil in a large roasting tray and toss in the butternut squash and red pepper with the salt.
  • Roast the vegetables for about 1 hour 15 minutes. Checking every so often to give a stir.
  • Remove the vegetables from the oven and leave to cool.
  • Pour the butternut squash and the red pepper into a food processor, along with the excess olive oil and whip up with the almond milk until smooth.
  • Toast the cumin seeds in a dry saucepan for thirty seconds then crush lightly in a pestle and mortar and add to the food processor. Pulse into the rest of the dip slightly just to disperse the spice.
  • Transfer the dip to a serving bowl and chill until needed.
  • Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a few extra cumin seeds if you like.

Nutrition

Calories: 169kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 305mg | Potassium: 561mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 300% | Vitamin C: 116.4% | Calcium: 7.3% | Iron: 7.7%

SHOP THE RECIPE

I would be nowhere without my Magimix 4200XL Food Processor – Satin for this recipe. I have easily had it over ten years and I use it nearly every day for whipping up dips, pestos, nut butters, nut and oat flour and making my breadcrumbs. The Magixmix is an impressive piece of kit which even survived being dropped when we moved into our house (although it did have to have the motor replaced but that wasn’t too expensive). I put all the attachments in the dishwasher and they come out brilliantly clean but it also gives just great results. I love my Magimix and along with my Kitchenaid is the piece of equipment I use most often in my kitchen.

The links above are affiliate links so if you decide to buy anything using the links given then I will get a small commission from Amazon at no cost to you. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

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Coriander Sweetcorn Fritters

Coriander Sweetcorn Fritters

Almond Butter Fudgsicles

These Almond Butter Fudgsicles are an easy vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free treat to see us through this heatwave.

overhead shot of Almond Butter Fudgsicles on a wooden board

Like everyone experiencing this massive heatwave we are feeling a little frayed around the edges in our house. We live in a compact railway cottage in North London and at the moment it feels like a hotbox. It seems impossible to get any room cool. All curtains are drawn throughout the day, windows as wide open as can be, extravagantly purchased oscillating tower fans constantly following us around the house. Yet still our bedrooms are measuring 30 degrees at 2am. This is weather I cannot get accustomed to. Hey, I signed up for the drizzly grey weather London is renowned for. I am a firm believer that brollies should be a staple companion and one never leaves the house without the buggy rain cover and a waterproof mac.

overhead shot of Almond Butter Fudgsicles on a wooden board

No such luck at the moment. Our poor bay tree, the only plant I truly love and tend to in our garden has succumbed to the elements and boasts beautifully crisp brown leaves where luscious fragrant green ones used to be. However, the fault probably lies in the fact that I got involved in its wellbeing at all. It’s just as well that old death fingers here had astroturf laid in lieu of a lawn a few years ago so thankfully our fake grass is thriving. Not that sitting out in the garden is an option at the moment. We spend most mornings in the park or local paddling pool and those couple of hours are enough to ensure you don’t venture out for the rest of the day.

overhead shot of Almond Butter Fudgsicles on a wooden board

Anything cold is a godsend in our life at the moment and I’m basically living off iced tea and salads. We are going through bags of ice and cucumber like there is no tomorrow and I’ve really been working on my vinaigrette repertoire to ensure varied meals.

I’m trying to be more mindful in my eating these days, as I’d let laziness creep into my food choices. Turns out oatcakes with almond butter are not a valid meal choice. So when the craving for a popsicle hits both Cole and I (a daily occurrence) then I need to reach for something that aren’t Tangle Twisters. Although I think they are just called Twisters these days, and not nearly as tasty as I remember either, having given into temptation a few weeks back.

overhead shot of Almond Butter Fudgsicles on a wooden board

These Almond Butter Fudgsicles though have been really hitting the spot and so much more satisfying than your average popsicle. Not only are they tremendously easy to bring together, merely requiring 5 minutes, a blender and a popsicle mould. But all of the ingredients, almond butter, coconut milk, maple syrup, chocolate and salted almonds are my larder staples. They might actually all be in my top ten favourite ingredients in the larder so it is no wonder that I have become quite enamoured with these Fudgsicles.

overhead shot of Almond Butter Fudgsicles on a wooden board

I think it tells a great deal about how simple these Almond Butter Fudgsicles are to make if I am getting the blender out a 9pm on a weekday, having only just got the children to sleep after a mammoth two hour settle from hell, dinner yet to be made and an episode of Marvel’s Agents of Shield waiting in the wings.

overhead shot of Almond Butter Fudgsicles on a wooden board

So the fudgsicles themselves are a cinch but even the chocolate almond dip is a five minute job once the fudgsicles are frozen. Dark chocolate melted with coconut oil is a bit of a magical beast, as it freezes immediately into a hard shell as soon as it touches the fudgsicle. Meaning that you pour your coconut chocolate into a tall glass, dip your fudgsicle in and out, and then by the time you are presenting it onto parchment so you can do the next one, the chocolate is practically set. It just leaves you enough time to sprinkle in some crushed salty almonds and then you are done. I’d recommend placing them in the freezer to set nice and hard but that only takes about 10 minutes. Then they are ready for your cool down. Gosh, don’t we need it.

overhead shot of Almond Butter Fudgsicles on a wooden board

Almond Butter Fudgsicles

These Almond Butter Fudgsicles are an easy vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free treat to see us through this heatwave.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keyword: almond butter fudgsicle recipe, almond butter fudgsicles, homemade vegan fudgsicles
Servings: 8 fudgsicles
Calories: 288kcal
Author: Georgina Hartley

Ingredients

  • 1 tin coconut milk 400g
  • 100 g drippy almond butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 50 ml maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 200 g 70% dark vegan chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons salted almonds roughly chopped

Instructions

  • Pour the coconut milk, almond butter, vanilla extract, maple syrup and salt into a blender and whizz together until smooth.
  • Pour into popsicle moulds, sticking a wooden stick through each one and place in the freezer overnight to set.
  • Remove the fudgsicles from the moulds, running briefly under the hot water tap if they are proving stubborn, and place on a parchment lined baking tray and back into the freezer until ready to dip.
  • Melt the chocolate with the coconut oil in a bain marie or a metal bowl set over simmering water, then once melted pour into a glass.
  • Get your chopped almonds to hand.
  • Remove your fudgsicles from the freezer and dip in and out of the melted chocolate quickly. Place back onto the parchment lined baking tray and sprinkle with the crushed almonds.
  • Repeat with each fudgsicle then place back into the freezer for 10 minutes to set firm. At this point they are ready to eat or you can decant them into a more convenient sized freezer safe container until needed.

Nutrition

Calories: 288kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Sodium: 79mg | Potassium: 303mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 0.2% | Calcium: 7.5% | Iron: 19.5%

SHOP THE RECIPE

I used this Norpro Frozen Ice Pop Maker, for this recipe and it’s one of my favourite moulds to use. Very sturdy and easy to remove the fudgsicles if you run them briefly under hot water then they slide out.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my Vitamix® Pro750 Food Blender, Copper UK Model since it’s one of my most favourite kitchen appliances and I use it almost daily, not least to make these fudgsicles. This blender is amazing! I loved the Kitchenaid blender I had before but my Vitamix produces the smoothest smoothies, most cohesive sauces and fantastic soups. I have been using it most frequently at the moment for making my iced matcha lattes and I now could not be without it. Okay, it isn’t cheap but if you have the budget for it and you are looking to be really spoilt then I really recommend it. Plus I love the colour!!

Some of the links above are affiliate links so if you decide to buy anything using the links then I will get a small commission from Amazon at no cost to you. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

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Honey Orange & White Wine Chicken Skewers

These Honey Orange & White Wine Chicken Skewers are an easy addition to your summer grilling. The fruity sweet and salty marinade is practically drinkable and takes moments to prepare.

Honey Orange & White Wine Chicken Skewers on a plate with oranges, microherbs next to a bowl of marinade and a jar of honey

This recipe is updated from a 2014 post with new photos and a recipe with clearer instructions and updated to gluten-free. I have kept the below text the same as originally published for posterity.

This recipe is quite close to my heart. It’s the very first recipe I collected. The first of many, garnered from friends and family, ripped out of magazines, printed off the internet and saved from cooking classes and food fairs which now fill the eight full-to-bursting lever-arch files that are piled up in the corner of my dining room. This recipe represents the very first time I ate something and thought it was so delicious I wanted to re-create it for myself.

Honey Orange & White Wine Chicken Skewers on a plate with oranges, micro herbs

I remember my first few forays in the kitchen as an adult, cooking for myself at university. I made theHungarian Chicken from my mother’s battered copy of Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course for my boyfriend at the time and surprised even myself at how easy it was. I had been cooking Sunday lunches, bolognaises, lasagnes and simple cakes at home for years, but no recipe was required as the cooking was ingrained from years spent in the kitchen with my parents. I had never before sought out a recipe and made it according to a stranger’s instructions until the Hungarian Chicken. This was food that was new and different, and I had made myself.

glass of wine on a wooden board next to a plate of food

It wasn’t long after this that I traipsed down to London for the weekend to see friends. We all knew each other from school, riding the train in from our various universities around the country and congregating together in London at one of our parents’ houses. It must have been a 21st birthday and we were having a barbecue. No doubt afterwards we would have fussed around with hair and make up, swigging back white wine before grabbing taxis into town for our night out.

However, before all that we were throwing sausages and supermarket burgers onto a barbecue which one of us was tending. Another was responsible for chopping the salad, another for portioning out the bread but the friend whose house we were at was very carefully following a scribbled down recipe for chicken kebabs. She was pouring gallons of wine, honey, orange juice, soy sauce and other bits and pieces into a huge mixing bowl before adding chicken and stirring it all together, then threading it onto metal skewers. I thought this was incredibly enterprising for a student barbecue and helped her grab the ingredients from the cupboards and weigh them out.

Honey Orange & White Wine Chicken Skewers on a plate with oranges, micro herbs

When ready the chicken was one of the best I have ever tasted, sweet and salty, slightly sticky from the honey and smoky from the barbecue with a bite of Tabasco. Every bite was imbued with this delicious marinade. Everyone said how nice the chicken kebabs were but this was something that I had never tasted before and I didn’t want to not taste it again, I wanted to have this chicken at my barbecues. She said her family always made it and it came from an old cookbook they had somewhere, mostly they made it from memory but she had a few notes written down from her mother. She gave me her scribbled version of the recipe and I treasured it, taking it home. It wasn’t long before I tested the recipe out myself and I was delighted that it tasted exactly the same.

Honey Orange & White Wine Chicken Skewers on a plate with oranges, micro herbs

Now this recipe comes out at all of our family barbecues. The chicken always receives delightful comments and no wonder as it’s the best marinade recipe I have up my sleeve. I am always happy to pass it on, as thanks to the kindness of an old friend, it is why I have it in the first place.

I no longer keep in touch with the friend who gave me this recipe for no reason other than our lives grew apart in the maelstrom of graduating university, moving flats several times and early career struggles. It makes me sad that our friendship fell by the wayside but now every time I have a barbecue and I am pouring the wine, honey, soy sauce and orange juice into my own mixing bowl, reading her scribbled handwriting and weighing out my ingredients I think of her.

Honey Orange & White Wine Chicken Skewers on a plate with oranges, microherbs next to a bowl of marinade and a jar of honey

Honey Orange & White Wine Chicken Skewers

These Honey Orange & White Wine Chicken Skewers are an easy addition to your summer grilling. The fruity sweet and salty marinade is practically drinkable and takes moments to prepare.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time8 mins
Total Time1 hr 18 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: British
Keyword: honey orange chicken skewer recipe, honey orange chicken skewers, honey orange glazed chicken
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 409kcal
Author: Georgina Hartley

Ingredients

  • 1.5 kg chicken breasts cut into strips, about 6
  • 90 g honey
  • 90 ml coconut aminos / tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
  • 280 ml white wine
  • 280 ml orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

Instructions

  • Whisk together all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl, add the chicken strips then leave for at least 1 hour to marinate.
  • Whilst your chicken is marinating soak your skewers (if you are using wooden ones) in a bowl of water to stop from burning on the grill.
  • Thread the chicken strips onto the wooden skewers before placing on a hot grill. Grill for 3-4 minutes on each side before removing and serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 409kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 53g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 160mg | Sodium: 641mg | Potassium: 1072mg | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 6.6% | Vitamin C: 32.2% | Calcium: 2.2% | Iron: 7.3%

SHOP THE RECIPE

One of the changes I made when updating this recipe was making it gluten-free which meant swapping out the soy sauce for coconut aminos. I personally prefer the taste of coconut aminos to tamari (which is a gluten-free soy sauce) but it is a little pricier. The brand of coconut aminos I love is Cocofina Organic Coconut Amino – Alternative to Soy Sauce 250ml which has a delicious flavour. I have noticed no difference in taste between this gluten-free version of the Honey Orange and White Wine marinade to the original recipe.

Some of the links above are affiliate links so if you decide to buy your flour using the link then I will get a small commission from Amazon at no cost to you. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

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