Homemade Mixed Peel

Homemade Mixed Peel is so much more flavourful than supermarket bought. It isn’t as bitter and has a more fully rounded flavour that captures the essence of citrus season.

Homemade Mixed Peel

Until recently I didn’t use a lot of mixed peel in my baking. Instead if a recipe called for it I simply swapped in the zest of an orange and lemon or perhaps even a tablespoon of marmalade. That’s because mixed peel is one of the ingredients that Luke abhors. He can taste it a mile away so it has been useless to hide it within my fruit cakes as he would simply reject it upon first bite. He also knows which bakery adds mixed peel to their Eccles Cakes, his favourite treat, and takes his custom elsewhere. So mixed peel had been relegated from all baking in our household and substitutions relied upon instead.

Homemade Mixed Peel

What Is Mixed Peel?

Mixed peel is one of those ingredients that is featured in a lot of British baking, from traditional fruit cakes like Dundee Cake or Christmas Cake to tea time fare like the aforementioned Eccles Cakes or Hot Cross Buns. Mixed peel is basically candied lemon and orange peel. Eighteenth century bakers knew that the most intense flavour of any citrus fruit is derived from the peel. So intent on capturing as much flavour as possible in their recipes and mindful of preserving since fresh fruit was scarce, the peel was candied, dried and stored until needed. These traditional recipes are now the backbone of British baking so mixed peel has been handed down to us in our grandmothers’ and great great grandmothers’ recipes often when dried fruit is called for.

Homemade Mixed Peel

Earlier this month I was recipe testing one of my Auntie Lil’s classic cakes, She was a bit of a baker and her Vinegar Cake, which was her traditional everyday fruit cake, was legendary. I have had the recipe tucked into my recipe file for years now and recently I have been attempting to recreate an authentic gluten-free version of her renowned cake. Auntie Lil’s recipe, like a lot of traditional fruit cakes, calls upon mixed peel as an ingredient. Since I wanted a result as near as the cake she baked for her young family I dutifully added mixed peel from the supermarket along with the other dried fruit it asked for. At first bite I couldn’t work out why the cake tasted so horribly bitter, there was almost a sourness that butted up against the soft plump sultanas and raisins which was distinctly and acidically unpleasant. It soon became apparent that in my enforced abstinence from mixed peel I too had developed a dislike for it.

Homemade Mixed Peel

But how could that be? I love citrus, I love the brightness of intense lemon and orange peel. There should be no reason why mixed peel doesn’t appeal to me too. But the supermarket stuff, when tasted by itself is just not that nice. So I set about making my own. And since I now had dominion over the mixed peel I added grapefruit peel as well to add a third dimension of citrus to the proceedings.

Homemade Mixed Peel

Homemade Mixed Peel

Homemade Mixed Peel

Homemade Mixed Peel

Much like my Homemade Glacé Cherries, when you make it yourself there is absolutely no comparison to the shop bought stuff. You could eat Homemade Mixed Peel by the spoonful. In fact since I made so much Cole and I have been dipping our hands into the jar and taking out small sticky handfuls at snack time as a little treat. Making Homemade Mixed Peel is a labour of love and requires about a week of soaking it in a sugar syrup, draining it from the liquid, boiling the sugar syrup down and re-soaking the peel multiple times. Although the really trying time comes after the mixed peel has been drained of the sugar syrup and then needs to dry in a sterile environment for about a week. I dried mine in my switched off oven but since I use my oven almost every day it has required a lot of patience not to bottle the peel earlier just to get it out of the way. I definitely need to invest in a dehydrator for this purpose. When I do I’ll make the recipe again and let you know how it goes.

Homemade Mixed Peel

Suffice to say that when it came time to recipe testing Auntie Lil’s Vinegar Cake with the Homemade Mixed Peel the results were pretty on the money. Gone was the nasty bitterness, instead the lovely fragrance of sharp citrus permeated the cake and sat comfortably alongside the rest of the ingredients. The recipe has been a triumph and I’ll be sharing it soon, so stay tuned. And as for Luke, he has conceded that if I were to start using Homemade Mixed Peel in my baking then that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Thumbs up indeed.

Homemade Mixed Peel

In the meantime if you are making this Homemade Mixed Peel you will find you have two delicious extra kitchen ingredients leftover from the recipe. You will have copious amounts of citrus flesh from the beginning step once you have peeled the fruit, and also the most beautiful citrus sugar syrup from the end step once you have drained the peel away from its soaking syrup. Do not throw either away. I’ll be posting a recipe for my Triple Citrus Shrub in the next few days to use up that citrus flesh and I’m working on a compendium of recipes to make the most of that delicious citrus sugar syrup which I’ll be sharing soon.

Homemade Mixed Peel

Print Recipe
Homemade Mixed Peel
Homemade Mixed Peel is so much more flavourful than supermarket bought. It isn’t as bitter and has a more fully rounded flavour that captures the essence of citrus season.
Homemade Mixed Peel
Course cake
Cuisine British
Prep Time 1.5 hours
Cook Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 14 days
Servings
800g
Ingredients
  • 4 organic oranges unwaxed if available
  • 4 organic lemons unwaxed if available
  • 1 organic grapefruit unwaxed if available
  • 2300 ml cold water
  • 1350 g granulated sugar
Course cake
Cuisine British
Prep Time 1.5 hours
Cook Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 14 days
Servings
800g
Ingredients
  • 4 organic oranges unwaxed if available
  • 4 organic lemons unwaxed if available
  • 1 organic grapefruit unwaxed if available
  • 2300 ml cold water
  • 1350 g granulated sugar
Homemade Mixed Peel
Instructions
Day 1
  1. If your fruit is waxed then you will need to wash off the wax from the skin of the fruit first by giving it a light scrub. Cut the oranges, lemons and grapefruit into quarters then with very sharp knife remove the skin from the pith and the flesh.
  2. Cut the peel lengthways again. You might need to cut the lemon peel once, the orange peel twice more and the grapefruit peel three times more to get even sized pieces. Then cut widthways into short thin strips.
  3. Weigh the peel, you should have around 450g.
  4. Place the peel into a stainless steel saucepan with the cold water then bring to the boil. Turn the heat low and simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Remove from the heat and set a sieve over a large bowl. Pour the contents of the saucepan through the sieve, set aside the peel for one moment and weigh out the cooking water.
  6. Pour 1140ml of the cooking water back into the saucepan with 900g of the sugar. If you don’t have enough cooking water then just top up with tap water. Bring the sugar and water to a gentle boil and simmer for 10 minutes until the sugar has dissolved.
  7. Pour the sugar syrup over the peel, cover and leave the peel to soak for 24 hours.
Day 2
  1. Strain the syrup into a large saucepan and return the peel to the bowl.
  2. Add the remaining 450g of sugar to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer for a couple of minutes making sure the sugar has completely dissolved.
  3. Pour the syrup back over the peel, cover and leave for another 24 hours.
Day 3
  1. Pour the peel and syrup into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Pour everything back into the bowl, cover and leave the peel to soak for four final days.
Day 7
  1. Drain the fruit, place on a fine wire rack and leave in a sterile dry place until no longer sticky, such as a turned-off oven. Although leave a note on the oven that it is not to be used. The mixed peel can take as long as seven days to completely dry. The best way to store the mixed peel afterwards is in sterilised glass jars and should keep for at least a couple of months.
Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from the Reader's Digest 'The Cook's Scrapbook' Ed. John Palmer

Have you tried Homemade Glacé Cherries yet?

Homemade Glacé Cherries

Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins {gluten-free}

These Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins are light, bright and zesty. Gloriously gluten-free but moist, bouncy and incredibly moreish.

Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins {gluten-free}

A friend commented that since I’m on a maternity break from the cake stall that I must have a lot less cake wastage in my house. Ha, I invited her to come and visit the muffin graveyard that was currently overtaking my kitchen. At that particular time when she made the innocuous remark I had about 35 Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins crammed on top of my workspace that were begging for a home. These little guys were good muffins, every one of the six batches I made were fine but not quite the muffin I had in mind when I began my quest to come up with my ultimate gluten-free Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffin.

Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins {gluten-free}

With the cake stall all my bakes are tried and tested recipes which I have made many many times and perfected. I don’t sell out every week, although that is the aim and usually there is not much left. Rest assured though all the unbought cake goes to good homes afterwards as I offer it to my fellow stall holders who have braved the cold day alongside me. The cakes and bakes which I make for recipe testing though don’t always have such a happy ending as quite often I can be absolutely inundated with half-finished, mediocre tasting fare which haven’t reached the potential I had intended. A lot is given away but those that fall way below par end up in the bin.

Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins {gluten-free}

My current adventure to develop the perfect gluten-free Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffin can only be blamed on Cole. We were having lunch at a café together a couple of weeks ago when his head was turned by the collection of Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins standing to attention on the counter directly in his eye line. Every muffin in different brightly coloured cases, the icing glinting from the sunlight strewn window. There was no doubt, these were toddler catnip. He mewed for one from the moment we sat down and feeling magnanimous I acquiesced that he could have one for dessert.

As it turns out we were stuffed after our lunch but he still wanted a muffin so I got him one for later. Unfortunately they were not gluten-free so I went without. But the craving had set in and since we had no plans in the afternoon I decided that whilst he ate his muffin he could stand at our kitchen counter and watch whilst I showed him how to make the gluten-free version. Totally for his benefit you understand.

Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins {gluten-free}

So that’s what we did and it was great fun. However the end result wasn’t quite what I had intended, they were okay but the texture wasn’t right at all. In my ratio of gluten-free flours I had obviously used far too much almond flour. They were not the light and fluffy muffin that I was hoping for, a bit dense and claggy and certainly not enough lemon. I ate one slightly disappointed, resolving to give the recipe another go the following day.

Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins {gluten-free}

Two weeks and 60 muffins later I finally reached the ultimate goal and that’s the recipe I am sharing here. These Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins are the perfect muffin to begin your day, break up your afternoon with alongside a cup of tea or treat yourself to after dinner. There is plenty of zest in the sponge which is fluffy from the collection of sweet rice flour, oat flour and almond flour. The top is drenched with a tangy lemon icing and sprinkled with more poppy seeds for a little crunch.

Not only can I see these Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins standing the test of time in our family but the recipe is so adaptable that you can easily swap out the lemon zest and poppy seeds for perhaps blueberries, orange zest or something more adventurous. I’m thrilled I cracked this muffin, as is Cole so he can now have Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins on tap. The neighbours, however, might be a little sick of them.

Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins {gluten-free}

Print Recipe
Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins {gluten-free}
These Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins are light, bright and zesty. Gloriously gluten-free but moist, bouncy and incredibly moreish.
Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins {gluten-free}
Course cake
Cuisine British
Keyword muffins
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 250 ml whole milk
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 125 ml light olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • zest 3 lemons
  • 150 g sweet white rice flour
  • 125 g gluten-free oat flour
  • 100 g almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons black poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Icing
  • 225 g icing sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
Course cake
Cuisine British
Keyword muffins
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 250 ml whole milk
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 125 ml light olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • zest 3 lemons
  • 150 g sweet white rice flour
  • 125 g gluten-free oat flour
  • 100 g almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons black poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Icing
  • 225 g icing sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins {gluten-free}
Instructions
  1. Place muffin cases in a 12-hole muffin tin and pre-heat the oven to 170°C.
  2. Place the milk, sugar, olive oil, eggs and lemon zest into a large bowl and beat together until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together the sweet rice flour, oat flour, almond flour, poppy seeds, baking powder and salt until thoroughly combined.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat together until smooth.
  5. Divide the batter into muffin cases, filling to just below the top.
  6. Place the muffin tin into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes.
  7. As soon as the muffin tin has been taken out of the oven, then lift out the muffins and leave on a cooling rack to cool completely before drenching with icing.
  8. Make the icing by beating together the lemon juice and zest with the icing sugar until the icing is just pourable.
  9. Spoon the icing over each muffin then leave to set.

SHOP THE RECIPE

For these muffins I used almond flour, as opposed to ground almonds which kept the muffins fluffy. Finely ground almond flour isn’t as easy to find though and here in the UK I have to order it from Amazon. It’s not cheap (it’s gluten-free baking what can I tell you!) but a 1kg bag will keep you going for some time. I love RealFoodSource Certified Organic Extra Fine High Protein Almond Flour (1KG) which is ultra fine flour and works perfectly in these muffins.

For more info on almond flour see my post on nut flours which gives the breakdown of the different between ground almonds, almond meal and almond flour.

As for sweet rice flour I have finally found a brand which is 100% certified gluten-free. I have no idea why it’s so difficult to get in the UK but I use sweet rice flour a lot so this was a real find. The brand is yourhealthstore Premium Gluten Free Sweet Rice Flour (glutinous) 1kg

Gluten-free oat flour is thankfully a lot easier to get hold of but you will still have to order it from Amazon. I order it in bulk since it’s one of my favourite flours and the brand is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Whole Grain Oat Flour 400 g (Pack of 4)

The 12 hole muffin tin I always use and will thoroughly recommend due to its durability and ease of washing is the MasterClass 12-Hole Non-Stick Cupcake Tray / Baking Pan, 35 x 27 cm

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.

Best Granola Bars

These Granola Bars really are the best. They are gluten-free and vegan with no refined sugar and plenty of energy boosting ingredients, plus they are super tasty.

Best Granola Bars (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)

Happy New Year! I am kicking off this year’s recipes with an old favourite of mine, my very Best Granola Bars, which have yet to feature on the blog. And now seems the perfect time what with all the good intentions abounding.

Best Granola Bars (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)

2018 is an exciting year, I’m at a place in my life where I am happily surrounded by children and babies. Not counting my own new arrival in April, several of my closest friends are pregnant and expecting in the first quarter of the year. And since most of my gifts, birthdays, Christmas or otherwise usually have a food theme, they can expect a batch of these Best Granola Bars to be materialising on their doorsteps during those first few days home from the hospital.

Best Granola Bars (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)

I started making these Best Granola Bars for my friends with newborns as I found they are absolutely perfect for the snacking that is an essential part of this time. Whether keeping up energy levels during middle of the night feeds, or when you can only cope with food that requires one hand since the other is occupied with your new bundle these Best Granola Bars are ideal. They are also pretty useful for offering to the plethora of guests clamouring to see the new baby or your hungry toddler who is a little disgruntled that your attention is now split with another child.

Best Granola Bars (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)

When I first had Cole the food I was eating got totally out of control, it was cake, chocolate and biscuits morning, noon and 2am. At a time when you are supposed to be looking after yourself for the sake of your newborn it’s absolutely impossible as tiredness takes over and everything within you is poured into looking after your new baby. Food is way down on your priority list after nursing, changing nappies, burping and sleeping but you really need some organic energy to keep you going. By the time Cole was a few weeks old I had graduated my eating habits to shop-bought granola bars but there are all sorts of hidden ingredients in them and although a better choice than biscuits they are not really that good for you either. All the ingredients in these Best Granola Bars are meant to satisfy, keep your hunger levels at bay and promote your energy whilst tasting pretty delicious.

Best Granola Bars (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)

I’ve put all my favourite seeds and nuts into this bar to boost up the protein. There is crunch from the chia seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds and puffed rice. Chewiness from the dates and bags of taste, amped up by a little cinnamon and vanilla extract. Almond butter and coconut oil help to bind and there is no refined sugar, just the dates and a good splash of maple syrup.

I ate these Best Granola Bars for a lot of 2017 even without a newborn to look after. It goes without saying that you don’t really need a child to appreciate them, just an empty tummy that is looking at a vast empty chasm before its next meal.

Best Granola Bars (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)

Print Recipe
Best Granola Bars
Best Granola Bars are gluten-free and vegan with no refined sugar and plenty of energy boosting ingredients, plus they are super tasty.
Best Granola Bars (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)
Course snack
Cuisine British
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings
16 Bars
Ingredients
  • 225 g gluten-free rolled oats
  • 100 g whole raw almonds roughly chopped
  • 70 g pumpkin seeds
  • 60 g gluten-free puffed brown rice cereal
  • 40 g chia seeds
  • 40 g ground flaxseed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 175 g coconut oil melted
  • 150 g almond butter
  • 120 g pitted medjool dates
  • 75 g maple syrup
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
Course snack
Cuisine British
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings
16 Bars
Ingredients
  • 225 g gluten-free rolled oats
  • 100 g whole raw almonds roughly chopped
  • 70 g pumpkin seeds
  • 60 g gluten-free puffed brown rice cereal
  • 40 g chia seeds
  • 40 g ground flaxseed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 175 g coconut oil melted
  • 150 g almond butter
  • 120 g pitted medjool dates
  • 75 g maple syrup
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
Best Granola Bars (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl throw together the oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, puffed rice, chia seeds, flaxseeds, cinnamon and salt and mix well.
  2. Pour into a blender, the coconut oil, almond butter, dates, maple syrup and vanilla extract and blend on high for a couple of minutes until the mixture is thick and caramel-like.
  3. Stir the blended mixture into the dry ingredients and mix very well until all the dry ingredients are completely coated. You may have to dig in with your hands at this point.
  4. Tip the granola bar mixture into a lined and greased 9 inch square tin and press very firmly into the tin with your hands until good and even.
  5. Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  6. Remove from the tin and cut into bars.
Recipe Notes

Keep the granola bars in the fridge where they can reside happily for up to 2 weeks.

Toasted Marshmallow Spiced Pumpkin Cake {gluten-free}

Toasted Marshmallow Pumpkin Cake. Layered gluten-free spiced pumpkin cake filled with a brown butter pumpkin buttercream and covered in marshmallow clouds.

Toasted Marshmallow Pumpkin Cake {gluten-free}

The season starts here. This week I feel officially heralds the beginning of Christmas and for me it starts with two lovely celebrations, my birthday and my wedding anniversary. Before Cole we would usually go away for this week to some fancypants hotel and this year we tossed around the idea for about five minutes. Then I remembered I was pregnant, exhausted and couldn’t face organising my way to Sainsburys let alone anything more elaborate.

Toasted Marshmallow Pumpkin Cake {gluten-free}

Toasted Marshmallow Pumpkin Cake {gluten-free}

Toasted Marshmallow Pumpkin Cake {gluten-free}

So, instead I’ll celebrate the best way I know how, with cake. And what better cake than the one I have been enjoying making and eating the most during these chillier months. This Toasted Marshmallow Spiced Pumpkin Cake is an absolute triumph. The pumpkin cake is so moist and delicious with so many layers of flavour thanks to all the spices and array of gluten-free flours.

Toasted Marshmallow Pumpkin Cake {gluten-free}

Toasted Marshmallow Pumpkin Cake {gluten-free}

Toasted Marshmallow Pumpkin Cake {gluten-free}

It is teamed with a simple fluffy marshmallowy meringue which is the perfect texture and its smooth flavour is the perfect foil for the busy pumpkin sponge. Although one of the best parts about this cake is surely the brown butter pumpkin buttercream which is rich, caramelly and creamy with plenty of full pumpkin flavour.

Toasted Marshmallow Pumpkin Cake {gluten-free}

Print Recipe
Toasted Marshmallow Spiced Pumpkin Cake {gluten-free}
Toasted Marshmallow Pumpkin Cake. Layered gluten-free spiced pumpkin cake sandwiched with a brown butter pumpkin buttercream filling and covered with toasted marshmallow clouds.
Toasted Marshmallow Pumpkin Cake {gluten-free}
Course cake
Cuisine British
Keyword cake
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
12-14 people
Ingredients
Spiced Pumpkin Cake
  • 500 g light brown sugar
  • 280 g unsalted butter melted then cooled
  • 5 eggs
  • 425 g pumpkin puree
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 110 g sweet rice flour
  • 80 g oat flour
  • 65 g millet flour
  • 35 g potato flour
  • 30 g tapioca flour
  • teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • teaspoons cinnamon
  • teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
Toasted Marshmallow
  • 7 egg whites 210g
  • 350 g caster sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Brown Butter Pumpkin Buttercream
  • 175 g unsalted butter
  • 150 g of the marshmallow frosting
  • 5 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
Course cake
Cuisine British
Keyword cake
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
12-14 people
Ingredients
Spiced Pumpkin Cake
  • 500 g light brown sugar
  • 280 g unsalted butter melted then cooled
  • 5 eggs
  • 425 g pumpkin puree
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 110 g sweet rice flour
  • 80 g oat flour
  • 65 g millet flour
  • 35 g potato flour
  • 30 g tapioca flour
  • teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • teaspoons cinnamon
  • teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
Toasted Marshmallow
  • 7 egg whites 210g
  • 350 g caster sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Brown Butter Pumpkin Buttercream
  • 175 g unsalted butter
  • 150 g of the marshmallow frosting
  • 5 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
Toasted Marshmallow Pumpkin Cake {gluten-free}
Instructions
Spiced Pumpkin Cake
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C and line and grease two 8x4 inch round cake tins.
  2. Blend together the sugar and butter until thick and well combined.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla extract.
  4. Pour in the pumpkin puree and mix well.
  5. Sift together the rest of the dry ingredients, then add to the pumpkin mixture until just combined.
  6. Divide the batter between the two cake tins and bake for 35–40 minutes until an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean.
Toasted Marshmallow
  1. Heat egg whites and caster sugar in a bain marie, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the temperature has reached 71°C.
  2. 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.
  3. Set aside 325g to create the toasted marshmallow and leave the rest in the mixer to make the brown butter pumpkin buttercream.
Brown Butter Pumpkin Buttercream
  1. To make the brown butter, start work a good few hours before you intend to make the buttercream. Place the butter in a saucepan and heat over a medium flame. The butter will melt. Listen carefully and the butter will start hissing and cracking and forming little brown bits at the bottom of the pan. You want to wait until the noises start to subside, the butter smells toasty and is turning a darker colour. Remove from the heat as soon as it’s ready so it doesn’t begin to burn. Pour the butter into a heatproof container and chill in the fridge for a few hours until it solidifies to the consistency of room temperature butter.
  2. Cut the butter into cubes, then when you are ready to make the buttercream, add the browned butter one cube at a time into the food mixer which has the rest of the beaten egg white and sugar mixture leftover from making the marshmallow and beat the butter into the egg whites with the paddle attachment until a smooth velvety buttercream has formed.
  3. Add the pumpkin puree, vanilla extract and salt and beat until completely combined.
Assembly
  1. Place one of the sponge layers on a cake board and spread the brown butter pumpkin buttercream filling on top of the cake, smoothing evenly with a palette knife.
  2. Place the second sponge layer on top and cover the top and the sides of the cake with the marshmallow.
  3. Toast the marshmallow with a blowtorch.

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 marshmallow 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 marshmallow 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, tempering chocolate or fancy buttercreams. I use mine all the time.

I put off buying a chef’s blowtorch for so long as it seemed another kitchen gadget that would take up unnecessary space in my kitchen but once I took the plunge I didn’t look back. Absolutely essential for toasted marshmallow and meringue toppings and creme brulee. Plus really good fun to use. I love this MasterClass Deluxe Gas Kitchen Blow Torch in my kitchen, it does the job really well.

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.

If you like this recipe then you may like…

Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies

Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies {gluten-free}

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.

Pumpkin Pancakes with Almond Maple Syrup

Gluten-free Pumpkin Pancakes, so thick and fluffy and smothered with Almond Maple Syrup

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread

A deliciously moist Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread, made with brown butter and alternative flours for an earthy nutty flavour and unbeatable chew.

Lemon Iced Stem Ginger Parkin {gluten-free, vegan}

Lemon Iced Stem Ginger Parkin is the most moreish treat in your cake tin, sticky, chewy and laced with spices. Plus this version is also gluten-free, vegan and naturally pretty darn yummy.

side view of Lemon Iced Stem Ginger Parkin on a wire rack

Parkin is a traditional recipe from Northern England eaten on Bonfire Night which is when this recipe was supposed to be posted but life has been getting away with me a little bit, hence the delay. Really though, parkin is pretty delicious all year round, why limit yourself to the 5th November.

If you are a traditional Yorkshire lad or lass then look away now as you’ll probably shudder in terror that not only have I removed all the butter from your parkin but I have also drizzled it in a tangy blanket of lemon icing. I promise though, once you forgive my blatant flagrancy of the word ‘parkin’ you will learn to love these little changes. These Lemon Iced Sticky Stem Ginger Parkins are lighter than their namesake thanks to the coconut oil and almond milk used in the bake and the zesty lemon gives a lovely textural and tasty balance. Don’t worry though, I haven’t messed around with the thick oozy golden syrup which is what gives parkin its personality.

Overhead shot of Lemon Iced Stem Ginger Parkin on a wire rack with a knife

I have been making a variation of this parkin for years and originally started making it from a Sarah Randell recipe ripped out of Sainsbury’s Magazine, I think. It’s always been my go-to bake for WI and school cake sales as it’s difficult to find anyone who can resist the charms of parkin. It’s a bit like gingerbread but stuffed with a lot of oats so is a little chewier. The golden syrup or treacle used in the recipe make the treat gloriously sticky. So it’s chewy, sticky, packed with spice and definitely homely. I’ve recently started including the Lemon Iced Stem Ginger Parkin on my own cake stall and customers have been loving it. It’s Mum’s favourite and if she is staying the weekend to help out with Cole then it’s a given that she’ll expect me to tuck a little piece away for her train journey home.

Overhead shot of Lemon Iced Stem Ginger Parkin on a wire rack

Parkin is also great as it seems to last and last, as my Mum can attest to the time when she forgot about the parkin in her handbag and only got around to eating it 5 days later. It definitely improves after a couple of days of resting in the cake tin as it gets more sticky. If you don’t want to eat the parkin straightaway then I would recommend leaving it whole and only cutting into pieces when you want some. Although you will find it difficult to restrain yourself.

side view of Lemon Iced Stem Ginger Parkin on a wire rack

Print Recipe
Lemon Iced Stem Ginger Parkin {gluten-free, vegan}
Lemon Iced Stem Ginger Parkin is the most moreish treat in your cake tin, sticky, chewy and laced with spices. This version is also gluten-free and vegan.
side view of Lemon Iced Stem Ginger Parkin on a wire rack
Cuisine British
Keyword cake, gluten-free
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
12 squares
Ingredients
Stem Ginger Parkin
  • 300 g golden caster sugar
  • 125 g sweet rice flour
  • 100 g oat flour
  • 35 g tapioca flour
  • 185 g gluten-free oats
  • teaspoons ground ginger
  • teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 300 ml almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 165 ml coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 3 balls preserved stem ginger finely chopped
Lemon Icing
  • 225 g icing sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
Cuisine British
Keyword cake, gluten-free
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
12 squares
Ingredients
Stem Ginger Parkin
  • 300 g golden caster sugar
  • 125 g sweet rice flour
  • 100 g oat flour
  • 35 g tapioca flour
  • 185 g gluten-free oats
  • teaspoons ground ginger
  • teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 300 ml almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 165 ml coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 3 balls preserved stem ginger finely chopped
Lemon Icing
  • 225 g icing sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
side view of Lemon Iced Stem Ginger Parkin on a wire rack
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 150°C and line and grease a 20cm square baking tin.
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the sugar, flours, oats, ginger, bicarbonate of soda and salt and set aside for a minute.
  3. Take a medium sized saucepan and pour in the almond milk, golden syrup, coconut oil and cider vinegar. Turn onto a gentle heat and stir the ingredients together until everything has melted together.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, along with the stem ginger and beat well with a wooden spoon.
  5. Pour the mixture into the baking tin and bake for 40-45 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven, leave the parkin to settle for ten minutes then carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Make the icing by beating together the lemon juice and zest with the icing sugar until the icing is pourable.
  8. Pour the icing over the cooled parkin, leave to set and then cut the parkin into 12 squares.
Recipe Notes

* A lot of gluten-free oats are of the rolled or jumbo variety but that doesn’t work as well for this recipe. I have found that Nairn’s gluten-free oats which are a finer oatmeal give the best texture as the oats are able to become a part of the cake without being too granular.

Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies {gluten-free}

These gluten-free Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies are soft and slightly chewy with oats, sweetened only with maple syrup and bejewelled with dates.

Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies {gluten-free}

I had no idea what these cookies would turn out like. I made them with Cole and no recipe so I presumed disaster would ensue. I stood him on his kitchen stool at the worktop in his little apron which he’s so proud to wear and took a bunch of ingredients out of the cupboards and fridge that needed using up. It was luck that I usually have half a tin of pumpkin puree lurking in the fridge these days since I’m making a lot of pumpkin cakes for the stall and for café orders. Pumpkin cookies, flavoured with lovely warming spices and paired with oats seemed like a standout choice for our baking adventure. I’m also being vigilant about keeping a stash of medjool dates to hand in my larder as they come in useful for so many bakes, Easy Overnight Coconut Chia Puddings, beautiful tagines and the odd snack here and there. I couldn’t resist putting a few of these chopped little nuggets into the mix.

Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies {gluten-free}

Since I was making these cookies with Cole I decided not to use refined sugar. It’s debatable whether maple syrup is technically any healthier since sugar really is just sugar but I felt more of a responsible mother giving my toddler maple sweetened cookies. Plus who am I kidding, I was the one who ate the lion’s share of these cookies and a little bit less refined sugar in my diet is only going to be better for me.

Cole’s main job when we’re baking together is to stir and taste. I haven’t officially given him the role of taster, it’s one he’s bestowed upon himself. After every ingredient is added into the bowl he insists on making sure it is the right call, no matter if it’s the raw eggs or vanilla extract. It might have gone a bit far when he was shovelling wooden spoonfuls of flour, oats and spices into his mouth. At least he knew better to scrape them from his tongue than to try and swallow this time. An improvement from the cocoa powder incident a couple of months ago which led to me frantically pour streams of water down his throat to ease his choking. Special times.

Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies {gluten-free}

Cookies are great for baking with a toddler since they are really just an assembly and mixing job with a bowl and wooden spoon, ideal for a child who loves to stir. They are so quick to bake and after ten minutes or so of cooling they are ready to eat. Instant gratification.

When it came time for the final taste test I was completely bowled over at how delicious the cookies actually were. Not at all the calamity I had anticipated. It’s always the way that your best efforts are when you’re not really trying, either that or Cole is an absolute baking prodigy and he’ll be taking over the market stall from me by the time he’s four.

Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies {gluten-free}

I’ve made these cookies a few times since, tweaking the recipe here and there but every time I have come to the conclusion that the cookies that Cole and I made together that first time were the most delicious. They were probably not the most photogenic since I gave Cole free rein with the cookie scoop to drop them onto the baking sheet but the taste was all there from the beginning.

Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies {gluten-free}

Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies have become a little bit of a staple in our house over the past two weeks, I have been nibbling on them for breakfast, mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks. They are pretty good whenever to be honest. It’s also pretty handy knowing what to do with that half eaten tin of pumpkin puree.

Print Recipe
Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies {gluten-free}
Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies are soft and slightly chewy with oats, sweetened only with maple syrup and bejewelled with dates.
Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies {gluten-free}
Course snack
Cuisine British
Keyword cookies
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
15 cookies
Ingredients
  • 125 g gluten-free oats
  • 75 g sweet rice flour
  • 50 g ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 170 g pumpkin puree
  • 75 g dates stoned and chopped finely
  • 125 g butter melted
  • 100 g maple syrup
  • zest 1 orange + 2 tablespoons of its juice
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
Course snack
Cuisine British
Keyword cookies
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
15 cookies
Ingredients
  • 125 g gluten-free oats
  • 75 g sweet rice flour
  • 50 g ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 170 g pumpkin puree
  • 75 g dates stoned and chopped finely
  • 125 g butter melted
  • 100 g maple syrup
  • zest 1 orange + 2 tablespoons of its juice
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
Spiced Pumpkin Date Cookies {gluten-free}
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 170°C and line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
  2. In a large bowl sift together the oats, sweet rice flour, almond flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices.
  3. In another bowl mix the pumpkin puree, dates, melted butter, maple syrup, orange zest and juice and the egg.
  4. Pour the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture and stir well until completely combined.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop with a trigger action, scoop up balls of cookie dough and release the dough onto the baking sheet an inch or so apart.
  6. Flatten the cookies slightly with the back of a fork before putting them in the oven to bake for 13-15 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven, let rest on the baking tray for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

SHOP THE RECIPE

There are two items in my kitchen which are invaluable when baking cookies. A good cookie dough scoop (or ice cream scoop) is one of them. So handy for scooping up a perfect ball of cookie dough for the perfectly sized cookie. Also so useful when baking cupcakes and ensures a perfectly even cupcake bake every time. I use the OXO Good Grips Trigger Ice Cream Scoop which is really durable and an ideal size.The other brilliant piece of equipment which I’ve never regretted buying is a really decent hard-wearing baking tray which I use for all my cookies and scones. I use this KitchenCraft MasterClass Large Non-Stick Baking Tray, Grey, 39 x 27 cm which considering how often I use it is still in excellent condition, fits in the oven nicely and is large enough to hold a whole batch of scones or cookies.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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