Tahini Turmeric Dressing

Tahini Turmeric Dressing is bright, vibrant and full of flavour. Better yet it can be paired with almost anything from roasted veggies, salad, meat to potatoes or rice. It’s a supper saviour.

Tahini Turmeric Dressing

Since I am still avoiding sugar in the run up to the end of my pregnancy I wanted to use the opportunity to write about one of my most basic savoury kitchen staples and it’s this Tahini Turmeric Dressing. It’s such a life saver as I always have the ingredients to make it on hand and it can transform absolutely any supper to something ultra special and flavourful.

Tahini Turmeric Dressing

My meal prepping has gone a little bit by the wayside these past few weeks since I have just about enough energy to make a bit of toast. I really appreciate myself though when I make time to whip up a dressing on a Sunday which can be utilised the whole of the next week. Last weekend I whisked up my favourite Tahini Turmeric Dressing (yay me!) which really should provide no congratulations whatsoever as it was completed in under five minutes. However, I had to reach up high into the cupboards to find my elusive tahini, wrestle with a tin of coconut milk, pull out the blender, find a suitable jar to store the dressing in and wash up the blender. Really it was more like ten minutes. So quite strenuous for this very pregnant lady.

Tahini Turmeric Dressing

I was so glad I found the time to do it though as I’ve been reaping the rewards of making the Tahini Turmeric Dressing all week. The first thing I made with it was the Roast Cauliflower Salad recipe I’m sharing with you over the weekend which is my favourite way to eat it. However, I didn’t stop there. It’s fabulous drizzled over lamb chops, in lieu of mayonnaise in a potato salad and even stirred into a full bowl of finely diced cucumber to serve with roast chicken. It’s so easy and useful, especially if you are obsessed with tahini, like me, enjoy the colour and the idea of the health benefits that turmeric provides, like me, and love the zesty punch of the lemon. just. like. me.

Tahini Turmeric Dressing

The way I’ve made the dressing here in this recipe whisks up nice and thick so is ideal for a drizzle dressing for robust veggies, carbs and meat. However, if you want to dress it over salad leaves but are worried about it weighing the leaves down, or fancy a bit of a lighter effect then just whisk in more coconut milk. When the dressing is allowed to rest for a day or more in the fridge it thickens up so feel free to whisk in a bit more coconut milk at that stage too. If you are serving it straightaway then I love it as it is.

Tahini Turmeric Dressing

Tahini Turmeric Dressing is bright, vibrant and full of flavour. Better yet it can be paired with almost anything from roasted veggies, salad, meat to potatoes or rice. It’s a supper saviour.
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: British
Keyword: tahini turmeric dressing, tahini turmeric dressing recipe
Servings: 300 ml
Calories: 5kcal
Author: Georgina Hartley

Ingredients

  • 150 g tahini
  • 125 ml coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  • Pour all the above ingredients into a blender, food mixer and blend/whisk together until smooth. Or add into a medium sized bowl and use a hand whisk.
  • Use straightaway or store for up to a week in the fridge.

Nutrition

Calories: 5kcal | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 3mg | Calcium: 0.1% | Iron: 0.2%

SHOP THE RECIPE

To blend the Tahini Turmeric Dressing I used my trusty Vitamix® Pro750 Food Blender, Copper UK Model. It’s one of my most favourite kitchen appliances and I use it almost daily. This blender is amazing as it 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 of course this dressing 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.

If you like this recipe then you may like…

Roast Cauliflower Salad with Tahini Turmeric Dressing

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Tahini Turmeric Dressing

Gluten-Free Eccles Cakes

Eccles Cakes are a traditional British tea time treat. Beautifully flaky gluten-free pastry bursting with fruit and spices.

Gluten-Free Eccles Cakes

I have always made Eccles Cakes regularly, they are both my mum’s and Luke’s favourite teatime treat so if either of them are ever in need of spoiling or cheering up then there is no better place for me to start than by whipping them up a batch. I can never make too many, they always seems to disappear as quickly as I can produce them.

What are Eccles Cakes?

Eccles Cakes are more pastries than cakes really and have a history dating back three hundred years. They hail from the town of Eccles in the North of England and like a lot of traditional recipes are remarkably similar to the Banbury Cake and the Chorley Cake with little discernible difference.

It’s the Eccles Cake though that is the most familiar since its commercialisation in the 1970s means you can pick up a dry doughy sub-par version in a packet at most supermarkets. If these are the only versions you have tasted then you absolutely have to try your hand at making your own.

Gluten-Free Eccles Cakes

How do you make Eccles Cakes?

As like most old recipes there is debate about how a real Eccles Cake should be constructed. To my mind they are best when they are made from flaky pastry, rather than puff, to encase a luscious filling of spiced juicy fruit.

Here we use currants and sultanas and also include a couple of tablespoons of Homemade Mixed Peel. If you don’t have any Homemade Mixed Peel knocking around the kitchen then you could obviously use shop-bought. However, a tablespoon of marmalade also gives a lovely citrus taste (since our family is not a fan of bought mixed peel).

The fruit is sprinkled with orange zest, cinnamon, mixed spice and nutmeg then held together with melted butter and sugar. Once the filling has rested for 1 hour you are ready to fill your Eccles Cakes. Once it has been tucked inside its pastry casing it is baked until golden brown with a sprinkling of crunchy demerara sugar on top.

Gluten-Free Eccles Cakes

Really there is no substitute for the homemade Eccles Cake, in particular if you time it perfectly and can present your offerings straight out of the oven. The scent of spice as you bite in is intoxicating, the fruit oozing from within as the pastry flakes at the corners of your mouth. If you’re especially lucky the buttery filling might have made a bid for freedom outside of the pastry during the bake so the sugar has caramelised chewily around the opening.

Gluten-Free Eccles Cakes

I think Eccles Cakes may have been one of the first recipes I cracked when I had my own kitchen many years ago and I have found over the years there is a definite knack to getting them absolutely perfect. Of course the game completely changed when I became gluten-free a few years ago and I had to find a new pastry to make my Eccles Cakes with.

Gluten-Free Flaky Pastry

I have tried a few gluten-free flaky pastry recipes but the one I have listed below is the closest to the real deal and comes courtesy of an adaptation of Alanna Taylor-Tobin’s Flaky Pie Dough in her book Alternative Baker. The list of ingredients is long but necessary and actually once you have measured it all out then it is just as easy to come together as the wheat version I made in days of yore.

The pastry rolls really well and is actually quite forgiving thanks to the inclusion of chia seeds which act a little bit like gluten in that it gives the pastry stretch so is more pliable when it comes to filling your pastry rounds with the fruit filling.

Gluten-Free Eccles Cakes

How to assemble Eccles Cakes

  • The key to a successful Eccles Cake is to roll the pastry to a 3mm thickness which isn’t too thick or thin. I bought a special metal cutter for my Eccles Cakes which is 12cm in diameter and makes for a perfectly sized Eccles Cake.
  • The filling shouldn’t be too wet either. Let the filling rest for about an hour before using so it can be dry enough to scoop into the pastry without making it soggy.
  • Don’t overfill your Eccles Cake. Otherwise the pastry will break and the filling will spill out. Two teaspoons is plenty.
  • Pull the dampened edges of the pastry over the top of the filling to stick together. You don’t want the fruit to puncture the pastry.
  • If you have rolled the pastry a bit thin and it does break a little then simply grab a little excess pastry and patch it up.
  • To finish, you turn the little pastry ball over and roll it out a fraction with your rolling pin to flatten it into a beautiful round. Then slash the top a couple of times with a sharp knife so the steam has somewhere to escape. Brush with a little egg wash to give it a lovely golden hue and sprinkle over the demerara sugar before baking.

Gluten-Free Eccles Cakes

When I asked Luke why he loves Eccles Cakes so much he waxed lyrically about how the filling is spread thinly and evenly between the buttery flaky layers of the pastry, so the treat is rich but light and not heavy like the way mince pies can be a little cloying. He’s so right but this is what also can make the Eccles Cake a little dangerous as eating more than one is very easy to do.

The best way to serve Eccles Cakes

The traditional way to serve an Eccles Cake is with a lovely wedge of Lancashire Cheese and if you’re lucky enough to take a table at St John’s Restaurant that is exactly how they serve it as part of their dessert menu. It’s the best of both worlds with the perfect balance between a cheese course and a pudding course.

Still if there happen to be Eccles Cakes in our kitchen at breakfast time then that’s how we eat them here.

Gluten-Free Eccles Cakes

Would you like more traditional British tea time recipes?

Vinegar Cake {gluten-free}

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

Gluten-Free Scones with Quick Strawberry Jam and Clotted Cream

If you make these Eccles Cakes then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Gluten-Free Eccles Cakes

There is nothing more inviting than a freshly baked Eccles Cake, warm from the oven, the pastry beautifully flaky and the spiced plump fruit just short of bursting through its buttery trappings.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
Course: Afternoon Tea
Cuisine: British
Keyword: gluten-free eccles cake recipe, gluten-free eccles cakes
Servings: 14 Eccles Cakes
Calories: 272kcal
Author: Georgina Hartley

Ingredients

Filling

  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 120 g currants
  • 80 g sultanas
  • 50 g mixed peel preferably homemade*
  • 125 g demerara sugar + extra for sprinkling on top
  • Zest of ½ orange
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Gluten-free flaky pastry*

  • 80 g sweet white rice flour
  • 40 g oat flour + 4 tablespoons for rolling out the pastry
  • 35 g millet flour
  • 30 g cornflour
  • 15 g tapioca starch
  • 15 g ground chia seeds
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 115 g cold unsalted butter straight from the fridge
  • 1 egg medium, lightly beaten
  • 2-4 tablespoons cold whole milk
  • 2 egg yolks for glazing the Eccles Cakes
  • 2 teaspoons whole milk for glazing the Eccles Cakes

Instructions

  • First make the filling by melting the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat.
  • Once fully melted, pour in the rest of the filling ingredients, stirring thoroughly to make sure everything is coated in butter. Set aside for 1 hour and make the pastry in the meantime.
  • To make the pastry, combine the flours, chia seeds and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  • Grate the cold butter into the flour then gently mix together with your fingertips so the mixture turns quite shaggy.
  • Stir in the beaten egg with a fork.
  • Add the cold milk one tablespoon at a time and start to bring the dough together with a pastry scraper. It should start to form quite quickly. It should be slightly sticky to the touch.
  • Tip the dough onto the work surface and quickly bring the ball into a round ball with your hands. You don’t really need to work the pastry as there’s no gluten to activate.
  • Wrap the pastry ball in cling film and flatten it slightly to make it easier to roll out when ready.
  • Place in the fridge for an hour to chill.
  • When you are ready to assemble the Eccles Cakes pre-heat the oven to 170°C.
  • Take the pastry out from the fridge, remove the cling film then tear the pastry in half to make it easier to roll out. Use the extra oat flour to dust the worktop and the rolling pin.
  • Roll out the pastry to about 3mm thickness then cut out circles of pastry using a 12cm round pastry cutter.
  • Spoon in two teaspoons of filling into the centre of each round.
  • Whisk the egg yolks and whole milk together into a small cup.
  • Damp the edges of the pastry lightly with the egg yolk and milk mixture, then bring all the sides together, pressing firmly to seal.
  • Flip each Eccles cake over then gently roll out with the rolling pin to flatten slightly so the filling is just showing below the surface.
  • Set the Eccles Cakes onto a large baking tray, using a sharp knife make two little slits in the centre of each cake then brush each surface with the egg yolk and milk mixture and sprinkle with demerara sugar.
  • Bake for 15 minutes until golden.

Notes

*Pastry adapted from the Flaky Pie Dough recipe in Alanna Taylor Tobin's Alternative Baker
*As I am not a big fan of shop-bought mixed peel if I do not have any Homemade Mixed Peel to hand then I often add in a couple of tablespoons of orange marmalade instead of the mixed peel and also the zest of a lemon. I would then omit the orange zest.

Nutrition

Calories: 272kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 97mg | Potassium: 156mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 8.9% | Vitamin C: 0.7% | Calcium: 3.3% | Iron: 4.9%

SHOP THE RECIPE

The recipe for the Flaky Pastry is adapted from Alanna Taylor Tobin’s Alternative Baker which is one of my favourite resources for gluten-free baking. I have tried a load of recipes from the book and they are all easy to follow and delicious. Like me Taylor Tobin doesn’t use a bunch of gums in her baking but relies on alternative flours to get the results she wants. This is rare for a gluten-free cookbook and since my body doesn’t react well to guar or xanthan gum then it means I can bake anything and everything from within its pages.

This Cookie cutter round 12cm s/s 1.5cm deep guaranteed quality is the cookie cutter I bought many years ago for my Eccles Cakes and it’s very simple but the perfect size and does exactly what I need it to.

I have finally found a brand of sweet rice flour 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

The oat flour I always use is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Whole Grain Oat Flour 400 g (Pack of 4). I buy it in packs of four since I find oat flour invaluably useful in my gluten-free baking.

Millet flour is also needed for the gf pastry and my favourite brand is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Millet Flour 500 g (Pack of 4) which as it states comes in a 4 x 500g pack but I prefer to buy my gluten-free flour in larger quantities like this as it’s just not as easy to get hold of as wheat flour and saves me having to wait when I have a specific baking urge. It also keeps costs down.

This post is not sponsored but the links above are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to click through to buy then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

Chocolate Raspberry Cake {gluten-free}

This Chocolate Raspberry Cake is a foolproof gluten-free buttermilk chocolate cake, sandwiched with a simple fresh raspberry swiss meringue buttercream.

This Chocolate Raspberry Cake is a foolproof gluten-free buttermilk chocolate cake, sandwiched with a simple fresh raspberry swiss meringue buttercream.

My house is calm and silent. My toddler has slept in his own bed for the full night through in weeks and my husband’s alarm hasn’t yet shrieked for him to get up and get dressed. If my husband is still in bed no doubt the dog is snuggled up next to him, both as unwilling to start the day as the other. The cats have been fed, one of which is curled comfortably around this laptop, her belly in the air for attention and the other is still eating his breakfast. Yet I am awake, googling recipes and writing. Despite my eye constantly twitching from excessive exhaustion, my whole body feeling so big and heavy all it wants to do is sink within our brand new duvet cover and hug my pregnancy pillow close to me, I am up and awake. Why? Welcome to the third trimester of pregnancy.

This Chocolate Raspberry Cake is a foolproof gluten-free buttermilk chocolate cake, sandwiched with a simple fresh raspberry swiss meringue buttercream.

I remember first time round people saying that the reason you can’t sleep in this final stage of pregnancy is nature’s way of getting you ready for all the sleepless nights ahead. I don’t need getting ready though, I’ve been having those for a couple of years already and I know the drill. What I need now is a head start on sleep to get ready for my return to night feeds but someone else has other ideas. This little baby I’m carrying is super active and wakes me up all night through twisting and squirming, except when I need to turn over which practically requires the assistance of a fork-lift truck or I need the loo for the twentieth time or my mouth is desert dry and can only be appeased by a gallon of water. Couple these restless nights with a day of full-time commitment to an extremely bouncy, chatty, effervescent and hungry toddler in potty-training then it’s safe to say my head is in a scramble and my body is like a lead balloon with the shape to match. How I long for the days of my first pregnancy when afternoons were given over to the Food Network and lazy naps on the sofa with a mountain of chocolate by my side.

This Chocolate Raspberry Cake is a foolproof gluten-free buttermilk chocolate cake, sandwiched with a simple fresh raspberry swiss meringue buttercream.

In fact the only thing that hasn’t changed is the mountain of chocolate. It’s fuel to me at the moment. Luke asked if we wanted to do anything for Valentine’s Day this year and I scoffed at the thought of going out. Meals out are not fun at this stage. I can’t eat a lot and feel very uncomfortable sitting at a table for any length of time. Plus all I really want to eat is the pudding so the rest of the meal is somewhat wasted. The cinema also puts me off, I’m not sure I could be in those skinny seats for a great length of time in front of an Oscar bait film. I’d rather watch something that didn’t make me think or cry at the moment. Also they finish way past my bedtime.

This Chocolate Raspberry Cake is a foolproof gluten-free buttermilk chocolate cake, sandwiched with a simple fresh raspberry swiss meringue buttercream.

So we’re celebrating Valentine’s this year with Netflix and Chocolate Raspberry Cake and I couldn’t be more happy. In fact, I don’t know why I’m blaming any of this lethargy on the pregnancy, really Netflix and chocolate cake are my go-to way to have a kicking time babies or no babies.

This Chocolate Raspberry Cake epitomises my favourite way of baking and eating cake. Simple and no-fuss. The gluten-free chocolate cake itself is one of my favourites that I return to time and time again. It’s moist and tangy from the buttermilk but incredibly chocolately thanks to cocoa powder and melted 70% dark chocolate.

This Chocolate Raspberry Cake is a foolproof gluten-free buttermilk chocolate cake, sandwiched with a simple fresh raspberry swiss meringue buttercream.

If you haven’t made swiss meringue buttercream before then I urge you to splash out on the extra time it takes. It sounds complicated as there are a couple of extra steps involved compared to a buttercream made with just icing sugar and butter but if you’re a regular reader or a customer of my cake stall then you’ll be aware that swiss meringue buttercream is my cake covering of choice. It’s not too sweet, incredibly buttery and is so easy to work with. If pureeing the fresh raspberries seems a little too much effort on top of making the buttercream then you can always use raspberry powder which also gives a lovely zingy flavour and colour to your buttercream but I thought fresh raspberries suited the celebration of Valentine’s Day.

This Chocolate Raspberry Cake is a foolproof gluten-free buttermilk chocolate cake, sandwiched with a simple fresh raspberry swiss meringue buttercream.

The piped roses on the top of the cake are a cinch I promise and if you are just making this cake for you and your Valentine now is the perfect time to practice as they two of you won’t care. All you need is a Wilton 1M nozzle, a piping bag and five extra minutes. Hold your piping bag straight up above the cake without angling it at all then squeeze the buttercream out in a circular motion starting from the centre. You want the swirls to be slightly on top of each other so they are nice and tight. However, they don’t have to be neat or perfect buttercream roses by any stretch as once they are all piped onto the cake then the effect is lovely no matter what your piping skills are like. If one rose goes wrong, just pipe another on top to cover it or use a palette knife to carefully lift it off the top of the cake and start again. Actually this is a much quicker cake to decorate than covering the whole affair in a smooth buttercream icing as you’re not faffing for ages getting the corners perfect.

This Chocolate Raspberry Cake is a foolproof gluten-free buttermilk chocolate cake, sandwiched with a simple fresh raspberry swiss meringue buttercream.

So I may be tired, over-emotional, maybe a little complainy, definitely huge and always hungry but at least I have a big hefty Chocolate Raspberry Cake to devour this Valentine’s with my partner-in-crime.

This Chocolate Raspberry Cake is a foolproof gluten-free buttermilk chocolate cake, sandwiched with a simple fresh raspberry swiss meringue buttercream.

Chocolate Raspberry Cake {gluten-free}

This Chocolate Raspberry Cake is a foolproof gluten-free buttermilk chocolate cake, sandwiched with a simple fresh raspberry swiss meringue buttercream.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time1 hr 35 mins
Course: Cake
Cuisine: British
Keyword: chocolate raspberry cake, chocolate raspberry cake recipe, gluten-free buttermilk chocolate cake
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 806kcal
Author: Georgina Hartley

Ingredients

  • 125 g dark chocolate
  • 150 g white rice flour
  • 60 g oat flour
  • 20 g tapioca flour
  • 90 g cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 400 g buttermilk
  • 160 g caster sugar
  • 160 g soft light brown sugar
  • 170 ml olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 210 g egg whites around 7
  • 350 g caster sugar
  • 425 g unsalted butter at room temperature, cubed
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 300 g raspberries

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 160°C and line and grease 2 x 8 inch round cake tins.
  • Melt the chocolate in a bain marie or a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, then set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, espresso powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt until well mixed.
  • In a separate bowl mix together the buttermilk, sugars, olive oil, eggs and vanilla then beat into the flour mixture.
  • Finally mix in the melted chocolate until completely incorporated.
  • Divide the mixture between the 2 cake tins and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean.
  • Turn out the cakes and cool on wire racks before covering with buttercream.

Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Heat the egg whites and caster sugar in a bain marie, or a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, 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 a whisk attachment. Whisk until the meringue forms firm 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 buttercream will miraculously become a smooth velvety consistency.
  • Make the raspberry puree by tipping all the raspberries into a blender and blending on high for a couple of minutes. Press the puree through a sieve to remove the seeds.
  • Then add the raspberry puree to the buttercream along with the vanilla extract and salt. At first the buttercream will look curdled again but just mix for a couple of minutes until it returns to its smooth state.

Assembly

  • Spread the buttercream in an even layer over one of the chocolate cakes, then place the second chocolate cake on top.
  • Smooth out the buttercream squidging from the centre of the cakes with a palette knife to create the naked effect.
  • Pipe buttercream roses on top of the cake until completely covered.
  • You can keep the cake in the fridge until needed but do serve the cake at room temperature.

Nutrition

Calories: 806kcal | Carbohydrates: 84g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 51g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 494mg | Potassium: 375mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 61g | Vitamin A: 20.2% | Vitamin C: 7.9% | Calcium: 9.3% | Iron: 17.1%

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 layer 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.

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.

The piping tip I used in this recipe is the Wilton Number 1M Carded Open Star Tip which can so many different kinds of piping patterns and is one of the most useful piping tips to have handy.

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.

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.

If you like this recipe then you may like…

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 Pistachio Cake {gluten-free}

Raspberry Pistachio Cake sitting on a cake stand on a wooden table

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

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.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr 34 mins
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: British
Keyword: candied citrus peel, homemade mixed peel, homemade mixed peel recipe
Servings: 72 servings
Calories: 79kcal
Author: Georgina Hartley

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

Instructions

Day 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.
  • 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.
  • Weigh the peel, you should have around 450g.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Pour the sugar syrup over the peel, cover and leave the peel to soak for 24 hours.

Day 2

  • Strain the syrup into a large saucepan and return the peel to the bowl.
  • 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.
  • Pour the syrup back over the peel, cover and leave for another 24 hours.

Day 3

  • Pour the peel and syrup into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Pour everything back into the bowl, cover and leave the peel to soak for four final days.

Day 7

  • 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.

Notes

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

Nutrition

Calories: 79kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 26mg | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 1.1% | Vitamin C: 9.8% | Calcium: 0.6% | Iron: 0.3%

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 unsold 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 final selection of gluten-free flours:

  • sweet rice flour
  • oat flour
  • 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.

Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins {gluten-free}

If you make these Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

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.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: British
Keyword: gluten-free lemon poppyseed muffin recipe, gluten-free lemon poppyseed muffins
Servings: 12 muffins
Calories: 396kcal
Author: Georgina Hartley

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

Instructions

  • Place muffin cases in a 12-hole muffin tin and pre-heat the oven to 170°C.
  • Place the milk, sugar, olive oil, eggs and lemon zest into a large bowl and beat together until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the sweet rice flour, oat flour, almond flour, poppy seeds, baking powder and salt until thoroughly combined.
  • Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat together until smooth.
  • Divide the batter into muffin cases, filling to just below the top.
  • Place the muffin tin into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes.
  • 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.
  • Make the icing by beating together the lemon juice and zest with the icing sugar until the icing is just pourable.
  • Spoon the icing over each muffin then leave to set.

Nutrition

Calories: 396kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 120mg | Potassium: 197mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 1.5% | Calcium: 11.7% | Iron: 6.6%

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)

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.
Prep Time20 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: British
Keyword: gluten-free vegan granola bar recipe, gluten-free vegan granola bars
Servings: 16 Bars
Calories: 339kcal
Author: Georgina Hartley

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

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl throw together the oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, puffed rice, chia seeds, flaxseeds, cinnamon and salt and mix well.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Remove from the tin and cut into bars.

Notes

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

Nutrition

Calories: 339kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 76mg | Potassium: 298mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 0.2% | Vitamin C: 0.1% | Calcium: 9.3% | Iron: 11.5%