Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart {gluten-free}

This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.

This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.

The holiday baking starts here. I hadn’t meant to leave it over two weeks in between posts but I have been working on the market stall every weekend for the past few weeks, doing winter fairs and my usual spot at Tottenham Green Market and it’s left little room for anything else. It’s been the best ever season for my stall which I finally transitioned to be 100% gluten-free in October and I have had a brilliant response from it. I am still working on tweaking the recipe for a few of my more popular wheat cakes to taste just as good in their gluten-free form so any spare half hour I have I am flinging cakes in the oven. There is a lot of half eaten cake in our house at the moment.

This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.

I hadn’t even really thought how turning my stall gluten-free would affect my preserves and it was only when looking at my ingredients list that I noticed cheeky gluten hiding in a few of my recipes. The ale in my Boxing Day Ale Chutney has now been swapped for a gluten-free variety, the flour in my Piccalilli has been substituted for cornflour and tapioca starch but doom fell upon my kitchen during the curse-laden end of my Traditional Mincemeat prep. I was ding donging merrily on high along with spotify, happily pouring in boxes of suet to all the other ingredients, when what to my wandering eyes should appear but a treacherous coating of flour on each individual strand of suet. It was way too late by then to salvage the situation so instead of tossing the lot which I couldn’t bring myself to do I now have one thing on my stall that isn’t gluten-free. I still have a lot of love for it despite its tainted status as it’s a pretty fantastic mincemeat, made with real beef along with the suet. Not a veggie fantasy. I am also soothed by the fact that my Cranberry and Cointreau Mincemeat is naturally gluten-free so ingredient intolerant customers do not have to go without.

This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.

One of my favourite preserves at this time of year though is the ubiquitous cranberry sauce and once you have tried a homemade version you will be convinced, like me, to eat it all year round. I make loads of jars of it at the end of November when the supermarkets just begin to stock up and from then on I am pretty much game to serve cranberry sauce with anything. This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart though is where the cranberry sauce really shines. It pairs so well with the stilton and chestnut that you really don’t need to look any further if you are wondering what to do with the rest of your jar after the turkey has been eaten.

My mum, who hates stilton, took an extra slice home with her after visiting this weekend. Luke, who always claims he hates quichey things, was thrilled when I made the tart two days running for supper. Cole though made it clear that he preferred the tart when he was eating it from our plates rather than his, so you might want to take his feedback into consideration when serving it out. Also, if you eat the tart straight out of the oven then you get that melty cheese factor which is so good. By letting it rest out of the oven for a couple of hours the tart will firm up so it’s a bit more stable if you like it that way or if you need to transport it anywhere.

This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.

I have wanted to experiment with gluten-free pastry for a while now but had heard so many crumbly, dry or soggy horror stories that I have been putting it off. However, my happy experiences with the recipes in Alanna Taylor-Tobin’s Alternative Baker encouraged me to give her pastry a go as well. I changed things a little as I wanted to make a savoury tart rather than a sweet tart but I mostly followed her instruction for her buckwheat flaky pastry and I have to say that the pastry tasted great on the very first go. Both the texture with the flaky snap of the tart case, and the buttery taste which is made more complex by the variety of flours, including one of my faves, buckwheat, has left me thoroughly satisfied that this can be my new go-to pastry.

I have since made this tart a few times and except for an extra two minutes to sift the different flours together, this pastry comes together just as quickly as my normal wheat flour version. In fact quicker as you don’t need to work the pastry as much or bother with chilling it every time you go near it as the gluten doesn’t need to rest.

This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.

I am really enjoying my gluten-free experiments these days, it is forcing me to try new things and think about my ingredients in a different way rather than relying on the dominance of wheat flour. It makes every little success in the kitchen that bit more rewarding as careful thought has been put into every ingredient. I know I am opening up my recipes to a wider audience and it doesn’t hurt that I can now eat everything on my stall, give or take a mincemeat.

This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.
Print Recipe
Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart
This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.
This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
6 people
Ingredients
For the pastry:
  • 80 g sweet white rice flour
  • 25 g oat flour
  • 45 g buckwheat flour
  • 30 g cornflour
  • 15 g tapioca starch
  • 15 g ground chia seeds
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 115 g cold unsalted butter cut into very thin slices
  • 1 egg medium, lightly beaten
  • 2-4 tablespoons iced water
  • A few tablespoons of a gluten-free flour blend for rolling
  • 1 egg beaten for the egg wash
For the filling:
  • 15 g salted butter
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 400 ml crème fraiche
  • 175 g Stilton crumbled
  • 100 g vacuum packed chestnuts roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 75 g cranberry sauce
Equipment:
  • 25 cm round tart tin
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Passive Time 30 minutes
Servings
6 people
Ingredients
For the pastry:
  • 80 g sweet white rice flour
  • 25 g oat flour
  • 45 g buckwheat flour
  • 30 g cornflour
  • 15 g tapioca starch
  • 15 g ground chia seeds
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 115 g cold unsalted butter cut into very thin slices
  • 1 egg medium, lightly beaten
  • 2-4 tablespoons iced water
  • A few tablespoons of a gluten-free flour blend for rolling
  • 1 egg beaten for the egg wash
For the filling:
  • 15 g salted butter
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 400 ml crème fraiche
  • 175 g Stilton crumbled
  • 100 g vacuum packed chestnuts roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 75 g cranberry sauce
Equipment:
  • 25 cm round tart tin
This Stilton, Chestnut and Cranberry Tart makes a lovely festive lunch. The richness of the stilton and woodsy notes of the chestnuts are sharpened with the zesty cranberry sauce.
Instructions
To make the pastry
  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the flours, chia seeds and salt.
  2. Rub the butter into the flour in between your fingertips so it resembles very rough breadcrumbs then stir in the beaten egg with a fork.
  3. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time and start to bring the dough together with a pastry scraper. It should start to form quite quickly.
  4. Tip the dough onto the work surface and bring the ball into a round ball. You want the pastry to still be a little sticky.
  5. Wrap the pastry in greaseproof paper and flatten the ball slightly.
  6. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  8. Dust the work surface with a gluten-free flour blend then roll the pastry out into a circle large enough to line a 25cm tart tin.
  9. Once you have lined the pastry in the tin and neatened the edges with a knife, place greaseproof paper over the pastry, so it comes up the sides, then fill the tin with baking beans.
  10. Place the tart tin in the oven for 20 minutes. Take out of the oven then remove the baking beans and parchment and brush the surface of the pastry with the beaten egg.
  11. Place back in the oven for a final five minutes to seal the pastry. Remove from the oven and leave to cool to room temperature before adding the filling.
To make the filling
  1. First prepare the onions by adding them into a saucepan along with the salted butter. Cook on a low heat for 25-30 minutes until the onions are completely soft, translucent and just beginning to caramelise around the edges. Leave to cool for half an hour before adding to the other ingredients.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
  3. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and crème fraiche together, then add the stilton, chestnuts, caramelised onions, salt and pepper. Do reserve some of the stilton and chestnuts for crumbling onto the top.
  4. Pour the filling into the ready-baked pastry case and then dot the remaining stilton, chestnuts and cranberry sauce on top.
  5. Place the tart in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. You can either eat the tart straightaway hot from the oven or leave to come to room temperature where the tart will firm up a little more.

Pecan Butterscotch Latte Cake {gluten-free}

This Pecan Butterscotch Latte Cake is a gluten-free delight, the sponge flavourful with ground pecans, oat flour and muscovado sugar. The buttercream whipped to light perfection with a touch of mascarpone and all imbued with a rich coffee aroma.

This Pecan Butterscotch Latte Cake is a gluten-free delight, the sponge flavourful with ground pecans, oat flour and muscovado sugar. The buttercream whipped to light perfection with a touch of mascarpone and all imbued with a rich coffee aroma.

I am hooked into stories. I was an early reader and would consume book after book. Now, I’m not saying these books I read were all that literary, I grew up reading a lot of Jilly Cooper. But I studied English Literature at A-Level and then Film and Literature at university so my love for fictional worlds and their impact on society continued and evolved, my life became analysing books and films for credit and I was consumed by it. Although Jilly Cooper never made the syllabus for some reason.

Pecan Butterscotch Latte Cake

I get totally invested in these stories, obsessed by the characters in them and although I am not reading that much at the moment, as the mere action of picking up a book seems to summon sleep in seconds, I still watch a bit of TV. I would have professed to have left my obsessive nature of it behind though since being a mother, running my own business and paying a mortgage has really made me grow up. Then on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend this week I discovered that Greg, one of the main characters in the series, has left the show for good and I broke down and cried when the internet confirmed it. But I loved him, my nearly 36 year old self sobbed to my husband, why won’t he come back.

This Pecan Butterscotch Latte Cake is a gluten-free delight, the sponge flavourful with ground pecans, oat flour and muscovado sugar. The buttercream whipped to light perfection with a touch of mascarpone and all imbued with a rich coffee aroma.

The sadness I feel when I have to say goodbye to these characters is weird but real. In times gone by I have had to bid a fond adieu to Buffy Summers which took me years to get over, Felicity Porter and Ben Covington and not to mention the loss of Veronica Mars. In 2007 though I was struck by devastation again when I was forced by the powers that be to say goodbye to Stars Hollow, a place I had come to think of as a second home. I had heard about Gilmore Girls just after it finished airing in the US but it hadn’t been on TV in the UK so I imported the first box set over on a whim. Soon I had binged the whole seven series, getting up at 6am so I could sneak in an episode before work and staying up into the early hours to get them in. I was not enjoying my job and these girls and their life was a pleasant refuge.

I shared the DVDs with my Mum and we would mail them to each other back and forth, bickering over which of Rory’s boyfriends was the best (duh, Jess forever!!), how thoughtless Lorelei was being and why the hell was April suddenly on the scene. Then it was over, season seven finished a bit up in the air and we couldn’t believe there wasn’t any more. I scoured for any articles or a glimpse of information on another series, a movie but nothing. It was done.

This Pecan Butterscotch Latte Cake is a gluten-free delight, the sponge flavourful with ground pecans, oat flour and muscovado sugar. The buttercream whipped to light perfection with a touch of mascarpone and all imbued with a rich coffee aroma.

In my last days of pregnancy Mum sent me the DVDs back through the post and for the first few weeks of Cole’s life I re-watched the whole thing again, babe in arms, on the sofa. Too petrified to leave the house with my newborn and too tired to do anything other than nurse and watch TV. I was sure I could see his little eyes flutter every time he heard the Carol King theme tune (rolling his eyes- never!) and I would sing it to him to calm him down when he was fractious. I still do (despite his protests).

So incase you don’t know, Gilmore Girls is back tomorrow. Friday November 25th a special day, and to say I am excited is to underestimate my devotion, fandom and the fact that I probably don’t have a social life. It’s like PI day all over again (March 14th 2014 when Veronica Mars returned to me). So this week I have done what any sane baker would do in this instance, I baked a cake to commemorate the day and I’m going to eat it all tomorrow, fork in one hand, remote in the other. Of course if you know Gilmore Girls then I had no choice but to bake a coffee cake as those girls sure do like their coffee coffee coffee. It’s a Pecan Butterscotch Latte cake and I think one of the most delicious cakes I sell on my market stall so I am thrilled to find an excellent reason to share it with you.

This Pecan Butterscotch Latte Cake is a gluten-free delight, the sponge flavourful with ground pecans, oat flour and muscovado sugar. The buttercream whipped to light perfection with a touch of mascarpone and all imbued with a rich coffee aroma.

I came up with the recipe as customers kept asking me if I did a coffee and walnut cake and although I have baked many a coffee and walnut in the past I never thought it was that special to warrant a place on the stall. So I fixed it. This Pecan Butterscotch Latte cake is truly wonderful, packed full of pecans, which are finely ground and add a really rich flavour, further impounded by the toffee taste of the light muscovado sugar and the butterscotch notes of the oat flour. The coffee powder I use is Nescafé Azera which can be used directly into the batter and icing without needing to be dissolved. It’s a strong and deep coffee flavour, perfectly balanced by the sweet notes of the sponge. The icing is a traditional buttercream but made creamier by the mascarpone so you feel you are drinking a light frothy coffee. A latte if I may be so bold. It’s my perfect cake for a celebration and tomorrow you betcha I’ll be celebrating.

This Pecan Butterscotch Latte Cake is a gluten-free delight, the sponge flavourful with ground pecans, oat flour and muscovado sugar. The buttercream whipped to light perfection with a touch of mascarpone and all imbued with a rich coffee aroma.

Oh, and if you too are a fan of Gilmore Girls and are as excited about the reunion as me then I hope you also know about the Gilmore Guys podcast which is brilliant and funny and excellent company for me during my baking days. You must check them out as they really make me smile.

This Pecan Butterscotch Latte Cake is a gluten-free delight, the sponge flavourful with ground pecans, oat flour and muscovado sugar. The buttercream whipped to light perfection with a touch of mascarpone and all imbued with a rich coffee aroma.
Print Recipe
Pecan Butterscotch Latte Cake
This Pecan Butterscotch Latte Cake is a gluten-free delight, the sponge flavourful with ground pecans, oat flour and muscovado sugar. The buttercream whipped to light perfection with a touch of mascarpone and all imbued with a rich coffee aroma.
This Pecan Butterscotch Latte Cake is a gluten-free delight, the sponge flavourful with ground pecans, oat flour and muscovado sugar. The buttercream whipped to light perfection with a touch of mascarpone and all imbued with a rich coffee aroma.
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
12 people
Ingredients
Cake
  • 440 g light muscovado sugar
  • 350 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 160 g rice flour
  • 50 g oat flour
  • 160 g ground pecans
  • tablespoons coffee powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
Icing
  • 300 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 300 g icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons mascarpone
  • 1 teaspoon coffee powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 12 pecan halves to decorate
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
12 people
Ingredients
Cake
  • 440 g light muscovado sugar
  • 350 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 160 g rice flour
  • 50 g oat flour
  • 160 g ground pecans
  • tablespoons coffee powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
Icing
  • 300 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 300 g icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons mascarpone
  • 1 teaspoon coffee powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 12 pecan halves to decorate
This Pecan Butterscotch Latte Cake is a gluten-free delight, the sponge flavourful with ground pecans, oat flour and muscovado sugar. The buttercream whipped to light perfection with a touch of mascarpone and all imbued with a rich coffee aroma.
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C and line and grease 2 x 20cm round baking tins
  2. Cream the sugar and butter for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down after each addition and mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Then add the maple syrup and vanilla extract, mixing in well.
  5. In a separate bowl whisk together the flours, ground pecans, coffee powder, baking powder and salt. Add it to the rest of the batter and beat well until the batter is smooth.
  6. Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Remove the cakes from the oven and carefully turn out onto wire racks to cool completely before icing.
  8. For the icing beat the butter and sugar together for ten minutes until airy.
  9. Add the mascarpone, coffee powder and salt and beat again until incorporated.
  10. To assemble the cake spread the icing on one layer of the cake, enough so that the icing spills out a little over the sides. Place the second layer on top and spread some more icing evenly over the surface.
  11. Smooth the icing which is peeking out of the middle over the sides of the cake very thinly to achieve the naked cake effect.
  12. Decorate the top of the cake with the pecan halves.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread

This Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread is the most moist and delicious pumpkin bread you will eat this Autumn. Nutty with brown butter and encrusted with cinnamon sweetened pumpkin seeds for crunch, the alternative flours used not only make it gluten-free but deepen the flavour and give it a slight chew which is incredibly addictive. It’s also easy to make using a couple of mixing bowls and a wooden spoon for company.

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

You may begin to notice a bit of a difference in this blog and also my cake stall if you are planning on visiting me in the near future. Lately I have been completely converted to gluten-free baking. I feel it’s too early days to say whether the switch will be permanent but I’m finding working with alternative flours so exciting at the moment that I’m forging ahead with gusto.

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

I have spoken on my blog ad naseum about my relationship with gluten-free eating but I’ll just mention again, ignoring the groans, how it really helped my well-being, tiredness, bloating and daily nausea back when I changed my eating habits. However, this has been a contradiction to how I have always baked. I love to bake, I have great feedback from my cakes and indeed earn money from them. Even though about a quarter of my cake stall has always been gluten-free, I have been reluctant to convert to a 100% gluten-free business, knowing I would be leaving behind beloved recipes and perhaps alienating my customer base.

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

However, my baking indulgences have been veering more and more towards the use of alternative flours. I don’t mean the gluten-free all-purpose blends you can buy, which I certainly don’t sniff at as they are in constant use in my kitchen and used in several of my cakes. However, I think to rely on just that blend is reductive to the possibilities of gluten-free baking. I have been reading about, playing with and doing a great amount of tasting recently and have been astounded by the sheer variety of flours out there which all behave and taste utterly different.

A comment which really resonated with me came in the introduction to Alanna Taylor-Tobin’s new book ‘Alternative Baker’ where she talks about a conversation she had with her husband over a wheat flour cupcake. It wasn’t the gluten they had the issue with but the blandness of it. It’s true, baking with these ‘Flavour Flours’ as Alice Medrich terms them in her book of the same name adds further interest to the bake and by choosing complimentary flours in your recipe you can really add resonance to the flavour.

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

Now, not all of these flours are not readily available in your local supermarket, although times are a-changing, but they are easy to get hold of if you have no problem with ordering off Amazon, or you have an Asian supermarket or a particularly on the button health food shop nearby. The flours individually are not too much more expensive that regular old plain flour but since you will be buying more than one and you will probably have to add delivery on top of that cost then this way of baking doesn’t come cheap. However, cake is a treat so do think of it like that if you are balking at the investment, plus since you will only be dipping into each bag these flours will be good for several cakes. And the results are so worth it, it almost goes without saying.

Alternative Flours

The ones I have chosen to help me out with my gluten-free pumpkin bread are:

Sweet Rice Flour
Also called glutinous rice flour, it doesn’t contain gluten and is not the same as ordinary white rice flour. It helps to bind the other flours together, adding moisture and a slight chew to the bake.

Sorghum Flour
This flour is bursting with an earthy nutty flavour. It has a great wholegrain texture which sits perfectly with the pumpkin and spices.

Millet Flour
I have used the millet flour here for bulking out the flour mix. It doesn’t have a strong taste so doesn’t overwhelm the finished bake.

Potato Starch
This adds lightness to the bake so the finished result doesn’t end up stodgy.

You may not have a gluten-free diet, but dismissing these flours as a fad would be a shame since they can add so much to a baking repertoire. Plus, now I’ve discovered them, you might be seeing a lot more of them on this blog. If you can, I urge you to give this recipe a try, I really hope you notice the difference in this pumpkin bread which is so much more than you could ever think possible rather than just another pumpkin bread recipe.

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

A deliciously moist Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread, made with brown butter and alternative flours for an earthy nutty flavour and unbeatable chew.
Print Recipe
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.
A deliciously moist Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread, made with brown butter and alternative flours for an earthy nutty flavour and unbeatable chew.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
10 people
Ingredients
  • 400 g pumpkin puree I used tinned
  • 270 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs medium
  • 160 g unsalted butter
  • 125 g sweet white rice flour
  • 110 g sorghum flour
  • 100 g millet flour
  • 65 g potato starch
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 30 g pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • pinch of cinnamon
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
10 people
Ingredients
  • 400 g pumpkin puree I used tinned
  • 270 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs medium
  • 160 g unsalted butter
  • 125 g sweet white rice flour
  • 110 g sorghum flour
  • 100 g millet flour
  • 65 g potato starch
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 30 g pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • pinch of cinnamon
A deliciously moist Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread, made with brown butter and alternative flours for an earthy nutty flavour and unbeatable chew.
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C and line and grease a 9 inch loaf tin.
  2. First you want to turn your butter into melted brown butter. 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.
  3. Pour the butter into a food mixer or large mixing bowl along with the pumpkin puree, sugar and eggs and beat until smooth.
  4. In a separate bowl sift together the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt then add to the rest of the mix. Beat until well mixed.
  5. Pour the batter into the baking tin and scatter the pumpkin seeds evenly over the top.
  6. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean.
  7. Leave the pumpkin bread for 5 minutes to settle in the cake tin, then turn out onto a cooling rack and leave for a moment whilst you prepare the cinnamon syrup.
  8. Pour the caster sugar, water and cinnamon into a small saucepan and turn the heat onto low. When the sugar has melted then turn the heat off and brush the syrup over the top of the pumpkin bread. Leave to cool completely before you slice and serve.

The Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road

This Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road hits all the right notes; sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy and most importantly really chocolatey.

This Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road hits all the right notes; sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy and most importantly really chocolatey.

Gosh Rocky Road is dangerous. It’s the kind of treat which you would make with kids in mind, maybe it’s a birthday party, or the school cake sale. It’s fine, it’s for the children, I am doing such a nice thing for them. Now here, let’s load it with sprinkles as that’s what children like.

This Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road hits all the right notes; sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy and most importantly really chocolatey.

Now you might not really call yourself a sprinkles person, they look pretty but don’t really tell you what you’re about to eat is anything more than a fun whimsical food. Nothing I can’t handle. Here would be your mistake. You are underestimating this rocky road as you think you are making it for the children and the sprinkles are evidence of that.

This Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road hits all the right notes; sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy and most importantly really chocolatey.

You are wrong, this Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road is sheer nirvana, for adults and children alike, and if you are tempted to try a small square whilst you are cutting it up or arranging on the plate then don’t say I didn’t warn you as it will be highly likely that your lovingly prepared treats will not make it to little Jimmy’s birthday party and probably won’t contribute to raising money for new equipment for the school gym.

This Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road hits all the right notes; sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy and most importantly really chocolatey.

The best case scenario is that you don’t eat the whole batch yourself. And if you think I’m exaggerating then let’s break it down.

Do you like chocolate? Why yes, I love chocolate. Do you like marshmallows? Well, I wouldn’t say no to them toasted over a campfire. What about sweet n’ salty popcorn? Does ordering a jumbo bucket at the cinema every Saturday evening count? Yes it does. Then yes, I’m in for popcorn. Glace cherries perhaps? They have a certain retro charm. Biscuits? Oh yes, dunked in my tea at 4pm every day. Some roasted cashews? Naturally, they are part of my very healthy lifestyle. Now mix the lot together and Bob’s your bingo, your diet is done-zo.

I should know, I have had several batches of this Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road come and go out of my fridge for the past two weeks and there is no saving me. And what’s more, I don’t think I want to be saved.

This Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road hits all the right notes; sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy and most importantly really chocolatey.

This Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road hits all the right notes; sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy and most importantly really chocolatey.
Print Recipe
The Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road
This Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road hits all the right notes; sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy and most importantly really chocolatey.
This Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road hits all the right notes; sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy and most importantly really chocolatey.
Servings
16
Ingredients
  • 250 g dark chocolate
  • 150 g milk chocolate
  • 175 g soft butter
  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 100 g sweet n’salty popcorn see notes for recipe
  • 125 g biscuits chopped and a little crushed (I use gluten-free Hobnobs but if you are ok with gluten then I recommend using biscoff biscuits)
  • 75 g unsalted roasted cashews
  • 125 g glace cherries diced
  • 125 g mini marshmallows
  • 2 tablespoons sprinkles
Servings
16
Ingredients
  • 250 g dark chocolate
  • 150 g milk chocolate
  • 175 g soft butter
  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 100 g sweet n’salty popcorn see notes for recipe
  • 125 g biscuits chopped and a little crushed (I use gluten-free Hobnobs but if you are ok with gluten then I recommend using biscoff biscuits)
  • 75 g unsalted roasted cashews
  • 125 g glace cherries diced
  • 125 g mini marshmallows
  • 2 tablespoons sprinkles
This Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road hits all the right notes; sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy and most importantly really chocolatey.
Instructions
  1. Line and grease a 12 inch x 9 inch cake tin.
  2. In a bain marie melt the chocolate with the butter and golden syrup.
  3. Once melted pour in, in this order, the biscuit pieces, the nuts, the glace cherries, the popcorn, remove from the heat, then pour in the mini marshmallows. Coat thoroughly with the chocolate.
  4. Pour the rocky road into the prepared tin, then scatter the sprinkles evenly over the top. Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours to set.
  5. Remove from the fridge and cut into squares.
Recipe Notes

Gluten-Free Courgette Oatmeal Cake with Lemon Mascarpone Icing

This Gluten-Free Courgette Oatmeal Cake with Lemon Mascarpone Icing distils the very essence of summer baking.

This Gluten-Free Courgette Oatmeal Cake with Lemon Mascarpone Icing makes the most of summer’s bounty and is perfectly light, moist and incredibly moreish

It boasts a wonderfully light sponge with a tender crumb thanks to the combination of rice and oat flour which not only makes this bad boy gluten-free but also lends it a toasted, coming to the end of high summer, campfire in the evenings vibe. It is iced with a creamy lemon mascarpone with only a mere whisper of sugar, but plenty of zesty citrus as a perfect compliment to the delicate courgette flavour. A perfect treat for our heady August days when cake might otherwise seem too indulgent.

This Gluten-Free Courgette Oatmeal Cake with Lemon Mascarpone Icing makes the most of summer’s bounty and is perfectly light, moist and incredibly moreish

This cake was inspired by the bountiful mountain of courgette at the farmer’s market last week, all shapes and sizes in varying shades of green. I have been fancying a courgette cake for a few weeks now and just like that it all fell into place.

These days courgette nests proudly in my vegetable drawer. At one time considered a boring watery addition to Sunday roasts, it dragged everything down with its mopey presence. Then I started using it raw in salads, roasted in garlicky olive oil and finally as courgetti. Now courgette is celebrated and embraced in our family, an absolute must in our weekly shop but it’s at its very best right now. Like any vegetable you have to know how to get the best out of it and boiling it to oblivion is never the answer. In my house, cake is the more obvious solution.

This Gluten-Free Courgette Oatmeal Cake with Lemon Mascarpone Icing makes the most of summer’s bounty and is perfectly light, moist and incredibly moreish

And this courgette oatmeal cake with lemon mascarpone icing is my new favourite family friendly bake. It’s a complete stunner and despite making and eating it more times this week than is really acceptable for someone who is on a never ending mission to lose her baby weight, I haven’t come to resent it once. That is because the batter comes together in moments, baking up a dream so it is ready, iced and on your fork before you can change your mind about having an afternoon slice of cake.

This Gluten-Free Courgette Oatmeal Cake with Lemon Mascarpone Icing makes the most of summer’s bounty and is perfectly light, moist and incredibly moreish

The sponge is so light thanks to the power partnership of rice and oat flour. If you can’t find oat flour then by all means whizz up some oats very finely in your food processor, the results will be the same and oat flour can be quite pricey. Rice flour though is more accessible these days and is an absolute must in my larder, not just for gluten-free baking. I intend to post a lot more using rice flour since I am having a little love affair with it at the moment but having just had this particular delicacy for lunch here is one of my favourite uses for it.

This Gluten-Free Courgette Oatmeal Cake with Lemon Mascarpone Icing makes the most of summer’s bounty and is perfectly light, moist and incredibly moreish

The courgette cake is then carefully spiced with a touch of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, not too much to overpower but just to add soft flavour.

The icing feels like a bit of a cheat as it is just so easy and unlike most icings you don’t even need a mixer, just whipping together with a wooden spoon is enough. It barely uses any sugar, a tip I garnered from my neighbour after being bowled over by how creamy and cheesy her cream cheese icing was. She confessed that she had only used a smattering of sugar to make it more child friendly. However I found without the addition of butter and hardly any sugar, the icing then becomes all about the texture and flavour rather than a sickly counterpoint.

This Gluten-Free Courgette Oatmeal Cake with Lemon Mascarpone Icing makes the most of summer’s bounty and is perfectly light, moist and incredibly moreish

This idea works so well with this mascarpone icing to which I’ve only grated in the zest of 1 lemon and added 2 tablespoons of icing sugar and then a couple of tablespoons of natural yoghurt to help with the consistency and add tang. It’s so delicious that you can happily eat with a spoon all day long. Actually I don’t know if that makes this icing more dangerous but I do know that it is simply dreamy with the courgette oatmeal cake.

This Gluten-Free Courgette Oatmeal Cake with Lemon Mascarpone Icing makes the most of summer’s bounty and is perfectly light, moist and incredibly moreish
Print Recipe
Gluten-Free Courgette Oatmeal Cake with Lemon Mascarpone Icing
This cake makes the most of summer’s bounty and is perfectly light, moist and incredibly moreish. Adapted from Alice Medrich’s Carrot Spice Cake in Flavor Flours
This Gluten-Free Courgette Oatmeal Cake with Lemon Mascarpone Icing makes the most of summer’s bounty and is perfectly light, moist and incredibly moreish
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
16 slices
Ingredients
  • 400 g light muscovado sugar
  • 300 ml light olive oil or other flavourless oil
  • 4 eggs about 200g
  • 240 g rice flour
  • 80 g oatflour or oats finely ground to a powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 340 g grated courgettes (about 4) squeezed to remove excess moisture
For the Icing
  • 500 g mascarpone
  • 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 lemon grated zest
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
16 slices
Ingredients
  • 400 g light muscovado sugar
  • 300 ml light olive oil or other flavourless oil
  • 4 eggs about 200g
  • 240 g rice flour
  • 80 g oatflour or oats finely ground to a powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 340 g grated courgettes (about 4) squeezed to remove excess moisture
For the Icing
  • 500 g mascarpone
  • 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 lemon grated zest
This Gluten-Free Courgette Oatmeal Cake with Lemon Mascarpone Icing makes the most of summer’s bounty and is perfectly light, moist and incredibly moreish
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C and line a grease a 13x9x4 inch baking tin.
  2. In a large bowl (or stand mixer) beat together the sugar, olive oil and eggs until smooth and thick.
  3. Add all the other ingredients in, except for the courgette, and beat until everything is fully mixed together.
  4. Finally stir in the courgette until evenly dispersed and pour into the prepared baking tin.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes, checking after 20 minutes and covering with foil if the cake seems to be browning too much.
  6. When ready, leave the cake in the tin for 5 minutes to settle before turning out onto a wire rack and leaving to cool completely before icing.
  7. To make the icing beat the mascarpone together with the yoghurt, icing sugar and lemon zest until light and smooth and spread onto the top of the cooled courgette cake with a palette knife.

Easy Flourless Salted Chocolate Chip Cashew Cookies

These Easy Flourless Salted Chocolate Chip Cashew Cookies will become an absolute staple in your kitchen. They take no longer than 15 minutes from the second you enter the kitchen to your first cheeky nibble on a warm salty and chocolate molten cookie straight out of the oven. It’s quicker than a stroll to Tesco and better than any gluten-free cookies you can buy there or anywhere.

Easy Flourless Salted Chocolate Chip Cashew Cookies

Cashew Butter for Easy Flourless Salted Chocolate Chip Cashew Cookies

The secret ingredient is cashew butter which replaces the flour and butter you would use in a standard chocolate chip cookie recipe without compromising taste or texture. The cookies have a soft chew and a lovely undercurrent of sweet cashew which isn’t overpowering in the slightest.

Easy Flourless Salted Chocolate Chip Cashew Cookies

All manner of nut butters are ubiquitous in the supermarkets these days but if you want a homemade affair that is cheaper, silky smooth and the easiest ingredient you will ever make for your larder then visit my recipe here. It is still a surprise to people when I explain how easy it is to make nut butters – the only ingredients are nuts. No actual butter. So this makes it okay when you laden your toast in half a block of salty butter before slathering on an obscene amount of cashew butter.

Easy Flourless Salted Chocolate Chip Cashew Cookies

Salt is always the name of the game in my baking arena and here I require fleur de sel, crunchy little crystals of salt hand-harvested in Brittany. Of course you can use normal sea salt but then do reduce the quantity a little as fleur de sel is particularly gentle.

Easy Flourless Salted Chocolate Chip Cashew Cookies

These cookies have become a godsend of late. I have been darting around the country visiting family, going on hen weekends, baking for my cake stall in this interminable heatwave and holding my patience with a baby who has just realised he is a tantrum throwing toddler and is making the most of his new identity.

Easy Flourless Salted Chocolate Chip Cashew Cookies

A cookie, a cup of tea and a sit down has been the only thing I have craved these past few weeks. Oh, and more sleep but that goes without saying for any mother. Plus with all the frenetic cake stall baking I want to relax the pace with a laid back cookie that only requires a mixing bowl, wooden spoon and no more than seven minutes in the oven. So easy and so perfect.

Print Recipe
Easy Flourless Salted Chocolate Chip Cashew Cookies
Adapted from http://theviewfromgreatisland.com/flourless-white-chocolate-chip-macadamia-cookies/
Easy Flourless Salted Chocolate Chip Cashew Cookies
Servings
15 cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 egg
  • 50 g soft light brown sugar
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 250 g cashew butter
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 100 g chocolate chips either milk or dark work well
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel if using regular sea salt reduce to 1/2 teaspoon
Servings
15 cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 egg
  • 50 g soft light brown sugar
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 250 g cashew butter
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 100 g chocolate chips either milk or dark work well
  • 1 teaspoon fleur de sel if using regular sea salt reduce to 1/2 teaspoon
Easy Flourless Salted Chocolate Chip Cashew Cookies
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C and line a large baking tray with baking parchment.
  2. Whisk the egg and sugars together in a large mixing bowl until combined.
  3. Add the cashew butter, bicarbonate of soda and sea salt until the batter is smooth and thick.
  4. Finally stir in the chocolate chips until evenly dispersed.
  5. Leave for a couple of minutes for the dough to set then using the palms of your hands roll up the sticky dough into balls of about about 30g each and place on a baking sheet a couple of inches apart. Crumble some fleur de sel on top of each cookie and press down slightly.
  6. Bake for 6-8 minutes until the cookies are just turning golden.
  7. Remove from the oven and leave on the baking sheet for 5 minutes to firm up before moving them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Recipe Notes

See my recipe for cashew butter if you want to make your own

Easy Flourless Salted Chocolate Chip Cashew Cookies