Gluten Free Brownie Layer Cake

So I might have a forgotten about the blog for a while. Oooops. In my defense it’s the summer and who wants to bake when it’s warm outside? Yes, that’s right, it’s actually been warm in Scotland. There was even a two week period when ice cream was bought every single day by someone or other in the office. It was so hot I couldn’t really type because my hands were so sweaty they slid of the keyboard. Yuck. Sorry for sharing.

Anyway let’s talk about cake because that’s pretty much what this blog is about.  My latest creation came after a gluten free caramel brownie disaster. When I took them out of the oven they actually looked pretty good. However, when I took them out of the tin it was a slightly different story. I sort of didn’t follow the recipe and ended up with some liquidy caramel on the bottom and not all that solid brownie on the top. In fact when I mixed the mixture all together in  a bowl (I’ll explain why I did this in a minute) it didn’t look all that different from before it had gone in the oven.

Don’t worry I managed to rescue it. No wasted brownies over here. (Sorry about the awful picture quality. I forgot to take pictures before I left for the bake club.)

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On Wednesday it was the monthly meeting of the bake club I go along to (Pinnies and Petticoats) and it was gluten free night. I decided to take along a gluten free layer cake. I’ve made a gluten free birthday cake before so I used that as the base and then added in jam and brownie layers.

First of all I made the sponge cake and baked it in two pans. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the gluten free flour mix I had used last time (Asda’s own gluten free flour) so ended up using straight rice flour. The cake didn’t turn out as well this time so I would definitely recommend finding a flour blend rather than just straight rice flour.

Once I had the cake I made a batch of the frosting I used for the cake last time and tipped the disaster brownies into a bowl and mixed them up to make a spreadable mixture. Since my attempt was such a disaster I would suggest using your own favorite gluten free recipe (something baked in an 8x8inch tin should be fine) or finding an alternative online. If you have a caramel brownie recipe all the better (although to be honest the caramel flavour wasn’t all that strong in my cake so I don’t think you’d miss it).

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I then sliced each of my cake layers into two and layered them cake, brownie, frosting, jam, repeat. If you use a successful brownie mixture and don’t end up with a paste you can crumble the brownies and press them together gently to form a layer.

Gluten Free Brownie Layer Cake

Recipes taken from All Recipes and Our Best Bites.

  • Cook Time: 1 hour (not including cooling time)
  • Serves: 12

Ingredients:

  • 150g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 150g gluten free flour (I used a rice flour and potato starch blend)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 6 tbsp gluten free flour
  • 250ml milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 225g butter (must be butter not margarine)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1/2 jar of apricot jam (you made need a little less or a little more)
  • Batch of brownies using your favourite gluten free recipe
  • 50g dark chocolate chips for decoration

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5.
  2. In a large bowl beat together the butter (150g) and sugar (150g) until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one by one and the vanilla essence and beat well.
  4. Add the flour (150g), baking powder and milk (3tbsp) and mix well.
  5. Pour into two greased and lined 8inch, round tins.
  6. Bake in the oven for 15minutes until a skewer comes out clean (mine took a little longer than 15minutes).
  7. Cool on a wire rack.
  8. While the cake is baking put the flour (6 tbsp) and milk (250ml) into a small pan and heat over a medium heat whisking continuously. Keep whisking until the mixture boils. It should be a very thick paste, so thick it struggles to bubble once it reaches boiling point.
  9. Tip the paste into a small tub and leave to cool in the fridge. It must be completely cool. I put mine in the freezer to speed up the process.
  10. Once cool beat together (with an electric whisk) the butter (225g) and sugar (200g) in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
  11. Add the paste and continue to whisk until a light and fluffy frosting is formed. This only took 30seconds or so for me but the recipe says it could take several minutes. If in doubt keep whisking!
  12. Slice each cake into two layers and place one layer on a plate.
  13. Crumble a quarter of your brownie batch on top and press down gently to form a layer.
  14. Spread with a quarter of the frosting.
  15. Take another layer of cake and spread with apricot jam. Place this layer jam side down on top of the frosting layer. (You should now have cake, brownie, frosting, jam, cake.)
  16. Repeat steps 13 to 15. You should finish with the last layer of cake then brownie and frosting. I decorated with some dark chocolate chips but that part is completely up to you.

My Life Paris Edition

Here are some highlights from my trip to Paris last weekend. Not many words just lots of pictures!

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The Pompidou Centre housing the museum of modern art. All the pipe work is on the outside of the building!

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My dinner on Friday night. Goats cheese and bacon is a great combination.

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The Eiffel Tower and a view from the top!

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Nortre-Dame Cathedral.

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Arc de Triomphe.

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Sacre Coeur.

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Aside

Peanut Butter Fudge

I made this fudge for Sam’s Mum after she gave me a tub of marshmallow fluff with strict instructions to make some peanut butter fudge with it.

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The first attempt was a complete disaster. The recipe I used gave a temperature to heat the sugar to and then said it would take 5minutes to do this. For some reason I decided to just go with the time and then check it had reached the temperature at the end of five minutes. Bad idea. Going by the temperature reading I took I think it would only take about 30seconds to reach the required temperature. Oooops. Crumbly dry fudge isn’t very good. If you were wondering.

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This recipe however was much more successful and it only requires 4 ingredients. It makes quite a lot (a 8x8inch square tin) although I cut mine into very small squares so I think that made it look like it was a lot more than it actually was. The recipe suggests it makes 64 servings but it’s totally up to you how big or small you slice the squares.

If you do find you’ve got a bit too much then you can always freeze it. Wrap it in cling film and then place in a tub in the freezer. Allow it to come to room temperature before eating otherwise you might break a tooth.

Oh, I almost forgot. It’s super simple.

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Fudge

Recipe taken from Taste of Home.

Makes: 64 small squares

Takes: 20minutes (not including cooling time)

Ingredients:

  • 400g caster sugar
  • 125ml milk
  • 250g peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
  • 200g marshmallow fluff

Method:

  1. Grease and line an 8x8inch baking tin.
  2. In a large non stick pan heat the sugar and milk until boiling. Boil for three minutes.
  3. Add the peanut butter and marshmallow fluff, mix well and quickly pour into the lined tin.
  4. Smooth the top and place in the fridge until cool.

Aside

My Life (No. 6)

1. I went to Glasgow last weekend and Louise made me cycle up a mountain. I almost died.

2. I’m moving desks at work next week. I’ve only been here since September so don’t have much stuff but I still have to pack everything into a huge crate though and get a removal man to carry it up the stairs. Considering I could probably carry everything I have upstairs in my hands in one go this is a massive waste of my time.

3. A week tomorrow I’m off to Costa Rica! The weather says thunder storms all day everyday. Awesome…

4. In the meantime though I’m going to Paris for the weekend! We leave ridiculously early tomorrow morning. It’s fine though. I’ll get up early if it means I can eat cheese all weekend.

5. There is currently a cable unplugging war happening in my office. If you don’t get in first your keyboard and mouse will most definitely be unplugged. How do people over the age of 15 still find this funny?

6. Talking of work. It’s cake day today. Cake bought for you by the company? Best day of the month.

7. Insert funny cat picture.

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8. Sam bought me a new jumper last week and I immediately spilt baked beans down the front. Story of my life.

9. Twenty degrees in Paris this weekend. Better crack out the shorts!

Aside

Cream Cheese Cookies

I spent this weekend in Glasgow. Probably not the best idea because it made me realise how rubbish Aberdeen is. I’m working on persuading Sam to move back to Glasgow.

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Anyway I thought I should probably take Louise some form of baked good. She’s doesn’t eat gluten so that limited my choice slightly but in the end I just exchanged plain flour with gluten free flour. It wasn’t until after I’d made them that I realised cream cheese contains gluten too. Fortunately, Louise is fine with a small amount of gluten but they definitely wouldn’t be suitable for someone with a gluten allergy! I have included plain flour in the recipe because that’s what the original recipe used and they weren’t exactly gluten free anyway.

These cookies come out of the oven when they’re still quite soft. They are best eaten on the day they are made when the surface is still a little crispy from baking. I put them in a tub to take down the road and they’d turned a bit soft by the time I got there. I did happen to leave one out on the side over the weekend though and when I got back the surface had stayed crispy and the inside was still soft. It’s probably just safer to eat them on the day they are made though! Next time I’ll probably try cooking them a bit longer and see how they turn out.

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They taste pretty delicious, kind of halfway between cake and cream cheese frosting and are super easy to make. You do need to refrigerate them for 30minutes though. If you are short on time you could make them the day before then put them in the fridge overnight. It makes quite a big batch so I would recommend using a really big baking tray to bake in as few batches as possible. I only have a tiny tray so I had to bake them in three batches. Not a problem but it would have been slightly quicker if I could have done them all at once!

Cream Cheese Cookies

Recipe taken from See You in the Morning.

Makes: 24 cookies

Takes: 45minutes (not including chilling time)

Ingredients:

  • 225g cream cheese
  • 110g butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 350g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • icing sugar for rolling

Method:

  1. In a large bowl beat together the cream cheese, butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat again.
  3. Add the flour and baking powder and mix in gently.
  4. Place in the fridge for at least 30minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3.
  6. Once chilled roll the cookie dough into 24 balls and coat in the icing sugar (pour a little icing sugar into a bowl and roll the cookie dough ball in it).
  7. Place the cookie dough balls on a baking sheet with at least 2inches in between each one and bake in the oven for 20minutes. You want the top to be set but the middle will still be soft.
  8. Leave to cool on the baking sheet for 10 to 15 minutes until they are firm enough to move to a wire rack.

My Life (No. 5)

  1. Whoever came up with the idea of a bake club was a genius. Two hours of drinking wine and eating cake? Could anything be more perfect?
  2. I survived Guide Camp! I’m glad I didn’t have to stay overnight but most of the day was spent talking to the other leaders and drinking tea. There’s a week long one in August which I think might be a bit better because there’s more time between putting up the tents and taking them down again (which, by the way, takes hours if you’re a group of 11 year old girls). The camp in August should hopefully have better weather too. It rained all of Saturday and was cold enough to wear my snowboarding clothes.photo
  3. I’m getting my hair cut tomorrow. As much as I like the result of the experience I can’t say I enjoy sitting still and talking about my weekend and I always get told off for washing my hair everyday. I know you’re not supposed to but I’m pretty sure people wouldn’t appreciate my stinky gym hair every second day.
  4. I’m super busy the next three weeks. This weekend I’m in Glasgow, next weekend I’m in Paris and then I’m going to Costa Rica for two and a half weeks. It’s going to be pretty awesome. Especially because I’m only working four days weeks for three weeks running!
  5. I’m really excited about going to Glasgow. I’ve not really been back since I left in June. The shopping in Aberdeen is very limited and doesn’t even compare to Glasgow. Nike store here I come!
  6. Sam gave me money for my birthday to buy rock climbing shoes. I went to the shop on Tuesday to buy them and came out with shoes, harness, a belay and a carabina. I got 15% off though so it was a bargain! The only thing I didn’t get was a chalk bag and chalk but chalk reminds me of cotton wool so there’s no way I’d use it. I’m also the coldest person in the world (bar my sister) so sweaty hands isn’t really an issue.
  7. I tried to make peanut butter fudge the other day. It didn’t turn out well at all. It was crumbly, not very sweet and didn’t taste of peanut butter. Pretty much everything you don’t want peanut butter fudge to be. I’m going to try batch two tonight. I really hope this one works otherwise that’s a lot of tasteless fudge to have lying around.
  8. It snowed in parts of Scotland on Thursday. What?! It’s the end of May!!
  9. I love having the Apprentice back on TV. I think it’s the only programme I watch. I’m usually busy on a Wednesday night though so I spend all of Thursday trying to avoid finding out who was fired until I finish work and can go home and watch it.
  10. My half hour of lunch isn’t long enough to come up with ten things so nine it is.

Sacher Torte

This month’s Pinnies and Petticotes Bake Club had a Eurovision theme. Each of us was assigned a country and then we had to bake something from there. Ideally I wanted Germany. They have some good stodgy baked goods but someone else chose it so I took Austria instead.

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Sacher Torte was the obvious choice. It’s chocolate and it’s Austrian. There were no other requirements. A quick search for recipes brought up this Delia one. I was a bit shocked to find out it took 5 eggs (I usually try and find recipes without too many eggs because I already go through enough eggs) but I figured it would probably lead to a pretty delicious cake.

I was right. I’d never had it before but apricot and chocolate is a winning combination.

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I had a bit of difficulty getting the topping smooth. I probably should have just put the cake on a wire rack and then poured the topping over but I had no idea how I’d then get the cake onto the plate so I ended up trying to spread it on. Sacher torte always has a completely smooth topping. Mine was anything but smooth. I say it adds character.

I’ll try and do a post on some of the other bakes that were there tonight. Honey layer cake is the best cake I’ve ever had. I need to try and recreate it!

Sacher Torte

Recipe taken from Delia Online.

Takes: 2 hours (not including cooling time)

Serves: 12

Ingredients:

  • 200g dark chocolate (50-55% cocoa solids)
  • 110g butter
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla essence
  • 110g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Apricot jam
  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 150ml double cream

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/gas mark 2.
  2. Break up 200g dark chocolate into a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of barely simmering water. Make sure the bowl isn’t touching the water. Stir the chocolate regularly making sure it doesn’t get too hot.
  3. In a large bowl beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Separate the eggs and add the yolks and vanilla to the bowl with the butter and sugar and beat well.
  5. Leave the chocolate to cool for a while after melting then add to the bowl and fold in with a metal spoon.
  6. Add the flour and baking powder and carefully fold in.
  7. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add them to the mixture bit by bit and fold in.
  8. Pour into a lined 8 inch round tin and bake in the oven for 1 hour until risen and a knife inserted comes out clean.
  9. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
  10. Once the cake is cool cut off the risen top to make flat and slice in half horizontally to make two layers.
  11. Put the jam in a small bowl and microwave for 30seconds until slightly melted.
  12. Spread the bottom layer of the cake with the jam and place the top layer back on top. Cover the whole of the outside of the cake with the jam as well.
  13. Break the remaining 200g of chocolate into a bowl and melt with the cream over a pan of simmering water.
  14. Pour the icing over the whole cake making sure to cover the sides and leave to set. (This should be done with the cake on a wire rack but I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get the cake onto a plate once it had been covered so I resorted to spreading the chocolate mixture onto the outside of the cake. This won’t give you a perfectly smooth finish though.)

My Life (No. 4)

  1. I’m going to Guide Camp this weekend to help out. I wasn’t overly thrilled about the prospect in the first place but now it’s supposed to rain all weekend. Heavy rain at that. Fortunately I don’t have to stay over night so I should have 10 hours or so to dry out before the next soaking. I’m considering just going in my snowboard gear. I just need to decide if I’d rather be sweaty or wet.201305162047.jpg
  2. Despite my flatmates abandoning me and having to work I had a really good birthday on Wednesday. I went out for dinner with a couple of friends to our favourite restaurant. It’s a bring your own bottle place and at the weekend it usually gets pretty rowdy. Mid week was a bit more civilised though.
  3. The friends that came out for dinner with me bought me baking sprinkles and chocolate for my birthday. Someone knows me too well.
  4. I also received rock climbing shoes and cycling shoes for my birthday. Practical presents for the win. One year I got a blender. Best birthday present ever. Another really useful present was a cool bag that has ice pack liquid in the walls of the bag. Just put it in the freezer before using and you’ve got yourself a super cold cool bag. Whoever thought of that was a genius.
  5. Enough birthday talk. Three weeks yesterday I’m going to Costa Rica! I couldn’t be more excited. Apart from the fact I’ll get to spend the days surfing in seriously hot conditions I also won’t have to get up at 6am for two and a half weeks!
  6. Talking of surfing in hot conditions. Someone needs to invent a sun cream that isn’t greasy. Even the ‘non greasy’ suncreams are still greasy. It’s not very easy to surf while covered in suncream. You just slide right off the board. Maybe I should just invest in a swimsuit ala Nigella. No need for suncream then.
  7. Flavoured coffee is the greatest thing ever. It means I can eat chocolate chip cookies for breakfast. Well I can eat them without being judged because let’s face it I have most definitely eaten cookies for breakfast before.
  8. The above point just made me realise I didn’t eat birthday cake for breakfast on Wednesday. I did go and buy myself some frozen yogurt after work though. Chocolate and natural yogurt with strawberries. The strawberries make it healthy. Obviously.
  9. I can’t buy clothes from Topshop anymore. My shoulders are too wide. Even the vest tops look ridiculously on me. First world problem right there. To be honest I think I’d rather be able to lift heavy things than shop in Topshop.
  10. Last week I splashed out and bought some ‘expensive’ make up. (Not really expensive, just normal price instead of the super cheap stuff I usually buy.) I’m never going back. I lasts all day! Before, it was gone by 10am.

Wish me luck, I scheduled this post in advanced so I’m probably getting soaked right now.

Marshmallow Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Birthday cake!!

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I know I’ve gone on A LOT about my birthday but I promise this is the last post. Plus this cake was just too delicious not to share.

I adapted a recipe from Brown Eyed Baker. The recipe must create a huge amount of cake because I made a third and it still produced a pretty sizeable cake. I also skipped the strawberry filling, although I’m sure that’s an absolutely delicious addition.

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I planned to make quite a small cake but as I said above, it came out the oven much bigger than I was expecting. I probably could have cooked it in two tins and saved a bit of time but doing it in one saved me from getting the scales out and trying to split the mixture equally. I did cut the cake into two layers though so I could squeeze in a bit more frosting.

I made a marshmallow frosting with marshmallow fluff. I didn’t think you could get marshmallow fluff in the UK but Sam’s mum gave me a jar to make her some peanut butter fudge. Sssshuuushhh don’t tell her I used it for my cake, I need to get another jar and attempt the peanut butter fudge before next weekend! I think you could probably use melted marshmallows, it’s probably cheaper than a jar of marshmallow fluff too.

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Warning: This cake is super dense because it’s a pound cake. I love dense cakes. The more cake the better but I know some people prefer a lighter, airy cake. If that’s you, probably best not to use this recipe. Try my trusty sponge cake recipe instead!

Marshmallow Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Cake recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker and frosting recipe adapted from here.

Serves: 12

Takes: 1hour 30mins (not including cooling time)

Ingredients

  • 110g butter
  • 75g full fat cream cheese
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 120g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 150g butter
  • 200g marshmallow fluff
  • 450g icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp raspberry jam
  • 100g marshmallows for decoration

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Line a round 8inch tin.
  2. In a large bowl beat together the butter and cream cheese until soft and smooth.
  3. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. This will take a few minutes.
  4. Add the eggs and beat well.
  5. Finally add the flour and vanilla and beat until well combined.
  6. Pour into the lined tin and bake in the oven for 45 minutes until a knife comes out clean.
  7. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before removing and cooling on a wire rack.
  8. While the cake is baking make the frosting by beating together the marshmallow fluff and butter until combined.
  9. Add the sugar bit by bit, beating after each addition, until you reach the required consistency. (I like mine very thick.)
  10. Once the cake has cooled slice in half horizontally to get two layers.
  11. Turn the top layer upside down and spread with the jam.
  12. Spread a thick layer of frosting on the bottom layer then sandwich the two layers together.
  13. Cover the top and sides of the cake in the frosting. You can be pretty generous, I had a little left over.
  14. Decorate the top of the cake with marshmallows if you wish. I sliced the marshmallows in half and arranged them around the top of the cake.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve been trying to make Sam the perfect chocolate chip cookies for years. Apparently all the ones I make are too soft and he likes a chewy, crispy cookie.

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Yesterday I think I cracked it. I used a recipe from the New York Times. To be honest, I think I would have preferred them if I made them exactly as the recipe states but I was on a mission to make a chewy cookie that was still a little crispy so I changed a few things. The original recipe also requires the mixture to be refrigerated for 24hours. I’m not sure about you but I definitely don’t have the patience for that. I did a quick one hour in the freezer and called it good.

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I think they were a success because Sam told me they were the best cookies I’d ever made. Guess I’ll be making them again then.

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Unfortunately he’s not going to be here this week so my work colleagues are going to have to enjoy them instead.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe adapted from the New York Times.

Makes: 18 cookies

Takes: 45minutes (not including 3 hours chilling time)

Ingredients:

  • 240g plain flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 140g butter
  • 125g brown sugar
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g chocolate chips

Method:

  1. In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
  2. In a separate bowl beat together the butter and sugars until very light and fluffy. This will take a good few minutes.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla essence and beat again.
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture and stir until just combined.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Place the mixture in the fridge for three hours or in the freezer for one.
  7. Once the mixture has been cooled. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
  8. Roll the mixture into 18 balls and place on a baking sheet with 2inches between each cookie.
  9. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20minutes until golden brown.
  10. Leave to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before moving to a wire rack to cool.
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