Now In the last 5 years I have been asked for a lot of gluten-free baked goods as the gluten intolerant population rises. It was unheard of in my earlier years as a chef, but I think it is down to a lot of wheat gluten being used in processed foods over the years (so I reckon..In Jam for F”s sake! for example, why ! ? ) And I expect it’s also down to better Diagnosis and understanding in the world of medicine.
Now I have also been asked ( more rarely ) for dairy free goods, this is a bit harder, mainly due to fat being what helps incorporate air and also provide moisture and taste, some non dairy fats on the market can be either too wet so not giving great volume, or too greasy oily and waxy, making your baked goods taste like a slice of candle with a dollop of paraffin *boaks*
Now I know at least one person who is gluten and dairy intolerant, so no fun there, And this is my journey in finding out how best to make the perfect cake without making the recipe miles to fussy. I was lead to a recipe recently on the inter-webby thing, It was verging on hysterics ! It was meant to be a dairy free & wheat free brownie, it had everything under the sun and possibly on mars in it ! Including Avocado, dates, bananas…some scary cocoa substitute (why)..It was nothing like a brownie in the end, just some cake Dr Frankenstein would have been proud of.
It can be done so much easier without going completely of tangent. as I hope to show here.
The Gluten free side of things is pretty easy to be honest, there are a lot of gluten-free flours, doves farm being my favourite, you can also use rice flour or polenta, adding more liquid and the additive Xanthan gum, which is great for giving the structure lacking in the absence of gluten, and is easily available online, and In some supermarkets and health food shops
The fat is a tricky one, I have tried using some of the soft spreadable soya fats, they taste fine, but lack in volume department, as for making a “butter” Icing, well ..sloppy is the word, unless you like your icing to have a million tons of icing sugar in to make it firm *slight exaggeration face*. Also, be careful and read the labels of these fats, for instance a tub of spreadable stork margarine has added buttermilk..so not so non dairy there then !
The above is from my own personal preference, you may like the spreadable fats..so not dissing it entirely 😉
I settled on two fats, the stork hard margarine in a foil wrap ( no added buttermilk ) & the vegetable fat Trex, a white fat that is 100% fat ! so not one for everyday use, just an occasional treat..unless you want thighs like giant red wood trunks.
A funny story with the stork. I was going to use a margarine called dawn phase, but turns out after an e-mail exchange with Unilever foods I had after noticing that the packs of dawn & stork had identical nutritional info and ingredients list on the packs, I discovered they were the same product by unilever, the dawn is mainly for industry use & stork is the retail face of the same fat (they tried to say there was a slight difference, but the facts on the packs can’t be wrong as they say they are EXACTLY the same upon comparison)
Trex is also used in the industry, but is wildly available in supermarkets, especially online. Also I gather it’s used by none other than the famous Humming bird bakery in their dairy free icing.
One note about all processed vegetable fats, please make sure there are NO hydrogenated oils in them, these are from the anal glands of the devil ..and are an enemy of your arteries, all the above fats state there are none present, most of these fats mentioned by the way also have less saturated fat than butter
Anyway…don’t I go on !
Here’s the recipe 🙂
Please note: At the time of trying this recipe out I was using an industrial fan oven so the times above were how it worked out.. also make sure your oven is pre heated.
I have added notes to the oven times to allow for this.
YOU WILL NEED:
Two non stick 8 inch round sandwich tins.
( I bought my sandwich tins from Morrisons supermarket, £2.50 each, used them loads & still going strong. Love a bargain me ! )
a good whisk and bowl.
A determined science look.
oven (fan) at 160c. (conventional) 170c
A piping bag.
INGREDIENTS: SPONGE –
400g stork margarine or other hard fat.
2 tablespoons sunflower oil.
1/2 teaspoon of Xanthan gum
400g gluten-free plain white Self raising flour ( I used doves farm, but there are a lot of other brands available too, If you can’t find self-raising, use plain flour and add 1.5 teaspoons of gluten free baking powder )
zest of 1 lemon
teaspoon of vanilla extract.
METHOD – SPONGE:
Grease and flour (GF) your baking tins, no flour needed if using cake release spray ( dairy free of course )
Cream the fat and the sugar together
slowly add the eggs one at a time and keep beating until all are in.
Sift four ( and baking powder if not using self-raising ) add zest fold into batter, add oil and vanilla and fold in.
Don’t worry if batter looks too slack or slightly curdled, this is normal & does not affect the finished product.
NOTE: If using trex instead of stork use 400g fat, but use 500g sugar, 500g flour, and no oil, this is because of its 100% fat content.