Tag Archives: soya margarine

Chocolate birthday cake


This Chocolate Birthday Cake recipe from my new book, Simply Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free, was inspired by one my sister made for her husband’s birthday. It’s light and moist, with dark truffley chocolate flavours and a rich, creamy icing, all covered with sweetly sharp raspberries.

I’ve used chestnut flour in this recipe, along with rice flour. Unlike most gluten-free flours, chestnut flour has great binding properties but its distinctive taste can sometimes overpower other flavours. In this recipe, though, it goes perfectly with the rich, sweet chocolate and sharply sweet raspberries.

gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, seed-free, citrus-free

Preparation time 25 minutes, plus 10 minutes and at least 12 hours soaking to make the cashew nut cream icing Cooking time 45 minutes Makes 1 cake (14–16 slices)

150g/5½oz dairy-free margarine, softened, plus extra for greasing
200g/7oz dairy-free dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, chopped or broken into pieces
175g/6oz/scant 1 cup fruit sugar or caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
60g/2¼oz/scant ¼ cup rice flour
60g/2¼oz/¹⁄₃ cup chestnut flour
2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
½ tsp xanthan gum
150g/5½oz/1¼ cups raspberries or strawberries, hulled, to decorate

200g/7oz dairy-free dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, chopped or broken into pieces
300g/10½oz/scant 2 cups cashew nuts
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 pitted dates
Put the nuts in a bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak at room temperature overnight or for at least 12 hours.
Drain and rinse the nuts thoroughly, then put them in a blender. Add the vanilla extract and dates and pour in 250ml/9fl oz/1 cup water. Blend for 10 minutes or until smooth.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and lightly grease two 23cm/9in springform cake tins with dairy-free margarine. Put the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and rest it over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate has melted.
Using an electric mixer, beat the dairy-free margarine and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract, then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Sift the flours, gluten-free baking powder and xanthan gum into the mixture and fold in, using a spoon. Make sure the mixture is well mixed but take care not to overmix it. Evenly divide the mixture into the cake tins and level the surfaces with the back of a spoon.
Bake for 35–40 minutes until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks and leave to cool completely.
Meanwhile, put the chocolate for the icing in a large heatproof bowl and rest it over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate has melted. Put the blended nut cream and date mixture in a food processor or blender, add the melted chocolate and blend until well mixed.
Put the cake on a plate and spread half of the icing over the top. Put the other cake on top, flat-side down, and spread the remaining icing over it. Decorate with the raspberries and serve.
related ingredients: baking powder, chestnut flour, fruit sugar, olive oil margarine, rice flour, soya margarines, xanthum gum

Brioche with caramelized peaches


This recipe is from my new book, Simply Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free. My favourite combination of gluten-free flours is rice, gram and maize because they balance each other in terms of taste and texture. In this recipe, I’ve used potato flour as well, to add moistness. When I had my baby, Zoe, I had to adapt my cooking. No more spending hours making something complicated and fiddly, or cooking whenever I felt like it. Instead, I had to find ways to make food easily (and often while holding Zoe with one arm) around whatever was going on at home. I discovered an amazing thing – that gluten-free dough doesn’t need to be kneaded. YAY! When you think about it, there’s no gluten needing to be bashed and pummelled to develop it. But what it does seem to need, though, is to be processed. I guess this aerates the dough, because when it is processed for a good 10 minutes in a food processor, it rises better, and whatever you’re making – pizza dough, bread or brioche, for example – comes out of the oven risen and light. I think I’m going to chalk this up as one of my greatest discoveries in life!

preparation time 20 minutes, plus 4 hours rising
cooking time 30 minutes
serves 4

gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, seed-free, citrus-free

100g potato flour
50g gram flour
50g maize flour
150g rice flour
1 tsp sea salt, crushed
1 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp dried active yeast
165g dairy-free margarine, chilled and cut into small pieces, plus extra for greasing
100ml soya milk
4 eggs
6 tbsp fruit sugar or caster sugar
4 peaches, pitted and sliced into 8 pieces
Sift the flours, salt, xanthan gum and yeast into the bowl of a food processor with the dough blade attached and blend until mixed together. Add 150g/5½oz of the dairy-free margarine and blend until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the soya milk, 3 of the eggs and 3 tablespoons of the sugar and process for 10 minutes to aerate the dough. Put the dough in a large bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise for 1 hour.
Grease a 12-hole muffin tin with dairy-free margarine. Stir the brioche dough thoroughly and pour evenly into the muffin tin. Cover loosely with cling film and leave to prove for 3 hours until light, puffy and doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Beat the remaining egg and brush it over the brioches, using a pastry brush. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Leave to cool for 2–3 minutes, then turn out of the tin and transfer to a wire rack before serving.
While the brioche are cooling, put the remaining margarine and sugar in a saucepan and heat over a low heat until the dairy-free margarine has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil over a high heat, then turn the heat down again to low and simmer for 4–5 minutes until the mixture has caramelized slightly and become syrupy. Add the peaches to the saucepan and shake the pan to cover the peaches in the syrup. Cook for 2–3 minutes until tender, continuing to shake the pan occasionally. Serve immediately with the brioche.
related ingredients: corn/maize flour, fruit sugar, gram/chickpea flour, rice flour, sheep’s cheese, soya margarines, xanthum gum