I don’t know about you, but cake is one of the most important things in my life, and my sister Debbie’s. So when we realised that my she couldn’t eat wheat, it was a big issue for her and because I love to bake, it became one for me too!
Eating out used to be a real pain for her, although restaurants are now making much more of an effort to provide gluten-free options.
Now one of my close friends has been diagnosed with coeliac disease, I am trying new gluten-free recipes, or de-glutening existing ones, so that when she comes over for a cuppa, I can offer her something tempting!
The recipe below is one that I’ve made quite a few times in it’s original format, it’s from The Great British Book of Baking, and it worked so well (after a few timing adjustments which I will come on to later) that I even bought a special spring-form cake tin!
This is the original recipe, and in brackets is how I have adapted it to a gluten-free version. I have made it quite a few times now and it always goes down well. Because gluten-free flour is a lot ‘thirstier’ than normal flour, you need to add extra liquid – here I used larger or an extra egg (both worked fine) and extra milk.
For the cake mixture:
200g very soft unsalted butter
250g caster sugar
3 medium eggs, at room temperature, beaten (3 large eggs or 4 medium)
finely grated zest of 2 medium unwaxed lemons
250g self-raising flour (250g Dove’s Farm Gluten-Free Self-Raising flour, plus about half a teaspoon of xanthan gum)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
100ml milk, at room temperature (about 150ml)
For the topping:
100g caster sugar
juice of 2 medium lemons
finely grated zest of 1 medium unwaxed lemon (I have never bothered with this as I rarely have 3 lemons, and it’s still very zesty)
Preheat oven to 180°/350°/gas 4 (160° for fan ovens.) Grease and line the base of a 20cm spring clip tin or deep round tin.
Sift in the flour and baking powder (and xanthan gum if using) and then pour in the milk. If you’re doing the gluten-free version, pour in about 100ml, then add more until it gets to a nice consistency. Then just whizz it up until it’s nice and smooth and pop it into the tin and level it off. Put the timer on for about 40 minutes and then check to see how it’s doing – it might just be my crazy oven, but it the top always cooks well, but when I put a skewer in, it’s totally raw in the middle. I find lowering the temperature and cooking for another 15 minutes usually does the trick.
Whilst it’s cooking, make the topping by mixing the caster sugar and lemon juice.When the cake looks something like this, take it out and stab it all over with a skewer or cocktail stick. Put the tin on a cooling rack and gradually spoon the topping over, so it has time to filter down through the holes. The first time I made it, I just poured it over, and most of it flowed straight over the top and down the edges onto the kitchen counter. Now I have more patience!
This book is Debbie’s favourite Gluten-Free cookbook, if you’re interested in trying other recipes: Seriously Good! Gluten-free Baking: In Association with Coeliac UK: Phil Vickery