Friday, 4 November 2011

Christmas is Coming...Gluten Free Cakes & Puds

I'm busy this week in the preparation stages of what Im hoping will be an awesome cake creation for a friend.  I have sourced ingredients, equipment, custom boards for presentation that require cutting and covering.  I have measured and modeled.  I have at least 5 different shades of rolled fondant to tint and the cakes to bake ready for decoration.  I find that with cake decoration as with all things, if you take the time to prepare well, think your plan through gathering all the things you will need - then you can really enjoy the entire decoration process.

I have exactly "z e r o" patience.  Hard to believe I know.  Once around the Monopoly board and Im out!  But hours or days creating a cake is no bother at all.  Also, creativity is not exactly a strong point either.  Can't even draw a stick figure to proportion - so even I am amazed to find I can fashion kinda cool stuff out of lumps of icing...hahaha

Anyway - back to the original idea of this post.  While I am preparing the aforementioned cake extravaganza I am also thinking about Christmas.  I   L O V E  Christmas!!!  Its my favourite time of the year.  My Birthday is Christmas Day and all the traditional Christmas food is just wonderful.  I make so many Christmas Cakes every year.  I bake them, Organic and Gluten Free and have done for the past 3 years.  Prior to that I wasn't GF or too bothered on the Organic but still baked them all the same.  A good traditional fruit cake and Chrissy pud needs time to sit and mature to be at its best by Christmas.  They are super easy and the time to start is NOW!  For now though I'm only posting on the bit you need to do now.  Then I'll post on the baking after the fruit has sat and soaked up the brandy for a few days.

Go out and find the best quality dried fruit you can.  No bags of Mixed Fruit from the supermarket people.  The cake is a celebration and should be a triumph of beautiful plump quality dried fruit - Not pumped full of  glucose, vegetable oils, sulphites and preservatives.  Natural, beautiful fruit - thats the objective.  Beautiful fruit will create a beautiful cake.  These ingredients will make a 20x20cm square cake.

450g  Currants
175g Sultanas
175g Raisins
50g Glace Cherries
50g Mixed Peel
(I sometimes mix up the fruits - adding chopped dried Dates, Craisins, Figs etc as long as Currants form the base the remaining 400g can be made up of whatever you fancy.)

At the bare minimum the night before you want to make the cake collect these ingredients above place into a large bowl and pour over 3 Tbsp Brandy (I usually end up pouring over about 1/8 cup)  Give it a good stir through and cover with either a clean tea towel or I cling wrap the bowl.

Set it aside until ready to bake.  I often will leave mine sitting and stirring through each day for up to a week.  The longer you let it sit the plumper and juicier the fruit will be.

While it is taking a day or a few days to plump up (and trust me - don't skip that step)  gather the remaining ingredients you will need below:

225g Plain GF Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Mixed Spice
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
225g Unsalted Butter
225g Soft Brown Sugar
4 large Eggs
1 Desertspoon Black Treacle
The grated zest of one Lemon
The grated zest of one Orange
50g Chopped almonds

Make sure you have a cake tin of approx 20x20cm if square or diameter if circular.  You will need non-stick baking paper, an old newspaper, pen and scissors also.

Speak in a few days on the next bit.


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