Gluten Free seems to be hot right now…

chocolate gluten free cakes figjamandlimecordialI’ve recently whipped up a batch of Celia’s chocolate almond gluten free little cakes (original recipe Jill Dupleix, much admired by Celia!)  and might have to make some more very soon; chocolate, ground almonds, eggs, butter, sugar, what’s not to like?  I used a mix of milk and dark chocolate choc chips so these are a bit paler than Celia’s, but they are delicious and a bit too easy to make.

I want to flag up this great blog post by Dan Lepard over on the BBC’s website on the subject of gluten free baking; loaded with links and tips and an opportunity to ask Dan your gluten free questions and share resources and links in the comments. His new book Short and Sweet is due out in September, I can’t wait!

I might have a go at Dan’s gluten free bread recipe soon, just to see how it comes out, I’ve never had much luck with gluten free recipes, they always seem to come out very oily, anyone fancy joining me in a bake-off?

35 thoughts on “Gluten Free seems to be hot right now…

  1. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    I made his earlier version of this bread, and it worked really well! Thanks for trying the little cakes – they’re such a fun recipe! All credit to Jill Dupleix who made up the recipe – the lady is a genius! :)

    1. Joanna Post author

      Your blogpost appeared just as I was hovering thinking about baking a cake so I took it as a celestial sign…. Have amended above to credit Jill Dupleix :D

  2. bagnidilucca

    I could probably do with a couple of food alergies, but alas, I have none. Apart from a natural aversion to tripe I will have a go at just about anything. I think I am what’s known as a garbage guts. I do like the look of these lovely cakes. Perhaps I should just apply them directly to my hips.

    1. Joanna Post author

      All I can say is that a little of what you fancy does you good (falling back on clichés here, I know ;)

  3. sallybr

    I had my eyes on Celia’s cakes too – I don’t have a need for baking gluten free stuff, but I’m curious about how they taste. And, I HAD to pre-order Dan’s book – they kill us Americans with the shipping charges, by the way. But a book called Short and Sweet I cannot pass. It could be about me! LOL
    actually, whatever Dan publishes, I’m buying….

    1. Joanna Post author

      I’m really curious about how they taste and I’m going to have a go once I have got hold of some of the ingredients. I like your new pic Sally, just noticed it :)

  4. Misk Cooks

    Those look wonderfully lethal for a diabetic. (grump) I’m currently making a carrot cake. Sugar-free. Can’t you believe it? Sugar-free cake? Even the icing. Oh. Anyway …. gluten-free. Yes, I have a 1 kilo bag of gluten-free blended flour in my cupboard leftover from when Jennifer (my daughter-in-law) was here visiting. I’ve been using a tablespoon here and there for sauces or gravy but at this rate I’ll still be packing that stuff around when I’m begging St. Peter to let me in. It’s doesn’t look like Dan’s recipe wants this gluten-free blended palaver either. Is that corn flour the same stuff used for thickening gravy or sauce?

  5. Joanna Post author

    You should discuss the sugar thing with Doc, he might have suggestions for diabetic baking. Does Xylitol work as a sugar substitute or does it still do bad things? I don’t know much about it. I remember my Aunt Barbara used to make a wonderful cherry cake for her father who was diabetic with the morello cherries from her garden which was very sour and delicious too! I will ask her if she still has the recipe. Yes, the cornflour is the white stuff used for thickening gravy or sauce, not corn meal/flour the yellow one, or at least I am pretty sure it is. In English baking terminology that is called maize meal or cornmeal usually.

    1. Misk Cooks

      Yes, please, Joanna, if you’d ask after that recipe I’d be very appreciative. This darned carrot cake is so dense and heavy that it might become a door-stop. I believe that Doc’s approach is a little bit of whatever never hurts. That’s fine to an extent, and hubby usually passes on ‘afters’, but sometimes I know he’d like a piece of something properly sweet for dessert.

  6. heidi

    Ha! I have that gluten free mix that Misk is talking about, too! And I’m a diabetic that thinks it is more about portion size than sugar content. Although I always cut down the sugar by about one third.
    Those cupcakes are really delicious and easy- YUM!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Heidi I think you’re right to do sugar cutting experiments – very important. I made a cake the other day that was mostly egg whites, sr flour and a spoon of sugar and butter and some cherries. Don’t ask me for quantities as it was a moment of wildness when I just spooned everything into a bowl and rolled my eyes, (muttering, no recipe, what am I doing, I must be mad….) Brian ate the whole thing. It was not very sweet, quite sturdy but it rose, smelled like cake. It wasn’t patisserie but he liked it.

  7. drfugawe

    Misk and I have briefly discussed baking for diabetics – but I share Heidi’s approach, I limit how much I eat rather than ruin the dish by leaving out something needed to make it work (sometimes, sugar does much more than just make things sweet.). But if I think the sugar is in there for sweetening alone, my basic approach is to cut the amount in half, and then split even that between sugar and Splenda (I think Splenda does a better job if used with a minimalist touch).

    1. MiskMask

      Made Peder this sugar-free carrot cake, sweetened with mashed banana and chopped dates. This thing is so heavy that if I dropped it, it’d dent the floor. Still not sure if I should allow Peder to taste it or not. Under the circumstances, it might be better not to depress him with my baking skills.

      Do you have a carrot cake recipe?

  8. MiskMask

    Portion size has never been an issue for my husband. His BMI is very good, exercises regularly, but nevertheless sugar and/or fats cause major spikes. I’m much better just keeping him away from refined sugars. :D

    1. Joanna Post author

      I’ve been having a little read about sugars and diabetes. It is certainly complicated. I saw a recipe for a cake made with sweet potato, low GI food or something. There aren’t that many exciting recipes out there are there, maybe a collective plea to one’s favourite recipe writers is the way to go….

      1. MiskMask

        The problem is that ones body ‘reads’ the molecules of sugar, fat, carbs as all the same so one has to search out low GI foods that remain low after cooking. Many things that are low GI raw are not when they’re cooked. Some potatoes are ok; some are not, and yet diabetics need those carbs … but not too many. Fats and sugars (even natural sugars) cause P. no end of worrying blood results. We are low-fat, no sugar, low-salt in this house for P’s sake. I’ve cut the carrot cake into small squares so that butter in this recipe won’t cause too much trouble. I’ll look around next week at the Diabetes UK site and see what they have.

        1. Joanna Post author

          I thought the different foods released their sugar molecules at different rates to the blood stream. I can well believe that they are altered though on cooking. Presumably using hot flour soakers is not the way to go for you then as this releases sugars in the flour, or would it ? I’ll email you about this I think x

          1. Misk Cooks

            Sort of correct — they’re released at different rates dependent on how quickly they’re digested, which also reflects in how much the food is cooked. Softer=higher GI. Raw apple is low GI, whereas cooked apple is quite high. Baking potatoes are old, therefore more time to accumulate starch, so are higher GI than new potatoes with less starch. More fibre, lower the GI — less fibre, higher the GI.

            I don’t know hot soakers effect on blood sugar. Hadn’t thought about it. Certainly white flour has higher GI than wholemeal rye or wheat. Gluten-free flour, because it’s so easily digestible, is not a good choice for P. I checked on that with Diabetes UK, and they said if it’s not necessary to his diet then we shouldn’t go down that route.

  9. cityhippyfarmgirl

    Geez, his bread looks great. I would never have picked 450g of cornflour in there though.
    In Tasmania I had a brownie type thing that I think would have tasted just like those lovely little chocolate cakes as they have most of the ingredients I was trying to pick out.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Brydie neither would I… The blog post is interesting because he writes about the different ingredients you can put in there and what they all do, I don’t have that much cornflour/cornstarch in the house. I have made Dan’s lemon almond cake that uses some cornflour, that comes out very nicely in a bundt tin. I made it for my sister’s party in February.

  10. teawithhazel

    gluten free is all the rage here too..just down the road from me is an all organic bakery that sells gluten free and vegan slices of cake..out of interest i tried a piece recently not really expecting to like it but it was amazingly even had a rich but delicious icing..since then i’ve been looking online for recipes of the gluten free vegan ilk but so far i haven’t found any that remotely approximate the cake from that shop..i want to make those chocolate cakes but when my children are here because so far i haven’t found a glutton free recipe..:) jane

    1. Joanna Post author

      I’m still in the eat everything school of food, well maybe not tripe, but somewhere someone might prepare perfect tripe, I have an open mind on the subject. But I would like to have some good gluten-free recipes up sleeve for friends. From reading everyone’s comments though it seems that sugar is even more of an issue when it comes to baking. If it’s good vegan food I’ll eat it, if it involves carob and synthetic fats I might pause a little and opt for butter and chocolate instead. Glutton free recipes – hee hee – Cake that made me thin would feel like cheating ;)

  11. Amanda

    I know quite a few people who are gluten-free (for various reasons, ranging from faddish to necessity) so I’ll be passing on these links to them, thanks Joanna.

  12. Joanna Post author

    You’re welcome Amanda. As Celia says she has made Dan Lepard’s gluten free bread recipes before and recommends them, he’s well worth paying close attention to :D

  13. jan trounce

    Oh, chocolate cakes – almonds, eggs, no gluten ….so good for you! I know the key is “a little of what you fancy”, but what if what you fancy is ‘a lot’?

  14. Ruth

    I would happily join you in a bake off of Dan’s GF bread – but I’m slightly concerned that I won’t be able to find psyllium husk powder – any ideas?

    1. Joanna Post author

      Do you have any health food stores near you or maybe even a good pharmacist might stock it. I think those are the most likely place to find it. I haven’t been out to look for it yet. The recipe doesn’t require that much so if you get stuck email me and I will send you some. :)

  15. Joanna Post author

    Might just be us, we can swap photos. I will try and make it next week :)

    I have looked in my local health food store and they only have the special powder in 500 g bags and want over £11 (GBP) for it. As I don’t think I am going to be baking this that often I am going to have to hunt around for a smaller quantity somewhere…

  16. Ruth

    Hi Joanna,

    I still haven’t managed to get hold of any psyllium husk powder!!

    I’ll let you know if I do, and if I try this recipe….

    1. Joanna Post author

      I haven’t managed yet either. If you do be sure to follow the recipe exactly, Dan posted a step by step with some pictures on his Flickr stream last night as someone had had difficulty with the recipe and remember that corn flour in his recipe is what is called cornstarch in American English.

      1. Joanna Post author

        Hi Ruth, Brian got me a little bag of pysllium husk powder at Scoopaway this morning. Would you like me to send you half? I am going to give it a try later on today….

Comments are closed.