a cuppa, a cake (recipe) and a chat

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Feel like a cuppa? A piece of cake? A chat? Great, you’re in the right spot.

The last project from my Blog with Pip course, is to tell you about ‘five things I love right now’ over a cuppa. I’m offering a piece of cake with my cuppa because I love cake… especially gluten free cake I can eat! I tweaked this recipe, adapting it from this one. I’m a bit thrilled with how it turned out (ie it worked and wasn’t like a brick) so I’m going to share the recipe with you after I finish chatting about the things I love. Oh and don’t forget to pop over to Meet me at Mikes and have a cuppa with my classmates too. Such a great bunch of friendly talented bloggers, am sure you’ll find a new blog or three to follow there.

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Spending time with the people I love. Time is such a precious thing and I rarely feel like there is enough of it to go around. I’ve been super blessed lately with spending beautiful days with my mum and my sister, having lovely skypes with my son in Bolivia (drinking a $2 bottle of Rum – him not me!), having chatty delicious dinners with my daughter and her fella, and doing lots of crafty stuff to really good music with my hubby. Precious times locked in my heart and memory bank for ever and ever.

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I’m a bit obsessed with taking photos at the moment. I have over 14,000 photo’s on my iphone and most of them only go back as far as 2013! Ridiculous hey? Taking snaphappy to whole new level… possibly bordering on some sort of OCD. And I already have one of those about numbers so I don’t need another about photos. I am hoping to learn how to take better photos this Sunday at this course. Can’t wait!

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I am super excited and a bit in love with a new series of posts I’ll be doing each month. I’ve never done a series of post here so I hope I can stick to it! ‘My smile inducers’ is all about looking for those little (or big) things that bring a smile to your face (or heart). My first post on this just felt like a great way to stop and … well… smile! I’m a big believer in the power of a smile and think they are contagious. If you see someone really smiling, it’s hard not to smile with them… isn’t? I will be adding a link option so you if you are a blogger you can write a smile inducing post and link back… and if you don’t blog you can tell me yours in the comments or on instagram (#mysmileinducers)… we will be creating a happy little hub of smiley places to visit… So on the first Saturday of each month, pop in for a smile or six ok?

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Of course I couldn’t tell you about the things I am loving right now without mentioning yarn related craft. Crochet in particular. If you already read this blog you will know how hooked on the hook I am, and my obsession with natural yarns. I’ve not long finished a huge blanket, and apart from making some cute wrist warmers I’m in no mans land with projects. It’s quite thrilling actually as I love this stage of pondering my next project. So many ideas in my head it’s hard to pick just one. Maybe I’ll start two… it wouldn’t be the first time.

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A delicious light fluffy flourless cake that’s sweet with a smidge of tart from the apples. Easy to make and even easier to eat. What’s not to love?

Flourless Apple Ripple Cake.

Ingredients:

75g butter
75g dairy free margarine ( I used Nuttelex but you can use all butter or all marg if you prefer)
I big plump vanilla bean
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup rice flour
1 nutmeg
1 apple (I used Pink Lady as that was just what I had – use whatever you have – and leave the skin on, it’s pretty!)
A generous sprinkle of demerara sugar (any sugar will probably do but demerara is great as it holds its chunky crystals shape during baking.)

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Method:

Whisk the crap out of the butter, marg and sugar. I found this is the secret to a really light fluffy gluten free cake. I whisked mine for ages, in the end it looked like whipped cream!
Add the eggs. Mine always curdle – I don’t care. Still works. Add all those beautiful little caviare-like seeds from your vanilla bean. Freshly grate your nutmeg into the mix – I love the stuff so add a heap. Add as much or little as you like. Mix until well combined. Next add the almond meal and rice flour. Feel free to sift it to make it lighter still – I’m too lazy for that step! Now DON’T mix too much. Just mix until it’s evenly combined. I find this also helps in keeping the cake light and delicate and not brick like.

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Pour your batter into a lined cake tin. Slice your apple into thin little wedge slices and arrange all pretty like on your cake. Grate lots more nutmeg over the top. Sprinkle with as much or little demerara sugar as your sweet tooth commands. Bake in oven 180C (160C fan-forced) for about 30 minutes. Timing depends on your cake tin size and shape… so if your cake tin is big and your batter shallow keep an eye on the timing – you may need to shorten it.

Cool cake… for just a moment if you can… then slice and eat… with fresh cream poured over the top if you can eat dairy… or with a cuppa… or both… good luck stopping at one slice.

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Let me know if you make one?

Do you have any delicious gluten free recipes you’d care to share?

Wishing you happy cake eating and time for the things you love.

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‘date with an apple cupcake’ gluten free!

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Well this is not crochet is it?! This is my Date with an Apple Cupcake, and it’s Gluten Free. In case you didn’t already know I have a bunch of allergies and they make eating out, or just eating really, a bit tricky sometimes.

I’ve shared a picture of my frangipani-ish tarts here before but I’ve now tweaked the recipe a bit more – after all that’s what recipes are for aren’t they? I totally expect you’ll do the same with this recipe I’m about to share… Yep, you read right – I’m going to share a recipe. I will warn you first though – I don’t really measure all that carefully so the quantities are a bit ‘loose’.

One of things that I find with most gluten free cakes you can buy is they use some of these products: gluten free flour, maize, tapioca, cornflour, or even polenta. Well unfortunately those items fall into my big fat list of allergy products so it makes it quite hard to get coffee and cake when I’m out.

I also discovered yesterday that Vanilla Extract has glucose from corn syrup in it! Geez, do they have to put corn in everything?! So I’m back to using vanilla beans but it did make me realise that apart from annoying the crap out of the waiter asking for the ingredients in their cakes (because ‘gluten free’ just doesn’t cut it for me), I can safely assume a lot of cakes are going to have vanilla extract in them… and apart from asking to see the label on the vanilla bottle and risking even more of an ‘OMG eye rolling’ look from the waiter, I really can’t rest assured that I’m not eating something that I shouldn’t.

Another thing I’ve found challenging in trying to find a nice cuppa and cake when out, is that they are nearly always flourless orange cakes. Well that’s lovely for the first few years but really? Can the cafes/restaurants not come up with anything else? It’s so boring when you’ve already had fifty million slices of flourless orange cake in your life!

I must admit, my recipe was inspired by a gluten free cake I had yesterday which was Apple Almond and Raisin Cake. So that was a thrill to see a new gluten free cake. It was delicious but I thought I could do better… and I think I did… not wanting to sound all up myself or anything but I think I’ve discovered a really yummy cake that – wait for it – is also a little bit healthy! And when I say healthy, I use the word loosely. I put that much apple in my recipe that the cake-to-apple ratio is pretty darn good. That’s my definition for healthy when it comes to cakes anyway, after all a cake is a cake not a vitamin pill… but a cake with lots of apple has got to be at least a little bit good for you… doesn’t it?

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Now I’ll get to the recipe in a moment, but first I wanted you to see how incredible moist and fluffy the cake is. There’s a reason for this and that’s stewed apple! Also notice the chunky little bits of apple? Some still have the peel on even though I used one of those contraptions that peels and slices it all by winding the handle. Well it doesn’t peel so good! I didn’t mind, it adds a little texture to the cake.

Now as fluffy as it looks, it is. However this comes at a cost… the cake itself is a little crumbly. It’s quite delicate and if you just rip them out of their patty pan cases in your haste to scoff, they may just crumble in your hands. I do think this can be managed by subbing more almond meal for rice flour. But my intention was to reduce the almond meal in the recipe. Again I don’t mind this, it’s a small price to pay for a cake that’s kind to my tummy.

Anyway – I digress! Get me started on the whole allergy, gluten free thing and I’m hard to stop. Back to the recipe. The base foundation of this recipe definitely came from this one, but I’ve tweaked it plenty and come up with my ‘Date with an Apple Cupcake’ recipe. The recipe is for a big batch as I really can’t be bothered creating all those dirty dishes for a small batch. Besides, they freeze really well and only take around 30 seconds in the microwave to turn into a steaming hot cupcake of delight!

Date with an Apple Cupcake
Makes around 30 Cupcakes

150gm butter
150gm Nuttelex (soy based, dairy free margarine)
300gm caster sugar
Seeds from 2 vanilla beans (or a generous slurp of vanilla extract – if you can have it!)
4 eggs
150gm almond meal
150gm rice flour
Generous sprinkles of cinnamon
Generous sprinkles of nutmeg (fresh grated is best if you have the whole nutmegs)
5 large apples, stewed then mushed up to baby food texture.
3 large apples chopped up very small. Peel them if you can be bothered.
About 12 big fat juicy dates, chopped up small. (the Medjool ones are best, leave out if you don’t like dates, add more if you do, or sub with another dried fruit if you want)

Cream the butter, nuttelex and sugar really well. Make sure it’s really light and fluffy as this helps with the lightness of the cupcakes. Add Vanilla beans/extract, cinnamon, nutmeg. Add your eggs. Now your supposed to add eggs to a creamed butter sugar mixture slowly so it doesn’t curdle. Well I find mine always curdles, no matter what, so I just chuck the whole lot in. Curdle smirdle… whatever, it mostly goes away when you add the dry ingredients. Then add the almond meal and rice flour. Add the stewed apple. My apple mix was quite thick and not runny, I used a good few splashes of water and some sugar when I stewed them. Mix it all up (either by hand or mixer up to this stage). Now you can add the dates and chopped apple, and mix this in with a wooden spoon or spatula or something.

You should end up with a thick chunky batter mix. If it looks too runny add a bit more rice flour or almond meal. Spoon into your cupcakes and bake at around 150 degrees (fan forced). They take about 30 minutes or so, depending on how much you filled your cupcakes but to be honest I didn’t really time it all that closely. I just took them out when they had a nice golden colour on top and the skewer comes out clean.

A note on the apple varieties – use whatever you have. I used the pink lady variety to stew, the chopped up were 2 golden delicious and 1 jazz…
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That’s it! Before you know it the house will smell divine and you’ll be eating the yummiest allergy friendly cake. They are super easy, super delicious, gluten free, and kinda sorta healthy.

Now remember, I use recipes like crochet patterns. I’m a bit loose with them, don’t follow them to a T and tweak as a I go. You may want to add more almond meal and make them a bit denser and less crumbly? Or maybe all butter for that lovely flavour. I need to watch my dairy intake which is why I do a mix of butter and nuttelex, but if that’s not a problem for you then I’d say all butter will give yours a flavour edge.

Will you let me know if you make some? And let me know if something in the recipe needs a tweak? And let me know if you too are gluten free? Or have allergies and find eating out tricky? I’d really love it if you did.

On another note I have all but finished a lovely white vintage ran ripple blanket. I just need to darn in the ends (oh joy!) and also pick up some ribbon as I’m thinking about a special little ribbon trim. It may or may not happen. Tune in soon to see if it does. If you want.

I’m off for a ‘Date with an Apple Cupcake’…. and I’m not telling you how many I’ve already had for breakfast today either!