Wednesday 13 March 2013

More Coming Soon!

We're having to take a break from the blog for a while but will be back in the future with more recipes and reviews, watch this space!

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Gluten Free Moist Carrot Cake

This is a relatively new recipe I came up with in 2012, we all love carrot cake but Abigail of course had never tried it. She loved the smell and asked me to try and make a gluten free version so after a bit of messing around with the 'normal' recipe someone gave me years ago I came up with this, it turned out far better than I expected and we only make this version now for all of us!

Preparation time -  ~20-25 minutes
Cooking time - ~80 minutes (less for a fan assisted oven)
Makes / Serves - 10-12
Child friendly - 2/5
Difficulty rating - 2/5


185 g gluten-free self-raising flour alternative
200 g golden caster sugar
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch of salt
140 ml vegetable oil
320 g finely grated carrots (this is the weight after they have been grated)
3 tablespoons of juice from 1 large orange*

Zesty Icing:

250 g cream cheese
50 g butter or good quality spreadable.
300 g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of juice and zest of 1 large orange*

*Note, you only need 1 large orange which is shared between the cake & icing.

  1. Preheat the oven to 150 C / 300 F / Gas Mark 2 and prepare a loaf or cake tin by lining with baking paper (not necessary if using a silicone loaf or cake mould).
  2. Use a grater to carefully to remove the zest from the orange and squeeze the juice into a small glass for use later.
  3. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt, bicarbonate of soda, xanthan gum, nutmeg and cinnamon then mix well with a spoon.
  4. Add the eggs, vegetable oil & orange juice and beat the mixture together either by hand or using an electric hand whisk (an electric whisk is definitely recommended!).
  5. Add the grated carrots and mix well with a spoon.
  6. Transfer the mixture into the loaf or cake tin and bake in the centre of the oven for around 80 minutes (1 hour and 20 minutes) or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
  8. In a good size bowl combine the butter and cream cheese.
  9.  Add the vanilla extract & orange juice and mix well by hand.
  10. Gradually add the icing sugar, mixing until smooth.
  11. Add the orange zest and mix well.
  12. Spread the icing evenly over the top of the cake (a palette knife works best).
  1. It's entirely optional but personally I like to add 100g of pecans to this recipe (added last), holding a few back for decorating, you could even use walnuts instead! 
  2. For a slightly more traditional taste you could add 1/2 teaspoon of 'mixed spice'.
  3. If you're not a fan of orange you could leave this out of both the cake and icing, however this will give you a slightly drier sponge and you may need to add a few drops of water to the icing to get a suitable consistency.

Sunday 3 March 2013

Review - No Wheat Chocolate And Orange Bars

One of the things we tend to take for granted is the good old fashioned chocolate biscuit, a favourite being the wafer (e.g. Blue Riband) so when we spotted these in Tesco a couple of years ago for just less than £1 for 5 we had to try them!

First off let's look at how the price measures up;

Nestle Blue Riband 8 Pack - £1.55 (0.19p each)

Tesco Value Chocolate Wafers 5 Pack - £0.55 (0.11p each)

No Wheat Chocolate And Orange - £0.85 (0.17p each)

So as you can see from the figures above although they are more expensive than the  Tesco Value wafer they are actually priced at less than the branded Blue Riband wafers, making them very good value indeed.

Taste and texture wise they are easily as good as the Blue Riband wafers, the only catch is the orange flavouring, whilst my daughter sees that as an added bonus it might put some people off as orange flavoured chocolate isn't for everyone. 

It's hard to see how this product could be improved, though it would be nice to see a plain chocolate version as well, for most people this is the perfect replacement!

No Wheat Chocolate And Orange Bars (5 Pack) 10/10