News, recipes, information and helpful tips for living gluten free

News, recipes, information and helpful tips for living gluten free

  • Category Archives: Cakes

  • My best gluten free banana bread

    Until recently we always had dark brown over-ripe bananas dripping from our fruit bowl. Perfect for banana bread. But recently one daughter who had refused to eat bananas since toddler-hood, (now a teen) decided the nutritious fruit tastes ok after all. And there goes my supply of cooking bananas. This banana bread is the best I’ve made. It can be enjoyed for breakfast with maple syrup, fruit and yoghurt, sliced and spread with a little butter, or served warm with toasted walnuts, caramel syrup and ice-cream for dessert. Now that’s what I call versatile.

    140g butter, softened
    180g brown sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    2 very ripe bananas (approx. 350g), mashed
    2 tablespoons sour cream
    200g gluten free plain flour
    1 tsp xanthan gum
    1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    2 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp mixed spice
    Pinch salt
    1 cup walnuts

    Preheat oven to 180℃. Grease a 10cm x 25cm loaf tin and line with baking paper. Mash bananas or puree in a blender then whisk in the sour cream. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar until pale.  Add eggs a little at a time and beat until well combined. Stir in vanilla and bananas with sour cream. Sift dry ingredients together and gently fold in to batter. Transfer to loaf tin and sprinkle with walnuts if desired. Bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the loaf comes out clean.


  • Easy Gluten Free Pancakes

    We love pancakes at our place. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion to whip up these delicious gluten free pancakes. This simple recipe will deliver a lovely pancake for your favourite toppings. Use less milk for a thicker American-style pancake, or more milk for a crepe consistency. You can do as my Mum does and make the batter the day before you need to cook, ready to feed hungry grandchildren the next day. Make pikelets out of any left-over batter for a lunchbox treat, or to enjoy any time.

    200g gluten free plain flour
    1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
    Pinch salt
    40g caster sugar
    2 eggs, at room temperature
    275ml milk
    20g butter, melted

    Sift dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and combine using a hand whisk. In a separate bowl or jug, lightly whisk eggs and milk. Add to the dry ingredients along with the melted butter. Whisk to a smooth batter. Set aside for 10 minutes. You can add more milk to loosen batter for a thinner, crepe style pancake if desired.

    Using medium heat, warm some vegetable oil or butter in a non-stick frypan. Pour batter to desired size. Cook pancake on one side until bubbles appear. Flip and cook the other side until cooked through. Be careful not to burn! Serve with your favourite topping.


  • gluten free madeleines with caramel sauce

    Reading Shannon Bennett’s guide to Paris, inspired this gluten free version of classic French petite madeleine cakes. They are very simple to make, but may require the purchase of a madeleine tin to create the distinctive shell shaped cakes. This version can be served fresh from the oven with caramel dipping sauce on the side. If you prefer to keep it simple and less sweet, add the zest of one lemon to the cake mix and go without the caramel sauce.

    130 grams butter
    120 grams caster sugar
    3 eggs, at room temperature
    1 tablespoon honey
    120 grams gluten free plain flour
    60 grams ground almonds
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    ½ teaspoon xanthan gum

    Gently melt butter and set aside to cool. Using an electric mixer whisk sugar, eggs and honey 3-4 mins until pale and frothy.
    Gently stir in almonds, using a wooden spoon. Fold in sifted flour, baking powder and xanthan gum. Gradually stir in the melted butter until the batter is smooth. Cover bowl and refrigerate batter for one hour. The batter can be left overnight if desired.
    Heat oven to 180℃. Grease a madeleine tin, (I used a  mini-madeleine tin), alternatively use a mini muffin tin. Place small spoonfuls of batter in the shell shaped moulds and bake for 8 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes before turning onto a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm with caramel dipping sauce. Madeleine cakes are best eaten on the day they are made, but will keep for a few days in an airtight container.

    Simple Caramel Sauce
    ½ cup caster sugar
    1 cup pouring cream

    Place the sugar in a heavy based saucepan and stir over low heat until sugar begins to dissolve. Cook without stirring until sugar melts and a deep caramel forms.  Give the saucepan a gentle shake to encourage the sugar to melt. If you have ‘hot spots’ where the sugar is browning more quickly, move the position of the saucepan around over the heat, giving it a gentle shake. Remove from heat.
    In another saucepan heat the cream until almost boiling, then carefully pour into the caramel, stirring quickly. Take care as the mixture will spit.
    Return mixture to heat and stir until a lovely smooth consistency.  Serve sauce in a side bowl to accompany madeleines, or cool to room temperature. The caramel sauce will keep for a week and is delicious with ice-cream, or other sweet treats.

  • Gluten Free Lemon Tart

    Who doesn’t love a classic lemon tart? My chocoholic kids perhaps. They haven’t enjoyed my lemon tart recipe trials as much as my friends and I have. This is the style of lemon tart my mum likes – not too creamy with plenty of citrus tang. I found out through trial and error that the recipe works without any cream in the filling. Ok I forgot. I had been working to reduce the level of cream in the filling and on one occasion the tart was in the oven before I realised I’d left out the cream. It results in a smaller, more lemony tart, still delicious. This one has a lovely gluten free sweet polenta pastry crust, perfect with lemon curd. The pastry can also be used for other sweet slices and tarts.

    Sweet Polenta Pastry
    250 grams GF plain flour
    100 grams fine polenta
    110 grams caster sugar
    110 grams soft brown sugar
    1 teaspoon xanthan gum
    130 grams butter, chopped
    1 teaspoon cold water
    1 egg, plus 1 extra egg, lightly beaten for egg wash

    Lemon filling
    5 eggs
    140 grams caster sugar
    2 tablespoons lemon rind
    125 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
    150 ml cream

    Pastry: Sift flour, polenta and xanthan gum, add to food processor. Add sugars and pulse briefly to combine. Add butter and process till mixture resembles crumbs. Add the egg and continue to pulse until the pastry just comes together, adding the teaspoon of cold water only if required. Place pastry dough on a piece of plastic wrap lightly dusted with GF flour and using hands gently shape into a disc. Cover with wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

    Preheat oven to 170℃. Grease a tart tin (I used 24cm round tin).
    Place chilled pastry on a piece of plastic wrap and roll till 2-3 mm thick, dusting rolling pin with a little GF flour if sticking.  Line tart tin with pastry and prick the base several times with a fork. Cover with foil or baking paper and fill with pastry weights. Bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove the baking paper and weights. Brush lightly with egg wash, sealing all the little holes.  Bake for a further 5 minutes until base is dry. Set aside.

    Reduce the oven temperature to 150℃.

    Filling: In a bowl, whisk the eggs and caster sugar until pale and creamy. Gently whisk in the other ingredients until combined. Pour into pastry case and bake for 40 minutes until just set in the middle.

    Cool tart in tin and serve at room temperature with a dusting of icing sugar. If you prefer, the tart can be sprinkled with caster sugar and placed under a very hot grill to produce a glazed finish. Watch carefully as the sugar melts and turns brown, do not to burn!

    Note: If using a springform tin, you can line tin with a sheet of baking paper to avoid the filling leaking.

  • Golden Gluten Free ANZAC Slice

    ANZAC Day commemorates the World War 1 landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli on the 25th April 1915. As we approach the 100th anniversary, my mind turns the humble ANZAC biscuit, still a favourite in so many Australian homes. These ‘soldiers’ biscuits were made and sent with love to Australian soldiers fighting in World War 1. They became known as ANZAC biscuits following the first anniversary of the Gallipoli landing. This gluten free version is made into a slice, rather than biscuits and uses rice flakes or quinoa flakes to replace the oats in the traditional recipe. I’ve also included some gluten free puffed millet for added texture. It’s a delicious crunchy slice to be enjoyed year-round.

    130 grams butter
    3 tablespoons golden syrup
    1 ¼ cups gluten free plain flour
    1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
    1 cup desiccated coconut
    ¾ cup GF rice flakes*
    ¼ cup GF puffed millet (if you can’t obtain, use extra rice flakes)
    1 cup brown sugar

    Preheat oven to 180℃. Line a slice tray (I use 20cm x 20cm) with baking paper.
    In a medium size saucepan gently melt butter and golden syrup. Remove from heat.
    Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl, then add coconut, rice flakes, puffed millet (if using) and sugar, stir until combined.
    Add the butter and syrup mix to the dry ingredients and mix well. Press mixture firmly into the slice tray, using the back of a spoon to smooth surface. 
    Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden. When cool, slice into squares. 

    *Brown or white rice flakes and puffed millet are sold in health food stores and specialty supermarkets. Can use quinoa flakes if prefer.


  • Gluten Free Banana Cakes with Caramel Pecans

    Banana Cake is an old favourite, but this version has been given a glam makeover with the addition of delicious, crunchy, caramel pecan nuts. The extra few minutes it takes to prepare the topping is well worth the effort to make these simple GF banana cakes that little bit special. Perfect for celebrating Coeliac Awareness Week in Australia this week. Our national peak body, Coeliac Australia works to create awareness of coeliac disease in the community. Please do what you can to support the organisation’s activities.

    2 ripe bananas, mashed
    120 grams butter, softened
    120 grams sugar
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    2 tablespoons milk
    Dry ingredients
    75 grams buckwheat flour

    7o grams fine rice flour
    30 grams tapioca flour 
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    ½ teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    Cakes: Preheat oven to 170° C.
    Sift the dry ingredients twice to ensure they are well combined and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs a little at a time, using a spoonful of the dry ingredients if needed to keep the mixture cohesive.
    Add the mashed bananas and stir to combine. Fold in the dry ingredients and milk, stir gently to incorporate into a smooth batter.
    Grease a 12-hole muffin tray and spoon tablespoons of cake mixture into muffin holes, or paper cupcake cases. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cakes are golden. Cool completely, then decorate with icing and caramel pecans.

    Lemon Cream Cheese Icing
    20 grams butter, softened
    90 grams cream cheese, softened
    230 grams icing sugar, sifted
    1 tablespoon coconut
    2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

    Caramel Pecans
    1 cup pecans
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 tablespoons brown sugar

    Icing. Using electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth, then add lemon juice. Mix in the coconut and gradually add icing sugar. The mixture should be quite firm, so it can be piped, or spread onto cakes. Add more icing sugar if mix is too runny.
    Caramel Pecans. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar and stir to combine. Add pecans and stir for a few minutes until coated with caramel. Spread over baking paper to cool. Remove any excess butter, by blotting with paper kitchen towel. Allow to cool completely.

    Note. You can substitute gluten free plain flour if you don’t have buckwheat, rice and tapioca flour. Substitute other nuts for pecans, if not readily available.


  • Gaia inspired Gluten Free Muffins

    Recently I enjoyed a relaxing stay at Gaia Retreat and Spa in northern New South Wales. Set in the picturesque Byron Bay hinterland, Gaia is a wonderful place to unwind with daily yoga, spa treatments, exercise and of course healthy eating. Head chef Dan Trewartha oversees a kitchen that is pretty much gluten free. The food is amazing and the team at Gaia happily cater for even the most tricky food allergies and intolerances. Here’s my simplified version of Gaia’s legendary GF muffins. You can visit Gaia website for the original recipe. Sadly, not for those with nut allergies. 


    1 cup gluten free self raising flour
    1 cup almond meal
    ¾ cup rapadura sugar
    ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup milk
    3 eggs
    1 tablespoon butter, softened
    1 cup raspberries, blueberries or filling of choice. (We love diced apple, cinnamon and flaked almond)

    Preheat the oven to 180℃.
    Sift flour into a large bowl and add the remaining dry ingredients.
    In a separate bowl lightly whisk the eggs and milk, and fold into the dry ingredients along with the butter.
    Gently stir in raspberries, or your favourite fruit and nuts, chocolate etc.
    Divide the mix evenly between 12 muffin cases.
    Bake at 180° C for 25 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted in the middle of the muffin comes out clean.
    You can find the original Gaia recipe here


  • Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea

     Need some ideas for a special gluten free afternoon tea this Mother’s Day? Try one, or all of these classic afternoon tea treats.  Gluten Free apple tea cake, lemon curd tartlet, our version of a crispy almond Bakewell Tart and a decadent chocolate brownie.  All can be made the day before, except the tea cakes, which are best eaten on the day they’re baked.

    Mini gluten free apple tea cakes

    100g butter 
    ¾ cup sugar
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    ⅔ cup milk
    2 cups gluten free self raising flour
    2 apples

    Prepare apples:  Peel and quarter apples, then slice finely lengthways. Poach gently in a little water until soft, either in a saucepan over low heat, or in microwave for a couple of minutes. Set aside to cool.

    Tea Cake:  
    Preheat oven to 170℃.  
    Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs, mixing in a little flour to keep a good consistency.  Using a spoon, stir in milk and remaining flour a little at a time until combined. Spoon into greased mini cupcake tray and top with two slices of cooked apple. Bake in moderate oven approx 15-20 minutes. While hot, sprinkle with a little caster sugar and cinnamon if desired. Alternatively, cook as one larger cake for approx 40-45 mins. Best eaten on the day the cakes are baked. Can be refreshed in microwave, add some cream or ice-cream for a quick fix dessert!

    Decadent gluten free chocolate brownie

    ½ cup gluten free plain flour
    ½ cup rice flour
    ½ teaspoon baking powder
    cup cocoa powder
    1 cup caster sugar
    1 tablespoon desiccated coconut
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    150g butter, melted
    White or milk chocolate chips

    Preheat oven to 170℃. Line a slice tray (I use 20cm x 20cm) with baking paper.  Sift flours, baking powder and cocoa into large bowl.  Add coconut and sugar and stir to combine.  Add eggs and slightly cooled melted butter to flour mixture. Stir until just combined.  Sprinkle chocolate chips across the base of the prepared tray and cover with brownie mix.  Bake for 20-25 mins.  Remove from oven allow to cool, cut into squares.

    Gluten free Bakewell Tart

    1 quantity of sweet shortcrust pastry (see recipe below)
    120g unsalted butter
    120g caster sugar
    ½ teaspoon vanilla extact
    3 eggs
    120g ground almonds
    30g flaked almonds
    ½ cup raspberry jam
    1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries 

    Pastry Base: Preheat oven 150℃. Line a tart tin (I use 20cm x 20cm) with baking paper.  Place chilled pastry on a piece of plastic wrap and cover with a sheet of baking paper or plastic wrap to prevent sticking to rolling pin.  Roll pastry out to ½ cm thick. Line the tart tin with the pastry. Line with another sheet of baking paper and cover with pastry weights, dried beans or rice. Bake blind for 25 minutes then reduce the heat to 100℃. Remove the baking paper and weights and bake for a further 5 minutes until dry. Set aside to cool.

     Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well and then stir in the ground almonds.  Spread raspberry jam across base of tart and scatter with raspberries.  Spread mix over raspberries and sprinkle with flaked almonds. Bake at 150℃ for 50 mins and tart is a golden brown. Serve sliced in squares either warm, or at room temperature. 

    Lovely gluten free lemon tartlets 

    The pastry bases for these lovely lemon curd tartlets can be used with numerous sweet fillings – jam, custard, fruit, frangipane….  This option uses a simple lemon curd, that is spooned into the pre-cooked bases as required. The pastry tart shells will keep for a week in an airtight container. The curd will keep for weeks in a sterilised jar, if refrigerated after opening.

    Gluten free lemon curd

    4 egg yolks
    140g caster sugar
    60g unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
    1 dessertspoon grated lemon rind
    80ml lemon juice

    Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until well combined, but not frothy.  Place in a heavy based saucepan, add butter, rind and juice.  Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, bring to a simmer over medium heat until mix begins to thicken and tiny bubbles appear.  Remove from heat, still stirring. Allow to cool then transfer to sterilised jar.

    Gluten free sweet shortcrust pastry

    300g gluten free plain flour
    1 tsp xanthan gum (see note)
    ½ cup gluten free icing sugar
    160g butter, chopped
    1 egg white

    Sift flour, xanthan gum and icing sugar and place in a food processor.  Add chopped butter and using the pulse button, process until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Add egg white and pulse until combined. Place the dough on a piece of plastic wrap lightly dusted with GF flour and using hands gently shape into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 mins.  Place pastry on a piece of plastic wrap and cover with baking paper or plastic wrap to prevent sticking to rolling pin.  Roll out pastry thinly. Cut out rounds and place in greased tart trays. Bake at 170C for 15-20 mins until pastry is golden. Cool.

    To assemble lemon curd tartlets When ready to serve, place a dessertspoon of curd filling in pastry cases, sprinkle with icing sugar if preferred.

    Note: Xanthan gum is used as a binding agent in gluten free cooking. It is available from health food shops and some supermarkets. Guar gum can be used as a replacement.


  • Gluten Free Friand Slice

    Turn fabulous French friands into a sensational slice, with this gluten free recipe. The slice makes an impressive addition to afternoon tea, or a simple, delicious dessert served warm with cream.

    A delicious sweet treat


    100g ground almonds
    180g icing sugar, sifted
    50g gluten free plain flour
    5 egg whites (not beaten)
    Rind of 1 lemon
    180g unsalted butter, melted
    150g frozen berries

    Preheat the oven to 180℃. Line a slice tray (I use 20cmx20cm) with baking paper. In a bowl combine almonds, sifted icing sugar and flour. Add lemon rind, egg whites and mix until just combined. Add slightly cooled melted butter and stir until smooth. Pour into the prepared tray and sprinkle with frozen berries. Bake for approx 35 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool slightly in the tray. Dust with icing sugar and slice to serve.
    Notes: The recipe can be used to make approx 12 individual friands. Reduce cooking time to 25-30 mins. If desired, substitute berries for other fruits such as sliced apple, or nuts – hazelnuts, pecan, almond work well.

  • Gluten Free Mince tarts

    With Christmas under a month away, it’s time to start thinking about delicious festive treats, like these gluten free mince tarts. The sweet shortcrust pastry can be adapted to suit other recipes requiring a sweet pastry base. You will need to make the fruit mince at least a day ahead.

    Celebrate Christmas with traditional mince tarts


    250 g each sultanas and seedless raisins
    150 g currants
    125 g each mixed peel and dried apricots, finely chopped
    100 g each dried cranberries and dried figs, finely chopped
    100 g slivered almonds
    200 g brown sugar
    2  tbsp golden syrup
    2  tsp ground cinnamon
    ¼ tsp each mixed spice, ground cloves and finely grated nutmeg
    150 g butter, melted
    100ml brandy or muscat
    3 Granny Smith (green) apples, peeled and coarsely grated
    Finely grated rind and juice of 2 oranges and 1 lemon

    Combine all ingredients and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Spoon into sterilised jars and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

    Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

    250 g gluten free plain flour
    1 tsp xanthan gum (see note)
    ½ cup pure icing sugar
    160g butter, chopped
    1 egg white

    Sift flour, xanthan gum and icing sugar and place in a food processor. Add chopped butter and using the pulse button, process until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add egg white and pulse until combined. Place the dough on a piece of plastic wrap lightly dusted with GF flour and using hands gently shape into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 mins.  Place pastry on a piece of plastic wrap and cover with baking paper to prevent sticking to rolling pin.

    Roll out pastry thinly, cut out rounds and place in greased tart trays, reserving some pastry to make decorative shapes. You can use stars, trees, angels or other festive theme biscuit cutters. Spoon in fruit mince mixture and place a pastry shape on top. Bake at 160C for 20-30 mins until pastry is golden. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

    Note: Xanthan gum is used as a binding agent in gluten free cooking. It is available from health food shops and some supermarkets. Guar gum can be used as a replacement.



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