Partycakes – special offer for gluten-free and vegan sweetmeats

If you’ve got a party coming up I want to recommend a good source of cakes.

For wholesome and entirely natural cakes and tray-bakes try Peck & Strong. They cater for vegan, no wheat and gluten free diets.

Most importantly party guests will say they taste fantastic! That’s because their cakes are made by hand, with no short-cuts or manufacturing, just good ingredients, baked with flair and supplied frozen. (They’re ethical too.)

So, if it’s a tray of brownies, flapjacks, shortbread or cake you’re after for your party then Peck & Strong could make your celebration a real piece of cake!

Another idea is Sweetcheeks – a cupcake delivery company serving coeliac and vegans with a bit of a sweet tooth…

They offer cupcakes, cookies, whoopies, brownies, cake pops and giant cupcakes, all made fresh to order with the finest ingredients. Their cakes are healthier than traditional baked goods, due to the special ingredients used in their unique recipe.

And as a GoodnessDirect customer they want to offer you 10% off your first order.

Coeliac London say the cakes “must be tried to be believed!” So you can serve them a party safe in the knowledge that everyone can relax and have fun.

To get the discount all you have to do is quote GOODNESS when you place an order before 31st December 2010. (Offer excludes discount on delivery charge.) To find out more visit www.sweetcheeksltd.co.uk or email sweetcheeksltd@hotmail.com.

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Vanilla Cupcakes – Gluten-Free recipe from Phil Vickery’s new book – out today!

Phil Vickery has a new cookbook out today! If you hadn’t heard of this celeb chef before, you certainly will now. All coeliacs listen up. The book is called Seriously Good! Gluten-Free Baking.

Phil Vickery is a talented chef who appears regularly on This Morning. Not only that, he’s already authored of several best-selling cookery books.

So why get excited about this one? Well, apart from the fact that his last ‘Seriously Good!’ book: Gluten-free Cooking was an enormous success and he’s Coeliac UK’s Food Ambassador, this new one is all about baking! Baking can be the coeliac’s nightmare. Not anymore.

Baking gluten-free isn’t the easiest thing to do – it’s the gluten that gives most cakes their spongy feel. So I’m predicting that this book might be even more popular than Gluten-Free Cooking was.

Here’s a sample recipe from the book for Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes.

“Cupcakes are all the rage at the moment, and they come in many different shapes and sizes from baby cakes to giant versions that you can fill with ice cream, like I did once on This Morning.

The good thing, though, is that you don’t need to be a baker or experienced cook to make them! This recipe has four simple steps and hey presto, they’re ready to pop into the oven. So add what you like to this basic recipe, and have a bit of fun. I think this recipe is softer and tastier than a standard sponge recipe.”

Makes: 12
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 15–20 minutes

180g caster sugar
2 medium eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon glycerine
175g Gluten-Free Flour Mix
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
130ml sunflower oil
130ml whole milk

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Place 12 paper muffin cases in a muffin tray.

Place the caster sugar, eggs, vanilla and glycerine into a large mixing bowl and whisk on high speed for 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking powder and xanthan gum together and mix them really well. I find it best to sieve them a couple of times, to make sure the ingredients are fully incorporated.

Next, mix the oil and milk together in a jug.

Once the egg mixture is nice and thick, add the flour mixture and liquid. Whisk well, but don’t go mad.

Divide the mixture between the muffin cases. Bake for 15–20 minutes, or until well risen to the top of the paper cases. Remove the cakes, in the paper cases, from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Ice and decorate however you like.

Try a different flavour…
Add any of the following to the egg mixture with the flour: 50g dried fruit, 75g fresh berries, 50g chopped plain chocolate, 50g chopped nuts, zest of 1 lemon or 1 orange.

To Store: Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
To Freeze: Once cooled, store either in a plastic bag or an airtight container.

Phil Vickery’s Seriously Good! Gluten-Free Baking is published by Kyle Cathie  at £19.99. You can order it today from Amazon.

Lemon and vanilla cupcakes – Gluten-free recipe

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to visit an American style Diner in Chelsea called Corgi’s Deli (on Fulham Road). The place was filled with cakes and patisseries and stunning interior design – the kind of place where you would be proud to take your mother. They did a really good cup of coffee, but what was most appetising was the enormous array of cupcakes they had on display.

Cue a conversation with my friend about cupcakes – ‘they’re really fashionable at the moment, didn’t you know?’ ‘But they’re just fairy cakes, we’ve always made them?’ ‘Yes, I know, but a friend sent me one as a gift the other day, it was very sweet and well decorated.’ ‘Aren’t they a bit more like muffins?’ Maybe, but the saying goes that you eat a muffin, because you believe it might be healthy, you eat a cupcake out of love.

And the debate rages on… But I thought you’d enjoy this fai… er cupcake recipe that I found.

Makes 12

Cake ingredients

Frankly irrissistible and made with love
Frankly irrissistible and made with love

125g (4oz) unsalted butter
125g (4oz) caster sugar
125g (4oz) gluten-free self-raising flour
2 medium eggs
3tbsp milk
1/2 tsp salt
Few drops of vanilla extract

Buttercream ingredients
2 medium egg whites
150g (5oz) caster sugar
100g (3½oz) unsalted butter
Few drops of vanilla extract
2tbsp fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
Few drops lemon essence

Also
12-hole muffin tray
12 paper baking cups
Large piping bag, fitted with specially shaped piping tube eg. star or petal shaped

Preheat oven to gas mark 5 or 190°C.

1. Melt the butter and pour into a bowl with the sugar, flour, eggs, milk, salt and vanilla extract.
2. Beat the mixture into a smooth batter, use an electric hand whisk for good results. (The mix may appear a runnier than a usual cake mixture but don’t over-whisk as this produces holes inside the cakes.)
3. Line the tray with cases and spoon the mix into the paper baking cups.
4. Bake the cakes in the centre of the oven for 18-20 mins (or until they’ve risen and are a light golden colour).
5. Take the cakes out of the oven. After they have cooled a little, transfer them to a wire rack to cool properly.
6. To make the buttercream you need to mix the egg white and sugar in a bowl placed over the top of a pan of hot water. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely (about 3 minutes).
7. Remove the bowl from over the pan and whisk the egg whites until stiff.
8. Gradually whisk in the butter and then, using a gentler speed, the lemon juice, waiting until each addition is absorbed before adding more, then the vanilla and the lemon essence. The mixture may appear to separate, but once it is all added, keep whisking at a high speed until it’s light and fluffy.
9. Fill the piping bag with the buttercream and pipe a swirl on top of each cupcake.
10. Keep the cupcakes cool until you serve them. (Best eaten within 2 days of making – not suitable for freezing.)

If you want you can decorate the cupcakes with icing sprinkles. – These can be made by piping thin strips of coloured icing onto greaseproof paper using a very small size writing nozzle (no.2). Then leave the icing to dry and break it into short sprinkle type lengths.