Back in the summer, when we went to Spain, we discovered some very good gluten free, dairy free cakes that Zac fell in love with. They looked a bit like mini muffins and had a gentle vanilla flavour and very light texture. They were called ‘Magdelenas’ – but Zac christened them ‘lump cakes’ because they had a little ‘lumpy peak’. I have never seen anything similar in the ‘free from’ aisles here and have been searching my allergy recipe friendly recipes books for inspiration ever since. No luck – until yesterday morning.
Zac was going out to play football for the first time with his school team and whilst Zac and Daddy were out, Sophia and I decided that our Saturday mornings would be dedicated to some ‘girl time’ and we would have some fun together cooking. Sophia’s idea of cooking is getting all dressed up, telling me what she wants, cracking a few eggs, giving the mix a stir and wandering off once she has had enough, only to pop back every so often to check how I am getting on. I guess that makes her the chef – in the true sense of the word!
Anyway, my first instruction was to make a chocolate semi freddo. Like me Sophia is a lover of reading recipe books and particularly enjoys the pictures. Her favourite seems to be my Grace Cheetham book, Simply Gluten and Dairy Free. It is fabulous and the photography in her book is beautiful.
I bought the book last summer and it wasn’t long before Sophia had a read and spied the semi freddo picture/recipe. We made it together and it was a huge hit. I have made it several times since, but not for a long time – so yesterday Sophia decided it was time to do it again. I was happy to go along with it, I had a terrible sore throat and could think of nothing more soothing than an icy cold non-dairy, dark chocolate pudding. I am not dessert lover. I rarely eat them, and I don’t really enjoy baking but this kind of ‘cooking’ is right up my street as it is very simple, requires little skill and keeps well – so long as you don’t eat it all at once of course. Here is a link to my blog post on it from last summer.
Next Sophia told me she wanted cupcakes and cookies. I was a bit low on ingredients, having melted rather a lot of chocolate for the semi freddo, so was frantically reading the back of the Doves Farm flour packs to see what recipes I could make with my relatively low stocks. I decided on chocolate brownies and vanilla fairy cakes. I have made both before. Very simple. Very delicious and whenever I have made them, I have managed to ‘blind test’ them on my sister and other relatives and they have all passed the taste/texture test.
The recipes are on the back of the packs, along with several other recipes I have yet to try – including bread, maybe next week! Here is the link the the Doves Farm recipe page and a few pictures of our creation of us in action.
They tasted delicious and were lots of fun to make. Very quick and simple – I have learned, over time, not to overcook them. My oven is quite fast, so I always check them after about 20 minutes to see how they are doing. If they have a bit of wobble that is good. My sister, who is an excellent brownie maker, told me that the way to make sure they are nice and gooey is not to over cook them. So as they are getting closer to being cooked I poke a knitting needle/chopstick through the centre, if it comes out with a bit of mix still sticking to it, then they are about done. As they say practise makes perfect, because yesterday was probably only the third time I have ever made them and definitely the best yet. Not much left today I am afraid, but here is a picture of how it looked before the children and Tom got their hands on it.
Next we had to make the fairy cakes – also on the Doves Farm packs/website. I first made the fairy cakes/cupcakes for Zac’s birthday and decorated them with icing and various treats such as Haribo Star Mix, dairy free chocolate buttons, gluten free sprinkles and marshmallows.They came out of the oven a bit flat and large – nothing like the picture on the Doves Farm website! I had just put the mix in the paper muffin cases and just stood them on a baking tray. I think that must have been the problem – wrong equipment!!!
So this Christmas I decided I would ask Santa for a muffin tin/baking tray thing. If I was a real ‘baker’ I would already have one and at least know what they are actually called. Anyway, I must have been a good girl last year, because I got my ‘bun tin’ and so decided I would give it a test flight with these fairy cakes.
Once the mix was ready, I put the little cases into the ‘holes’ in the tin and half-filled them with mixture – or perhaps just over half filled. I just wanted to use up all the mixture in my bowl – I don’t like waste. Next I put them in the oven and hoped for the best. As I said my oven is quite fast/fierce and had already been on a long time, cooking the brownies so I took a look after about ten minutes and they looked promising. My oven is also on a bit of a slope – it wasn’t installed very well and the feet need adjusting, so I have to always turn whatever goes in the oven otherwise there is a very noticeable ‘lean’ in what comes out. After a quick turn and another ten minutes they were done.
I think I must have over filled them a bit because many of them had ‘slopped over’ a bit and they all looked very irregular and ‘lumpy’ with peculiar little ‘peaks’. That is when it hit me, several of them looked just like what Zac called ‘lump cakes’ back in Spain. I had intended to decorate them and make them into traditional fairy cakes, with icing and pretty decorations, but instead I decided to see if I could convince Zac that I had, at last, mastered the legendary ‘Lump Cake’ – so I served them ‘naked’ with no toppings.
At first, he didn’t want to try one because he had seen the brownie that was already cooling on the worktop and decided he wanted to eat that first. A few hours later, he wandered into the kitchen and saw the plate of fairy cakes and asked what they were and if he could have one. I gave him the one that looked the most like a ‘lump cake’. His face lit up. He bit into it and said with a smile – “this tastes and looks like lump cake from Spain – well done Mummy, I have missed these”. What a happy accident. So I haven’t bothered decorating the rest and covering them with naughty treats to turn them into ‘fairy cakes’ – instead they will forever more be my ‘Lump Cakes’. Not a bad mornings work!
Here is a picture of the original. Pretty happy with my ‘copy’.