Most of the treats I featured in my last post about dairy free chocolates were recipes I’d developed, adapted or simply followed. However, I don’t always do everything from scratch. When I first started dairy free and gluten free cooking I used a few packet mixes – Hale & Hearty were my favourite. They were so good – easy to use, not too expensive and the end product was delicious. I bought mine in Sainsbury’s.
Just recently I was sent a lovely box of samples from Udi’s and included was a chocolate cake mix. The picture on the box was gorgeous, so how could I resist? On went the apron and out came the fear. I always get nervous when I’m baking – even with packet mixes. I’m just not very good at it. Somehow my end product never looks like the pictures and I’m a bit messy, so it always feels like a lot of work, but the end results are usually ok. The reactions I get from friends and family are always very positive, so I have decided I should just keep practising. I don’t suppose Mary Berry gets it right every time…
The ingredients were most definitely dairy free. Udi’s is an American brand which recently launched in this country. Their core product and aim was to be gluten free, it seems to me, but they are now making a lot of their products dairy free and are definitely worth a try. Their products are quite widely available and seem to be leading the way in innovations, e.g toaster pastries, bagels, breakfast bars – all the things that were off the menu for GF/DF people for a very long time.
This cake was the most appealing from the box of samples – mostly because of the picture – and the instructions looked nice and easy.
The only thing that caused me anxiety was you need to add 1 cup of low fat yoghurt. I didn’t have any dairy free yoghurt – well only a cherry flavoured Alpro, and I didn’t think that would be a good idea. But on reflection, perhaps it would have made it taste like black forest gateau – maybe next time. Anyway, this time I just added some coconut milk. I am happy to say it worked very well. As you can see from the picture the cake was very moist. The flavour was very rich and the texture was quite ‘fudgey’.
On the box, the cake is topped with a chocolate buttercream or fudge icing/frosting. You have to add that/make that yourself. I’ve never done it before. In the past I have used dairy free chocolate spread as my topping – as I said I’m a bit rubbish. There are a couple that always work very well. These two are our favourites and easy to find in the shops.
However, a while back I’d read that Betty Crocker’s ready made cake toppings are dairy free – and so I bought one and had it in my cupboard, ready and waiting…
It’s easiest to work with when it is room temperature, so I took off the lid and let it warm up a bit. It smelled amazing and was very glossy. I have to confess I had a Nigella moment – and couldn’t resist digging in with a teaspoon, just to see if it tasted as good as it looked. Oh dear. It was so good, too good. The sort of thing I could eat straight from the tub as my dessert – I wouldn’t need the cake, just the ‘goo’.
It was hard to believe that it could really be dairy free. So I double checked the ingredients. It does say ‘may contain milk’ – but Zac didn’t react, so I am guessing this is a ‘covering’ statement. There is nothing in the ingredients that is a dairy derivative.
It does have a scary list of e numbers though and is mostly sugar and oil with a generous dollop of cocoa powder, so best not eaten every day but what a treat! It is Zac’s birthday next month and I am so excited that I will be able to make him the most chocolatey tasting and looking cake he has ever had. I may use this cake mix again, as it was so very easy and absolutely delicious. In the mean time, I have a bit of the fudge icing left – it lasts up to a month in the fridge (that’ll be the e numbers…), so to honour Chocolate week, I think I better do some baking today and use up the last bit.