Tuesday, 13 September 2011

quick easy moist fruit cake

I had approached Phil Vickery a few weeks back as he has written a few gluten free cookery books and I thought one of them may be useful for experimenting with. So last week he sent me out Seriously Good Gluten free baking, and he was lovely enough to sign it for me as well.

Trying to alter recipes to make them gluten, wheat, egg and dairy free is a challenge in itself if there ever was one, so I thought if I had some gluten free recipes then the rest might be easier.

 There is a section at the start of the book that covers topics such as "Introduction to Coeliac Disease"
It also has a list of gluten free foods, an explanation about food labels and how to interpret them, and a list of foods that may include gluten without you realising that they do. Next we have a section on gluten free alternatives, and advice on how to prevent cross-contamination in your own home. This one is vital if you have an allergy to any product as even the tiniest amount can be fatal.

Phil then carries on with a section on "Essential ingredients for gluten free baking" and list the common types of  gluten free flour with a description of each one, as well as other useful ingredients. This list contains glycerine, which Phil explains is "fabulous for keeping moisture in....". It is an ingredient I have not thought about using before, so I bought some in the supermarket the other day when I was there, it comes in a small bottle similar to your essences and colourings and in my supermarket was stocked with this items in the home baking section.

The book then gives you a check list of other items to be aware may not be gluten free, baking powder was one I not given a thought to (fortunately bob is intolerant to gluten not allergic) but he does list items I would never have thought of containing  gluten in the first place ie chocolate, meringue, marzipan, as I have never read food labels on these items as I know Bob cannot have any of them due to his allergies anyway..

He introduces the book with basics, various flour mixes, as gluten free flours work better in mixes than separately,  and the recipes are split into 8 sections; basics, biscuits, cupcakes and muffins, large cakes, celebration cakes, traybakes and bars, bread and puddings and sweet treats.

So as today was such a beautiful hot sunny summers day (ha funny ha!) I thought I would do some baking. Having had a good read through the book there are a fair few that look adaptable for Bob to eat.

So today we started with

Quick extra moist fruit cake

100g raisins
100g sultanas
75g semi dried cranberries ( I didnt add these as I didnt have any I used 125g each of others)
125ml semi-skimmed milk, warmed ( I used home made soya to make this dairy free)

soak fruit in warm milk for at least 2hrs, until milk absorbed

90g margarine ( I used dairy free)
125 caster sugar
180 g flour mix ( I used 100g buckwheat, 40g potato and 40g tapioca)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
125 ml semi-skimmed milk, warmed with 2 teaspoon glycerine ( again I used soya)
2 medium eggs beaten (I used egg substitute)

place marge and sugar in bowl and beat until nice and creamy
in a separate bowl combine flours, soda, baking powder and xanthan gum (I sieve them together 3 times to make sure well combined). add flour mix to marge mix, then add the warm milk and glycerine and mix well. Finally add the soak fruit and put in an oil lined loaf tin.

cook for 50-60 mins at 160 oC.

the finished cake

once cooked cool for 5 mins in the tin then turn out onto a cooling rack. 

This cake was very moist and mine had a very brownie like texture once cooked, though the one in the book looks more normal cake like, mine is probably to do with the egg replacer.
a slice to see inside
it was very pleasant and would be ideal to butter and slice and put in a packed lunch or with a cup of coffee. I felt there was an awful lot of fruit in this item, but I love dried fruit so was not a problem, but I personally feel you may get away with 150-200g fruit in total.

Not sure where the "quick" bit comes in, 2 hrs to soak the fruit, beating and mixing, then 1hr to cook, in my book is not quick....but well worth going with. I have done a similar cake soaking the fruit in tea to give a very similar result.


  1. Thanks for this review. I now know exactly what to buy for my son's gluten free Godmother for her birthday. (Or..what to bake her next time she visits!)

  2. Mummy Plum, glad to be of help...go over to http://www.vickery.tv/vtv01/index.php?option=com_rapidrecipe&page=viewcategory&category_id=184&Itemid=6 for more recipes and ideas.
    and I also put up 2 recipes on here for what I made yesterday as well, from Phils book http://www.healthysupplies.com/profiles/blogs/choc-chip-and-apple-cookies?xg_source=activity and http://www.healthysupplies.com/profiles/blogs/strawberry-cream-cookies


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