Light Chocolate Cake- serves 12

February and March is birthday season in our family, which means the obligatory birthday cake or 2, or in the case of my eldest daughter, 4! – Well she was 16!
On this occasion, some of the cakes didn’t need to be gluten free, but one did, and that is where my gluten free cake ‘bible’, ‘Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache’ by Harry Eastwood came in again. It is one of those special books, that has dog-eared pages, splattered with cake mix. The really interesting thing about the recipes is that they all include vegetables in their ingredients.
Handy if you’ve got a glut of anything or just vegetables about to ‘turn’. The other thing is that the vegetables are interchangeable, for example sweet potato instead of butternut squash (lets face it, they’re easier to peel!).
Chocolate cake is a popular choice and this one always goes down well. Continue reading “Light Chocolate Cake- serves 12”


Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes (makes 12)

Making gluten free cakes can have varied results, sometimes they can be grainy due to the texture of some gluten free flours or they can be quite dense due to the lack of elasticity and rise, which is usually provided by gluten.

There is a book of recipes that produces consistently delicious results, Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache, by Harry Eastwood.

I needed to make some cupcakes this week for a shoot and found this recipe.

The unusual feature of Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache recipes is that they all contain vegetables. Yes I did say VEGETABLES!

They add moistness to the cakes that I haven’t tasted in a while, well since I became gluten free, and I LOVE cake!  I’ve been known to sprint a steep hill if there is a possibility of cake at the top (okay, a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the picture!).

But don’t believe anyone (you know who you are!) who tells you that there is a café at the top of  Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons, because there really isn’t!

2 medium free-range eggs, at room temperature
160g caster sugar
200g topped, tailed, peeled and finely grated courgette
1tsp vanilla extract
100g white rice flour
100g ground almonds
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp salt

½ pot good quality jam

50g unsalted butter, softened
150g icing sugar, sieved
50g mascarpone


12 strawberries or decorations of your choice


12 whole muffin tray
12 cupcake cases

  • Preheat oven to 180c/gas mark 4.
  • Line a muffin tray with paper cases.
  • Using a hand whisk, whisk the eggs and sugar together for 4 minutes until they are pale and fluffy.
  • Add the courgette and vanilla extract, and whisk until well mixed.
  • Whisk in the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt until completely combined.
  • Spoon some mixture into the paper cases and then add a teaspoon of jam into each one.

Top with the remaining cake mixture, ensuring that the jam is completely covered otherwise it will bleed out and they wont rise properly (although not the end of the world if it does, just cover it with more icing, nobody will know!)

You can see in this photo, that is exactly what happened to one of these cakes- it tasted just as nice!

  • Place in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes until risen and pale brown on top.
  • Once they are cooked, cool them in the tin for 10 minutes before placing them in the fridge for a further 20 minutes until completely cold.
  •  While they are in the fridge make the icing
  • Beat the butter with 50g of the icing sugar, by hand in a large mixing bowl, using the back of a wooden spoon.  Go gently as icing sugar does have a tendency the blow everywhere if you’re over vigorous!  Keep mixing until it forms a paste.  Be patient- it does work!
  • Repeat the process with another 50g icing sugar and the mascarpone.
  • finally add the last 50g icing sugar, which will correct any ‘curdling’ that may have happened.  Pop the mixture into the fridge until the cakes are ready to be iced. Remember that they have to be totally cold.
  • Wet a knife and spread the icing on top of the cakes one by one.  (You will need to keep wetting you knife, so keep a cup of water close by).
  • Top with a strawberry or any other decoration you fancy (I used rice flowers and dried raspberry flakes on these).They can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days, taking them out 30 minutes before serving.






These flapjacks are deliciously chewy, you could almost believe that these are super-healthy, if you just focus on the oats! 
175g butter
175g golden syrup 
175g muscovado sugar 
350g/12oz porridge oats
(I used gluten free oats for this recipe, but ‘regular’  rolled oats work just as well)
1⁄2 lemon, finely grated
zest pinch ground ginger 
50g chocolate drops

  • Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2 and line a 20cm/8in square baking tin with baking paper.
  • Melt the butter in a medium pan over a low heat.
  • Brush a little on the baking paper.
  • Add the golden syrup and sugar to the butter and heat gently.
  • Once the sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the porridge oats, lemon zest and ginger.
  • Press the mixture into the tin and then sprinkle with chocolate drops. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes.
  • Turn the cooked mixture out on to a chopping board and cut into squares.

Recipe adapted from ‘ Flapjacks’ -Baking Made Easy by Lorraine Pascale

Peanut Butter Brownies- makes 16 squares


These are very delicious and so easy to make.  They can we made with wheat flour, in which case, leave out the xanthan gum.

225g crunchy Peanut Butter
200g dark chocolate- broken into pieces
280g soft light brown sugar
3 medium eggs, at room temperature
100g gluten free self-raising flour
1 tsp. xanthan gum

  • Preheat oven to 160C fan/180C/ gas 4
  • Line a square baking tin with baking parchment.
  • Set aside 50g each of the peanut butter and chocolate and gently melt the remaining peanut butter, chocolate and the sugar in a pan, stirring occasionally.  This can also be done very gently in the microwave (approx. 30 second bursts).
  • Continue until the sugar has melted.
  • Take off the heat and beat in the eggs one at a time.
  • Stir in the flour and xanthan gum, and then pour into the tin.
  • Melt reserved peanut butter in the microwave for 45 seconds or in a pan until runny.
  • Drizzle over the brownie.
  • Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until it has formed a crust but the middle appears slightly undercooked.
  • Melt the remaining chocolate, and drizzle over the Brownie.  Cool in the tin, before cutting into squares.