Tropical Island cupcakes 

Aloha!! I made these fun little cupcakes a couple of years ago for a summer fundraiser at my church.  They use my Basic dairy and egg free sponge recipe.  They would be great for a Hawaiian themed party or a fun thing to make with kids during the summer holidays. 

To give the cakes that tropical flavour I used a bit of lime juice into the mix and used coconut milk instead of soya milk.

Decorating was the really fun part. I used Betty Crocker’s vanilla icing and added a little bit of blue food colouring. I swirled the blue colour into the icing, making sure not to completely mix it so there were still white bits that looked like little waves.

I used crushed ginger biscuits to make the sand and added little jelly bears and cocktail umbrellas, and my little tropical island was complete!


To make a sunbathing bear I used Fizzy strawberry belts, cut them just larger than the bear, then laid the bear on top. 

Since making these I’ve discovered that edible sand can also be made using a combination of granulated light brown sugar and crushed rich tea biscuits, which is great if you don’t like ginger biscuits.

As always, let me know how you get on with making these, I’d love to hear from you. 

Dairy, egg and nut free Cinnamon doughnut cupcakes

I like cinnamon. I like doughnuts. I like cupcakes. Therefore I like cinnamon doughnut cupcakes!  

I’ll get the disclaimer out of the way early. These are not doughnuts. They just remind me of the hot cinnamon doughnuts I used to get at Bognor Regis beach when I was younger.   As no frosting is required they’re quick to make and are super yummy whilst still warm from the oven, just like the doughnuts from my childhood. 

The recipe uses my Basic dairy and egg free sponge recipe. 

Ingredients 

As per Basic dairy and egg free sponge

2-3 tablespoons ground cinnamon 

Approx half a cup of light brown granulated sugar

1-2 tablespoons Olive oil

Method

1. Make as per Basic dairy and egg free sponge recipe.  At step 3 add 1 tablespoon of cinnamon with your flour.

2. While the cakes are baking, mix together the light brown sugar and 1-2 tablespoons cinnamon in a small dish or bowl (must be larger than the circumference of your cakes). These amounts are approximate and you can add more or less cinnamon depending on how you like the taste.  If I end up mixing too much cinnamon sugar, I keep the leftovers in a Tupperware container ready for next time.  Pour the olive oil into a small dish or bowl. 

3. Once baked and still warm, brush the olive oil onto the top of each cake with a pastry brush, then dip into the cinnamon sugar mixture. 

4. Leave to cool or eat straightaway!! 

I’d love to know how you get on and what you think of these little gems (that are my 87 year old Nan’s favourites).  Happy baking!! 

Dairy, egg and nut free lemon and poppyseed drizzle cake

This recipe uses my Basic dairy and egg free sponge.

I usually make these little lemon cakes in Mini loaf cases from Sainsbury’s.  You can also make it in a standard loaf tin.  If I’m baking a large loaf I prefer to use a silicone loaf mould as it’s easy to get the cake out. 

Method

1. Make as per my Basic dairy and egg free sponge.

2. At step 3, add poppyseeds to the bowl,  and mix with the flour.

3. At step 4, add lemon essence.

4. While the cake is baking, mix some granulated sugar and lemon juice in a bowl.

5. When the cake is baked, remove from the oven. While still in the loaf tin/mould, drizzle the lemon juice and sugar mix all over the top of your cake. If making mini loaves, drizzle the mixture over, ensuring it completely covers to top of each cake.  As the mixture cools it will crystallise into a yummy citrusy topping. 

If you fancy, you could swap the lemon essence and juice for orange. It works equally as well. 

Happy baking!!! 

Basic dairy and egg free sponge cake

This recipe came from Allergy Mum. She’s had it for years (and I have absolutely no idea where it came from). Allergy Mum used to make Allergy Boy and me the most amazing cakes for our birthdays.
This has to be the easiest cake recipe ever. It uses mostly normal ingredients that you’d find in any store cupboard. The texture is quite open and it does have the tendency to crack, but no one will ever know if you slather on enough frosting!!
Basic dairy and egg free sponge cake (makes approx. 12 cupcakes or one large cake)

4oz caster sugar
4oz dairy free margarine (Pure works very well in these as well)

1 tablespoon golden syrup

8oz self raising flour

1/4 pint soya milk

Method

1. Preheat oven to 160c

2. In a mixing bowl add the sugar, margarine and golden syrup and cream together (I prefer to do this by hand, but it can be done in a mixer)

3. Add the flour and gently mix until you get a bread crumb like texture.

4. Slowly add the soya milk and mix until light and fluffy.

5. Bake for approx. 20 mins for cupcakes (or just slightly longer if making one large cake)

Adding flavours

Vanilla or other essences – add essence at the same time as the soya milk

Chocolate – add 1oz cocoa powder and reduce flour by 1oz. Add at the same time as the flour. You can also use chocolate flavoured soya milk, which adds some more flavour, or Cadbury’s drinking chocolate (which is dairy free) in a small amount of boiled water, which is added at the same time as the soya milk.
I make the basic sponge all the time and it’s great because the golden syrup binds the ingredients and acts as a raising agent so you don’t need to add egg replacer.
Icing

I often cheat and use Betty Crocker icing as it’s dairy free and tastes really good. If I’m making vegan buttercream I just replace butter with dairy free margarine and mix it with icing sugar and sometimes a little drop of soya milk.
I’d really love to know how you get on with this recipe, so please feel free to leave comments!

Afternoon tea, it’s a piece of cake?¬†

Afternoon tea, that great British tradition. Decadent and glorious for a normal person, but a nightmare for Allergy Girl.

Let’s start with layer one; the sandwich. Easy, right? Two pieces of bread, some kind of spread and a filling, delicately cut into bite sized fingers. Wrong! The humble sandwich is one of Allergy Girl’s biggest nemeses.  The first hurdle is the bread itself. I don’t have a gluten allergy.  Bread makes me fat, but I like it. But many catering establishments look at my list of allergies and think, “She’s allergic to stuff, therefore she can’t eat gluten.” So I end up with this weird crumbly dry stuff that vaguely resembles bread but tastes like it’s made of plywood. Which leads me on to the next hurdle – spread. There are loads of good dairy free spreads available nowadays, so I struggle to understand why caterers find this one tricky.  Nineteen Fourteas tearoom in Havant, Hampshire, rose to the challenge and popped to the local Tesco before my recent visit. Problem solved.  So onto the final sandwich hurdle, the filling.  Sometimes it will be soggy slices of cucumber and nothing else (yuk). Usually ham or chicken. Sometimes chicken and bacon if I’m really lucky.  But not awe inspiring. 

The next layer of the afternoon tea stand is the scone.  Or as I sometimes call it the ‘none’ because there are none.   I once attended a slightly posh upmarket establishment in Chichester, West Sussex, which should have been a joy. I phoned in advance to discuss my allergies, and followed this up by email. They assured me that they would cater for me no problem, and that my afternoon tea experience would be as good as the other members of my party. When the ubiquitous cake stand came out, imagine my disappointment to see these lovely fluffy warm scones all around me, and an empty space where mine should be. I had foreseen that this might be the case and ran back to my car to collect the ‘back-up’ scones I’d dug out of my freezer. I then had to pay ¬£25 for the pleasure of having catered for myself.  

The top (and most important) layer is the cake. What is afternoon tea without a massive slab of cake? Disappointing. Back to the upmarket establishment in Chichester, they obviously didn’t have the skill or inclination to attempt baking a cake, so cheated and bought a selection of sawdust and sugar otherwise known as a supermarket “Free From” range (back to thinking I’m coeliac).  That was the icing on the cake! 

I have sampled several afternoon teas in the quest to find an Allergy Girl friendly solution. My favourite was just last weekend. Lilly’s in Wickham Square did an outstanding job. Yes, there was the unspread ham sandwich, but the ham was beautiful (freshly sliced gammon ham with honey and mustard), the granary bread was hearty and delicious and a little pot of dairy free spread was provided so I spread my own sandwich.  The scone was heavenly. Still warm from the oven and a decent size. Topped with the dairy free spread and strawberry jam (from a twee little jar) it was delightful. Amazingly I still had room for the cake, which was a huge dairy and egg free chocolate cupcake topped with rich chocolate frosting. I was a very happy Allergy Girl.  

Nineteen Fourteas comes a very close second.  The tea room is quirky with its 1940s theme, and the owner Betty is simply fabulous.  The high tea comes with an added layer of crackers and cheese, and Betty bought in some dairy free cheese just for me! The vanilla cupcake was beautiful, and I enjoyed it the following day (as I was too stuffed to manage it). 

The Pavilion Tearoom at Stansted Park is a pretty good alternative, but you get a flapjack and fruit salad in place of the cake, which is better for my waistline but doesn’t really hit the spot.  I would also recommend Rhinefield House Hotel in the New Forest, for a beautiful location and refined menu. 

From my experience it helps to book afternoon tea well in advance and to follow up with an email. I always offer my basic sponge cake recipe, which only Betty has taken my up on so far. My basic sponge is easy and quick to make, doesn’t require many special ingredients and can be jazzed up with different flavours. See my recipes page for the recipe.