I still find it incredible when people ask me to be part of their event or write a blog as part of a being local business in Southwell as cake baking started as hobby with the daydream of maybe one day having my own business? Cake baking is a creative process almost a science at times working out how to make recipes your own, offer a choice to everyone yet taste delicious. During my time as a nurse I worked to clinical nutrition unit at QMC and have always been interested in nutrition and food, obviously cake baking is miles away from my previous life however my passion is and always will be food! From researching, creating, experimenting and more importantly eating and enjoying food I would like everyone to enjoy cake and yummy treats especially when someone has a dietary intolerance such as to gluten, wheat or dairy where food options are often limited so my mission was to create a gluten free cake, which actually had the same taste, texture and sensation of proper cake but where to start? Internet researching, wow what a minefield in itself as wanted to convert existing recipes but all the ingredient amounts were different and 2 years ago there were less food blogs and cook books with gluten free recipes. First of all I needed to decide which replacement flour I was going to use so opted for Doves gluten and wheat free flours (available in both plain and self-raising) although supermarkets now have their own brand versions but there is also the choice of rice flour, buckwheat flour, quinoa flour, coconut flour to name but a few but free from flours are so much more expensive…100g of gluten containing plain flour is £0.05p whereas a gluten free version is £0.17p per 100g which is over 3 times more expensive and I am always mindful of cost, making cakes affordable whilst using best ingredients possible. Other options were to add ground almond, ground walnut or vegetables such as courgette, sweet potato or carrot, in the early days I found a recipe which used mashed potato for a lemon drizzle cake which was great until you were asked what was used a gluten substitute and someone who was really enjoying it suddenly spat it out! Then there was the challenge of those cakes which sunk, either whilst cooking or as soon as you opened the oven door, it felt like a lottery but I was determined…I remember one particular episode when trying to create a gluten free version of orange and almond cakes and on the 8th attempt (on the same day), 2 trips to the coop and bursting into tears I needed to seriously rethink how I was going to achieve my mission then came the knights in shining armour…Xantham gum and gluten free baking powder however this had its own challenges, too much and the cakes had a weird lumpy rubbery texture, not enough and failed again, eventually after weeks of feeling defeated I made a batch which were almost there and with a little tweaking the secret formula was created!!! Saying that I still have disasters, I often think about sharing them on social media but my heart breaks when it happens, a couple of weeks ago I made some gluten free millionaire shortbread but turning it out of the tin, half of the shortbread base was stuck to tin liner, I let out a little shreak which caused my husband to come running downstairs to see me stood there staring at the tin and the mess on the chopping board. I still occasionally have those pesky sinking cakes which is simply due to the tiniest variable as measured by eye after discovering digital scales are not your friend when using the formula…..
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and insight into the world of all mine cakes, please have a look at my website www.allminecakes.co.uk
Happy baking, Hayley x