It’s that time of year again, GBBO is upon us. Yay!
Not only does it mean we get to mercilessly watch our screens each Tuesday evening, with our mouths watering and an endless trail of thoughts in our minds “I wish there would be a gluten free baker”, “that wouldn’t look like that if it was gluten free”, “you think that tastes bad… you haven’t tried the gluten free version”. 😂
I’m going to come out and say it…. it also means 12 weeks until Christmas!!! I mean, come on, I am certainly not the only one to think it, I just might be the only one crazy enough to say it out loud.
Week 1 of The Great British Bake-off started off differently this year… straight in with my favourite week, cake week and you wouldn’t believe it… There is a gluten free baker, Peter! I hope he continues to make the gluten free bakes, in honour of all of us non-wheat eaters! It was great to see him out and proud with his free-from bakes.
Cake week is often my favourite week. I enjoy the challenges, successes and failures. Baking has changed significantly for me over the years. Now I am allergic to wheat, gluten, nuts and intolerant to dairy, I have to miss out on some of my favourite foods. Battenburg being one of my favourites, has been hard to let go… so I thought, lets make a version I can eat!
Okay… so let confess…. I’m not sure it technically is a battenburg as it doesn’t contain nuts. But, what it is, is an equivalent bar of yumminess to tantalise all the senses. 😉
YUMMIEST NUT FREE BATTENBURG
FREE FROM WHEAT, GLUTEN AND DAIRY!
- Servings: 10/12
- Time: 10 mins prep time, 40 mins cook time, 15 mis decorating. TOTAL = 65 MINUTES
- Difficulty: medium
- 250g Self Raising Flour
- 230g Caster Sugar
- 250g Stork (block butter, cooled in the microwave for 10-15 seconds)
- 4 Large Organic Eggs
- 1tsp Organic Vanilla
- 1/2tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2tsp Xanthan gum (this is down to preferences, personally I find when you make bakes that are GF & DF your batter binds better)
- 2tbsp Organic Cocoa
- 2tsp Natural Mint Flavouring or alternative.
- If you wish to colour your mint or coloured side to match the flavour then a dash of coloured food paste
- 500g Ivory Sugarpaste (I use Sattina as I love the quality and flavour)
For this bake, I admit I cheated and purchased a Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge Frosting as my daughter requested a fudge buttercream and I didn’t have the energy to whisk buttercream by hand. It used about 1/2 a tub. If you are making buttercream by hand then about 125g butter, 200g icing sugar, 50g organic cocoa, 2tbsp milk alternative and a dash of organic vanilla.
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4/330F. Grease or line a 7” square tin. I use If You Care recycled baking parchment sheets. Grab yourself a mixing bowl and a spare bowl for when you split the mix.
2. Take the slightly softened and cooled butter and beat the sugar into it until it is lighter in colour, creamy and the sugar has started to dissipate into the batter.
3. Combining 2 eggs at a time, beat the eggs into the mix until it is all combined, add the vanilla in with the last 2 eggs.
4. Sift the flour, baking powder and xanthan into the batter, gently whisking at a steady pace. There is a fine line with gluten free batter between whisking it to add air and beating every ounce of air out of it and leaving yourself with something that resembles a cardboard box once baked! You want to ensure all of the ingredients are combined and then just a few flicks of the wrist to double check and that will be enough mixing.
5. Split half of the batter into a separate bowl.
6. In one bowl sift the cocoa and combine. In the other bowl add the flavouring and colouring.
7. Take your pre-lined tin. You’ll want to separate half off the tin to each flavour so you are effectively making 2 rectangles at this stage. In and ideal world you would use a separate piece of parchment to separate the two. I didn’t want to waste the paper so poured each side of the batter in at a time, all in one tin with no barrier, focussing on pouring along the edge walls. I put the cocoa side in first as that was the slightly denser of the two and I knew that it would hold its placement better, then added the vanilla side in to the other half of the tin once I had created the first rectangle.
8. LETS BAKE! Place the tin in the centre of the oven to bake. Mine took about 40 minutes to cook. Start checking the cake from 25 mins, every 5 minutes. Put a skewer into the centre of the cake, if it comes out with no wet mixture on it then the cake is ready. Make sure there is still some spring in the cake otherwise you run the risk of over baking. Leave the cake to cool for an hour or so.
9. While the cake is cooking mix up your buttercream. Whisk the butter until it changes colour and becomes soft, sift in the icing sugar and organic cocoa, add in your 2tbsp of milk alternative and a dash of organic vanilla and mix it all in one go. Around 3 minutes in a mixer, or 5 minutes by hand. You’ll know it is done when its light and fluffy and has almost doubled in size.
- Now we get to the fun part, creating and decorating your masterpiece. Firstly your going to want to trim the top of the cake. You should find that the top of the cake tin is a good guide for cutting in a straight line if you do not have a cake slicer. Trim off all of the outside edges to remove any hard edging. Then, cut each rectangle into 2 pieces. I cut around an inch(2.5cm) section out of the middle where the cakes had overlapped and then cut the remaining on each side into 2 long strips. Effectively making 5 strips but discarding the middle section.
- As you can see in the picture I placed all 4 pieces together to create a checkerboard pattern. At this stage you can make sure everything sits square. Trim off any edges if you have anything poking out of your rectangle.
- Dust some cornflour onto a clean & dry surface, soften and roll out the fondant icing into a rectangle, aim for a thickness of about 3 or 4mm.
- For this bake I didn’t worry about crumb coating so went straight into it. I pasted a thin layer of buttercream directly onto the fondant the same length as the cake pieces, then placed my first pirece of cake on. You then want to coat the side that is going to touch the next side going onto the cake, creating your first layer.
- Looking at the picture above, you can see I created the 2nd layer on top of the first, repeating the same process, after spreading a thin layer of buttercream between the two layers of sponge. Spread some buttercream on the rolled out fondant ready to make your first roll.
- Using the excess fondant as a rolling Matt, fold the your cake over so the next side rolls onto the fondant. Then repeat this process for the next 2 sides., until you have something that resembles the rectangle cube you see in the picture below.
- Last but not least you need to trim the edges. Smooth the cake sides down to where the 2 sides meet and trim the excess off to create your rectangle.
- Lastly, cut the excess off both ends to create your square. You will see the edge of the cake line through the icing, use this as your guide and cut straight down. Because I used chocolate buttercream your never going to get perfectly clean edges, but if you used apricot jam like the original you wouldn’t see the excess.
Whilst you may thank mine for the chance to make your own version of this at home, I am going to thank Channel 4 and the GBBO in advance for expanding my waistline over the next 12 weeks! It’s going to be a fun adventure!
Right – I’m off to make another cup of tea.
Enjoy JoJo xXx