super yummy gluten free vegan baked fruit cheesecake

Photo 26-07-2013 14 27 03

Super Yummy Gluten Free Vegan Baked Fruit Cheesecake

After embarking on my quest for healthy goodness I have been determined to find yummy desserts.  This.  Is,  SO.  GOOOOOOD!  My lovely friend Jake introduced me to this when he made it for me last week and I’ve been raving about it since – I even baked it for my housemates a couple of days ago 🙂

Although the original recipe is not vegan, after a few tweaks to replace the dairy and eggs (see the version below) it was super simple to make and came out pretty darn well if I say so myself!  If you’re unsure of where to buy the gluten free / vegan ingredients you can click on them to be taken to where I sourced them from.

Ingredients

For the biscuit base

For the cheesecake filling

  • 220g cream cheese (substitute for 220g dairy free cream cheese)
  • 112g caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs (substitute for 2 tsp gluten free natural egg replacer mix and 4 tbs water)
  • 15g cornflour
  • a few drops vanilla extract
  • 50g fruit of choice (raspberries all the way for me although this recipe is definitely getting tested with lemon zest next time I bake it)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas mark 4.
  2. Grease an 8in / 20cm round spring form cake tin (you only need a shallow one) or flan ring
  3. Stir together the gluten free flour, desiccated coconut, ground almonds, caster sugar and gluten free baking powder.
  4. Rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs, then mix to a dough.
  5. Press into the greased tin then place on a flat baking tray and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown.
  6. (You can use this for the base or for a richer base – melt 50g unsalted butter (or soya spread), stir in the cooked biscuit and press back into the cake tin and place into the fridge to set.)
  7. Prepare your fruit and place on the bottom of the cooked tart base.
  8. To prepare the cheesecake filling beat the cream cheese to soften.
  9. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat until smooth.
  10. Pour over the fruit and bake in the oven for 25 minutes until firm.
  11. Leave to cool then store in the fridge until required. This will also freeze very well.
  12. To serve, run a sharp knife around the edge to loosen the ring and take off

Enjoy!

big love

gollygoshgirl

xx

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homebaked Barbie Christening cake

Homebaked Barbie Christening cake

Photo 19-07-2013 18 11 56 - Copy

Barbie christening cake covered in fondant and finished with sugarpaste detailing The bottom tier is vanilla sponge with strawberry jam and vanilla buttercream, the middle tier is marble sponge with chocolate fudge buttercream and the top tier is chocolate fudge sponge with chocolate fudge buttercream.

For how to create a Barbie cake (the top tier) see my previous post or to see more of my homebaking and cake decorating posts click here or take a peek at my instagram here 🙂

Enjoy!

big love

gollygoshgirl

xx

 

homebaked strawberries and cream white chocolate sponge cake with fresh fruit

Strawberries And Cream White Chocolate Sponge Cake With Fresh Fruit

Summer has finally arrived in the UK (THANK YOU LORD!) and the Wimbledon tennis final this weekend coupled with glorious sunshine inspired me to bake this little edible ode to British summertime 🙂  The cake is for a very good friend’s birthday and she requested strawberry jam and white chocolate so I adapted my classic Victoria sponge recipe and added a few extras  to enhance those flavours.  Below is the finished product and recipe – and here’s to a long hot summer (pretty please)!!

Photo 07-07-2013 01 33 29

Ingredients

  • 340g Unsalted butter (plus a little bit extra for greasing)
  • 340g Self-raising flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 340g Caster sugar (plus 2 tbs for the filling)
  • 6 Large eggs
  • 2 Lemons
  • 400g Fresh strawberries
  • 80g Fresh blueberries
  • 80g Fresh raspberries
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150g Good quality strawberry jam (plus 1 heaped tbs to attach the fruit when decorating)
  • 70g White chocolate chips
  • 60g white chocolate (to be grated)
  • 220ml Double cream
  • Icing sugar, for dusting
  • Mint leaves, to garnish

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4
  2. Grease the bottom and sides of two 20cm and two 13cm sandwich cake tins with butter.  Line the base of each tin with greaseproof paper then dust the sides lightly with flour
  3. Beat 225g butter and 225g sugar together until very light and fluffy
  4. Add four eggs one at a time, beating each one in well before you add the next
  5. Sift in 225g flour
  6. Finely grate over the zest of 1 lemon then fold it into the mixture (halve the lemon and save it for later)
  7. Divide the cake mix into the prepared 20cm cake tins and put to one side
  8. In a separate bowl beat 115g butter and 115g sugar until very light and fluffy
  9. Add two eggs one and a time, beating the first one in well before you add the second
  10. Sift in 115g flour
  11. Finely grate over the zest of half a lemon then fold it into the mixture (halve the lemon and save it for later)
  12. Divide the mixture into the prepared 13cm cake tins
  13. Bake all four cakes in the hot oven for around 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and risen. The smaller cakes may be ready after 15-18 minutes.  (You can check to see if the cake is cooked by sticking a cocktail stick or skewer right into the middle of the sponge;  remove it after 5 seconds and if it comes out clean the cake’s cooked; if slightly sticky it needs a bit longer, so put it back into the oven)
  14. Allow the cakes to cool slightly in the tins, then carefully turn them out on to a rack to cool completely
  15. Hull and slice 300g of your strawberries
  16. Gently warm the jam in a pan over a low heat then remove from the heat and stir in your sliced strawberries and add in the white chocolate chips
  17. Add the cream to a bowl with 2 tbs caster sugar and 2 tsp vanilla extract, then squeeze in the juice from your zested lemons
  18. Finely grate in the white chocolate 
  19. Whip the mixture until you have nice soft peaks
  20. Place the least attractive 20cm sponge cake on a  plate or cakeboard, smear over 2/3 of the jam and strawberry mixture, then spread 2/3 of the sweetened cream over the top
  21. Place the second 20cm cake (with the best side facing up) on top and dust it with icing sugar
  22. Spread a little of the tbs strawberry jam reserved for decorating onto the middle of top of the cake 
  23. Place the least attractive 13cm sponge on top, smear over the remaining jam mixture and sweetened cream then finish by placing the second 13cm cake (best side facing up) on top and dusting it with icing sugar
  24. Decorate the cake with the remaining fruit, using the reserved strawberry jam to attach it
  25. Garnish with mint leaves

Enjoy!

big love

gollygoshgirl

xx

To see more of my homebaking posts click here to check out my instagram here.

 

homebaked vanilla and chocolate Victoria sponge marble cake

Homebaked Vanilla & Chocolate Victoria Sponge Marble Cake

This is another twist to the classic British tea-time homebaked classic Victoria sponge recipe I bake a whole lot.  I follow Jamie Oliver’s original recipe with a couple of teensy adjustments to adapt it into a marble cake – check out my version below!  If you’d like to see a different  twist on this yummy traditional sponge give this post a little peek 🙂

Photo 02-07-2013 16 47 15

Ingredients

  • 225g Unsalted butter (plus a little bit extra for greasing)
  • 225g Self-raising flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 225g Caster sugar
  • 4 Large eggs
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Cocoa powder
  • 200g Vanilla or chocolate buttercream icing
  • 250g fresh strawberries or raspberries
  • Any additional toppings (completely optional – this is super yummy as it is!)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4
  2. Grease the bottom and sides of two 20cm sandwich cake tins with butter.  Line the base of each tin with greaseproof paper then dust the sides lightly with flour
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each one in well before you add the next
  5. Mix in the vanilla extract
  6. Sift in the flour and fold it into the mixture
  7. Take 8 tablespoons of the mixture and put it in a separate bowl
  8. Divide the cake mix (minus the 8 tablespoons you just took out) equally into the prepared tins
  9. Add the cocoa powder to the 8 tablespoons of separated mixture and combine
  10. Divide the chocolate mixture between the two tins containing the original vanilla mixture then use a spoon to gently swirl it around a couple of times (creating a ‘marble’ effect)
  11. Bake in the hot oven for around 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and risen. (You can check to see if the cake is cooked by sticking a cocktail stick or skewer right into the middle of the sponge;  remove it after 5 seconds and if it comes out clean the cake’s cooked; if slightly sticky it needs a bit longer, so put it back into the oven)
  12. Allow the cakes to cool slightly in the tins, then carefully turn them out on to a rack to cool completely
  13. Slice your strawberries or raspberries (leave a couple of the most attractive berries whole if you wish to use them on the top of the cake)
  14. Place the least attractive sponge cake on a  plate, smear over the buttercream icing and prepared berries
  15. Place the second cake (with the best side facing up) on top and serve as it is, dust it with icing sugar and add few berries to the top or go crazy and add whatever you fancy – the one in the photo above is iced in chocolate fudge buttercream and decorated with fondant flowers and flavoured buttons

Enjoy!

big love

gollygoshgirl

xx

To see more of my homebaking posts click here or check out my instagram here.

yummy healthy dessert that feels super indulgent

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Yummy Healthy Dessert That Feels Super Indulgent

As I continue on my quest for healthy goodness I am determined that I will not compromise taste or completely give up on dessert.  I flipping love fruit but sometimes I want something a bit more substantial to satisfy my (very demanding) sweet tooth!  Cue this little number – super tasty and fully of goodness 🙂

Ingredients

Serves one

  • 2 Berry oatcakes ( I use Nairns gluten free)
  • 5 tbsp Soya yoghurt
  • Handful of blueberries or blackberries
  • 4 Strawberries
  • 1 tbsp grated Dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips

Method

  1. Crumble the oatcakes
  2. Mix the blueberries or blackberries into the yoghurt
  3. Dice the strawberries
  4. Layer the prepared ingredients and the dark chocolate as desired
  5. Grab a teaspoon (smaller spoon makes me feel like I’m eating more) and dig in!

Enjoy!

big love

gollygoshgirl

xx

a beautiful Polish wedding

bart and basia wedding 26.06 (12)

While working the bar at a wakeboarding and waterskiing lake in the UK last summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet a group of awesome temporary staff from around the world. They had travelled to work there for the season and learn from the world-class coaches in return.  I got to hang out with people from Australia, New Zealand, Poland, Sweden, Austria and America for three months and had a LOT of fun 🙂

Two of my great friends from that time are a Polish couple who are outgoing, funny, very sweet and completely in love.  They were engaged when I met them, and twelve months later I had the privilege of being invited to their wedding so last weekend I travelled to Poland to attend their marriage ceremony.

Before I left the miserable drizzle of the UK’s attempt at summer weather firmly behind me and boarded the plane, I was slightly unsure of what to expect.  Most of the advice I had received was that the Polish REALLY know how to party and that a lot of vodka would be involved.  Internet research had yielded very little in terms of appropriate dress code, wedding gifts or traditions and I was fairly worried about unwittingly offending someone by somehow being inappropriate without realising it!

I shouldn’t  have worried though – the whole experience was an honour to be a part of and I was treated as family from the moment I touched down at the airport.  I thought it might be an idea to write about my experience in case anyone else out there is in the same position I was and fancies a little heads up as to what to anticipate!  Obviously I am no expert on Polish culture and no two weddings are the same so this is in no way a definitive guide or an attempt at one!

bart and basia wedding 26.06.13 1 (5)

  • Bartering for the Bride

This takes place on the morning of the wedding.  The Groom goes to the bride’s family home and calls her father outside.  Then ensues banter and bartering regarding the quantity of vodka appropriate to give the father in exchange for his daughter.  It’s all very light hearted and comedic – the Father Of The Bride sent out the Best Man dressed as his daughter at one point but then finally agreed (after accepting more bottles of the proffered vodka) to send his daughter out.  This is usually attended by close family only although I was privileged enough to be included and accepted as this throughout the day so got to experience a lot more than as a simple guest.

  • Prayers in the house

The Bride and Groom kneel in the house and their parents and grandparents pray over them or offer them blessings (or both – to be honest I’m not quite sure which it was as it was all in Polish but the priest was there!  A helpful family member translated a few things spoken which appeared to be advice and good wishes!)

  • Best Man and Maid of Honour

There is a Best Man, whose duties include helping collect the Groom’s presents (explained a bit further down), making sure there is enough vodka at the reception and – for this wedding at least – dressing up as a woman for the bartering for the Bride!  The Best Man does not do a speech or dress similarly to the Groom.  There are no Bridesmaids but the Bride did have a Maid Of Honour, whose duties were pretty similar to those of the Best Man.

  • Dress code

I had read varying information about dress code but the advice I found most true to form was for the women to dress as if going to a classy nightclub in the UK.  There were no hats or fascinators, no maxi dresses and certainly no women in trousers, playsuits or posh shorts.  Pretty much all of the women wore heels (I didn’t – bad things happen when I attempt to walk in anything other than flats and the pavements were pretty uneven so I decided to avoid impending doom and keep my heels as close to the ground as possible!).  All of the men all wore suits.

  • The Marriage service

The ceremony took place in a Catholic church, which I understand to be the traditional venue.  A little like a crematorium in the UK, the church was pretty much a revolving door – as the previous wedding left through a side exit we entered through the main entrance.  Although the Bride and Groom arrive together, once everyone is seated the Bride is walked down the aisle to meet the Groom at the front of the church.  I am unable to explain most of the service as it was all conducted in Polish, however I can tell you that it lasted around an hour.  There was a lot of standing up, sitting down, kneeling (although not everyone kneeled so I refrained), sung responses to what the priest said and singing in general.  On two occasions the congregation was invited to file towards the front, which I later found out was to enable them to give offerings to the church the first time and to receive the Holy Communion (or Mass) the second time.  Not everyone went up so I stayed in my seat as I had no idea at the time what I would be walking to the front to do!  A Polish friend I met in  the summer season last year who attended the wedding informed me that the church service varies in different parts of the country and he had not attended a service where the congregation goes to the front to give their offerings.  The vows and exchanging of the rings took place in a similar manner to that experienced in weddings in the UK.  The interior of the church was beautifully decorated with murals on all available wallspace and the ceiling, which were beautiful to look at.  After the service the congregation filed out and waited outside for the Bride and Groom to exit.

  • After the wedding

As the Bride and Groom exit the church it is traditional to throw small change in the same way that other cultures throw confetti.  The newly-weds then picked up all of the coins together, which is believed to bring them good luck!

  • Breaking glass

Upon arrival at the reception everyone had a glass of champagne and toasted the Bride and Groom.  Once this had been drunk (pretty speedily I might add), the Bride and Groom smashed a glass on the floor, then proceeded to sweep it up together with a dustpan and brush.  Performing this task well is a sign that they will have great teamwork in their marriage.

  • Wedding gifts

All of the guests then formed a queue in front of the Bride and Groom. As each person was greeted by the couple they gave three kisses and a bunch of flowers to the Bride (which were then passed to the Maid Of Honour) and money in sealed brown envelopes to the Groom (collected by the Best Man).  The Bride at the wedding I attended had told close friends and family that she would much rather have wine than flowers so she received a fair amount instead of the traditional bouquets and the couple also received wrapped presents from a few guests.

  • Speeches

The parents of the married couple then made short speeches totalling about 10 minutes.  As this was in Polish I have no idea what was said but everyone seemed to chuckle quite a bit so I assume it was fairly light hearted!

  • First meal and First Dance

Everyone then sat down to a full three course meal.  I had been pre-warned that there would be a ridiculous amount of food on offer throughout the reception so luckily heeded this advice and didn’t go crazy – more on the food to come!  After the first meal the Bride and Groom performed the First Dance which is a ballroom-style number with set choreography that is learnt beforehand.

  • Bowties and bouquets

The Groom sat on a chair and the unmarried men surrounded him.  The Bride then had to try to get to him and extract his tie.  Once this was achieved it was thrown at the group of unmarried men and the person who caught it is then considered to be very desirable.

The Bride was then surrounded by her unmarried female friends.  She threw the bouquet and whoever caught it will marry next (pretty much like the British tradition).

  • The Reception / Party

At some point the wedding photos were taken and then the rest of the reception consisted of eating, drinking and dancing (explained below).  The Bride’s father pays for everything so it’s an open bar.  The party continues until whenever the guests and married couple decide to leave – at about 5am at the one I attended!  Many of those my age and the younger generation are able to speak some form of English ( a lot speak it very fluently) and they were very friendly and happy to make conversation!

  • Food

I cannot express how much food appears throughout the evening.  Picture each table heaving with food and in addition imagine having enough for everyone to have a full meal brought out about every hour or so.  Each set of food is different from the one before so if you want to try it all pace yourself and only have a few mouthfuls of each dish!  At midnight the Bride and Groom cut the wedding cake and it was shared out to all of the guests.

  • Vodka

Ah.  The vodka.  I think the fact that everyone introduced it to us as ‘Polish wine’ pretty much sums it up!  On the tables each place was laid with a wine glass, a water glass and a shot glass.  There were two 1 litre bottles of vodka on each table of ten at the reception I attended.  When one person has a shot of vodka everyone on the table is offered (and should accept) one too.  If the bottle looks like it’s getting empty is replaced.  There was also wine on the tables and soft drinks, although traditionally the only alcohol is vodka.

  • Dancing

Dancing is as essential to a wedding reception as the vodka.  And by dancing I mean proper partner ballroom style dancing.  The live band played Polish songs and the men ask the women to dance.  People do not stick with one partner when dancing and change after each song.  Everyone was so friendly and inclusive so I was involved in a LOT of dancing – luckily they seemed to have about as much of an idea of actual ballroom dances as I did so it was great fun!  After the midnight cake the music became a lot more modern with a few tracks in English thrown in.

  • And the party just keeps on going!

It is not unusual for the wedding to last a couple of days.  Unfortunately I had to fly home the next morning but all of the guests and the married couple were going to have a late breakfast together and then continue the party!

In case you can’t tell I had an absolutely amazing time in Poland – it is such a beautiful country with warm hearted people and it was a complete honour to be accepted as family and experience the wedding – I will definitely be going back to visit the newly-weds and explore more of the culture!

If you fancy checking out another post on Polish weddings, this blogger’s Polish wedding survival guide contained the most helpful information I found 🙂

big love

gollygoshgirl xx

homebaked healthy almond butter cookies with dark chocolate chips

Photo 28-06-2013 19 15 12

Homebaked Healthy Almond Butter Cookies with Dark Chocolate Chips

Well as you may have realised, my quest for healthy goodness had led me to approach food a little differently.  It has not, however, cured my very sweet tooth.  I know there are a hundred things you are advised to do which will curb your cravings (brush your teeth, eat an apple, distract yourself with a different activity etc etc) BUT sometimes; a girl just.  needs.  chocolate.  And cookies.  And these really hit the spot! These are my second foray into cookies healthy-style and you know what? I much prefer them to the chocolate chip ones I posted a week ago.  Yum 🙂  I found the original recipe on Facebook but there was no source given (apologies if it’s yours – let me know and I’ll give you the credit you deserve!) however as usual I gave it a few tweaks!  Below is my version…

Ingredients

Makes 8 cookies or 16 bitesize cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups canned chickpeas (I just used the whole 400g tin, which is 260g when drained)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbspns (165g) natural almond butter
  • 1/4 cup (80g) agave nectar or honey
  • 1 tspn baking powder (I use gluten free)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (70% cocoa solids)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4
  2. Line your baking trays with greaseproof paper
  3. Drain the chickpeas, rinse them well then make sure there is as little excess water as possible one them.  (It is suggested you pat them dry with a piece of kitchen paper but to be honest I didn’t bother).
  4. Put the chickpeas in a food processor and process until smooth (looking kind of a little bit like moist ground almonds)
  5. Mix all of the ingredients together except the chocolate chips
  6. Add the chocolate chips
  7. The mixture should be pretty sticky.  Using wet hands, form the cookies or cookie bites and place onto the lined baking trays.
  8. Bake in the oven for 10-13 minutes.
  9. Let the cookies cool on the baking trays for a few minutes before cooling on a wire rack.  When they first come out of the oven they are very soft but firm up as they cool.

Enjoy!

big love

gollygoshgirl

xx