when I was making it for the weding in a GIGNORMOUS tin!
I’ve been fine-tuning a gluten free sponge recipe this week to share with my brother’s wedding cake maker. I adapted a recipe one of my aunts in Canada shared with me, a Deluxe Pound Cake, as an option for our wedding cake. Yup, I made our wedding cakes. As most will already know, Ruairidh has a list of dietary no-nos, and he wanted to be able to eat some of his wedding cake too! I found a tasty, Ruairidh friendly Nigella fruit cake, made some alterations myself and, after a couple of trials, I knew it would be perfect and manageable. But I wanted to have a sponge option as well, and as Ruairidh could have the fruit cake, a ‘normal’ sponge would be fine. But what recipe would stand up to the size, waiting time, and icing involved? My aunt’s recipe was perfect! We had cake success, with the icing help of a friend. So this week, I decided to adapt the recipe to see if it would work as a gluten-free wedding cake. We just finished eating it today! It was great, actually even better than my initial wheat-full cake trials. And I honestly think you wouldn’t have noticed a difference. I’m not so keen on the strong rice taste and texture you get in a lot of GF cakes. But I’ve discovered that ground almonds make all the difference. If you eat gluten-free, I hope you can make use of this. If not, I’ve written up the wheat-full ingredients as well! Oh, and it’s optionally cow’s milk free too. To make this a real recipe day, I’ll throw in a Banana Loaf recipe . I think this may have come from Canada as well. I typed it up for one of my brothers recently so it’s handy to share. I miss not having bananas in to get over-ripe for banana loaf! I don’t actually eat raw banana, there’s just something about them I struggle to swallow. My mum says I used to eat loads and loads when I was wee, maybe I sickened myself with them! And Ruairidh never thinks of buying them, so our fruit bowl remains banana free. Until I remember, and then our fruit bowl has spotted and black bananas waiting to be magically transformed into scrumptious loaf! The best way to use up old bananas I say, and old bananas are best. Enjoy!
*disclaimer : links may stimulate mouthwatering reactions; contains food imagery; if hungry, do not click*
Today turned into a pancake day. Yes, I know it was a bit late, but it was planned this way. Kind of! Pancake making had been suggested as an activity idea for us to do with the local youth club that we help run, and I had pencilled it in for tonight’s activity. It was my turn on the rota, cunningly devised by moi, as I have been wanting to try out our new electric pan/hotplate and pancake making were the perfect opportunity. Our household grew up wolfing down a multitude of pancakes that Mum made on her electric pan. Mairianne and I graduated from watching on the sidelines, to helping flip the pancakes, and, in the end, making them from scratch, all by our chuffed-selves! Of course, Mum has the best knack! As did her mother before her, and its Granny’s recipe we still use. Pancakes, otherwise defined as ‘dropped scones’, hold many happy childhood memories. We loved arriving for a visit at Granny and Grandpa’s in Callanish when Granny was making pancakes. She kept the little crunchy tidbits that fell on the pan all for us! The dog didn’t like missing out on his treat that day though! Mum used to make pancakes at our Primary school’s gala day- EPIC pancake making days that raised a lot of money. I think it was definitely in the top three favourite stalls at the gala. Pancakes make great Christmas presents, and a batch is always made when family come home for a visit, or somebody is going to visit them on the mainland. My brothers would never forgive a lack of pancakes and scones from visitors from home! What do we do with all these soft, brown, airy, slight-sweet, beautiful morsels? Apart from (grudgingly 😉 ) giving them away, basically, stuff our faces with them! They are best, of course, hot off the pan. With a good layer of golden syrup, or butter and strawberry jam *mouthwatering moment*. Another favourite is toasting tham from frozen, or frying them to go along with a fried breakfast. Who couldn’t appreciate toasted/fried pancakes, bacon and maple syrup? Cold, they are popularly topped with combinations of butter, jam, whipped cream, crowdie (cheese made from buttermilk) and cream. Or creme fraiche for the healthier eaters. We love to have pancakes along with soup, especially lentil or scotch broth. Such a versatile cake, or scone. The different denotations can cause some confusion. Our ‘pancakes’ are smaller, thicker and denser than you might expect. But yummy all the same!
Mum’s electric pan supplied a LOT of pancakes over the years. It sadly gave up the ghost a few years back, and as Mum had initially received it from her sister in Canada, a replacement was hard to come by. Impossible it seemed. We couldn’t find anything like it on the market over here, or online. It seemed the express, consistent pancake making era had come to an end. Our hope failed. But it semed we gave up too quickly! One of our wedding gifts was an electric pan/hotplate!!! (I’m not sure how to define it. I suppose the box would show a title, but it’s downstairs as I write this, so it will have to wait!) It advertised cooking things like prawns, but it was perfect for pancakes too. I think Mum gasped when we opened it! “Where did you get that?” she demanded of the gift-givers (thankfully folk well-known to us and of good humour!). As it turned out, it was to be found in a shop in Stornoway (yes, Stornoway- who would have thought of looking there?!!) at a bargain price. The next day, Mum was the proud owner of an electric table pan. Of course, she inaugurated hers months ago, but ours only made it out of the box today!
I did do a quick trial run before youth club, to get acquainted with the new toy. It behaved beautifully, despite my messing up of the recipe (disaster always follows the hurried baker!). Well, not a complete disaster, they were edible, I just mixed up tsp (teaspoon) and tbsp (TABLEspoon) with the margarine and syrup. They were just a bit heavy. The mix was much better later on. They ‘kids’ did all the measuring etc, and did really well spooning the batter and turning the pancakes. I think (and hope) they enjoyed it, we leaders sure did anyway! Hot pancakes and syrup opened a new world for some anyway, and another will surprise them tomorrow at breakfast- I recommend pancakes, egg and bacon! Many of our family and friends will be aware that we have a fondness for baked goods at breakfast time, so this will come as no surprise. You know about the pancakes, but what do you think of fried duff? (Duff is our version of a ‘clootie dumpling’- another post entirely!) I would like some more practice with the electric pan, to try and figure out the best temperature etc, but I’m really chuffed with this kitchen toy wedding gift. May it prove as successful in our family over the years as yesterday’s Canadian Pancake Queen proved to be until the end of its days. And I think Pancake Day will be a future favourite with our youth club!