Thursday, 28 February 2008

Chocolate Cake, gluten free, egg free, vegan, dairy free

Two days ago, my blog and I celebrated our first year together. Anniversaries are always a time for reflection; a long, thoughtful look at the past, and a slightly apprehensive peek towards the future.

When I think back to our early days together; I blush. We were at it, but all the time. Well into the early hours, then up before breakfast to do it again before the kids woke up. Like any newly smitten person, I could only think, and talk of, one thing. When I wasn’t with my new love, I was thinking about when we could next get to grips with each other. And when we were together, I found it so hard to drag myself away. I loved all the attention from those around me; all those kind comments, those people who’ve been supportive right from the start, those that were so encouraging; they made me feel proud, as though I’d landed a great catch.

It was quite tricky keeping my obsession from my husband. There really wasn’t room for three in our marriage, so it was quite good that he travels so often. I had to be really sneaky, and became quite adept at guiltily leaping up as soon as I heard his key in the door. Sometimes I was sure my flushed face would give it away, but if he did notice, he didn’t say anything.

Then gradually, the relationship began to change. From an all-consuming obsession it relaxed into familiarity. That’s always a troubling time isn’t it? As the flames of passion die down, you do wonder what you’ll find in the embers, and whether the fire is worth stoking.

It wasn’t long before I felt the strain of my new partnership. There were many times when it no longer bought me joy. It was a worrying burden, a relationship that was sapping my energy and stopping me from spending time doing other things. It’s never good when something takes you away from your friends or your family is it? It’s not healthy when your face looks present in a conversation, but your mind is miles away. I was spending far too much time working out which ratio of gluten free flours was going to work best in a recipe, when I should have been folding washing, filing post, oh and renewing the car insurance might have been a good plan.

I don’t mind telling you that I’ve considered taking a break. I’ve invested so much time, energy, money, precious hours when I could have been sleeping, yet still, there’s always more I could be doing; it never seems to be enough. Sometimes I wish my dear friend Sandra hadn’t set me up with my blog; I lay the blame fairly and squarely at her feet.

But just when I’m about to suggest we split up, someone will make a really nice comment. I’ll be out in cyberspace somewhere and I’ll catch someone gazing at my baby with frank admiration. I’ve seen people surf past, do a double click and come back. People confess to lusting over him, can’t take their eyes off him, he makes them feel hungry. I’m not too sure how to take that last comment. All the attention makes me look at my man in a different light. I stand up a little straighter, casually put my arm around his shoulders and think, ‘yeh, he’s mine, all mine; we're pretty good together’.
And - as with any long-term union - although some of the sparkle has faded, the routine is perhaps a little too familiar, I wish he looked a bit better, wished he took a better photo, expressed himself a bit better… I wouldn’t really want to be without him. Imagine having to start over again! It’s a jungle out there; I just don’t think I’m up to it.

So I guess I’ll stick with what I know - for better or for worse - keep plodding on and grow gently and comfortably old with him. Who knows, maybe one day there’ll be some recognition for all the hard graft I’ve put in? Or maybe one day there’ll be an acrimonious split and I’ll take him to the cleaners? (note to self: must make sure I divorce in England, it's makes good financial sense) Nooo, just kidding.

Happy Anniversary dear Blog, I love you really.

Birthday/Anniversary/CFCS Cake
This is a bit of a cheat; a cake version of Organised Birthday Cupcakes. But that’s what you do after a while isn’t it? Start cutting a few corners, stay in with a take-out instead of tarting up and going to a club? I did tweak the flours a little and add the super chocolate beans; I guess that’s the equivalent of buying some naughty undies to spice up something familiar. But when you’ve been together this long, it can’t always be bells and whistles you know; sometimes my blog is just the last chore of the day!

*To make this with wheat flour, use 175g of wholewheat flour and omit the xanthan gum.
*To make Gluten Free but with eggs, use 1 egg and omit the Orgran egg replacer, ground linseeds and 3 tbsps rice milk.
For the cake:
130g dairy free spread
120g sugar
110g golden syrup
50g cornflour / corn starch
100g brown rice flour
25g gram/besan/chick pea flour
60g cocoa powder
0.5tsp xanthan gum1tsp gluten free baking powder0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150ml rice milk
1 heaped tsp of Orgran 'no egg' egg replacer3 tbsps rice milk
1 heaped tbsp ground linseeds (put whole linseeds into a blender and blend to a powder)

To sandwich together, and for the icing:
About 5 tbsps of blackcurrant jam (or other jam if you prefer)
175g gluten free, dairy free dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
70g dairy free spread
2-3 tbsps icing sugar (optional)
1 pack of Whizzers Chocolate Beans
  • Heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius
  • Grease and line two 20cm sandwich tins with baking parchment(or two heart shaped tins if you like)
  • Put the egg replacer, ground linseeds and the 3 tbsps of rice milk into a small bowl. Whisk together until all the lumps have gone, then set aside
  • Put the dairy free spread, sugar and golden syrup into a large saucepan. Heat over a gentle heat - stirring occasionally -until melted. Remove from the heat
  • Weigh out the flours, cocoa powder, xanthan gum, (or wheat flour, omitting xanthan gum), baking powder. Put them all into a large mixing bowl, and stir with a mini whisk to make sure they are all combined
  • Heat the rice milk slightly and add the half teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, stir
  • Add the egg replacer and linseed mix to the saucepan and stir
  • Seive the flour mix into the large saucepan and stir until combined. You'll probably need to beat or whisk to remove all lumps, it's not a problem
  • Add the rice milk and bicarbonate of soda and stir again until everything is combined
  • Divide the mix evenly between the two tins and place into the middle of the oven
  • Bake until the cakes are risen and springy when gently pressed; it should take between 15 and 25 minutes depending on your oven (mine is fairly temperamental). Remove from the oven
  • Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for about 20 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto a cooling rack. Leave until they are completely cold
  • When ready to ice them, place them onto your serving plate and sandwich them together with a thick layer of blackcurrant jam. My eldest daughter told me to stress this point, she is adamant that the layer must be very thick because it tastes, 'soooooo much better'. You've been told.
  • TOP TIP: Once the cake is in position on the serving plate, place pieces of baking parchment all around the base of your cake. Try and slide some bits under it as well. This is so that when you ice the cake and the icing inevitably slithers down the sides, it will run onto the baking parchment and not onto your pretty plate/board. Allow the icing to set, then cunningly ease the baking parchment out, and you'll only have a little bit of tidying up to do around the base of your cake. Sorted.
For the icing:
  • Melt the chocolate in a 'bain marie'. Put a small amount of water into a small saucepan and heat it. Set a large, heatproof bowl on top of the saucepan, the base of the bowl should not touch the water
  • Break the chocolate into small pieces and put into the bowl. Stir occasionally until it has melted. Remove it from the heat when it has just melted, don't let it get hot
  • With the bowl off the heat, add the dairy free spread (and sugar if you wish) and beat until the spread has melted and the mix is looking glossy. Do refrain from sinking your face into it, you may burn yourself
  • I find the next part a bit stressful, but you need to use the icing when it is thick enough to stay on the cake, but not so thick that it won't spread. Chocolate is a little unpredicatable, the icing could be ready to use in 5 minutes, it may be 12. Start trying it on the cake, and ice it all over
  • Whilst the icing is still wet, add your chocolate beans to make it all look beautiful
  • Sit back and admire your creation
  • Launch the rest of the beans to the sky and catch them in your mouth as they fall. (note: this is a choking hazard, so do ensure someone trained in the Heimlich manoeuvre is within strangulated crying distance, and if in doubt, check with your healthcare provider before throwing the beans into the air.)

© Pig in the Kitchen 2007
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Akelamalu said...


Great post you have me in stitches, you really do!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Merci Akelamalu! I think it was your blogversary recently wasn't it? It's half term at the mo here, I'll be over for a visit soon!

mutterings and meanderings said...

Happy blog birthday Missus pig!

I think you and I share pretty similar feelings towards these missives in cyberspace.

GoneBackSouth said...

Happy anniversary. I can't claim to follow the recipes - but then I'm not the world's best baker - but I do enjoy the rest of it!

Sweet Irene said...

Happy anniversary! I think I've just had one myself and should have celebrated it with this delicious cake of yours. Boy, it makes my mouth water just looking at it. I must have some! Don't you know that I am severely addicted to anything chocolate? Yes, you must have felt those longings all the way in France, from the Netherlands across Belgium.

Lucy said...

totally relate to your blog journey - also sometimes feel like splitting from it for good! Your cake looks so gorgeous... makes me want to be one of your children, having amazing things like that cooked for them :)

guineapigmum said...

Happy anniversary! And congratulations. I've been mulling over, in the past few days, why so many blogs don't last much longer than a year. I think you've described the process perfectly, one that I recognise well - a journey through secrecy, addiction, passion, familiarity and then either giving up or acceptance. I nearly fell by the wayside in the last few weeks but I think I'm back. And please keep going - we need those entertaining, GF recipes. So much GF writing is sickeningly self- righteous. But not you. You seem normal!

Lee said...

Happy blogiversary!

Can't wait to see what the next year has in store!

Miriam said...

Happy Birthday PITK. I'd be devastated if you stopped blogging, so please put that thought out of your mind. Look forward to making that cake during the week, mimi

rilly super said...

darling, happy birthday. I've been reading from the start and with all your receipes making me put on several pounds just by reading them I may soon just be logged on permanently as I won't be able to fit out through my front door.

this marriage has lasted longer than some to men that I could mention and I hope it continues, although I appreciate it must take an awful lot of time to put together the terrific stuff you do on here so I'm not surprised there have been hard stares and awkward silences over the kitchen table, but that's love for you, sigh

Elsie Button said...

Yay - a whole year! It was really interesting to read this and hear your thoughts about it all - your blogging journey/marriage. I swear you are one of the finest bloggers of this century. Don't ever do a drunk mummy on us (sorry to harp on about her all the bloody time - i've got to get over it).


the mother of this lot said...

It's chocolate.

Happy Anniversary!

Akelamalu said...

Yes it was Pig, 26th Feb. Our half term was two weeks ago, you must be looking forward to yours.

Potty Mummy said...

Happy Anniversary Pig and Blog - may there be many more!

Arthur Clewley said...

Pig, I just don't know how to say to mrs Clewley that I wished she could cook like Pig in the kitchen. You are responsible wity my poor dipomatic skills for much broken crockery in this household. I am sure my neighbours think we are greek or something

Mrs Steinway said...

Congratulations Piggy! Have been too busy making birthday cakes myself to read your blog for the last few days!Angel Centre madness party now over and I will have time to e-mail you properly...!
Keep up the blogging and remember, the key to a happy relationship is always making time for "the last chore of the day". Sometimes it can even be quite fun!!

ExpatKat said...

Happy Blogverary, Pig!

Cake looks divine - cut me a slice to celebrate.

Mopsa said...

The blog as secret love? Why hadn't I thought of that? They even talk back to you after a short time spent digesting your thoughts. Not much cop in the handholding department thought. Yumptious cake!

Mya said...

Bon anniversaire my little Piglet!
You have to keep going, it's an order. What you have here in this wonderful blog, is a fine combination of accomplished, quality writing, great, well researched recipes targeted at the (unfortunately)growing number of people with special dietary needs -all presented with flair and shutzpah. It's got bestseller written all over it. Move over Nigella...the new girl's in town...and she's called Pigella.

Mya x

Lisa said...

Congratulations Pig! I happened across your blog via a google search for I cannot remember what a while back, but I was hooked right away and visit your blog regularly. Your writing never fails to amuse me. I look forward to your second anniversary.

My blog will soon be one year old too. I think I have become more obsessive as time goes by in this regard and sometimes I am bothered by all of the things that get set aside because I am either in the kitchen, or documenting my time there. That said, it only seems right to share when I get so much from other food bloggers.

Brom said...

I recognise all the symptoms, it goes with the territory and that territory is a much better place with a pig in residence - sometimes in her kitchen but often out standing in her field.

Lots of dairy, gluten and egg free congrats!

Iota said...

Happy anniversary! I assume you've met each other's families by now, and whose parents did you spend Christmas with?

Stay at home dad said...

You've been equally supportive to my efforts Pig, probably more so, so thank you too. And glad to see the passion is still there!

Alex said...

Congrats Pig, am really looking forward to what you bring next year - Alex (missing the warm Barcelona sun sniffle sniffle cough cough) in Beverley!

elizabethm said...

Happy anniversary. I love your blogs but would have to admit that I read you for your writing and if you didn't bother with the recipes I would probably still be here, chortling.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Merci M&M, love and hate two sides of the same coin, no?

GBS, glad at least some of it appeals!

Sweet Irene, I DID feel your chocolate addiction vibes, perhaps they caused me to make the cake?

Lucy, it seems that most bloggers get caught in the blog wilderness at some point! My children complain about my baking, 'once you've baked something 5 times in a week, we never get it again!', ungrateful monkeys!

GPM, it's comforting to read that others have their fingers hovering over the 'delete this blog' button. I think I'm still here, I'm quite fond of my blog really. I'm not sure how normal I am, but sincerely hope I'm not self-righteous!

Lee, thank_you!

Miriam, oh you're sweet! All right then, I won't stop blogging this month at least!

rilly super, your comforting, wise words spur me on. You forgot to mention tantrums and door slamming. There's been quite a lot of that over the last year as well.

Elsie B, 'I swear you are one of the finest bloggers of this century'; my cheque for you is in the post darling, you are very, very lovely!

TMOTL, ah but the next one won't be chocolate!

akelamlu, my blog birthday is the same day as yours! To think that a year ago you were doing fantastically complicated whizzy graphics on your blog...and I was making a mess in my kitchen!

PottyM, I'll drink to that!

ArthurC, don't you be sending your Missus round will you? She sounds a little scary! Thanks for visiting x

Mrs S, welcome back and what wise words you have! So easy for you to dish advice when you're able to fit that last chore in during the day ;-)

expatKat, cake is on its way!

Mopsa, it's true, the blog not much good at holding my hand, or back massages. Quite exciting tho!

Mya, Mya, Mya, you are such a delightful blogging friend. My euro transfer should have reached your account by now.
Pigella, I like it!

Lisa, I'm glad I'm not the only one to feel guilty. But you know, without food we would die, so in fact, what we are doing is saving lives! Of COURSE we should ignore household chores in our bid to keep humankind alive. Thank-you for helping me to see that.

Sweet Brom, you too suffer Blogger's Malaise? Is there any known cure? I like being out standing in the field! You're funny!

Iota, we couldn't bear to share each other with our families, we stayed locked in a passionate embrace all thru the festive season. Only unclenching to smear more egg free, dairy free, gluten free food over each other. Well, you did ask!

Dear SAHD, you have spoken! I sincerely hope not from your blogger's grave? Thanks for dropping by x

Hello Alex. Beverley, Barcelona, they both begin with a B, but oh my they are a world apart! I hope you get better soon!

elizabethM, you mean I don't have to do all this work? You'd still read my blog? [Pig smacks herself hard on her forehead and wonders why she started this all in the first place....she then buries her snout into the choc cake. Ahhh, it's a good place to be].

Sweet Irene said...

If I had an award to give away, I would give you one for addressing every single commenter. It's unbelievable how you did that.

Also thank you for stopping by my blog, I sure appreciate it. It's nice when someone besides the usual suspects drops by.


Pig in the Kitchen said...

Ah sweet Irene...I@m exhausted and my fingers are aching! Off to bed!

lowood6 said...

Hi PITK! Happy (very) belated anniversary! You are truly a remarkable woman. I sincerely hope there will be many glorious years of your blog (and wonderful recipes) to come!
An excruciatingly long mother-in-law visit prevented me from spending much time online, but now that she's gone I reckon I deserve the cake (and of course I mean the whole cake).
Congratulations, and many thanks for everything!

thenewstead6 said...

How well does this keep? Has it ever lasted long enough for you to find out?! DS4 is one tomorrow and I need a cake that he and I can eat. Having a tea party Saturday and I wondered if I make it today, or tomorrow, will it keep one day? two? A x

Pig in the Kitchen said...

thenewstead6, hello, this isn't a great keeper unfortunately. It will do (with the icing on) until the next day, but it really is better the day of making. It's lovely warmed up when it's a day old, but that's not much use to you is it?!

I reckon if you made it the evening before the tea party, wrapped it in kitchen paper and then tin foil (i wouldn't chill it tho), then you could ice it the morning of the tea party and i think you'd be ok. The icing does help counteract any 'ageing' of the cake. Hope that makes sense.

Have a lovely party!!! and your baby is turning 1...time for another??!!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

in fact i completely contradicted myself there didn't i? as i was typing i remembered that i'd baked it one night and iced it the next morning...forgive any confusion.

Ish said...

Dear Pig,

I stumbled upon your blog looking for a cake recipe for my son's 1st birthday, my son is allergic to wheat, dairy, eggs, nuts, soya and apples.

Celebrated his birthday this weekend and the cake went down a treat, the guests even preferred it to the 'normal' cake we brought for everyone else to eat!!!

Thank you so much!


Pig in the Kitchen said...

sweet Ish, thank-you for that lovely comment. I'm always so happy when my blog serves the purpose for which it was intended...(i'm not sure what other purpose it might serve)

And actually, it was because of my daughter's 1st birthday that I started this, because I wanted to make her a cake and couldn't find a recipe anywhere. So it's all beeen worth it!

Have a wonderful Christmas and thanks for leaving a comment.

Geraldine said...

I recently discovered this recipe.. I was attracted by the picture of your cake.. It was awesome.. looks so delicious and tempting to taste..