Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Gluten free chocolate and pineapple upside down cake


gluten free chocolate and pineapple upside down cake
What do boys need after rugby? A big slab of cake
So I have three daughters, one son and a confession.

 I don't really understand boys.

Girls? Easy. We have the same hormones, physical attributes and uncanny knack of always being right.

Boys? Ve-ery different. All that aggression, unexpected sensitivity and just how much food does it take to fill them up?

So, in a bid to understand boys, over the  last year I've spent time watching my son on the rugby pitch.

Here's what I've learnt:

They're an argumentative lot -If the coach calls a boy out for messing around, the boy instantly protests his innocence no matter how obvious the lie. Is this the difference that testosterone makes? Is this why men negotiate their salaries as a matter of course while women are just... grateful? (Ladies, we could learn a thing or two here.)

They fight like puppies and come up wagging - When the boys break for a drink, there is wrestling, piss-taking and I once heard a boy say to another   - à propos nothing - 'You're a pig-nosed git'.  No reaction. This kind of comment on a netball pitch could unleash weeks of low level, bitching hatred. (Ladies, should we let go of the bitching? But it's soo much fun... :-)

They whinge, whine and then get over it - One time I watched a boy get swung around by his shirt, which is not allowed. He whirled around - eyes wide with outrage - to the ref. 'Play on' called the ref. Outraged boy couldn't believe the ref wasn't going to do anything. He threw his gum guard away, and went to sulk behind a hedge. (Ladies, men have hormones too.)

They don't bear grudges - Later, one of the coaches went to find the boy. There followed a man-to-man chat. The boy came back, apologised to the ref and play carried on. (Ladies, we should forgive and forget more easily.)

They need to be treated like dogs - From time to time the boys got too boisterous and the coaches called them to heel. When that didn't work, they made them run around the pitch, which instantly calmed them down. (Ladies, should we just get dogs instead?)

It has been a fascinating year. The coaches managed the unruly boys with a mixture or straight talking, discipline and turning a blind eye-ness.  

But although I admire the coaches for their approach, I do have one over on them. And that's pudding.

Because I may not be versed in the ways of men and boys, but I do know that the way to my son's heart is through his stomach.

So here's my sure fire way to communicate with a tired, rugby-playing boy; chocolate and pineapple upside down cake.

Crouch, touch, set! 

Chocolate and pineapple upside down cake

All versions:
130 g dairy free margarine (or butter)
120g sugar
110g golden syrup
60g cocoa powder
4-6 pineapple rings
enough milk/coconut milk to give a dropping consistency (up to 150ml, possibly less)

Egg free, dairy free, gluten free
For the egg replacer: 

1 heaped tbsp ground linseeds
¼ tsp xanthan gum
¼ tsp baking powder
4-6 tbsps milk/coconut milk (enough to give a smooth, runny mixture)

1 tsp baking powder
½ bicarbonate of soda


Gluten free with eggs
Replace the egg replacing ingredients above with one egg

Egg free with wheat flour
Replace the gluten free flour with 175g self raising wheat flour
  • Line a rectangular tin - 21x25cm - with baking parchment
  • Arrange the pineapple rings on the base of the tin (chop them in half if necessary)
  • If using the egg replacer, place the dry ingredients into a small bowl and add the milk/coconut milk. Whisk with a mini whisk to get rid of any lumps and set aside. You're after a consistency that's quite thick, but also resembles the consistency of a beaten egg. Have I completely confused you?
  • Heat the oven to 180° Celsius
  • Place the dairy free margarine or butter, golden syrup and sugar into a large saucepan and melt over a low heat. When melted, remove the pan from the heat
  • Add the egg or egg replacing mix and stir
  • Add the flour (gluten free or wheat), bicarbonate of soda and if using gluten free flour, add an extra tsp of baking powder. Stir to remove any lumps. Now the tricky bit; add enough milk/coconut milk to give a dropping consistency, but not too much. Nice and clear isn't it? I'd start with 4 tbsps and build it up gradually if necessary
  • Scrape the mix into the cake tin so that the pineapple is covered. Level the surface
  • Bake for between 20 and 30 minutes until the cake has risen, is springy to the touch and an inserted skewer comes out clean
  • Leave to cool in the tin then turn out onto a serving plate. Serve with dairy free cream, or dairy free custard or dairy free ice cream. Yummy. I want some now
  • Serve to the exhausted, grubby, rugby-playing man in your life. He will thank you for it

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