Taste test: Melinda’s Gluten Free Goodies Decadent Red Velvet Cake

Melinda's Red Velvet Cake

I decided it was time to try the Decadent Red Velvet Cake from Melinda’s Gluten Free Goodies for a belated father’s day.

I followed the instructions on the back of the packet to a tee, and was rewarded with a light reddy-brown coloured cake. Instead of making the suggested cream cheese icing, I made a glaze with coconut oil and icing sugar, which complemented the flavours really well. 

red velvet cake

The cake was served with strawberries and vanilla ice cream. The red velvet cake was moist and delicious. It received positive feedback from all the family members who tasted it. My sister-in-law said “She couldn’t believe it was gluten free. It tastes that good.”

Available from Coles, Woolworths, IGA, Independents, and various online stores.

 Thank you Melinda’s Gluten Free Goodies for allowing us to try Decadent Red Velvet Cake

Best recipe: Trifle

Trifle

Trifle is one of the dishes on my 100 foods to cook in your lifetime challenge but because it’s part the way through the week, I’m not going to cook every element from scratch.  I’m also wanted to make something British to celebrate the arrival of the Royal baby boy. I’ve tried to make it as traditionally as possible, but there is some debate about whether to add jelly or not to a trifle. I like the strawberry wobble, so it’s staying.

The British touches I have used are reminiscent of strawberries and cream at Wimbledon. My British mother-in-law sets the fruit in the jelly, so you could try that but leave a few strawberries aside to decorate the top of the trifle.This trifle is a celebration of all things British and seasonal for their summer time.

I’ve used mini Jam Swiss rolls for the cool effect it gives to the side of the glass bowl, but you could also use Madeira cake or Victoria sponge.

Congratulations Kate and William on your new baby boy. I wonder what he will be called? We have our fingers crossed for George.

British Trifle

1 packet of strawberry flavoured jelly
150ml Madeira or sherry
250g Jam mini rolls, or Madeira cake or Victoria sponge
600ml pouring custard
1 punnet of strawberries, halved
300ml pure double cream
50g milk chocolate, grated (Green & Blacks)

  1. Make up the jelly following the instructions on the packet. Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to set.
  2. Cut the cake into small chunks and soak in the Madeira or sherry.
  3. Assemble the trifle, by layering the cake around the base of the bowl.
  4. Then add a layer of jelly, strawberries, and then custard. Repeat with the cake again and the other layers until finished.
  5. Whip the double cream with an electric hand whisk until it is firm but still floppy. Use cream for the final layer and decorate with some strawberries, and grated chocolate.

Cooked for the 100 recipes to cook in your lifetime challenge. 

Winning rum balls

rum-balls

Here is my top-secret recipe for winning work’s rum ball competition. There’s no coconut, condensed milk, weetbix or biscuits. It’s not something to eat all time, but an easy one for a work night.

I’ve used a store-bought cake to cut down on the preparation time and I’ve tried a number of different varieties – plain cake with jam works well, so does the chocolate version (see photo) for a double dose of chocolate. I did scrap the mock cream off though. If the mixture is a little damp leave it for 10 minutes or so for the chocolate to harden up a little. Roll in coconut at the end if you wish.

These are rich, decadent and moist.

500g swiss roll or Madeira cake
150g dark cooking chocolate
25ml rum

  1. Crumb the prepared cake in a large glass bowl.
  2. Melt chocolate as per instructions on packet.
  3. Mix the melting chocolate into the cake mix, then mix in the rum. Keep mixing until well combined.
  4. Scoop out and roll into balls. Place on a tray or container lined with baking paper.

Keep in the fridge, especially during summer.

Rainbow jelly cake

jelly-cake

This recipe for kaleidoscope jelly cake came from the beautifully illustrated Food fashion friends by fashion designer Fleur Wood. I’ve adapted the amounts to account for our freezer which is probably not as reliable as newer ones. I discovered the more time you leave between layers, the more chance your layers will come out cleanly. It’s also best to cut the jelly cake with a non-serrated knife to give a cleaner finish. Stick to natural flavours that match each other (lime was not so good) and alternate the colours to make them stand out more. Good luck in turning it out.

5 x 85g packets of jelly crystals in different flavours
powdered gelatine

  1. Line a large plastic container (2.5 litres) with plastic film.
  2. Mix the first packet of jelly crystals with 1 tablespoon of gelatine in a large heat proof jug, and follow the jelly packet instructions. (We dissolved the crystals in 1 cup of hot water, and then added 1 cup of room temperature water).
  3. Pour the first layer into the plastic container and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes until almost set.
  4. Meanwhile, as the first jelly layer sets, prepare another packet of jelly and allow it to cool at room temperature.
  5. Remove the first jelly from the freezer, then gently pour the second layer over the back of a spoon onto the set jelly. Return to the freezer and chill for another 30 minutes until almost set.
  6. Repeat again for remaining jelly crystals and gelatine powder.
  7. Refrigerate the jelly overnight.
  8. The next day, turn out the jelly onto a chopping board lined with plastic film and cut the jelly into thick slices.

Maybe you could make a green and red one for Christmas?

Alternatively you could also try the recipe using natural juicy jelly.

Serves 6-8.

Berry coulis with chocolate cake

As this blog is supposed to be about fruit and vegetables try to ignore the chocolate cake for a moment.

How easy is coulis to make? Absolutely lick-out-the-container-delicious and dead easy. You don’t even really need a recipe. Well, you won’t after the first time.

Raspberry Coulis

¼ cup of raspberries blitzed in the blender
add juice from half a lime (or quarter of a lemon) and 3 teaspoons of sugar to taste

You can try other fruits to make coulis (French for uncooked fruit sauces), such as strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, and kiwi fruits.  If you are  pedantic, you may like to  strain out the seeds. Drizzle over chocolate cake or dessert of choice.

Chocolate Cake

For this gorgeous gluten free chocolate cake I used Cocoa Farm chocolate to give it a hint of fruity shiraz. It’s great to see an all Australian company coming up with innovative products. I can’t wait to try their Orange Organic Dark Chocolate.

150g chocolate
100g butter
100g brown sugar
150g almond meal
3 eggs, organic and free range

  1. Pre-heat oven to 170°C
  2. Melt together butter and chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. (Or use microwave on low if you are game).
  3. Separate eggs and set whites aside.
  4. Cream together yolks and sugar until pale and doubled in size. Add melted chocolate to egg mixture and beat on slow speed until combined. Fold in almond meal with a spatula.
  5. Whisk egg whites to stiff peaks.
  6. Fold whites through cake mixture.
  7. Transfer mixture to a greased cake tin.
  8. Bake for 25 to 40 minutes.
  9. Cake should be springy in the middle and skewer should come out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack.

B.T.W. Try to avoid blitzing frozen raspberries near clean washing up. It was hard to mop up and hide the evidence of all the red segments flicked all over the place. Blend in the sink people.

Chocolate and chestnut cake (Spanish)

Chocolate, chestnut and sherry cake

Cooked for the Spanish entry of the Euro Cup and Plate challenge.

150g dark cooking chocolate
75g unsalted butter
125ml fino sherry, or a dry sherry
6 medium organic eggs, separated
150g castor sugar
½ cup chestnut puree*
70g macadamias
50g self-raising flour, sifted
55g cocoa powder

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (170°C if you have a fan-forced oven). Grease a 24cm spring-form tin with butter, then line with baking paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add the sherry and gently stir until combined. Leave to cool.
  3. Whisk egg yolks with sugar until light and fluffy. Add the chocolate mixture, the chestnut puree and macadamias. Stir until well combined.
  4. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and carefully fold into the chocolate with the sifted flour and cocoa powder.
  5. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 50-60 minutes. Test by inserting a skewer in the centre – if it comes out clean, it’s ready. Cool in the tin before turning out.

Serve with whipped cream.

Serves 12.

TIP – Chestnut puree is sold in a tin and can be found in good delis.

Rhubarb and Custard Trifle

rhubarb-trifle

Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb.

It’s what a crowd of extras will say when they are trying to create a general hubbub on stage. Why rhubarb you might ask? I’ve no idea, but at least it’s easy to remember, and, as it is in season, a perfect complement to this easy vanilla infused custard trifle. 

Rhubarb and Custard Trifle

Adapted from “The River Cottage Year” by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

400g rhubarb
100ml orange juice
4 tablespoons of sugar + 100g sugar
400ml whole milk
vanilla pod
4 large egg yolks
plain sponge cake

  1. Wash, trim and cut into 3cm lengths about 400g rhubarb. Put in a pan with the orange juice and 4 tablespoons of sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for about 5 minutes or until the stalks are tender but still hold their shape. Taste the rhubarb – it should be tart, as the sponge and trifle will sweeten the trifle. But if it is unpalatably sour, add a little more sugar. Strain off about 200ml of the juice. Transfer the remaining rhubarb to a non-metallic dish. Chill both the juice and rhubarb in the fridge.
  2. Make custard. Put the whole milk in a pan with a split vanilla pod and scald until almost boiling. Beat the egg yolks with 100g sugar and whisk in the hot cream. Return the custard to the pan over a very low heat and stir constantly until it thickens, making a glossy coat on the back of the spoon. Remove the vanilla pod, and scrap off the tiny black specks into the mixture. Remove from heat and strain through a sieve into a bowl and chill. When cold it should be spoonably thick rather than pourable.
  3. Take (or make) a simple plain sponge cake. Break it into chunks and press lightly into 4 large wine glasses or dessert dishes. Pour in enough of the chilled rhubarb juice to soak the sponge thoroughly. Then top with a layer of the stewed rhubarb. Now pile in a generous layer of the chilled, thickened custard. Enjoy.

Serves 4.

VARIATION – You could, of course, cheat and buy store-bought custard, but just this once try making it from scratch and you may never turn back. Use only fresh free-range eggs.