Since my friend Lucy has been diagnosed as gluten-allergic, I have been on a mission to make a perfect cake using gluten free flour that doesn't taste powdery. I find that some times when I use gluten free flour there is a slight texture of the almost squeekyness of custard powder which I think comes from the use of cornflour. Anyway, my latest attempt was I think the most successful I have been and I served this cake up without telling anyone I had used gluten free flour and when I asked - noone had spotted that it was anything other than a normal carrot cake. The coconut I use for this cake is American Baker's Angel Flake sweetened coconut. This is really the best sort of coconut for baking in my view and is available (sadly not cheaply) in the UK from American Sweets (click for a link - I am not on commission - its just that it is the best coconut) or they sell it at the American Food shop Lets Eat in Milton Keynes if you are ever passing. If you can't get this coconut then dessicated coconut will be fine but will give a slighly crunchy topping rather than the softened coconut strands of Angel Flakes.
Gluten Free Carrot and Coconut Cake
Preparation time 15 minutes baking time 40 - 55 minutes
180g/6oz caster sugar
180g/6oz gluten free self raising flour
100g Angel shredded coconut
2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
1 apple, cored and grated
85g/3oz plump sultanas
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground mixed spice
For the topping
100g Angel shredded coconut
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp ginger syrup (from a jar or stem ginger)
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180/350 and grease and line an 8in round spring form cake tin. Cream together the butter and sugar until light until an electric mixer. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each egg has been added. Fold in the flour, coconut, grated carrots and apple, spices, sultanas and buttermilk ensuring that everything is incorporated. Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for 40 - 55 minutes until cakes is golden brown and springs back to your touch and a knife comes out clean with no cake batter on. If the cake starts to get too brown, cover with a sheet of silver foil.
For the topping, melt the butter, ginger and golden syrups in a saucepan until the butter has completely melted. Stir in the coconut and simmer for 2 - 3 minutes until the coconut has absorbed some of the syrup. Spoon the coconut evenly over the warm cake and allow to cool. If you are using dessicated coconut for the topping, try soaking it in hot water for 30 minutes or so and then squeeze out the water and add to the syrup.
This cake can be served warm or cold (my preference was warm straight from the oven but that's because I couldn't wait!!!)
Reaching the final of Masterchef 2007 was a rollercoaster of emotion, with huge highs and lows, but I loved every minute and learnt a huge amount. I owe a great deal to John and Gregg who had faith in my ability when I did not believe in myself. Since competing on the programme my life has changed considerably. I now write cookery columns for two magazines, give cookery demonstrations and am just working on my 13th cook book - unlucky number for some but not for me!!! I love all forms of country cooking, using seasonal and locally sourced produce. This blog is to enable me to share with you a few of my recipes and baking ideas. Enjoy Hannah xxxx