Sunday, September 15, 2013

Desperately pursuing the perfect gluten-free sponge

My father loved sponge cakes!  You could make him very happy if you made him a sponge, especially on his birthday like it is today (16 Sept).  He loved the light texture and was a big fan of jam and cream.

My mother made a good sponge using a recipe of her mother's. I made it often in our battered silver cake tins and always followed the family tradition of cutting a small circle in the middle before slicing the cake.

When I was diagnosed with coeliac disease nearly 20 years ago, I stopped making sponges. But about 10 years ago I discovered Cecilia Sartori's Passionfruit Sponge in the pages of The Sydney Morning Herald. The recipe substituted custard powder and cornflour for wheat-containing self-raising and the passionfruit was a nice alternative to icing sugar on the top. Most of the time it turned out well, except for one Sunday when I thought it tasted a bit dry as I served it to family and friends "No, it's lovely", everyone said. But then I heard Mr Sponge Cake reply: "It is a bit dry." 

Photo from 
I haven't made Cecilia Sartori's passionfruit sponge for a few years now. In fact I haven't made a sponge since Dad died in 2006. But on Father's Day a few weeks ago I decided to have another try. I went looking online for a new recipe and found this one on . I served the cake with raspberry jam and cream at my father-in-law's Father's Day afternoon tea. He gave me one of his 'Keith bear-hugs' when I showed him the cake, and said it tasted very nice. It was pretty good but not as light as the one Mum used to make with wheat-containing self-raising flour, and I know if Dad had been there he would have said, "good, but a bit dry."

So I'm interested to know if it's possible to make an almost perfect, light, gluten-free sponge cake?  What are the tips and tricks? Is it separating the whites and the yolks, folding the ingredients gently or sifting the cornflour three times?

Photo from
Happy birthday Dad (Johnny).  You were one of the world's great sponge cake devotees, and in honour of your 87th birthday I will make one later today.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Gormandising on gorgeous gluten-free Anzacs

This morning I made a batch of gluten-free Anzac biscuits from a recipe a Twitter friend recommended from Taste. I prepared them while trying to spot my Uncle David on the Anzac Day March on TV.  I didn't end up picking him out but maybe that was because I was late turning on the TV or perhaps at 93-years-of age he had a break this year?

The recipe used a few different ingredients to the non-GF one Mum used to make but the smell of Anzacs baking in the oven was the same. Some of the substitute ingredients for the traditional rolled oats were dessicated coconut, almond meal, GF plain flour and my breakfast cereal of choice, Freedom Foods Rice Flakes. The mixture produced nearly 50 biscuits so Bruce and I had to stop ourselves from eating too many as we enjoyed them with a cup of coffee on the deck.

Click here for the Gluten free, dairy free Anzac recipe.