I was recently challenged by a friend to make him a gluten and diary free cake that tastes good, and after doing some research on the internet I can now understand where he was coming from with that qualification as most of the offerings that I saw on there looked like they’d been regurgitated and spat out by an owl.
Others looked distinctly flat and unappetising, and worse still, some looked really yummy but apparently this is grossly deceptive as they tend to taste like shit.
I then found a recipe for a fruitcake on BBC Good Food website and tested it out. It was nice enough but very crumbly and I wasn’t keen on the gritty top (it’s made with polenta) so I decided to make up my own recipe giving it a malt loaf style make over. Turns out malt extract has gluten in it, so I was left with a loaf of healthy cake and a frustrated/highly amused friend who moaned that he couldn’t eat it! Anyway he ended up having a bit, so he can’t be that allergic can he? Bloody attention seeker…..
Malt contains gluten, who knew? Meh, it tastes great and you can always substitute it with black treacle or honey so here’s the lowdown.
250g pack stoned ready to eat dates
2 small bananas
150g pecans chopped (keep around 10-12 whole ones for the top)
200g chopped prunes (doesn’t matter if you don’t like them, trust me they meld in with the cake and help stop it crumbling)
100g fine polenta
1 tsp mixed spice
2 tsp baking powder (Dr Oetker make a gluten free version, available at Sainsburys)
3 tblsp malt extract, black treacle or honey (this also stops the cake from falling apart)
2 egg whites
200ml black tea
1. Heat oven to 180c/fan 160c/gas mark 4
2. Grease a 900g/2lb loaf tin and line with baking parchment
3. Put dates in a small saucepan with tea and simmer for 5 mins
4. Stir in malt extract until combined with then add the bananas and blitz with a hand held blender until smooth
Yes, I know it looks like the contents of a particularly challenging nappy but you haven’t done anything wrong. It’s meant to look this way.
5. Wipe any stray banana/date/tea stuff off the splash back, your glasses, worktop and passing cat.
6. Mix all the remaining dry ingredients in a bowl (apart from the whole pecans), add the gloop then stir gently until combined.
7. Take a clean bowl (ensure it is totally grease free) and whisk the egg whites until they fall in soft peaks, then fold carefully into the cake mix, so that it looks like this.
Again, not pretty huh? Look on the bright side, at least your kids won’t be mithering you to scrape out the bowl….
8. Quickly and carefully tip it into the tin (it will be pretty full), then bake for around 45mins to an hour until golden and a skewer comes out clean. Don’t put it at the very top or it is likely to catch.
9. Take your two egg yolks and make yourself some extra rich scrambled eggs on toast or a full English with double yoked sunny-side-ups (yum, yum), unless of course you are avoiding gluten and dairy, in which case, erm, have an apple. Devour with a cup of tea whilst watching Saturday Kitchen.
10. When the cake comes out of the oven, brush with malt/treacle/honey whilst still warm, arrange the whole pecans on the top in some way, shape or form, and then brush them with malt/treacle/honey too.
Allow to cool completely before you cut into it, if you can leave until the next day, so much the better.
Serve with a mug of tea.
Best spread lavishly with butter 😉