Gluten Free Lemon Drizzle Showstopper

three tier round and square cake with autumn leaves flower and gold soft pearl decoration gluten free lemon drizzle recipe

So the Great British Bake Off is over for another – Wednesday nights won’t be the same again! I was really pleased that Nadiya won though, she was my favourite going into the final and really excelled with her 3 bakes. A very worth winner and so humble too. Was anyone not crying in that final scene??

I wanted to pull out all the stops for my final bake for the Great Bloggers Bake-Off, and loved the idea of a three-tiered classic British cake. I asked Rob what he’d like and lemon drizzle was the answer – can’t say no to that!

This gluten-free lemon cake really vamps up the lemon, and is deliciously easy to make and moist when done. It’s very well complemented by the lemon curd filling (keep reading), but works just as well as a standalone cake, without any filling or frosting. And it’s one of those great bakes where you can’t even tell it’s gluten free!

Gluten Free Lemon Drizzle Cake
(makes 1 each of 8 inch round, 7 inch square and 4 inch round cakes. Halve the recipe to make one 8 inch round cake)

300g butter
300g caster or granulated sugar
Grated zest and juice of 2 large lemons
50g ground almonds
3 medium eggs
200g gluten free plain flour (I use Dove’s Farm)1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
20ml milk or warm water

Lemon Drizzle
100 ml lemon juice (approx. juice of 2 large lemons, I used bottled for this)
150g caster or granulated sugar

– beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
– add the almonds, and beat in the eggs, one at a time
– add the lemon juice, zest and milk and beat again until smooth
– sieve in the flour and baking powder, and gently fold in until all combined
– split between 3 greased, lined tins – a 4-inch round, a 6-inch round, and an 8-inch round
– bake at 180 degrees C until the cakes are springy to touch and starting to come away from the sides of the tine. If you’re not sure then check with an inserted skewer, which should come out clean.
Each cake will need a different amount of time. Check first after around 20 minutes to see if the first is done, if not give another 5 minutes. The middle will take around 30-35 minutes, and the larger around 45 minutes. The time is very dependent on your oven and tin so keep an eye on them! Once you’ve taken the smaller one out, check the other two at least every 10 minutes, if not more often.
– Prepare the lemon drizzle by mixing the lemon juice and sugar. Microwave for 20-30 second until all the sugar is dissolved
– Once each cake is removed from the oven, prick small holes all over the top with a skewer or cocktail stick, and generously spoon over the lemon drizzle. Leave to cool fully in the tin.

gluten free lemon cake easy recipe three tier showstopper

I took a great tip from Nadiya on the show and popped the cakes in the freezer once cool, (wrapped in baking paper) for an hour or so before slicing in half and levelling the tops. It really did make it much easier – no cracking and much less crumbs.

Whilst the cakes were cooling and freezing I made the lemon curd – as this did take quite some time to cool as well. I used Delia’s recipe as a starter – but halved it (3 jars of lemon curd seemed a bit excessive!), and upped the cornflour to give a thicker set that would hold in the cakes. Maybe a bit of a blonde moment but I’d never realised that lemon curd was made mostly of eggs! I would say though that it is really easy to make and waaay better than shop-bought stuff, I’d highly recommend trying it!

Lemon curd

Grated rind and juice of 2 large lemons
3 medium eggs
175g golden caster sugar
100g butter
20g cornflour

– in a large saucepan, beat together the eggs then add the remaining ingredients
– put on a medium heat and whisk continuously for 7 – 8 minutes until it starts to thicken. At this stage cook for another minute, before transferring to a bowl to cool. It will continue to thicken as it cools as well.

homemade lemon curd easy recipe from delia for cake filling

As the curd was cooling I went onto the next step. Nadiya had made marshmallow fondant look and sound so easy (“I make it all the time…!”), so I thought I’d give it a go. Well I’ll be honest. I’d like to meet Nadiya and introduce her to ready-to-roll fondant. It’ll save hours and countless amounts of kitchen cleaning!

Needless to say my attempt was rather less than successful. The online methods I read in advance made it sound relatively easy, however completely failed to mention that it is the stickiest substance ever made by man. Seriously, super glue has nothing on this stuff!

marshmallow fondant kitchenaid disaster sticky hands

The other downside about marshmallow fondant is that it uses a lot of icing sugar. Add that to the sugar in the marshmallows and you’re practically bouncing off the walls with every bite! I’d put in as much sugar as the recipe recommended and it was still nowhere near a fondant consistency, I was struggling to see how this would ever roll out. Additionally I was starting to run out of time – it was nearing midnight and I wanted to get the cake assembled at least that night! So I improvised and turned it into a marshmallow frosting – with the simple addition of a little more water and lemon juice. The good thing about this frosting is that it keeps well (in a sealed container), and if it starts to harden up before you’ve used it all, it can easily be ‘melted’ back down again by popping in the microwave.

Another grumble about these marshmallow icings is that I found it rather tricky to locate all-white marshmallows in the UK shops. I went to a good 5 or 6 big high street retailers / supermarkets, and was just about to give up when I found what I needed in The Range. Really though, does anyone know why they come in pink and white in the first place?!

Marshmallow frosting
(sufficient to cover 3 cakes as made above)

200g (white) marshmallows
400g icing sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons water, plus additional as needed

– put the marshmallows, lemon juice and water in a large bowl. Microwave on 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the marshmallows are fully melted to a smooth paste
– add the icing sugar and beat well to a smooth consistency (no lumps)
– the consistency should be thin enough to spread, but thick enough to hold its shape without dripping (hold the spoon upside down over the bowl to check). If it’s too thick, add a little more water and beat again, if it’s too thin, add a little more icing sugar. Once ready use straight away, or keep in the fridge in a sealed container until you need to use. Microwave to melt back to a spreadable consistency on removing from the fridge.

With the lemon curd filling and marshmallow frosting finally ready the cakes could be assembled. I layered up with lemon curd in the centre of each tier, and marshmallow frosting between the tiers and all round the sides. After refrigerating for half an hour to set the first layer, I added a second layer of marshmallow frosting to ensure a good thick coating.

luscious lemon curd homemade generous filling inside gluten free drizzle cake spreading marshmallow frosting onto tiered showstopper cake greatbloggersbakeoff

As the weather in the UK has recently taken a turn for the chillier, I decided to theme the decorations with an autumnal twist. To go with this rustic look I dimpled the frosting all over to give a more weathered effect.

textured effect stipling on marshmallow frosting tiered lemon cake

The leaf and flower decorations I made from coloured (normal) fondant – no more marshmallow icings for me! I may be blowing my own trumpet but I love how these marbled autumn leaves turned out. They were really simple to make too – I started with some green, yellow, orange, red and brown fondant, and mixed together in varying proportions, rolling out while they were only part combined. I used a leaf plunger cutter to get the veined and pronged leaves.

ombre marbled fondant icing autumn leaves for cake decoration

The marshmallow frosting stayed quite sticky so it was easy to attach the decorations the next day. Starting with some yellow flowers (a nod to the lemony inside), I arranged the leaves in an ombre graduating colour pattern down the cake. To finish – what showstopper is complete without a little sparkle – gold soft pearls around the base, in the flower centres and amongst the leaves.

gold soft pearl edging decoration around cake base

Fondant leaves and flowers with gold soft pearls decoration on autumn showstopper cake

Despite my various doubts (and wanting to give up!) in making this cake, I’m so pleased with how it turned out. Everything came together perfectly in the end and I’ll be honest – it tasted amazing! The homemade lemon curd had such a great zing, I want to put this in all my cakes going forward 🙂 I’m less enamoured with the marshmallow frosting – it really does taste just like marshmallows, which personally I’m not a fan of on a cake. I’ll stick with buttercream and ready-to-roll fondant from now, thank-you-very-much.

gbbo lemon drizzle gluten free showstopper three tier autumn decoration cake recipe autumn leaves decoration

The inside of the cake had a perfect wow as well – not to brag but look at those layers!

gluten free lemon drizzle three tier cake with homemade curd and marshmallow frosting moist recipe

lemon layer cake three tier showstopper with flower gluten free homemade lemon curd marshmallow frosting

Although I’ve not been able to participate every week this year, I’ve really enjoyed being a part of the Great Bloggers Bake Off again. As always massive thanks to Jenny for being an amazing organiser. Please click the banner below to visit her blog and for more information on the bloggers bake-off.

Mummy Mishaps

Autumn Leaves Wedding Cake with Matching Cupcakes

autumn tree and leaves wedding cake with matching cupckaes custom built marble paint effect stand

Regular readers may remember our visit to New Zealand last month, for my brother’s wedding in Christchurch.

Blogged back from the wedding was the cake itself – and, this week, as we held a UK celebration whilst they visit on their honeymoon, I was delighted to have the chance to recreate it. Of course it’s not Autumn here as it was back in NZ – but, well, with this weather, it could be almost any season!

The original wedding cake:


I absolutely loved the idea at the wedding to have a big cake for the couple to share, and individual cakes for each guest to either enjoy on the day, or take away and savour.


As we were going to have around 50 guests at the party, and I only had a day to bake and ice everything, individual cupcakes seemed a great way forward. I stuck with the original lemon flavour that had been chosen for the wedding – the large cake was a lemon madeira sponge with a vanilla buttercream centre and coating, and the cupcakes were a vanilla victoria sponge with lemon filling/icing.

Baking done remarkably quickly, I set on the task of coring, filling, and icing 50 cupcakes. No mean feat! I wasn’t watching the clock but reckon it must have taken me a good couple of hours.

48 cupcakes big order for wedding party covering in white fondant

Step by step: coring (with a sharp knife); filling with buttercream and trimming the core to create a thin lid; a top layer of buttercream and a white scalloped fondant finish.

the cake decorating company plastic cupcake carrier six with lid review

I used leaf cutter/plungers to create to toppings, colouring the fondant orange first, and adding a little tylose powder so they would set firm. To get the crinkled autumn leaf shape, I placed them on various curved surfaces to set – around a pen, and in the corners of a mini cupcake tin.

making curled fondant leaves orange harden with tylo tylose powder leave to dry on pen or in mini cupcake tray

Before adding to the cupcakes, I coloured the edges with a little gel food colour, and finished with a sprinkle of gold edible glitter. Then with a little dab of edible glue they simply stuck to the centre of the cupcakes.

embossed autumn leaf fondant icing orange with red paint effects and gold edible glitter

orange and red autumn leaves cupcakes in silver foil cases wedding

For the main wedding cake, I covered in white fondant and formed a tree out of black fondant. By rolling the black icing into thin strips, I slowly built up the tree outline adding smaller and smaller branches as I went on. A few carefully placed leaves around the tree, and some having fallen to the ground, I was really pleased with the look of what was actually a very simple design to construct.

autumn leaves orange tree wedding cake chocolate fondant white base lemon and vanilla

Such a special cake couldn’t sit (or fit!) on an ordinary cake stand; Rob kindly offered (or was ordered, I forget which…) to custom build me a three tier stand for the wedding party centrepiece. He used the cake tin I used for the main cake to measure the top tier, then added a couple of inches to each of the lower ones to get the increasing sizes.
I feel like this is our homage to Cupcake Wars where they show all of 30 seconds of their amazing carpenters constructing these fabulous carts, tables, stands and anything else thrown their way.

custom built three tier cake stand for wedding party marble paint effect on wood

And if Rob says he didn’t enjoy making it – well, I beg to differ. It gave him great oppourtunity to practice his paint effects; white marble for the top of the tiers, and bronze paint with crackle glaze for the copper piping centre. Believe it or not, the stand was constructed entirely out of wood!

marble paint effect on wooden custom built wedding cake stand

The centrepiece of the wedding party table, the cakes looked absolutely fantastic on their stand:

congratulations banner orange autumn leaves tree wedding cake with matching cupcakes

– and we kept the cupcakes replenished throughout the day. They didn’t last long and everyone complemented how great they were 🙂

autumn leaves cupcakes white fondant with orange curled leaves tylo powder

And as the party continued on into the evening, the newlyweds cut the main cake, which was equally as yummy.

bride and groom cutting wedding cake autumn leaves red theme

Congratulations to the happy couple it was such a pleasure to make this for you and share two special wedding celebrations! x

Mini Blueberry Jam Tarts

An afternoons cleaning and I was quickly bored… having had some toast for lunch I discovered this jam was just too good to waste in Rob’s sandwiches! So, inspired by A simple pot of jam – here are my deliciously simple tiny tarts.

To make just a mini batch of tarts, I used the following pastry recipe:


50g plain flour (I used wholemeal for a slightly healthier edge!)
10g white vegetable fat (Trex)
15g butter
1-2 tsp water


– use light finger touches to gently crumb the fat into the flour, until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs
– add the water a little a time, stopping as soon as the mix balls into a dough
– form the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film, and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes
– roll out thinly and cut into round, gently placing into a mini muffin or tart tin
– place approx. 1/2 a teaspoon of jam in each case – do not add any more at this stage or the jam will bubble over the edges during baking
– bake for 7-9 minutes until the pastry case is crisp

As mentioned, you can’t add too much jam before baking as it will just spill everywhere. However – it’s really easy to fill them up so the tarts are literally jam-packed!

Put a couple more spoonfuls jam in a mug or bowl, and microwave for 20-30 seconds, until it is bubbling and very liquid. Very carefully (it will be boiling hot!) use a tea-spoon to fill the pastry cases right to the top with jam.

A perfect little afternoon treat – the only problem with being so mini and bite-size – it makes it just too easy to keep eating them!

Sticky Date, Treacle and Ginger Cake

This is probably my ultimate autumn cake – everything that reminds me of being wrapped up warmly, crisp cool air, crunchy leaves and bright blue skies.

I had my heart set on using dates, treacle and ginger (let’s not mention the crystallised ginger I forgot to put in…), but actually couldn’t find a recipe then encompassed all 3 how I wanted. So – loosely based on Caledonian Cakery’s Date and Treacle cake – here is my own created recipe. Best of all, because dates make the majority of the mix – it’s low fat too!

Ingredients (makes 25 generous squares)

250g dates
250ml boiling water
100g butter
100g light brown sugar
2 generous tablespoons of treacle
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate soda
3 eggs
225g plain flour (I used 1/2 wholemeal for an added health kick)


3 tablespoons ginger jam


– put the dates and water in a good-sized saucepan, and heat until the mixture bubbles up, and the dates turn into an unattractive brown much (sorry but it’s true!)

– take off the heat, then add in the butter, sugar, treacle, and ginger

– mix well and TASTE! A very important step – ginger and dates can be very different in flavour and sweetness, so you need to make sure the mixture is sweet enough, and you can taste the ginger coming through. Don’t forget the jam glaze will add a bit of extra ginger flavour

– transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl (the biggest one you’ve got – things are about to get fizzy!) Add the bicarbonate of soda and mix really well. This will cause the mixture to fizz up but don’t worry – keep stirring and it will soon stop.

– add the flour and the eggs, mixing quickly so the warm mixture doesn’t cause the eggs to start cooking

– pour into a greased, lined, 8 inch square (or similar) baking tray. The mixture will be very liquid so don’t worry about trying to level it out too much, it will do this itself

– bake at 180 degrees C for 25 – 30 minutes. Test to see if it’s done by inserting a skewer / cocktail stick or similar, diagonally into the middle. If it comes out completely clean the cake is done. If not, give it another 5 minutes, and re-test, repeating until your tester is free of cake mix. The cake should also be firm and springy i.e. bounce straight back into shape when pressed, your finger shouldn’t leave an indent in the cake.

– when the cake is done, take it out of the oven, but leave in the tin

– prepare your glaze by blending or sieving the jam to remove any lumps – if you are sieving pop it in the microwave for 15 seconds first, it will pass through the sieve much easier

– once your glaze is smooth, microwave for another 15 – 20 seconds until completely liquid, then quickly take a pastry brush and spread all over the cake, before it has a chance to set

– leave the cake in the tin until completely cool / for as long as possible before serving. I’d recommend making the day before if possible so the glaze has time to soak down a bit and set to a shiny, sticky finish

– remove from the tin and paper, cut into generous slices and serves. If it lasts long enough it will keep well in airtight container for up to a week (the glaze helps keep it moist)

Inside the cake should be light, fluffy, and moist…

… and on the top a sweet, sticky, tangy ginger glaze:

And while amazing eaten on its own – or, on a cold autumn evening, also brilliant with hot, creamy custard.

Just because they haven’t featured for a while – here are the cats (no longer kittens, sob!) Chilli and Pepper, enjoying the leftover custard.

Autumnal Golden Ginger and Chocolate Cupcakes

My second bake for National Cupcake Week – well, it does only come round once  year! You can view my first batch of cupcakes here.

Inspired by a big piece of root ginger that’s been in the kitchen for sometime, I wanted to make something tasty but beautiful!

The cupcakes were a basic sponge mix with a few additions for flavour and texture. I wanted the ginger to really a have a kick and contrast against the sweetness of the icing, so it was added in three ways – root ginger, ground ginger, and the jam filling.

Ingredients (makes 8-10 cupcakes)

60g butter or margarine
20g light brown sugar
40g golden caster sugar
1 egg
75g self raising flour (sieved)
1 tablespoon natural yoghurt
Approx. 1 cm of root ginger, finely grated
1 teaspoon of ground ginger

To fill:
ginger jam

Icing: (this makes quite a stiff  piping consistency, add a teaspoon of milk or water if you’d prefer it more spreadable)
50g butter or margarine
90g sieved icing sugar
20g cocoa powder

To decorate:
Sugar sprinkles, fondant shapes and shimmer spray


– beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy
– add the egg, yoghurt, gingers and approx. 1/3 of the flour, beating together
– fold in the rest of the flour
– spoon or pipe into cupcake cases
– bake at 180 degrees for approx 12 minutes, until lightly golden on the top

To make way for the jam centre, I simply cored the top of the cupcakes with a sharp knife:

The jam I already had in the fridge from my continual quest to find the perfect rhubarb jam (I’m certain I will end up making some before too long). This wasn’t what I was looking for in the rhubarb sense – the taste of ginger is so overpowering that it really is just ginger jam. Still, perfect for these cakes!

It was simply spooned into the centre of the cakes, and smoothed down slightly to give a flat base for the buttercream to sit on.

To make the buttercream, simply beat all the ingredients until smooth. Try and keep it as cold as possible if you’re going to pipe swirls, or they will melt into a chocolate-y mess!

I chose to pipe a thick, ridged swirl, using a wide star nozzle.

For the toppings, I coloured a small piece of fondant and cut out tiny hearts using my new plunger cutters (another great ebay purchase!)

Before the buttercream set I quickly added the hearts and sugar sprinkles – the orange colours giving a clue to the firey ginger kick contained in the cupcake.

Finally, I finished the cupcakes with a generous spray of golden shimmer spray (mine is Dr Oetker, you can buy it easily in the supermarkets).

Quite simply they were yummy – and very seasonal with the ginger flavour and autumn colours on the topping.  They went down a treat at home and at work – another good deed in the Cupcake Week one-a-day!