Always a keen baker, Julia Thomas decided to make the shift to being a keen 'freefrom' baker after she had been diagnosed with, and treated for, an aggressive form of breast cancer. After a good deal of research and on the advice of her nutritionist, she banished dairy from her kitchen only to find that she had also banished many of her favourite cakes! Determined not to be beaten, she set about adapting and inventing and was soon baking as delicious dairy-free cakes as she had ever baked dairy filled.
A friend then asked if she could extend her repertoire to include gluten-free cakes for the friend's gluten and dairy intolerant son and she was away! In no time she was baking for friends, and friends of friends, and then friends of friends of friends – until she decided that maybe she should do it commercially. So now she bakes wonderfully pretty and delicious tasting cakes to order in her artisan bakery in Herefordshire and despatches them around he country by courier. Check in at www.cakeangels.co.uk to learn more.
And now she has put a selection of her recipes into a book – easy to cook, easy to follow, pretty and delicious. She mainly uses Doves Farm gluten-free flours, Pure sunflower spread and coconut oil, xanthan gum and a variety of dairy free milks and creams, organic free-range eggs – and lots of chocolate!
As you can see, we have chosen the salted caramel brownies and some orange cup cakes but the book also includes loads of other chocolate cakes, plus sweet breads (Banana, pecan and golden syrup loaf, Bara Brith) sponge cakes of all shapes and sizes, polenta cakes, carrot cakes, gingerbreads, almonds cakes, fruit cakes, flapjacks, brownies and lashings of pretty and tasty cup cakes. And all bound in a nice tough hardback book (ready to withstand plenty of kitchen abuse) with mouth watering pictures – for a mere £16.99! Cheap just to look at the pictures!
Cake Angels by Julia Thomas is published by Collins at £16.99
Orange, pistachio and polenta cupcakes with syrup
These cupcakes have a lovely crunchy texture. However, if you prefer you can pour the mixture into an 18cmx27cm (7 x 10inch) baking tin and make a delicious traybake. Just double the quantity of syrup and bake for 30 minutes.
makes 12muffin-sized cakes
for the cupcake mixture:
for the orange syrup:
12 hole muffin tin
Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/Gas mark 4. Line the tin with muffin cases. Toast the pistachios by spreading them out on a baking tray and placing in the oven for 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool and chop finely.
Salted Caramel brownies
The idea of salt in cakes and desserts may seem a little strange, but caramel is a flavour that really benefits from it, intensifying the flavour. I can clearly remember the first time I made this recipe. The anticipation waiting for the brownies to cool enough to eat was so strong that I had to do a little housework to distract myself – and then that first bite, sheer heaven. To make the caramel, you do need a sugar thermometer. They aren't expensive and will be a great investment, especially if you like caramel and toffee.
makes:12 or 16 squares
for the base mixture:
for the caramel base:
18x27cm/7 x 10 inch shallow baking tin
Preheat the oven to 180C(160C fan)/350G/Gas mark 4. Grease and line the baking tin, leaving enough lining paper hanging over the edge so that you can lift the brownies out easily.