Let me tell you about my friend Holly.
Holly is amazing, she’s the happiest, most smiley person I know and no matter how many years separate our meetings I know we’ll just slot back into place and it’ll feel like no time at all.
Holly ran the London Marathon the other week, after months of dedicated training. Her time was 4 hrs 12 – INCREDIBLE. Put into perspective, she thrashed both Gordon Ramsey and Will Young, could not be prouder of her.
It was Holly’s birthday last week – The BIG 3-0. One of the last ones from my Exeter College days to finally join the club. Holly asked me to make “Purple Salad” for her party and also something baked from the blog, I’m not fond of recreating too much, much preferring to attempt something new. To narrow down my options I questioned her on things to avoid – “I avoid cream…(and wheat…but as it is my birthday I’ll let myself off) ” Well, avoiding wheat sounded like a challenge to me and I love a challenge, especially a baking challenge.
As always I looked to BBC Good Food for ideas and found two traybakes – Eton Mess Cake & Peach Melba Squares and decided to mash them together and make them Gluten & Wheat Free and replace the double cream for yoghurt.
Having never intentionally made a completely wheat free cake before I asked twitter if it was as simple as using Gluten Free flour, apparently not – who knew that you needed Gluten Free Baking Powder too, who knew such a thing existed – the thought of it had never crossed my mind. Thank you Twitter.
The final cake was moist and delicious, a big hit at the party – I’m quite proud at how it turned out, considering it was first attempt at Gluten Free and a bit of an experiment.
Peach Melba Eton Mess Cake
makes 20 squares
210g / 7.3 oz unsalted butter, melted
6 tbsp 0% natural yogurt
seeds of 1 vanilla pod
270g / 9.4 oz Gluten & Wheat Free Flour (I used Doves)
120g / 4.2 oz ground almonds
1¼ tsp Gluten Free Baking Powder (Again I used Doves)
½ tsp salt
240g / 8.5 oz golden caster sugar
6 large eggs
300g / 10 oz raspberries
2 peaches – stoned and roughly chopped
3 meringue nests – crushed
Preheat the oven to 160°c / 320°f / gas mark 3 and butter and line a 24 x 34 cm baking tray.
Melt the butter and leave it to cool for about 5 minutes – stir in the yoghurt and vanilla.
In a separate bowl mix together the flour, almonds, baking powder and salt and set aside.
Whisk together the sugar and eggs, until light, fluffy & thickened – this takes about 5 minutes in a standmixer.
Pour in the butter and yoghurt mixture, and whisk briefly.
Add the flour and again whisk briefly, until combined.
Gently fold in half of the raspberries and peaches and then pour into the prepared tin.
Randomly scatter the rest of the raspberries and peaches and top with the crushed meringue nests.
Bake for 45-55 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.
Serve with Pimms & friends and maybe don’t tell them it’s a Gluten Free cake and see if they notice (They won’t)
For those interested – each cake is worth 7 weight watcher pro points.