Archive of ‘Desserts’ category

Gluten-free chocolate olive oil cake

Unexpectedly I found a gluten-free dairy-free chocolate cake recipe by Nigella Lawson, and if it is by Nigella then one can only expect great things! This cake contains olive oil as an ingredient which was slightly intriguing and worth a bake. So… before I share the rather large amount of fabulous gluten free books that I have just returned with from Australia that are my inspiration for 2015, I thought I would highlight a few things that I baked over the holidays. Let’s start with this gluten-free chocolate olive oil cake. Find the original recipe here.

Gluten-free chocolate olive oil cake

• 150 ml regular olive oil (plus more for greasing)
• 50 grams good-quality cocoa powder (sifted)
• 125 ml boiling water
• 2 teaspoons best vanilla extract
• 150 grams ground almonds
• ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
• 1 pinch of salt
• 200 grams caster sugar
• 3 large eggs

Preheat your oven to 170°C. Grease a 22 or 23 cm/ 9inch spring form tin with a little oil and line the base with baking parchment.
Measure and sift the cocoa powder into a bowl or jug and whisk in the boiling water until you have a smooth, chocolatey, still runny (but only just) paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then set aside to cool a little.
In another smallish bowl, combine the ground almonds (or flour) with the bicarbonate of soda and pinch of salt.
Put the sugar, olive oil and eggs into the bowl of a freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment (or other bowl and whisk arrangement of your choice) and beat together vigorously for about 3 minutes until you have a pale-primrose, aerated and thickened cream.
Turn the speed down a little and pour in the cocoa mixture, beating as you go, and when all is scraped in you can slowly tip in the ground almond (or flour) mixture.
Scrape down, and stir a little with a spatula, then pour this dark, liquid batter into the prepared tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the sides are set and the very centre, on top, still looks slightly damp. A cake tester should come up mainly clean but with a few sticky chocolate crumbs clinging to it.
Let it cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, still in its tin, and then ease the sides of the cake with a small metal spatula and spring it out of the tin. Leave to cool completely or eat while still warm with some ice cream, as a pudding.
I dusted with icing sugar and served the cake with raspberries and blackberries – they look so pretty and inviting against the dark chocolate hue of the cake (and fruit is good for you!).

Fudgy gluten-free brownies

I found this brownie recipe here at the gfreefoodie (recipe courtesy: Ghirardelli Chocolate). I am always on the lookout for recipes that are flourless or use almond/coconut flours, so time to bake!

gluten-free brownies



1/2 cup whole almonds or 2/3 cup almond flour
1/3 cup brown rice flour
1 cup Ghirardelli bittersweet 60% Chocolate Chips (use what you can find locally)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into chunks
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup walnut or pecan pieces, optional


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (that’s about 162 Celsius) with a rack in the lower third of the oven.
Line an 8×8-inch metal baking pan across the bottom and up two opposite sides with parchment paper. If using whole almonds, add them to a food process with the rice flour and pulse until the nuts are finely ground. If using almond flour, mix it with the rice flour.  Set aside.

Place the chocolate, butter and salt in the top of a large double boiler over barely simmering water. Stir frequently until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl and let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar and vanilla. Stir in the eggs one at a time. Add the almond and rice flour mixture and stir until moistened, and then mix briskly about 40 strokes. Stir in the walnuts or pecans if using.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the brownies are slightly puffed all over and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out moist but clean. Cool the pan on a rack. Run a knife along the unlined sides of the pan to detach the brownies. Lift the edges of the parchment paper to remove the brownies. Cut into squares. Eat!

Wild strawberries and vanilla cream

Looking for something simple and light with minimal preparation? then look no further than Mr Jamie Oliver’s strawberries and vanilla cream – (original recipe here).

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4 handfuls wild strawberries

1 tablespoon caster sugar

1 vanilla pod, scored lengthways and seeds scraped out

1 splash sherry vinegar

1 pot crème fraîche

a few small fresh mint leaves

zest of 1 orange


Pick out the nicest strawberries and set aside. Put the rest in a bowl and add the sugar, half the vanilla seeds and the vinegar. Squash together with the back of a fork and leave to macerate for 10–15 minutes.

Stir the rest of the vanilla seeds into the crème fraîche. To serve, spoon a little vanilla cream in the centre of each bowl, make a well in the middle and spoon in some mushed strawberries. Halve some of the reserved strawberries and sprinkle the lot over the vanilla cream. Scatter over the mint leaves (and orange zest if using) then serve.

I love not only the subtle taste the vanilla gives the crème fraîche but also the beautiful speckling of black that runs through the cream. So simple yet so elegant.

Gluten-free baked chocolate and raspberry mousse

I saw this recipe recently in Woman & Home and I was forced to try it almost immediately – chocolate and fruit in one wicked dessert! The article said that the recipe was by James Martin but I have not been able to find it online so far. As you can see this was eaten faster than I could take a photo, partly because it needed to be eaten hot out of the oven, and partly because it tasted so good!


Ingredients (serves 4)

200g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids

25g butter

4 eggs

50g castor sugar

400g raspberries

Pouring cream or ice cream to serve if desired


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees

Break the chocolate into pieces. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Remove and allow to cool slightly.

Separate the eggs, reserving the whites, then whisk the egg yolks into the chocolate mixture.

Whisk the egg whites with the sugar to form stiff peaks, and then fold them into the chocolate mixture.

Place the raspberries into a large ovenproof dish measuring approximately 15 x 20cm, then top with the chocolate mixture.

Bake in the oven for 12 minutes, remove and serve immediately with cream if desired.


The notes to the recipe say that this could also just into the fridge to set as an unbaked mousse as well, but cooking it changes the flavour. In the interests of research I kept a small amount of the mixture into the fridge as well. The fridge version was basically a chocolate mousse which tasted a lot better the next day. The baked mousse almost takes on the consistency of gooey cake with small pieces of raspberries dotted throughout – really was very nice and also something a little different to serve.

Gluten-free chocolate truffle torte

I have experimented with quite a few gluten-free chocolate tortes/cakes and I am going to share all of them as they are genuinely all fab! Some are completely grain and nut free, some use almond flour and for others I substitute gluten-free biscuits to make a base. This weekend I made a gluten-free torte to take to the Vaal (and yes a little chilly in winter, this is when Ugg boots do come in rather handy) so no baking required in this instance, just a little whizzing and melting really.

This is decadent (as most of my desserts seem to be) and not for the faint-chocolate hearted but I only create these desserts for special occasions or dinner parties. I believe in everything in moderation. I do eat a very strict healthy diet 99.9% of the time so every now and then it’s time to kick off the shoes and have some chocolate!

I found this recipe in and old issue of Food and Home magazine (September 2007 to be exact).




350g biscotti (replace with gluten free option)

150g butter, melted

5ml ground allspice


250ml fresh cream

500g 70% dark chocolate, finely chopped


250g strawberries

30ml castor sugar

(25ml vermouth per slice – I did not do this step)

To make the base, grind the biscotti/biscuits to coarse crumbs and mix in the butter and allspice. Pat the mixture into a loose bottom tart tin (or cake tin works just as well) and set aside.

For the filling, heat the cream until it comes to a simmer then remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate pieces.

Stir until the chocolate has melted. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before tipping into the tart tin and letting it set in the fridge overnight.

For the strawberries, wash, trim and quarter them. Sprinkle the castor sugar over the mixture and set aside in order for the fruit juices to be released, at least 20 minutes.

To serve, cut the tart into slices and serve with the strawberries. (Serve with a shot of vermouth to be poured over by the quests).

I found it best to take the torte out of the fridge 20 minutes or so before serving to make it easier to slice. One can easily skip the castor sugar and just serve with plain strawberries. In this instance for the biscuit base I used gullón gluten-free cookies with chocolate chips. Manufactured in Spain, these biscuits are also egg and nut free, contain no sugar and use only high oleic sunflower oil. Each biscuit contains 104kj/25kcal.

The first dessert I ever made – chocolate pots

The first time I was searching for an idea to serve for dessert I was a little panicked, not 100% sure what I could do that would suit my gluten-free restrictions but also be a knock out! I found Jamie Oliver’s chocolate pots and even now I have friends who specifically request that I make them!


So than you to Mr. Oliver for providing a winning option with no need to try to amend the recipe or switch out ingredients.

Recipe serves 4 – find the original here on

285 ml single cream

200 grams chocolate – 70% cocoa

2 large egg yolks

3 tablespoons brandy (I am more of a Frangelico girl myself)

20 grams butter


In a thick-bottomed pan heat the cream until nearly boiling.

Remove and set aside for one minute. Snap in the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.

Beat in your egg yolks and brandy and stir until smooth.

Allow to cool slightly before stirring in the butter until the mixture is smooth (I add the butter in small pieces to make it easier for it to melt).

Pour into individual serving pots.

PS Although I have never had this problem, sometimes if you add the butter when the chocolate is not cool enough it will make the chocolate look as if it has been split. To rectify this, allow the mixture to cool a little longer before whisking in a little cold milk until you have a smooth consistency again.

To make into a lighter mousse, add 2 stiffly beaten egg whites before pouring into the cups.

Make these the day before and leave in the fridge to chill.

I serve this in espresso cups, and although this is a rich dessert I have been known to double up the quantities and serve in larger cups/glasses – the chocolate lovers will be thrilled!

This really is a wonderful dessert to serve, the only thing to look out for is the chocolate you use and make sure that under the ingredients it does not state “may contain gluten” as that is not a chocolate you can trust! Also if you want to switch out the brandy, of course no whiskey and be aware of any flavoured vodka or other flavoured liquor as gluten can be present.

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