While I was away visiting the parental units in Dorset we spent some time at the beach. C enjoyed digging in the sand/pebbles and my parent’s dog, Martha, enjoying chasing the ball along the shoreline. Happiness all round. It also just so happens that there is a fine fish cafe nearby where we stopped for lunch before heading home. As well as several naturally gluten-free options on the menu (I had a baked Dover sole with boiled new potatoes and salad, yum, yum), they also had not one, but two, gluten-free cakes in their dessert cabinet. You can just stop by for tea or coffee and a cake, and they do breakfast, but I’m off at a tangent. There was the ubiquitous gluten-free brownie. I do love a brownie but because it is so easy to do gluten-free it does get a bit repetitive (yes, I know I should be more grateful, I really do). But they also had a gluten-free carrot cake. My stomach did a little dance of joy! Not that I had any in the end because I was too stuffed from the fish. But you know, it seemed above and beyond the requirement (stand up and take a bow, Hive Beach Cafe). However, they also had a cake that wasn’t gluten-free but gave me a sudden rush of nostalgia. If you’re from the UK, eating school dinners in the 70s and 80s at least, then you must have had this? Soft vanilla sponge, seedless raspberry jam, and desiccated coconut. Simple, but pretty, and delicious. The table of four behind us had a serving each. And I was a bit envious. But no more! Here it is – perfect with a cup of afternoon tea in the sunshine.
Jam coconut sponge
Prep time 10 minutes Cook time 30-40 minutes Makes 20 servings
Preheat the oven to 160ºC fan assisted. Lightly grease a 12″ by 9″ pan, or equivalent size brownie tin, and line the base with parchment paper
- 225g butter or dairy-free alternative (I used Pure sunflower)*
- 225g caster sugar
- 55g sorghum flour
- 55g brown rice flour
- 55g sweet rice flour
- 55g corn starch
- 55g potato starch
- 1½ tsp whole psyllium husk
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tbsp almond milk (cow’s milk or other equivalent would be fine)
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- Seedless raspberry jam (about 1/2 jar)
- Desiccated coconut, for sprinkling
Measure the butter or equivalent into a large bowl along with the sugar, and beat until fluffy (you can do this by hand, with an electric whisk or a stand mixer). In a separate bowl weigh out all the flours, starches, psyllium husk and baking powder. Mix these together very well (I use a balloon whisk) and add to the sugar mixture in the large bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla essence and beat all these ingredients together until you get a thick batter. Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time and mix well. Pour into the prepared tin, level the top and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top is a golden colour, the sponge springs back slightly when you touch it, and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out cleanly. Leave the cake in the pan for a few minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely, removing the parchment paper from the base. You must wait until the cake is completely cold before spreading the jam on top (or it will melt), right up to the edges of the cake. Then using a spoon, carefully sprinkle desiccated coconut on top until you have a nice even layer but you can still see the jam through the coconut. Cut into squares and serve.
* I find butter a little heavy in gluten-free sponges, so I tend to use a dairy-free alternative even though with eggs the cake will not ultimately be vegan.