Saturday, 29 May 2010

Time (Butter)flies When You're Having Buns

I haven't baked in ages. I'm well aware of all the gluten free flour alternatives in pretty much every supermarket, but I've always been a bit cynical about whether it's possible to bake decent gluten/wheat free treats when even the big manufacturers can't get it right.

My Almost-mother-in-law is fantastic at baking. Whenever I call she is baking some new recipe she has found and is always laden with cakes whenever we come over to visit.

She has very kindly offered to help me have a go at gluten free butterfly buns. With her expertise and my knowledge of wheat dodgery we've got as good a chance as anyone.

These buns are genuinely the best buns I have ever tasted EVER. Maybe I just get a bit more excited about cakes than I used to but seriously, amazing.

Almost-mother-in-law bought some Doves Farm White Self-raising flour blend which already includes the all important xantham gum. Xantham gum is a special additive which binds and thickens gluten-free ingredients. It can also help to improve flavouring. If you attempt the following recipe but can't get Doves Farm flour, either check that your flour has Xantham gum in or buy some seperately and follow the pack instructions.

Here's what to do

Gather the following ingredients:

Note: 6 oz = 170g

6 oz gluten free flour with xantham gum
6 oz caster sugar
6 oz margarine (we use Stork)
3 medium eggs
1 teaspoon of gluten free baking powder
A teaspoon of the flavouring of your choice - we used vanilla essence.
Either 12 muffin cases or 20 bun cases
A muffin/bun tray

*Heat the oven to 180c or 160c if it's a fan assisted oven

* Get a large mixing bowl ready so you can bung each ingredient in once you've weighed them

* Sieve the flour, baking powder and the sugar. You need as much air in these ingredients as possible to get the fluffiest buns you can

*Pop the eggs and margarine into the bowl. We used a fancy food mixer to make life easier. If you don't have one, fire up your hand whisk or, if you're an eco warrior, use a good old manual whisk

*If you've got a food mixer, turn it onto a medium speed and leave it for 20 minutes. If you are in a rush, 10 minutes will do, but the longer you leave it, the more air you will get into the mixture and therefore more fluff potential. Add the vanilla essence in at any point during the mixing process

*If you are using alternatives to a food mixer, just keep going for as long as you can up to 20 minutes

*Spoon around 3 heaped teaspoons of the mixture into 12 muffin cases or 2 teaspoons into 20 bun cases

*Pop the buns in for 25 minutes

*Have a smell - just like normal fairy buns! I squealed at this point but that's optional for you

*Leave to cool

*Slice the tops off and cut them in half - these are the butterfly wings

*Add some buttercream or fresh cream if eating straight away. Luckily Almost-mother-in-law had some she made earlier in true Blue Peter style. No idea how she made it but here is a standard Bero recipe for some

*Carefully stick the wings on so it looks just like a butterfly

*Put the kettle on, get the cakes on a nice plate and warn your friends that they're gluten free and they won't like them. Do they share their wheaty cakes? No.


Thanks to Almost-mother-in-law for helping me to eat lovely cakes again.


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