Review of Incognito cakes cheeky little monkey gluten free cake mix for children

As Incognito cakes were offering a discount on their new cake mix recently, I decided to order the children’s cake mix so that I could review it for my blog as it is both gluten free and dairy free. The cheeky little monkey cake mix has been shortlisted for the free from food awards in two categories.

My parcel arrived today just in time for a Mum and Baby group I attend tomorrow. I’m sure the little ones will love the little monkey picture on top of the cakes.

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The instructions on the reverse of the packet are child friendly and fun

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I was just worried to see a long list of ingredients and e numbers. I think the e numbers are from the little monkey disks provided to top the cakes. When I make a cake from scratch I only use gluten free flour and cocoa powder, butter, eggs and a refined sugar substitute like dextrose, or a small amount of sugar. I imagine the extra ingredients are added to ensure the cake mix has a longer shelf life.

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To the cheeky little monkey mix I needed to add an egg, oil and water or milk, if not making dairy free.

The mix recipe suggests vegetable oil but I would urge you to use a healthy oil like coconut oil.

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The instructions were very simple, put the egg, cake mix, oil and water into a bowl and mix. Couldn’t be easier, great for children.

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The mixture was very runny and I found it quite tricky to spoon the mixture in to the rather squashed paper cases, saying this the cakes rose well in the oven and looked good.

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I allowed the 11 cakes to cool, then mixed the icing sugar provided with a little water and piped on to the cakes adding the monkey disks provided.

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they did look perfect!

For the price £6.99 I would expect a higher quality both in packaging and cake mix and I was unable to get 12 cakes out of my mixture. Sadly I would not buy these in future at the current price.

The family tried the cakes this evening, they felt the taste of the chocolate cheeky little monkey cakes was quite mild flavoured, but probably good for little ones. We all liked the texture, quite springy. The family all agreed though that they had eaten better cakes made from mixes.

I honestly think a price review is essential, £3 would be a fairer price for the mix. Then they would be good value for money.

I am sure the little ones and their mum’s will enjoy the fun looking cakes tomorrow

incognitocakemixes.co.uk

follow on twitter @incognitocakes

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Review of Food by Helen’s gluten free mixes

I was pleased to bake, taste and review Food by Helen mixes . This brand was new  to me, only recently spotted it on Twitter so was keen to find out more.

The brain child of Food by Helen is  Helen O’Dowd a qualified nutritionist and food scientist.

I have been able to try the gluten free chocolate cup cake mix and the crumble mix and also sampled the seeds for cereal. In a later blog post I will bake and review Helen’s bread mix.

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Firstly I decided to make an apple crumble using Helen’s mix. It was very simple to make the instructions were easy to follow.

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The millet flour felt quite different to use, a slightly gritty texture. The butter rubbed in easily and I added to my cooked apple.

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I pressed the crumble down lightly and popped in a pre heated oven

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The crumble was a great success, it had a good crunch to the crumble. Something I struggle with when I make from scratch using gluten free flour.

I thought the crumble had a distinctive flavour quite different from my regular crumble, not sure I really liked it. My family on the other hand gave the crumble a big thumbs up they didn’t notice any difference with the flavour. They loved the texture and would buy again especially at the fair price of £1.99

Next I made the chocolate gluten free cup cakes

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Once again the instructions were easy to follow, just add 4 eggs, butter and water. It was good to see butter suggested as the fat choice as opposed to vegetable oil or margarine. Sadly the first ingredient mentioned is sugar , higher even than the rice flour. Pleased to see Helen also does mention on the reverse of the packet that these are meant as a treat for a party or other special occasion, rather than an every day food.

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I enjoy making cakes by hand so I didn’t take Helen’s advice to use a mixer, I was very pleased with the results.

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The cakes were a real success. I followed the instructions to make the buttercream icing.The ingredients are not provided in the packet.

My testers the family thought they had a good texture and a strong chocolatey flavour. Possibly more adult cup cakes rather than for children. They loved the buttercream too. looks like a big thumbs up again for Helen’s cup cake mix. My family eat both gluten free and gluten filled cakes so make good Guinea pigs.

As someone living completely gluten free I would agree the cakes tasted light and had a deep chocolate flavour.

The mix costs £2.69 to this you need to add eggs, butter and icing sugar for the butter cream

Finally I tested out Helen’s Seeds for cereal a topping to add to cereal, porridge , yoghurt etc containing milled linseed with sesame. the one I tried had blueberry and cranberry added.

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I tried mine sprinkled on yoghurt , it is a very fine powder and would be easily lost on top of granola. so great to add to children’s porridge etc

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I think if you are looking to add more omega 3 and fibre to your diet this is an easy way. At a cost of £2.79

If you would like to follow Food by Helen she is on twitter here

I look forward to trying the bread mix very soon.

Fructose free Granola

Recipe-

100g hazelnuts

100g almonds

100g brazils

100g pecans

100g desiccated coconut

100ml brown rice syrup  ( make sure it is gluten free )

50ml melted coconut oil ( I use Lucy bee coconut oil )

handful of chia seeds ( optional )

handful of pumpkin seeds

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method-

rough chop all nuts using a food processor

and desiccated coconut and chia seeds and pumpkin seeds

melt coconut oil and add brown rice syrup

pour oil and syrup into dry ingredients and mix together

spread on baking sheets

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bake in hot oven 180c for 7mins stir and then back in the oven for a further 7mins until golden brown

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cool and keep in an airtight container

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Fabulous with full fat greek yoghurt and berries

 

This recipe is free from oats, but if you prefer you could add some gluten free oats and add slightly more brown rice syrup.

I found gluten free brown rice syrup on Amazon,I would be interested to hear about other sources .

 

Grain free salmon and dill quiche

Looking for a delicious lunch time treat? why not try this easy gluten free quiche. Ground almonds are used instead of flour to make the base.

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recipe-

Base

150g almond flour ( ground almonds )

150g parmesan cheese or grand pandana cheese ( grated )

1 large egg

1/4 tsp sea salt

Filling-

1 courgette finely chopped ( you could also use asparagus or spinach in quiche )

1/4tsp sea salt

75g parmesan cheese

250g mascarpone cheese

3 large free range eggs

100g smoked salmon pieces

1tbsp chopped dill

Method-

Put the ground almonds grated grana pandano and salt in a bowl

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add 1 beaten egg

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mix together

tip into a flan dish and press down

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bake in hot oven 170c for 12 mins until golden

fry chopped courgette in olive oil or coconut oil

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In a bowl mix mascarpone cheese, grated parmesan, dill, salmon and 3 beaten eggs

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pour into cooled base

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bake in hot oven 180c for 25 mins

quiche should rise nicely and be golden brown and set.

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after a few moments out of the oven the filling drops down slightly, this is normal.

enjoy warm or cold

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This was the first time I have made this quiche, it was a real hit with my hungry family. Even got a Wow! always a good sign.

Happy Baking!

Fructose free and gluten free Coconut Meringue cake

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After reading Sweet Poison: why sugar makes us fat by David Gillespie I decided to buy his second book The sweet poison quit plan. this book comes with helpful recipes using Dextrose instead of regular sugar ( I bought mine from Amazon )

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David lost 40kg by eliminating sugar from his life. The book has a five step plan to break your sugar addiction. It makes very interesting reading, I can recommend both books.

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I have been living low sugar for some while now and only have sugar for very occasional treat days. I am feeling great and have lost the itchy spots that had appeared around my tummy and chest in the last couple of years. The Doctor had told me it was due to sugar which I was shocked about, and she said that if I continued to carry on eating, as I had been. I would become Diabetic eventually. It was time to make some changes!

I love baking and it has been tough not using refined sugar in my bakes lately. I was thrilled to see David and his wife Lizzie have tried and tested recipes using dextrose in the latest book.

Here is my first attempt at the Coconut Meringue cake recipe

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Recipe-

90g butter

70g dextrose

3 extra large egg yolks ( I used 3 large egg yolks and 1 egg )

vanilla essence

150g gluten free SR Flour

125 ml milk ( I needed slightly less )

Meringue topping – ( the best bit! )

3 egg whites

105g dextrose

85g desiccated coconut

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bring eggs and butter to room temperature

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cream butter and dextrose together

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separate eggs, beat yolks

gradually add eggs then vanilla essence (mine curdled a little don’t worry, it didn’t effect bake )

beat again

add 1/3 flour and 1/2 milk

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mix and gradually add rest of flour and enough milk to make a soft mixture

spoon into prepare 7inch loose bottom cake tin

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beat egg whites until stiff, then gradually add dextrose

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fold in coconut

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spoon meringue mixture on to the top of the cake

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bake in pre heated oven 180c lower to around 170c for fan oven

for 40 mins use skewer to check if cooked ( mine took 55 mins )

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I was really pleased with my cake, the meringue topping was especially delicious and the cake was pleasantly sweet.

Mr S gave it the thumbs up too. He has also been sugar free for quite a while and is gradually and steadily losing weight.

I think this cake would make a perfect pudding or afternoon treat on Valentines day for anyone who has quit sugar. We all need a treat occasionally.

Happy ‘free from’ baking!

Gluten free rough puff pastry Sausage rolls

Since living gluten free I have really missed devouring a delicious buttery sausage roll. Today I had a go at making some gluten free sausage rolls using rough puff pastry.

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recipe-

250g gluten free plain flour

200g cold butter

1 tsp salt

1tsp Isabels’s baking fix (optional )

up to 125ml of ice cold water ( I used about 50 ml )

gluten free sausages ( I used M&S Cumberland sausages )

beaten egg

method-

mix flour, salt and baking fix together

put in a bowl or on a marble surface, make a well in the centre

cube cold butter, put into well

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using your fingers start blending the fat and flour together

eventually the flour and butter will be mixed together but it will continue to have some pieces of butter showing

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add a little water at a time and bring together with your hand

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pop the dough into a bag and rest in fridge for 15mins

lightly flour surface, roll out dough into a rectangle

touch the pastry as little as possible

fold the bottom third of the pastry up, then the top third down to make a block

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turn the pastry so the open edge is facing right, like a book

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roll out again and repeat folds

4 times in all

best to chill after 2 folds (10 mins in the fridge should be fine )

Pre heat oven 200c

roll pastry out to a rectangle then cut in half to make two long narrow rectangles

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open sausages and squeeze the sausage meat on to the centre of the pastry

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brush beaten egg down both sides of pastry and fold the pastry over the sausage meat

cut into individual sausage rolls, put on baking tray add brush with egg

chill in fridge for 10mins

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bake in hot oven for 25-30mins

Delicious warm or cold

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I’m quite happy with my first attempt at sausage rolls, definitely buttery and flaky.

Top tip – avoid over heating the pastry. Keep the kitchen as cool as possible. Avoid over chilling the pastry in the fridge 10 mins or so is fine.

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Happy gluten free Baking!