Dairy Free Me

Living without dairy and eggs

Time for a Bake-Off!

The Great British Bake Off


I love watching the Great British Bake Off on television. It is comforting and heart-warming with just the right amount of drama - will the gingerbread house fall apart?! Will the bread be under-baked?! Or worst of all - will the pie have a soggy bottom?!

I was a little disappointed when I found out that it was going to move from the BBC to Channel 4, but despite the lack of Mary Berry and the annoyance of adverts I think it has managed to retain its magic.

They do have the occasional 'free-from' challenge but it tends to be gluten-free only, or dairy-free but still using eggs. I know that the majority of the UK population can eat butter, milk and eggs, and gluten for that matter, but wouldn't it be nice if they featured some more free-from baking?

Anyway, despite the fact that most of the recipes are not allergen-friendly, the programme does motivate me to get baking! I was inspired to attempt a dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free Orange Drizzle Cake. Mmmm...

My Dairy, Egg and Gluten Free Orange Drizzle Cake

I started out with the basic Victoria Sponge recipe from the Ms Cupcake book. But as I wanted it to be a moist cake, I replaced 60g of the flour with 60g of ground almonds. To the cake mix I added:

  • The zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 tsp of orange essence
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom seeds (Someone on the bake-off had an orange-cardamom combination which seemed to go down well with the judges)

While the two halves of the cake were baking, I made an orange syrup by combining 30g granulated sugar with the juice of 2 oranges. This was reduced in a pan until it looked 'syrupy'. I kept some of this to one side for the glaze.

Once baked, while the cakes were still in the tin I made holes using a cocktail stick and poured on the syrup. With hindsight this was a mistake, as most of the syrup went around the sides of the cakes in the tin. I think it would have been better to remove them from their tins and add the syrup to the underside of the cakes.

For the inside of the cake I made butter icing (see icing) and added half of the zest I had from earlier. I also added 1 tsp of orange juice and 1 tsp of orange essence. If nothing else, this cake was definitely going to be orangey.

For the top of the cake I mixed icing sugar with the left over orange syrup until I got a translucent glaze that was thick enough to stay on the cake. I'm afraid I didn't measure this as I was going by eye.

Then on the top of the cake I used some marzipan and coloured it orange with gel food colouring. I rolled it out then used a cookie cutter to make star shapes. Marzipan can be bought ready-made from the supermarket but do double-check the ingredients though as it sometimes contains egg.

Orange drizzle cake

Finally I sprinkled some of the remaining zest on top.

Ok so it's not exactly professional looking, but I was pretty pleased with the result.

I took it to a family birthday celebration dinner, and one of the comments I got was "Normally I can tell that your cakes are dairy/gluten-free, but this one tastes like a normal sponge with a lovely orange flavour". Woo-hoo! Perhaps Mary Berry would have been impressed too?