Fancy a freefrom skiing trip? Combined with a two tier birthday cake?….

My nephew, Alastair, and his wife, Kathryn, are just setting up for their first season with their very own ski-ing chalet in France – they have spent the last two years learning the ropes running chalets for other people. Their new chalet has two kitchens and as they are both keen cooks and very interested in freefrom food they plan to run one kitchen as an allergen free kitchen – so that they can  cater for groups who include coeliacs or those with allergies. They have been back in London checking out freefrom suppliers and what they will be able to get shipped out to Morzine on a regular basis.

So, if you are interested in going ski-ing ‘freefrom’ check in at their website at as they have just started taking bookings for the new season.

As it happened, it was Kathryn’s birthday while they were here so, always aiming to be helpful, I thought we should make her a freefrom birthday cake. But then we got a bit carried away and thought we should make two – and then we decided to sandwich them together – and then we decided to top them with ice cream…… The result was unusual and actually pretty tasty – although probably not the ideal after a rather large curry!! However, lest anyone should fancy trying one, the other, or even both – here they are and you will find the recipes below.

NB. We did a double-thickness chocolate layer as we were feeding several chocoholics. The recipe below is for half that quantity so that your two layers would be the same thickness! Although both cakes are gluten and dairy free, I am afraid that neither are egg free – next birthday…

Coffee and ground almond cake with coconut and pecan icing

Dairy, gluten, lactose, nightshade, soya and wheat free; can be corn free

50g/2oz  dairy-free spread (or coconut oil or butter)
100g/4oz pale muscovado sugar
2 shots/100ml strong expresso coffee
4 eggs
50g/2oz ground almonds
50g/2oz rice flour
50g/2oz teff flour or polenta
2 heaped tsp gluten and wheat free baking powder

200g/7oz coconut oil
100g/4oz dark muscovado sugar
2 scant tbsp Cointreau, Amaretto, Grand Marnier or strong coffee
approximately 30 pecan nuts

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.

Beat the spread, coconut oil or butter with the sugar until light and creamy. Beat in the coffee then, one by one, lightly beat in the eggs accompanying each with a spoonful of the flour mix. Fold in the rest of the flours and baking powder.
Line the base of a 20cm/8inch cake tin with greaseproof paper then spoon in the mixand smooth off.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Turn onto a rack and allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile make the icing by beating the coconut oil vigorously with the dark muscovado sugar until creamy then beat in the liqueur or coffee.
When the cake is completely cold, spread the icing over the top and decorate with the pecan nuts.


Mega rich chocolate cake with chestnut flour and ice cream

Corn, dairy, gluten, lactose, nightshade, soya and wheat free; can be nut free

This is best eaten warm from the oven, when the centre is still just slightly gooey, with whatever kind of ice cream you can tolerate – but still pretty yummy eaten cold with a cup of coffee the next day. You can ice the cake with a chocolate ‘butter’ icing or the coconut and coffee icing but we felt that it was really quite rich enough the way it was!

Serves 6

125g /5oz  85%  cocoa solids dark chocolate
2 tbsp hot water
4 eggs, separated
100g/4oz caster or pale muscovado sugar
25g/1 oz chestnut flour (if you want to make the cake nut free then use 25g/1 oz rice flour)
4 scoops of whatever vanilla or ginger ‘ice cream’ that you can eat

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 and line the base of a 20cm/8inch cake tin with greaseproof paper
Melt the chocolate carefully in either a microwave or over hot water then add the two tbsp hot water.
Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks with the sugar in a beater until light and fluffy.
Lightly beat in the chocolate and the chestnut  or rice flour.
Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until they hold their shape softly but are not peaky. Stir 1/3 of the whites into the chocolate mix, then fold in the rest, mixing them as thoroughly as you can.
Spoon into the cake tin and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before turning it out onto serving dish. Allow to cool a bit more (or the ice cream will melt immediately) then either serve it piled with scoops of vanilla or ginger ice cream – and maybe even candles – or place it on top of the iced coffee cake and pile with scoops of vanilla ice cream…..