Thursday, 24 July 2014

1st Birthday - Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake & Some Reader Interaction

I think it's true to say that it's an exciting time for any enthusiastic blogger when you come to a milestone such as this. Happy first birthday Fascination Food - I like the ring of it! Of course, there were at least three years prior to that, of tweeting and talking, baking and cooking, and sampling new cuisines in different restaurants...but when I finally bit the bullet, I was delighted to call myself a food blogger, and still am, one year on.

Three(-ish) standouts for me in this past year are:

  1. Ariel House - it has been a joy to be so welcomed on a number of occasions to this beautiful Victorian era house for their exceptional Afternoon Tea and I have been very fortunate to be featured on their website, which in turns brings many visitors to F.F.
    Afternoon Tea at Ariel House
  2. The "foodie meet-up" on a gloriously sunny Saturday in  June, which was a lovely opportunity to meet Kate of Kate's Kabin and some other lovely ladies with common interests - not to mind enjoying some luscious food and drinks, as one should on a foodies outing.
  3. No. 3/4 is a close toss up between my lovely cousin Catherine's wedding in December and the afternoon tea style treats I made for her reception along with my sister Emer - it was a beautiful day and this blog post documents it. Also just last weekend I took part in an excellent food photography class facilitated by two top people in the food photography and styling industry, Gary Jordan and Erica Ryan. Here's hoping my photographs will continue to improve after all we learned on Saturday.
In the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to The Big Grill Fest in Dublin next month, and even more real-life foodie interaction, an overnight visit to Ariel House, which means a little bit of relaxing and luxury, a beautiful breakfast and yet another Afternoon Tea  is in store. I also plan to keep cooking, baking and updating my blog with all my exciting experiences in food and have bought a few new cookbooks to keep the inspiration flowing.

But anyway, I mentioned chocolate in the title and I won't dither any longer. This cake recipe, although gluten-free, does not mean it is in any way tasteless or boring; quite the contrary. This is a moist and dense type of cake, a grown-up chocolate cake if you will. It is chocolately indulgence, without being sickly sweet. It serves at least 8, if not 10 people. Here we go...

  • 200 g unsalted butter
  • 200 g dark chocolate - 60% or higher cocoa
  • 5 eggs
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp. rum (optional - can be substituted with a few drops of vanilla extract)
  • 110 g ground almonds
  • Cocoa powder (if using, verify it is G.F.) and/or icing sugar
  • Your choice of accompaniment* (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C/gas mark 4/325 degrees F. Grease a 20 cm round spring-from tin and line the sides with baking parchment.
  2. On a gentle heat on the hob, melt the butter and chocolate together until fully smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together with an electric whisk until quite thick, glossy and aerated.
  4. Whisk the melted chocolate mixture into the eggs and sugar and then add in the rum. Sieve in and fold through the ground almonds.
  5. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes or until set and a skewer can be inserted into the centre and comes out clean. You will find the cake may have risen somewhat, perhaps even unevenly, but it will sink down, which is just perfect.
  6. Leave to cool slightly, remove from the tin and dust with icing sugar/cocoa or a combination.
  7. Cut and serve with your choice of accompaniment! *I used creme fraiche with some fresh raspberries slightly mashed up and mixed through, and then a few extra raspberries for good measure. Melted white chocolate drizzled on top would be delicious too.
    Gluten-free chocolate cake, just out of the oven

    Gluten-free chocolate cake - it's time to tuck in

Finally - a bit of interaction. Besides Ariel House, my most searched for and viewed post is The Hairy Dieters' Beef Stroganoff. If any of you have made it, it would be wonderful to hear your feedback. I think it's a great dish, healthy and low in calories, but very flavoursome and filling too. Anyway, I am a big fan of their book and have three more dishes I'd love to try out - all main courses. I am hoping you will comment below this birthday blog post as to which recipe of the three you'd like me to make and blog about. Whichever one of the three turns out to be the most popular by Thursday next week, the 31st July, I will cook! This second Hairy Dieters' helping will then appear as a blog post in August. So, the choices are...*drumroll*
  1. Easy Chicken Bake
  2. Low Calorie Chicken Tikka Masala
  3. Enchiladas
To all of you who check in on F.F. regularly or from time to time, thank you, and I hope you continue to drop by and enjoy the blog posts. With almost 25,000 pageviews over the year I don't think I'm doing too badly at all and it's nice to be finishing year one with a roundy number of 50 blog posts. Let's hope next year I'll get my act in gear even more and I might even hit 60!


  1. My vote is for the Tikka Masala!

  2. Tikka Masala every time - would love to try this!

  3. Chicken Bake!! :-)

  4. Thanks a lot for the votes. Tikka Masala just holding the lead for now... It does look pretty yum I must say.

  5. Heya, really enjoying the blog! Would love to see the Tikka Masala. Always good to add decent curry recipes to the repertoire

    1. Thanks Mark, I appreciate that. And indeed you can't go too far wrong with a good curry recipe. You never know Tikka Masala could easily be the winner!

  6. Replies
    1. Thanks for the vote Juan ;-)
      Enchiladas currently through to second place now!

  7. I vote for Tikka Masala too, can't go wrong! Congrats on your first year of blogging! Joanna

  8. Thanks to all who voted! The winning recipe is Tikka Masala. Coming up on the blog in August!

  9. Obviously I will choose "Low Calorie Chicken Tikka Masala"

    Superfood Chocolate