Friday, 4 May 2012

GF Gran's Cinnamon Sponge Cake

My gran passed away from bowel and liver cancer in 2007 too quickly at 73, too young and with far too much life left in her.
I have many fond memories of baking with her, helping her bake, tasting her baking, it was always a treat. My grandparents were farmers and moved to a more suburban rural area in their retirement. They didn't have much money and for as long as I can remember birthday presents, where we got to pick our favourite cake that Gran made and that was our present, it was always delightful.

My last birthday that Gran was alive was my 25th and she made at my request her famous Cinnamon Sponge. It has taken me 5 years to even build up the courage to make this dish, my favourite, and it held so many memories, thus the reason why it's taken so long for me to even try and make this cake.
Since Gran had made my cake I had been diagnosed with Coeliac disease, and I changed the flour consistency in the original recipe, so I really had no idea how this recipe would turn out. I tried to get into my Gran's head when I was baking this cake, it was for my sister's birthday lunch. I had the eggs and butter at room temperature, I sifted the flour three times so they were in a fine consistency, not required in the recipe but something that I knew was common in that era.

There were tears when I was making this cake it held such important meaning to me, mum was helping me and we greased the tin and added flour, thinking that this would be enough for the cake. When we turned them out they stuck a little bit, there were tears, this cake meant so much too me, it had taken me five years to make this cake, to live in my Gran's big cooking footsteps. There were tears when it didn't turn out quite perfect. I highly recommend when baking any gluten free cake, particularly sponges, make sure you use baking paper. It saves any tears.

                                                    This is the height the butter and sugar should be
In the middle of the cake was mock cream. The first attempt was not a success, Gran had said to add the syrup, she forget to add gradually, knowing Gran she would have assumed that we just knew to add the syrup gradually. There was a curdled mess to start with, round two worked much better, I waited until the syrup really cooled and added very slowly. This time we had success.

                                                      Mock Cream consistency
Gran always had a chocolate icing to the top, after discussion with my sister and my mother we decided to add cinnamon to the icing. Gran did not write this down in her recipe but we decided she would have added it.

                                                    Cinnamon Cake after coming out of oven
The first bite was perfect, the mixture was an explosion of flavours of memories, it was as close to perfect as I could get. I got the approval from Grandpa, which meant so much too me, particularly when I spoke to my Aunty who he had already spoke to about the cake. I had obviously done a good job to make such an impression.

It gave me a new appreciation for Gran, this is a cake that you don't make every day it's a special occasion cake and I cherish each memory I have of her making this cake for me. I will make a pledge to continue on with this tradition of making this lovely cake on special occasions. It's not easy but well worth every effort. For the first time I have take pictures of the various steps in making this cake, I hope this helps you. Please email me on for any questions or help.

Do you have a family recipe that you would love to share, that it took you a while to make, for whatever reasons, I would love to share your story.

Without further ado here is the recipe:

GF Cinnamon Sponge Cake

4 eggs (room temperature)
1 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup gf self raising flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup gf corn flour
6 tablespoons boiling milk
57g butter or 2ozs
2tps cinnamon
1 tsps cocoa

Mock Cream:
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup caster sugar
113g butter or 4ozs
1/2 tsps vanilla

2 tbls butter
2 tbls milk
1 tbls cocoa
1tps cinnamon 1 cup icing sugar
Add more milk or icing sugar if needed.

Once the cakes are cool spread the mock cream onto one of the cakes and spread evenly then place the other cake on top. Now it's time to make your icing. Mix all the ingredients for the icing together, ensure the butter is soft, even if you zap it in the microwave for 10 seconds, start with a cup of icing and if you need more milk or icing sugar add it. Once it is made up and all lumps have been mixed out, spread evenly over the top of the cake. You sponge cake is now complete. Don't worry if the texture of the cake becomes a little firmer around the cream, I think it's just the reaction.

I hope that this cake will become as special to you as it has to me and my family. I encourage you if there is a special dish that your mother, grandmother or aunty made and they are no longer with us, do build up that courage to make it. The memories that first mouthful brought back almost made me cry. It wasn't Gran's cake but it was a close gluten free effort that made me proud and I know that she was there in spirit helping me.

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I hope you enjoy this GF Cinnamon Sponge Cake as much as we did, if you don't need to make this cake GF just use 1 1/4 cups SR flour instead of the flour combination I have used.
Please share your stories of beloved recipes with me, I can't wait to hear from you.