Ok, so this is sort of is and isn't a review... actually it is a review. The only thing really is its one that I have chosen to do, rather than be asked to do. Why? Well, I'm a sucker for good packaging, and a lovely tin emblazoned with gluten free from the WOW Cake Company was tucked up inside my bulging goodie bag that I hauled home from the Cake Masters Awards last month. It's been sat there niggling away at me to test for you ever since.
Quite a few of you will know I don't bake 'professionally' anymore; baking is more just for fun and when I feel like it, but I'm still a hard and fast, from-scratch person; to be honest cake mixes aren't really my thing. But don't get me wrong, I can easily be lured by the kids character sets in the baking aisle... particularly partial to Wookie Cookies, am I! Yet, as we all rummaged through our goodie bags on Awards night, combined with the ooo's and aaah's from the girls on my table, that actually, if rumour was to be believed, this was mix was actually pretty damn good.
I've always been one for gluten free baking with a trusty Dove's Farm flour blend, sticking to my favourite recipes tweaking it here and there and usually going for a straight substitution; and in all fairness it really hasn't failed me. But... I think I might just be a convert to a mix!
Now then, the thing with the WOW Cake Company mixes that really speak to me, more than anything, is that it's not one of those mass produced cake mixture packets that laden the supermarket shelves; it's the baby of Susan Craddock who was diagnosed as a coeliac in 2012. So these aren't just someone trying to get hook into the booming free-form market (seriously have you seen how much that aisle has grown over the last few years, good news for those of us that are free form), Susan has spent months and months baking and testing, testing and baking gluten free recipes until she achieved that perfect consistency of light and moist cake; and I can say that she's definitely achieved it!
Just look at that cake mix batter up there. Go on, look at it... Imagine the silkiest and smooth cake mix, sticking a sneaky teaspoon in there for a quick taste, then going in again (clean spoon of course, no double dippers here), then having to stop yourself going in for a third time, as you know you won't stop. Oh yes. I know what you're all like, you're as bad as I am.
But I'm telling you there is no way on earth I could 'tell' that this cake mix was gluten free. Sometimes you get a gritty texture depending on the flour mix, however the WOW Cake Company mixture was as smooth as any gluten cake batter that I've made before with my trusted Shipton Mill flour. As a quick aside, the cake mixes are also nut free, and for a nut allergy weirde like me, that's always a good thing; especially if your allergy is on the bad side; luckily mine's not on the big risky scale.
So, I bet you want a few more details... what can else can I tell you? Well the mix that I tried out was a the Ultimate Sponge mix, and it's adaptable to whatever you fancy doing with it. I added cocoa powder and chocolate chips, but you could add vanilla bean paste, lemon zest and poppy seeds, a shot of good coffee, or anything else and mix it all up, the choice is yours. The only other ingredients you'll need are eggs and butter, and you'll need to decide if you want to go for a cake or cupcakes. WOW say that the mix will fill 2 7" cake tins for layering up; I went for cupcakes... obviously, and it made 24, so a damn sight more than you tend to get out of one of 'those other' packets.
If you fancy giving the gluten free recipe a go, it's down there, underneath the photo and if you want to go from scratch with gluten, check out my ultimate chocolate cupcake recipe.
Festive, gluten-free baking with Wow Cake Company Ultimate Sponge Mix
For the Cupcake
- 1 Wow Cake Company Gluten/Nut Free Ultimate Sponge Cake Mix
- 225g Unsalted butter, softened
- 45g Cocoa powder
- 4 Eggs, medium
- Chocolate Chips
For the Frosting
- 500g Unsalted butter
- 1kg Icing Sugar
- 2 tsp Peppermint extract
For the Cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 180C or 160C (fan) and line a 2 deep muffin trays with 24 cupcake cases.
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, add the cocoa powder and Wow Cake Company cake mix and softened. Beat until combined and smooth.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and whisk until well combined.
- Add the chocolate chips and stir through.
- Use an ice cream scoop to divide the batter between the cupcake cases, approximately 1 scoop per case.
- Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Leave to cool on a wire rack.
For the Frosting
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter until soft. Add half of the icing sugar and peppermint extract. Beat until smooth.
- Add the remaining icing sugar. Beat until smooth.
- If the buttercream is too stiff, add a tbsp of whole milk and beat until smooth.
- Split the buttercream into 2 batches, and colour one batch with red food colouring gel, until you get the colour you would like.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a 1cm star nozzle with the white buttercream on one side of the piping bag and red on the other side. Standing the piping bag in a large glass, helps to open up the bag and allows the two colours to mix together as you pipe.
- Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes in a swirl shape.
- Decorate with with snowflake sprinkles or mini candy canes.
Use an apple corer to make a hollow in the cupcake and fill with the chocolate ganache, from the The Dark Tart RecipeAny leftover frosting, can be kept in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 1 week.
The Wow Cake Company Gluten Free and Nut Free Ultimate Sponge Cake Mix and other products are available online between £5.25 and £5.99. With thanks to Wow Cake Company for stuffing a sample in the Cake Masters Awards Goodie Bags.