Busy Bee Cake House, Newcastle-under-Lyme

A local blogger let me know about this great new place which has recently opened in Newcastle-under-Lyme and has gluten free cakes!

Busy Bee Cake House sign

Busy Bee Cake House sign

Busy Bee Cake House is a cafe specialising in cakes (surprise surprise!). They also serve a variety of hot and cold drinks (at very reasonable prices!) and sandwiches. They have loads of delicious looking cakes, and even better they have cakes which are suitable for a variety of different dietary requirements, including gluten free, lactose free, dairy free, vegan, paleo, diabetic friendly, and protein cakes.

We visited one afternoon after lunch, and shared two of their gluten free cakes. It was so great to be able to have a choice. We actually arrived just as they had finished a new recipe so we were the first customers to try one of the cakes (currently unnamed!).

Busy Bee Cake House

Busy Bee Cake House – unnamed cake

Busy Bee Cake House

Busy Bee Cake House – unnamed cake and Chestnut Tower

Both cakes were lovely and light (always impressive for gluten free cakes which can often be dense and crumbly). The chestnut tower was really interesting; it tasted like it had liqueur in but we were assured that was the chestnut puree. It was really delicious – the different creams and the light sponge base worked together so well. The unnamed cake (I suggested just calling it a chocolate cream cake!) was made with rice flour but as anyone who has baked with rice flour knows, this doesn’t mean it tastes like rice. It had quite a subtle chocolate flavour and was again very light. There were other gluten free cakes available too; one I’m keen to try is the vegan cheesecake which I believe is free of all main allergens and diabetic friendly too.

It’s a lovely relaxed atmosphere in the cafe; whilst we were in there there were some people eating cake and others who just came in for tea/coffee. The owners are very friendly too – they talked to us about the gluten free items, and came to ask us for feedback on the new cake as well as name suggestions. It’s a lovely light airy space with minimalist decoration (mostly branded with the Busy Bee Cake House logo or featuring photos of their celebration cakes). They can make cakes for occasions and are happy to adapt to your needs – when we were in there someone was discussing plans with them for a couple of birthday cakes. They had a Despicable Me Minion cake and a 3 tier traditional wedding cake on display when we visited and they looked great.

Busy Bee Cake House in Newcastle-under-Lyme

Busy Bee Cake House in Newcastle-under-Lyme

Busy Bee Cake House is at 6 The Midway, Newcastle-under-Lyme and is open from 10am until 6pm every day. I’m sure we’ll visit again and it’s a great place for meeting friends. Highly recommended!

Yippee Foods

This is part of my series of blog posts reviewing brands from the Coeliac UK Birmingham Gluten Free Food Fair I attended in September 2015. For an overview of the event, please see my earlier blog post. Other brands from the fair will all be tagged with ‘birmingham gluten free food fair 2015’ so you’ll be able to view them all from this page.

Yippee Foods is another small business we discovered at the food fair, and another who has some very tempting treats. They mainly focus on sweet treats (cakes, tarts, and tray bakes) but also do savoury including sausage rolls and quiches.

Yippee Foods

Yippee Foods

We bought an Almond Bakewell, a Chocolate Orange and Ginger Tiffin, and an Apricot Frangipane Slice. The latter wasn’t to our taste, but the Bakewell slice was great and the chocolate orange and ginger worked very well. Some strong flavours I wouldn’t necessarily have thought of bringing together, but it worked well. It was a very dense slice, and quite rich – so definitely one to enjoy in small portions or to share.

According to the Yippee Foods website, the owner Jenny is coeliac herself and also has family members with coeliac disease, and this is what led her to set up the business. She’s based in Gloucester so if you’re nearby you may want to check it out. She also does celebration cakes and cupcakes too. It’s so great to see these local gluten free business thriving, and fantastic to be able to sample their goods at food fairs.

If you’d like to receive updates from Gluten Free Joeyanne please follow the blog by email or RSS (links on the right hand side) or you can like Gluten Free Joeyanne on Facebook for links to blog posts as well as more regular updates. 

The Gluten Free Kitchen

This is part of my series of blog posts reviewing brands from the Coeliac UK Birmingham Gluten Free Food Fair I attended in September 2015. For an overview of the event, please see my earlier blog post. Other brands from the fair will all be tagged with ‘birmingham gluten free food fair 2015’ so you’ll be able to view them all from this page.

The Gluten Free Kitchen have a huge selection of gluten free products including breads, cakes, puddings, pies, and breaded chicken and fish. When I visited them they were showcasing their chocolate tarts and their bread, both of which I tried and enjoyed.

The Gluten Free Kitchen

The Gluten Free Kitchen

We ended up buying quite a few products from this stall, including:

  • Shortcrust pastry
  • Bakewell tart
  • Chocolate tart
  • Coffee and walnut cake

The bread hadn’t quite worked out as planned, so I was offered this as a free sample to try.

Goodies from The Gluten Free Kitchen

Goodies from The Gluten Free Kitchen

The pastry was really easy to use, I’d definitely recommend it. You keep it frozen and defrost before use. We used it to bake a chocolate and hazelnut tart (adapting a recipe from our favourite Gluten Free Baking book by Michael McCamley), and it worked really well. We were a bit haphazard with our pastry skills, but stuck it together and it worked amazingly. It didn’t stick to the tin either so we ended up with a surprisingly neat pastry tart case! It held together well and was nice and crisp (no soggy bottom despite the gooey middle for the filling!).

The bakewell tart, chocolate tart, and coffee and walnut cake were all great too. One thing which surprised me was the best before dates on the cakes – I bought these in September and they said they’d keep until mid-October. Because of this (and the fact we also bought lots of cakes from other stands!) we saved these cakes until last. They were still really fresh so whatever magic they put in the packaging, it works.

Aside from the pastry, the surprising star of the show was the bread. Despite appearances (the base wasn’t cooked through so the loaf had sunk a little) this was absolutely delicious – I think possibly the nicest gluten free bread I’ve had, and I’ve tried a lot! The taste was lovely – it had some seeds but not too many, and had a rich but not too overpowering nutty flavour. The texture (apart from the base) was great too, no huge holes but also not too dense. It sliced well, and lasted a good 2-3 days too. If it hadn’t been for the mishap with the base this would definitely rocket to the top of my favourite gluten free breads. One minor downside was the size; it was quite a small loaf so I’m not sure how well it would work with sandwiches. I just had slices of it with butter which was delicious.

The Gluten Free Kitchen bread

The Gluten Free Kitchen bread

The Gluten Free Kitchen are definitely a new-to-me brand I’ll be looking out for in future and hope to try more products from – everything I tried from them was really enjoyable. Full details of their products are available on their website and you can order directly from there. I also noticed from a recent tweet that they have free delivery on any orders over £30 during November:

Have you tried any products from The Gluten Free Kitchen? Any recommendations?

If you’d like to receive updates from Gluten Free Joeyanne please follow the blog by email or RSS (links on the right hand side) or you can like Gluten Free Joeyanne on Facebook for links to blog posts as well as more regular updates. 

Slice of Heaven Gluten Free Cake Studio

This is part of my series of blog posts reviewing brands from the Coeliac UK Birmingham Gluten Free Food Fair I attended in September 2015. For an overview of the event, please see my earlier blog post. Other brands from the fair will all be tagged with ‘birmingham gluten free food fair 2015’ so you’ll be able to view them all from this page.

One of the stalls I was most looking forward to visiting at the Birmingham Gluten Free Food Fair was the Slice of Heaven Cake Studio, a local gluten free cake studio.

Slice of Heaven Gluten Free Cake studio at Birmingham Gluten Free Food Fair 2015

Slice of Heaven Gluten Free Cake studio at Birmingham Gluten Free Food Fair 2015

I’ve been following Slice of Heaven Cake Studio on Facebook for a while now, and met the owner, Louise (on the right in the photo), at last year’s fair. Her cakes are delicious, but there’s much more to it than that – her story, values and passion make it a very special brand. Louise doesn’t have to follow a gluten free diet herself, but has a daughter with coeliac disease, so most of the family meals are gluten free and they’re very familiar with having to eat gluten free. She knows what it is like for coeliacs to be so excited to eat something that most people take for granted! This inspired Louise to set up Slice of Heaven Cake Studio to enable coeliacs and others following a gluten free diet to have delicious cakes. You can read more about the background on her About Us page.

Louise sells cupcakes – I tried a coffee one last year, and we had 2 this year; lemon and salted caramel. They’re delicious – really light and fluffy with great flavours but not so sickly sweet like some can be.

Slice of Heaven also do full size celebration cakes and there are some truly fantastic designs for birthday cakes, wedding cakes and other celebration cakes. In addition, they now have a shop in Tamworth and every Friday she offers fresh bread (supplied by Wheat Free Bakery) as well as cakes. She was telling us how lovely it is to have people visit her bakery and realise they can eat anything as it’s all completely gluten free. I’d love to visit and hope I get chance to one day.

Louise is passionate about gluten free baking, and wants to make sure everything is uncontaminated and safe for coeliacs. She bakes everything by hand from her kitchen, which is a totally gluten free environment. In order to reassure her customers she has had her food tested, and her results only had 3ppm (parts per million). This is an incredibly low level (it has to be below 20ppm to be considered gluten free) and apparently nothing has ever been tested that had 0. That doesn’t mean Louise is happy though, she really wants to make hers 0!

This admirable level of control is evident when talking to her too. I hope she won’t mind me sharing this. She has been approached by larger companies about bringing her stock to their stores, but at the moment she doesn’t want to do that because it would mean using machines, getting other people to help, and losing some of that control she has at the moment. I really admire her passion, values and ethics and know she will continue to make business decisions that align with this.

The other thing that really impresses me about Louise is that she wants to encourage others to bake too. She’s happy to share her recipes, and it was her fabulous gluten free cookie recipe that gave us the confidence to start baking and experimenting with gluten free recipes (I really do recommend this, we have adapted it and used a variety of different flavours which have been tried, tested and loved by both of us and our family and friends, and I’ve recommended the recipe to others who have also got great results). I don’t know of many other brands who are so happy to share their recipes, but Louise wants to get people baking in their own homes, not just buying her products. She’s had a massive impact on us and I’m sure we’re not the only ones who are now baking thanks to Louise’s generosity in sharing recipes and encouraging people to bake.

It was so lovely to chat to Louise at the Gluten Free Food Fair and I really would highly recommend you check her bakery out if you live nearby (or are visiting), and check out the website and Facebook page for ordering cakes and discovering recipes.

I love local family businesses like Slice of Heaven Gluten Free Cake Studio – do you have any recommendations for local gluten free businesses in your area? Please share in the comments below if so. 

If you’d like to receive updates from Gluten Free Joeyanne please follow the blog by email or RSS (links on the right hand side) or you can like Gluten Free Joeyanne on Facebook for links to blog posts as well as more regular updates. 

Gluten free lemon drizzle cake

Jenni (@JuniperJungle), a fellow coeliac, passed this recipe to me. It’s really easy to make (even if you only have a hand whisk like I do!)

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 9oz gluten free flour (I used Doves Farm)
  • 1 teaspoon GF baking powder
  • 9oz caster sugar
  • 6oz olivio or flora or butter (I used Bertolli Olivio)
  • Zest of two lemons
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons of milk

For the ‘drizzle’:

  • Juice of both lemons
  • About 2 oz caster sugar

Preparation

Put all the cake ingredients into a mixing bowl. Whisk together with an electric whisk until well combined. Divide mixture between two 1lb loaf tins and bake in oven gas mark 6 / 190 deg C for 45 minutes. Insert a skewer to check cooked through. Should be golden colour and well risen.

Leave in tins to cool for 10 minutes. For the drizzle dissolve the sugar with the lemon juice in a saucepan then pierce the cakes with the skewer and pour over the lemon syrup. Remove from tins to cool. Enjoy!

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