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MasterChef winner shares her gluten-free baking tips and cake bars recipe

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In Coeliac Awareness Week, Jane Devonshire gives her advice on how to make great-tasting food without fuss or a big expense.

Since winning MasterChef in 2016, Jane Devonshire’s recipes have been much in demand.

The mother-of-four has followed a largely gluten-free diet since her youngest son was diagnosed with coeliac disease, nearly 16 years ago.

Here, the Coeliac UK Ambassador shares a few tips for baking with gluten-free flours along with one of her favourite recipes…

Jane has been cooking and baking gluten-free for 16 years.

“One of the biggest problems with gluten-free cooking and baking is that you can buy flours from different manufacturers and presume they’re the same when they’re not. One might have more white rice flour, brown rice or teff flour. They will all react differently which can be challenging to write recipes for.

“Usually you need to use a binding agent, something like xantham gum which is readily available in supermarkets and is the glue that holds baking together. You need to use gluten-free baking powder too.

“When you first start out it can seem like a lot, and I get people who have almost become food phobic, but please don’t. Food is a joy and there’s so much out there you can eat. We all make mistakes but I always say it’s just a plate of food. It can be awful when it goes wrong, but it’s not the end of the day.

“On my website there’s a great focaccia recipe which the kids love and we do it all the time, it’s our quick and easy bread. We sometimes do them in muffin tins to make little sliders and things, so it’s a good one to try.

“You’ll also love this quick and easy recipe for my banana and chocolate cake bars – perfect for a packed lunch.”


Jane’s Banana and Chocolate Cake Bars

(Serves 16)

Ingredients
  • 250g gluten free plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 75g dark brown soft sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 225g natural yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 small or 2 large bananas
  • 125g chocolate chips (milk, dark or white)
Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Oil or butter a baking dish and set aside.

2. Put the flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs, yoghurt, and cocoa powder into a large bowl and mix together really well until you have a batter with no lumps.

3. Put the mashed banana and 100g of the chocolate chips into the mixture and mix well, leaving any lumps of banana in.

4. Pour into the oiled baking dish and sprinkle with the rest of the chocolate chips.

5. Place into the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

6. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

7. Once cool, turn out onto a board and cut into 16 slices.

Jane’s Tip: “Let these cool before cutting as they are soft and will break easily when warm.”

For more gluten-free baking and cooking recipes visit coeliac.org.uk

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