I've never been one for cooking "anything"-free food. Neither of us are allergic to any ingredients or follow a special diet so the thought of going out of my way to approach traditional recipes the un-traditional way never really occurred to me. Because butter is good you know and so are cream and eggs.

More recently I've been noticing a slight lactose intolerance developing (half my family has it so it makes sense). While I'm still cool with a drop of milk in my tea or coffee, a whole bowl of cereal or a massive portion of ice cream I shouldn't have too regularly. I've started experimenting with milk substitutes for my morning cereal and have gone from hazelnut, over almond, oat and rice milk and ended up with coconut milk. I absolutely love it. If you weren't told you'd never know you weren't drinking cows milk and it makes for a great, refreshing cold drink.

I have toyed with the idea of trying out the Paleo challenge or eating dairy/carb free for a little while and have attempted this a couple of times - unsuccessfully. (trust me I will let you know once I have completed one!)

Naturally, when I came across these dairy free upside down fairy cakes I was dubious. But I love polenta and aren't they just the prettiest.

I thought they were amazing - the perfect combination of tangy and sweet and the ideal afternoon tea treat.


Etta xo

PS  My cakes turned out a little flatter than the originals so feel free to use bigger cupcake moulds or to fill them up a little more.

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MAKES 24 fairy cakes or a 23cm cake
BAKES 20-25mins (fairy cakes) or 1hr (cake)

  • 250ml rapeseed or sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 300g mixed berries (I used frozen ones, make sure you defrost them thoroughly and remove any excess liquid)
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 250ml Sauternes or apple juice
  • 280g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 110g polenta 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C. 
  2. Grease 2 x 12-hole non-stick muffin tins and line each hole with a circle of baking paper. Divide the berries among the holes. Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla seeds together until foamy. Beat in the rapeseed oil, then the Sauternes or apple juice. Sift the flour, baking powder and polenta over the top and fold in.
  3. Divide the mixture between the muffin holes and bake for 20-25 minutes (or 1 hour for the whole cake), until a skewer comes out clean. 
  4. Leave for 5 minutes, then tip out onto a wire rack and peel off baking paper. These are best enjoyed warm but will keep in an air tight container for a couple of days.

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