STORY: Gluten-free winter treats from IREKS

Tiggy Elwes teams up with IREKS to bring Bakery Business readers an exclusive recipe that’s ideal for customers seeking comfort this festive season

With vegan baking more prominent than ever and gluten-free products in high demand, IREKS has generated a perfect solution which combines both these qualities to produce a delicate and versatile sweet treat. 

IREKS is a leading ingredient manufacturer specialising in first-class baking ingredients and creative product ideas, retaining many years of experience, especially in the manufacture of both vegan and gluten-free baked goods. To date, 50 % of its UK product portfolio is suitable for people following a vegan diet. The first introduction of a gluten-free product launched back in the 1990s. 

The GLUTEN-FREE VEGAN CAKE MIX is a game changer for the fast-expanding vegan and gluten-free market. The mix produces a sumptuous sponge with an airy internal structure, enrobed in a crisp golden exterior once baked. The product retains excellent freshness and has a versatile range of applications from muffins to cookies to celebration cakes, the options are endless without compromise on taste and quality. 

Sounds intriguing? Why not give it a try for yourself!

If you would like to try this product, contact IREKS via [email protected] or visit the website to get an overview of the company’s product range. 



These beautiful mini sandwich cakes are the perfect sweet treat for a cold winter’s day, consisting of warm spices and seasonal apples with a punch of sweetness and crunch of pecan, all sewn together within a delicate fluffy sponge baked until golden. This recipe will tantalize your tastebuds and the best part is… it’s completely vegan and gluten-free! 

Yield: 12 individual cakes 
Equipment: 12-hole, loose-bottomed mini sandwich tin


Spiced Apple and Pecan Sponge 

110g Grated Apple (Braeburn) 
105g Vegetable Oil
105g Water
60g Chopped Pecans 
1tbsp Muscovado Sugar 
1tsp Ground Cinnamon 
1tsp Mixed Spice

Vegan Caramel 

125g Vegan Cream Alternative/Coconut Cream 
75g Light Brown Sugar
20g Glucose
20g Maple Syrup 
10g Vegan Butter
Pinch of Salt 

Vanilla and Maple Vegan Buttercream 

150g Icing Sugar
100g Vegan Butter
40g Maple Syrup
1tsp Vanilla Extract 


  1. Preheat the oven to 200oC/180oC fan/gas mark 4, placing a tray of water in the base to begin to create a steamy environment.
  2. For the sponge, weigh the dry ingredient into a large bowl/stand mixer, keeping the muscovado sugar to one side. Add the chopped pecan nuts followed by the grated apple. 
  3. In a separate bowl, measure the oil, water, and sugar to allow it to dissolve. Add the liquid ingredients into the dry and proceed to mix. Mix the batter for 2 mins on a medium/slow speed until fully combined.
  4. Prepare the tray by brushing oil into each cavity. Once greased, deposit 55g of batter into each cavity of the tray. Gently tease the batter with a palette knife around the cavity to level.  
  5. In the oven, pour roughly 500ml of boiling water into the tray at the base to create steam. Place the tray of cakes into the oven and bake for 12-15minutes until golden brown. Halfway through the bake time pour another jug of hot water into the base oven to maintain the steamy environment, ensuring a more even bake.
  6. Once baked and golden brown, remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool. Once they tray becomes cool to touch, remove the cakes from the baking tray and onto a wire rack to cool completely before decorating. 
  7. For the vegan caramel, weigh the soft brown sugar, vegan cream and glucose into a medium saucepan and stir to combine. 
  8. Scale the butter, maple syrup and salt into separate bowls and place to one side.  
  9. Place the pan onto a low heat and allow the sugar to dissolve. Gently increase the heat to medium- low and allow to lightly boil for 10-15minutes, stirring occasionally until it starts to reduce and thicken. 
  10. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter, salt, and maple syrup. Once fully combined, transfer into a bowl, cover and place in the fridge to cool.
  11. For the Vanilla and Maple Vegan Buttercream, ensure the vegan butter alternative is softened at room temperature. Place into a bowl/stand mixer and cream the butter with a whisk until light and fluffy. Begin adding the icing sugar in small additions mixing in-between until smooth. 
  12. Fold in the vanilla and maple syrup until smooth and glossy. Transfer the icing sugar into a piping bag and place to one side until ready to be used.  
  13. To assemble, prepare the mini cakes, by slicing the top off each cake to slightly flatten, followed by slicing in half. 
  14. On the base half, pipe a layer of buttercream around the edge in a desired pattern, leaving the centre clear. Pipe the caramel into the centre. Gently place the other half of the cake on top of the base layer, with the uneven edge facing down to allow for a flat top.
  15. Finally, decorate the top layer with any desired decoration and serve! For this product it was decorated with a pecan nut and a sprig of fresh rosemary.