Raising Elves

As wild as nature. Myself, parenting and natural remedies blog.

Childhood memories and Aunty Anna’s buns- gluten & dairy free


I christened today ‘Misery’.

We had one of many tantrums before we even left the bed this morning. 

Then the rain never stopped and I discovered that my wet gear no longer fits over my bump.

Then in between tantrums the Elf grettled and growled- Klingon was the only language spoken today.

Despite all this I decided I was going to be positive and kill Misery with kindness.

Then I broke my favourite china plate.

Then Elf fell.

Then my neighbour decided to tell me all about the rugby even though I told her I don’t watch sports and couldn’t give a fiddlers fart if Ireland were playing.

Then I got locked out of the house.

Misery won.


Before Misery won, I set up the kitchen like a cafe and played ‘I can cook’ (Elf’s favourite tv show).

I emptied the shelves and found the makings of some buns and even a bit of topping.

I was reminded of our Great-aunt Anna’s baking. Every Sunday we would go to Nana’s for tea and Aunty Anna would fill the table with freshly baked apple tarts, jam and coconut buns, chocolate buns and real top quality ham for the sambos. I used to set the table, carefully choosing the china and designing where they would go. Anna taught me where everything goes. Mam tells us about how growing up only the men were allowed the meat and the women got the cheese because ‘Men need their meat’. Aunty Anna started bringing the ham to tea so that we could all have some. That was her solution. That was the kind of person she was.

Aunty Anna is so fondly remembered in our family. She never married nor had children. She baked for Heuston station until her retirement. She was very intuitive and was known to arrive at our door unannounced only to give my Mam a few bob (on the very day my Mam had prayed for help). Anna’s house smelt like baked goods- all the time. My Mam nursed Anna as she was dying. She slept in our living room until she passed on. It hit us all hard, especially Mam as they had a very special bond.

I’ve never been able to recreate her baked goods. I don’t know if that is because of ingredients or just her years and years of getting to know a recipe without having to measure up. I decided to make an alternative out of whatever I found in the press to keep Elf occupied and to provide myself with a little bit of comfort on this miserable day.


                                      Aunt Anna’s jam & coconut bun (credit: @myinternalworld)


Of course, these will taste a million times nicer if you can eat regular flour and butter but as I avoid wheat and Robotman avoids dairy I had to adapt. Also, these were just remnants of what I had up in the press- seen as I couldn’t go out. Normally, I would halve the sugar and add stevia. I would use all coconut oil or just pure butter if Robotman wasn’t getting a look in.

  • 150g Doves Farm white self-raising flour blend
  • 1 tsp GF raising agent
  • 150g butter (I used the last 50g of coconut oil and the rest was DF margarine I found in back of the fridge)
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 150g caster sugar (I had 25g caster sugar, 25g granulated sugar and 100g soft brown sugar)
  • 5 tbsp rice milk (or normal milk)
  • Paper cases
  • Jam, desiccated coconut, chocolate for the topping
  1. Beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. I use the blender as the coconut oil is very hard to beat (or else I melt it first) 
  2. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Sieve in flour and mix thoroughly. Lash in the milk.
  3. Half fill paper cases.
  4. Put in pre-heated oven (180’c for a fan oven) for 15 minutes.

I would prefer these with less oil and would definitely avoid using the margarine next time. I literally only keep it in the fridge for emergencies. I would also prefer less sugar and I must say they were gorgeous with the soft brown sugar.

The toppings give them the nostalgic flavour.

I still haven’t worked out what Anna did with the jam but I just can’t repeat it. Her jam was always thin, sweet and seed free. Maybe it was catering jam from her job, I don’t know. I just boiled 1tbsp of strawberry jam with a little water and some icing sugar. This definitely thinned it out and gave it that cake sweetness. I then just topped it with the desiccated coconut.

I had to melt the chocolate for the Elf. She only likes chocolate ‘sweets’. She doesn’t even eat the bun- she just licks the chocolate off. Now come at her with a pack of cheese and onion crisps and she’ll lick the foil clean. 


You’re supposed to leave the chocolate to cool. Ours didn’t last that long.  Can you spot Elf’s finger? (Credit: @myinternalworld)





2 thoughts on “Childhood memories and Aunty Anna’s buns- gluten & dairy free

  1. Oh! you have put the longing on me now!! I have found the great solution to small girls who eat the topping off the buns and not the buns (we have a frosting fanatic) is to make small miniature buns in those tiny (petit four?) bun cases. Plenty of topping, a small mouthful of bun. Coconut and jam buns are definitely nostalgic food for me, and your aunt Anna sounds like the ultimate treasure xx lovely post xx

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