Chocolate brownies taste testing – Fria and The Cake Crusader

Thanks to Fria and The Cake Crusader I was able to test two totally different and both very delicious chocolate brownies – at the same time. Enlisting the help of two of my reliable foodie tasters, both of whom can enjoy ‘normal’ brownies and cakes with all the normal inredients like butter, chocolate, nuts etc. we were ready to go.

I have to admit to not being a brownie expert. I haven’t eaten brownies for many many years because they usually contain dairy and/or nuts, so I was glad to have the affirmation of my helpful and usually eager testers. I have asked my cake tasters to try some that they haven’t liked in the past so they always have a slightly skeptical air about their demeaner at first, but these little brownies soon won them both over.

I began, partly due to my lack of brownie expertise and knowledge, by finding a description of what a brownie should be like on the internet, and I’m not talking about the type that will do all the chores at night while you sleep or the kind that wears a brown dress, a woggle and a hat. No, I’m talking about the cake with a dry cracked crust, a wonderfully moist texture, and a rich deep chocolate flavor, usually cooked in a rectangular pan and cut into squares. Or as describes them, “A small, chewy, cakelike cookie, usually made with chocolate and containing nuts.”

Apologies for the dodgy photography. The Fria cake is the one in the left, cut into a triangular wedge. The Cake Crusader brownie is on the right, a more traditional brownie cake, which comes cut into squares.

Fria Kladdkaka (Swedish style chocolate brownie cake)

Having met the Fria team at The Allergy and Gluten Free Show in London in May I was already familiar with this delicious cake and I just kept going back for more samples. It’s soft, moist, really rich and chocolatey and was a real winner with both my fellow tasters and myself. The lovely Nicola, brownie expert extraordinaire, likened these to being more like a torte and she’s right I think. It’s gooey, melts in the mouth and is a real treat with a vanillaey tang. You can buy Fria products online from GFF Direct. Fria also sell a range of gluten free breads, baguettes and cinammon swirls and they all come frozen so make sure you select the option for ‘Courier Frozen’ when you checkout.

I like the frozen concept. They freeze well and it means you can be better prepared, have more supplies at hand, and use them up at your leisure. Rather than making regular orders to ensure freshness you can order in bulk as long as you have the freezer space. I fear this cake will never last long in any household though. It’s too good! These cost £4.69 each for one round cake.

Eggs, brown sugar, sugar, vegetable oil, wheat starch (gluten free), cocoa, vanilla sugar, rice flour, modified corn and tapioca starch, salt, thickeners: locust bean-, guar-, tara gum and pectin, baking powder: bicarbonate and E450a, emulsifiers: lecitin (soy) and E471 (veg), flavouring.

These cakes do contain a few ingredients which you might not recognise so I did a bit of research.

Tara gum – Originates from the seeds of the Tara bush that are indigenous to Perú. It’s similar to guar and locust bean gum and is used in frozen desserts to make a better texture.
E450a is tetra Sodium diphosphate and is used in frozen cakes. It’s a buffer, gelling agent or stabiliser. The body can easily process this enumber.
E471 – Glyceryl monostearate, distearate is a normal product of digestion, but prepared for commercial use from glycerin and fatty acids. It’s used in cakes to retain the foaming power of egg protein in the presence of fat; emulsifier, stabiliser and thickening agent. No adverse effects known.

The Cake Crusader Chocolate Brownies

Well these brownies look just like normal brownies and they taste just like normal brownies too. You would never know that they were gluten and dairy free, a real testament to the hard work, experimentation and perserverance of Liz Allan, the cook behind these delicious cakes. They are just a bit crunchy on the outside and soft and gooey in the centre. They’re also very moist, with chocolate chips inside; these were just perfect. Finding cakes like this is such a treat for me. I’m not a great cook so to be able to order delicious home cooked cakes that don’t contain any flavourings, E numbers or other ingredients is such a rare and very special occasion. Not so rare now hopefully, although I shall have to start watching my waist line if this carries on.

They cost £12.50 for 12 pieces and you can buy them direct from The Cake Crusader website.

The Cake Crusader also sells a extensive range of other cakes such as carrot cake, victoria sponge, chocolate sponge and millionnaires shortbread. Some of Liz’s recipes are also egg free so check the website for ingredients or get in touch. She also makes amazing cakes for special occasions so if you need a birthday cake for your child or anyone you know with allergies of coeliac disease this is the place to go. Liz needs at least two weeks notice for the special cakes.

Gluten and Wheat free flour mix (Brown & White Rice, Potato, Tapioca flour), Dairy Free chocolate, Dairy Free Vegetable Spread, Eggs, Light brown sugar, wheat free cocoa powder, Vanilla extract.

Eating The Cake Crusader brownies alongside the Fria cake gave a very good comparison. They were both actually very different cakes, although they were both sold as brownies. I couldn’t choose a favourite, honestly they were both really tasty. The Fria cake would be absolutely amazing served as a dessert with fresh berries and whipped cream (if you can eat it). Oatly cream if you can’t!

The Cake Crusader cake is just the perfect accompaniment to nice hot mug of herbal tea. I have some of these left over so I think you all know what I’ll be having for elevensies today!

Gone are the days when I would unwrap my slightly sorry, inferior looking cake when eating out; I would always have to take my own or face sitting watching friends dig in whilst I abstein. These cakes are almost too good; I’m not going to be able to keep them all to myself anymore now – I’ll just have to learn to share, and I can’t wait to share these with friends.

Have you tried either of these cakes? Tempted to get online and try them? Please share your thoughts here and do pass on the link to anyone else you know who has allergies and likes a good cake. There are a lot of us out there.

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About Ruth

Ruth works freelance as a copywriter and writes the What Allergy blog to share information with people who have allergies, eczema, asthma and food intolerances. was voted in the top 5 allergy blogs and Ruth also judges regularly for the FreeFrom Food Awards and FreeFrom Skincare Awards. She also won the Foods You Can People's choice Best FreeFrom blogger award 2014.


  1. I do agree about the Fria brownie cake – seriously yummy! we are just about to try the rest of their new range – do hope they become more widely available in the UK.
    I am not sure that we have tried the Cake Crusader’s version – although given how delicious her other cakes are, I am sure they are mouthwatering…. Roll on coffee time!

  2. There needs to be more gluten free recipes. Thanks for your efforts.

  3. Big love from Scotland to you.

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