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Gluten Free Cakes

Posted 24/01/2007 by Anna Hollisey


Taking your first steps in wheat free baking? There are plenty of recipes and guidelines on the internet. As well as flour replacements there are many delicious flourless cakes to start with. Here’s our guide to gluten free cakes.

About Gluten Intolerance

Gluten intolerance is a negative response to wheat, oats and rye, which rules out bread, cakes, beer, and pasta, among other things. You can buy gluten free flour, which is potato or rice flour, or you can use alternatives such as polenta and ground almonds. If you’re baking for someone with a gluten intolerance (a coeliac), be very careful to use spotlessly clean, or even new, equipment and open a new packet of margarine or butter, to make sure that no errant breadcrumbs find their way into the cake.

Flourless Cakes

Baking without flour isn’t as terrifying as it first sounds. Look around and you’ll find a wide array of rich, inviting cakes that anyone with a sweet tooth will just adore…

Totally Chocolate Torte

This divinely wicked chocolate truffle cake comes from Green & Black’s, the name synonymous with chocolate expertise. Use dark chocolate and, if you’re making it for a special occasion, sprinkle Gold Dust over your finished work!


  • 285g (10½oz) good quality dark chocolate (broken up)
  • 275g (10oz) caster sugar
  • 160g (5½oz) butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 free range eggs
  • 1tbsp ground almonds

To make:

  • Pre heat the oven to 140ºC (120ºC Fan Oven / 275 F / Gas Mark 1).
  • Melt the chocolate with the sugar and butter over a very low heat.
  • Meanwhile, beat the eggs until pale and fluffy.
  • Fold in the ground almonds, then very gently fold in the molten chocolate and salt.
  • Pour the batter into an 8” round cake tin, and slide into the oven, and bake for about 35 minutes.
  • Serve cold with gold dust, fresh raspberries and crème fraiche.

Almond and Raspberry Roulade

The Meringue is the perfect base for an easy and impressive cake. Vary this according to the seasons: exchange the almonds for ground hazelnuts in winter and finish with Baileys-flavoured whipped cream. In summer, fold lemon curd through the cream filling and sprinkle with lemon zest and icing sugar.


  • 5 free range egg whites
  • 275g (10oz) caster sugar
  • 110g (4oz) ground almonds
  • 150ml (5fl oz) double cream
  • 150ml (5fl oz) crème fraiche
  • 50g (2oz) icing (confectioners) sugar (sifted)
  • 225g (8oz) raspberries (washed)

To Make:

  • Whisk the egg whites until they’re standing in soft peaks, then add the caster sugar – do this a tablespoon at a time, whisking in between.
  • When all the caster sugar’s in, fold in the almonds using a spatula or a metal spoon.
  • Spread the mixture into a greased and lined 10 x 14” Swiss Roll tin, taking it right to the edges.
  • Bake at 190ºC (170ºC Fan Oven / 370 F / Gas Mark 5) for 20 minutes, then turn out onto a clean tea towel.
  • For the filling, whip the double cream and fold in the crème fraiche and icing sugar, whisking thoroughly to combine.
  • Peel the paper from your meringue base and spread the cream over it.
  • Sprinkle the raspberries over this, and you’re ready to roll.
  • Using the tea towel to help you, roll the meringue away from you into a roll.
  • Chill until you’re ready to serve, dusted with icing sugar.

Using Flour Substitutes

Quick-cook polenta and ground almonds make suitable substitutes for flour in cake recipes, although the result will be slightly denser than usual. Cakes made in this way are best served fresh and warm – preferably with a large spoonful of whipped or Clotted Cream!

Lemon Polenta Sponge

Try this simple lemon polenta cake. You could also replace the lemon juice with blood orange juice, lime juice, espresso or rosewater. And how about folding through some chocolate chips, nuts, or dried fruit?


  • 225g (8oz) butter
  • 225g (8oz) caster sugar
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 110g (4oz) ground almonds
  • 225g (8oz) ‘quick cooking’ polenta
  • Zest and juice of one lemon

To Make:

  • Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time (or use a food processor to make this quicker).
  • Fold in the almonds and polenta, then the lemon juice, to form a stiff batter.
  • Pour into a greased and lined 8” cake tin and bake at 180ºC (160ºC Fan Oven / 350 F / Gas Mark 4) for 20-25 minutes.
  • Serve with ice cream or whipped double cream.

Finding More Recipes…

Several food writers, like Barbara Cousins and Rose Elliot, specialise in baking ‘without’ – offering tested recipes for cakes that are vegetarian, gluten free and sugar free. You’ll also find plenty of information on the Coeliac UK website, on Gluten Free Life and the BBC has interesting ideas for gluten free baking, too. Plus, there’s a tasty recipe for Gluten-Free Cupcakes on this site. Happy experimenting!

3 Responses to “Gluten Free Cakes”

  1. hollyann says:

    Just wanted to clarify that coeliac disease is an autoimmune disorder and not the same as “gluten intolerance.” Coeliac can lead to cancer and is sometimes asymptomatic. Unfortunately, Green and Black’s products are manufactured in an environment where they cannot guarantee against cross-contamination and therefore they cannot be called gluten free. At the moment, their website is not clear about this, but their products are labelled “may contain cereals.” So by all means, try this great recipe but use a certified gf chocolate to make it!

  2. ianwoowoo says:

    Hello, A friend sent me a link to your websire as I am on a Gluten Free diet due to Coeliac disease. It’s nice to see a specific section for Gluten Free baking and I’ll definitely give some of your recipes a try. But I thought I’d mention a minor discrepancy on the description of Gluten Intolerance – you stated that “Gluten intolerance is a negative response to wheat, oats and rye,” it is actually Wheat, Barley and Rye. Most Coelic sufferers can eat oats without affects but a small minority still react adly to oats. Just thought I’d let you know – may as well have your facts right as your doing a great job catering for Gluten Free needs. Thanks for your recipes. Ian Knight

  3. lb74 says:

    May i also just add i have been coeliac since tiny and it is actually wheat, rye, malt and barley that coeliacs cannot eat, sadly i tolerate oats either neither of your last comments mentioned malt which cannot be eaten.

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