71. Obsessive (gluten-free and dairy-free) almond and plum cake

by | Jul 27, 2013 | Food & recipes | 2 comments

I’ve been on a gluten-free bender for a couple of months now. Not, like, religiously or anything. If I go out to a pizza restaurant, I’m going to eat the pizza, not some lame salad. But, on the whole, I’ve cut down on wheat (mainly bread, pasta and beer). I feel like a new woman. And I’m not being even remotely sarcastic there.

I find myself sniffing out gluten-free cake blogs like a crack addict. Usually I’m left disappointed – either the cakes look crap or they include ingredients that would be hard to find in the UK, let alone rural Bulgaria. (Seriously, WTF is xanthan gum and why would you want to put it IN YOUR FOOD?)

But this recipe is different. It’s loosely based on something I found on a gluten-free blog but I tweaked it to make it sweeter and dairy-free (for a special little visitor who couldn’t eat dairy). It’s so good I’ve become obsessed with it. One time I made it twice in 48 hours. So, although I never blog about food (which is weird considering how obsessive I am about food), I thought I’d share it here.


Yeah, sorry about the rubbish picture. I was in a rush to eat it!



  • 125g sugar. I use a fine brown sugar that’s easily available here but any old sugar would do.
  • 100ml olive oil. I like olive oil in cakes but I know some people think the flavour is too strong. If you’re one of them, use whatever oil you prefer. If you simply *must* use butter, use 125g.
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g ground almonds
  • A few drops of vanilla essence. I fully intended to use almond essence – in fact, it’s probably much better in this cake – but I reached for the vanilla out of habit and have kept doing it this way ever since.
  • We have tiny round plums in the garden so I use about 10-12 of them, halved and stoned. If you’re using regular English plums, maybe use 4-6, quartered or sliced. I’ve tried it with raspberries too and they also work pretty well. In a month’s time no doubt I’ll be trying it with peaches. Did I mention I’m obsessed with this cake?
  • Cinnamon


  • Heat oven to 180°C and oil a 20cm springform cake tin.
  • Beat the oil and sugar together for a few minutes until it’s, you know, ‘light and fluffy’. I used a hand mixer because Rob was busy.
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time and add the vanilla/almond essence.
  • Gently fold in the ground almonds with a metal spoon. It’s not a cake that rises a lot, so just don’t bash all the air out of it.
  • Pour the mixture into the tin and press the plums/raspberries into it.
  • Dust the top with cinnamon.
  • Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or so. The last time I made it, it was ready in just 20 minutes, which is odd because my oven usually takes longer than any recipe says. Maybe check it at 20 minutes and keep checking every five minutes thereafter.

The cake may be dairy-free, but I’m not on a dairy-free diet so I like to serve it with a huge dollop of mascarpone on top (the closest thing we can get to clotted cream).

Next time, I’m quite tempted to make two and sandwich them together with mascarpone. Or, if you don’t care about the gluten-free shizzle, you could scatter a little crumble topping over before putting it in the oven. I know right, filthy!


  1. Russ McCoy

    Wow! Great site with a lot of practical information. You've created the template I'll follow in nine years when I move to Bulgaria. Thank you for going to all the trouble of publishing this information. Russ

  2. Viktor

    Hi Claire! I was looking for a recipe of something completely different, but yours looked great, so I adapted it into something even more different :-) I made gluten/dairy free walnut&cashew fig muffins. It was pure ecstasy. Thanks for the inspiration and especially for writing with such a cool sense of humour. You're fab :-)


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