Apple Blueberry Maple Cake {refined sugar-free, gluten-free}

Apple Blueberry Maple Cake is refined sugar-free and gluten-free and so full of flavour. Filled with a blueberry chia jam and covered in a maple swiss meringue buttercream.

Apple Blueberry Maple Cake on a wooden board surrounded by flowers

If you had a slice of this cake with no pre-amble or forewarning I guarantee you would be shocked to discover that this Apple Blueberry Maple Cake is made with absolutely no refined sugar. There is sweetness, of course, this is still cake. The sweetness though comes from potassium and fibre rich medjool dates, unsweetened apple sauce and just a splash of maple syrup. These three sources of ‘sugar’ are not just chosen for sweetness but for flavour too. The tanginess of the apples combined with the rich dates and mellow maple syrup give a complexity to the cake which you just don’t get with regular old caster sugar. Plus it is a healthier choice. Although, this is no health food as again, cake is cake. It is a treat, but perhaps a more justifiable one if you are enjoying a ‘sugar-free’ January.

Apple Blueberry Maple Cake on a wooden board surrounded by flowers

The Blueberry Chia Jam which sandwiches the two cake layers together is also refined sugar-free and is freshly made. I adore blueberry jam and I think actually this may be my favourite way to have it as it’s beautifully soft, not tooth-achingly sweet. The ground chia seeds are used to set the jam so you only need a minimal amount of maple syrup just to bring out the flavour of the blueberries.

A bite taken from a slice of Apple Blueberry Maple Cake on a plate in front of the cake

Now, the Maple Swiss Meringue Buttercream, I am not going to kid you, is a little more tricky than regular old swiss meringue buttercream. It’s worth cracking though because the results are sublime. You shouldn’t have any problems if you stick to the exact method I’ve outlined in the recipe but you do really need a sugar thermometer to ensure the temperature of your meringue is correct. Maple syrup is a little more unstable than refined sugar so your buttercream may veer a little off piste if you’re not careful. However, swiss meringue buttercream is incredibly forgiving and it can always be rescued even if you think your buttercream is too soupy or if it is too greasy and the buttercream is just not coming together.

Apple Blueberry Maple Cake on a wooden board surrounded by flowers

My swiss meringue buttercream is too soupy

This means that the butter was too warm when you added it or your meringue hadn’t cooled properly to the right temperature before adding your butter. If this is the case then place your mixing bowl in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to chill. Bring out and beat again until smooth.

My swiss meringue buttercream is curdled or greasy

Your butter might have been too cold when you added it. You can either keep on mixing and hopefully the butter will warm up and start emulsifying with the meringue. If not then warm the sides of the mixing bowl by placing over the top of a saucepan of warm water. The butter should melt slightly around the edges of the mixing bowl. Remove from the heat and beat again, hopefully your buttercream will come together.

Apple Blueberry Maple Cake on a wooden board surrounded by flowers

Most importantly with any swiss meringue buttercream, be patient and don’t get spooked by a curdled looking buttercream. You have probably done nothing wrong and just may need to keep on beating until it comes together and forms the most delicious smooth and fluffy buttercream.

A slice of Apple Blueberry Maple Cake on a plate in front of the cake

The other great thing about this cake is that it is also gluten-free. It uses a flour blend of oat flour, sweet rice flour, potato flour and tapioca flour. I love the oat flour for its unsurpassable butterscotch flavour which goes so perfectly with this cake but if you find oats don’t agree with you then you can substitute for sorghum flour. The taste of the cake will be different but still delicious. The sweet rice flour binds the cake together, mimicking the gluten-effects of wheat and gives the cake bounce. The potato flour is used to give the cake lightness and the tapioca flour is used for fluffiness and extra binding.

A slice of Apple Blueberry Maple Cake on a plate in front of the cake

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Apple Blueberry Maple Cake on a wooden board surrounded by flowers

Apple Blueberry Maple Cake {refined sugar-free, gluten-free}

Apple Blueberry Maple Cake is refined sugar-free and gluten-free and so full of flavour. Filled with a blueberry chia jam and covered in a maple swiss meringue buttercream.
Prep Time1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Servings: 16 people
Calories: 568kcal

Ingredients

  • 200 g gluten-free oat flour
  • 160 g sweet rice flour
  • 45 g potato flour
  • 45 g tapioca flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 240 g medjool dates about 16, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 120 ml boiling water
  • 300 g unsweetened apple sauce*
  • 120 ml olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs

Blueberry Chia Jam

  • 200 g blueberries + extra for decorating
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds

Maple Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 8 egg whites 240g
  • 400 g maple syrup
  • 500 g unsalted butter at room temperature, cubed
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4. Grease and line two 8 inch round cake tins.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the oat flour, sweet rice flour, tapioca flour and potato flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon then set aside.
  • Place the dates and the boiling water in a small food processor or mini blender and blitz until completely smooth, scraping down the sides as and when you need to.
  • Pour the apple sauce, olive oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract and date paste into a large separate mixing bowl or stand mixer and beat until completely combined.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after every addition.
  • Mix in the dry ingredients, one third at a time to ensure it has all mixed in evenly.
  • Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean.
  • Turn out the cakes and cool on wire racks before filling with the jam and covering with buttercream.

Blueberry Chia Jam

  • Place all the ingredients, except for the chia seeds in a small saucepan and cook on a low heat for 5-10 minutes until the blueberries have broken down.
  • Blend the blueberry mixture a little bit, you don’t want it too smooth but a little bit pulpy.
  • Pour the blueberries into a small bowl and stir in the chia seeds until combined. Place in the fridge for an hour to set.

Maple Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • Heat the egg whites and maple syrup in a bain marie, stirring constantly until the temperature has reached 71°C.
  • Remove from the heat and pour into a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Whisk until the mixture forms stiff peaks and the temperature has reduced to about 32°C.
  • Change the attachment to a paddle attachment. On a low speed add the butter slowly cube by cube. When you have almost added all the butter the mixture will look curdled. Do not fret – this is supposed to happen and just means you are nearly done, just continue to add all the butter. Once the butter is totally incorporated the buttercream will miraculously become a smooth velvety consistency.
  • Add the salt, and vanilla extract and mix until thoroughly combined.

Assembly

  • The sponges often come out of the oven slightly domed and so to make the cake assembly easier I often trim the very top of the dome off each layer so they have a flatter surface to work on. Don’t trim too much or you will lose a lot of cake.
  • Place one of the sponge layers on an 8 inch cake board and pipe a circle of buttercream at the very edge of the surface of the cake to act like a dam for the blueberry jam.
  • Spread three-quarters of the blueberry jam on top of the sponge, right to the edges of the buttercream dam.
  • Place the second sponge layer on top and cover the top and the sides of the cake with the buttercream.
  • Reserve a little of the buttercream to mix with the leftover blueberry jam to pipe around the top of the cake for decoration.*
  • Decorate with extra blueberries.

Notes

*to make the apple sauce you need about 6-7 apples (I used braeburn). Peel, de-core and roughly chop them. Place them in a saucepan with a few tablespoons of water and cook on low-medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples have cooked down to a thick pulp. I blended them once they were completely soft to ensure a smooth consistency. Weigh out 300g of the sauce for the recipe.
Inspired by Snixy Kitchen's Banana Date Cake

Nutrition

Calories: 568kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 193mg | Potassium: 406mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 875IU | Vitamin C: 1.9mg | Calcium: 108mg | Iron: 1.2mg

SHOP THE RECIPE

It’s not easy to buy certified gluten-free sweet rice flour in the UK, for some reason Bob’s Red Mill is astronomically expensive. However I have finally found a brand which is 100% certified gluten-free and it’s fantastic. The brand is yourhealthstore Premium Gluten Free Sweet Rice Flour (glutinous) 1kg

Oat flour can be picked up at most health food shops and if I run out that’s where I head to. However, like all alternative flours it can be expensive so I find the most economical way is to buy it online. I go through bags of the stuff as it’s the flour I use most regularly so I like to buy in bulk. My favourite brand is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Whole Grain Oat Flour 400 g (Pack of 4) at a reasonable price. Even better if you go the subscribe and save option.

It’s not difficult to get hold of tapioca flour in the UK. My preferred brand is Bob’s Red Mill GF Tapioca Flour 500 g (Pack of 2) as it’s certifiably gluten-free and I order it through Amazon.

For the ground chia seeds I use Linwoods Milled Chia Seed, 200g which I love and you can get almost anywhere.

The cake tins I always use are these PME Anodised Aluminium Round Cake Pan 8 x 4-Inch Deep which are wonderful as they have completely straight sides so your cakes will be beautifully neat, the anodised aluminium means the heat disperses evenly throughout the cake without cooking the sides too quickly, which some darker cake tins do. The cakes slip out of the tins easily and they come in all the sizes you would need, although typically I use the 8 inch tins.

For checking the temperature of your meringue when making your swiss meringue buttercream don’t be without a Classic SuperFast Thermapen 3 professional food thermometer in grey colour It gives quick and accurate temperature readings meaning you can don’t have to guess at any temperatures when making candy, caramel or fancy buttercreams. I use mine all the time.

One piece of equipment I couldn’t do without when decorating layer cakes is this PME Tilting Turntable 14 x 23 cm. It has a super grippy surface so the cake board clings tightly to it. It also tilts which is great for when you want to add things like chocolate chips or sprinkles to the sides of the cake. I have had this cake decorating turntable for years and years and I absolutely love it.

This post is not sponsored but the images above are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to use these link to make your purchases then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. I will only recommend products I use in my kitchen and love. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

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