Apple Cheddar Thyme Crumble Cake {gluten-free}

Crammed with apples, subtly fragrant with thyme and blanketed with a cheddar crumble this gluten-free Apple Cheddar Thyme Crumble Cake is the perfect comforting Autumnal cake.

Apple Cheddar Thyme Crumble Cake

It would be remiss of me not to explain the absence of a blog post last week. If you follow me on Instagram then you’ll know, since I have spoken about it in my last few posts, that my father passed away very suddenly last weekend. I have written before that my father and I had a difficult relationship at times and with that comes an absurd arrange of emotions about his death. Childhood stuff that I have long since moved past now disturb my sleep anew. However I try to take comfort that in the last few years we had reached a more comfortable place. We would speak every few weeks and connect on our love of food and kitchen adventures and I would give him the latest on the children. A photograph that I took of Dad, Cole and Beau on our last visit was such a treasure to him and I just feel incredibly sad that he won’t get to see them grow up.

Apple Cheddar Thyme Crumble Cake

Cake always goes hand in hand for me with any significant life event. Luke took Cole and Beau out for a couple of hours to soft play the day after he died so I could have some peace with my thoughts and freedom to cry. I stepped straight into the kitchen and grabbed the flour, sugar and butter to seek solace. I feel guilty that this cake will be mired in the melancholy that surrounds this post but it’s almost fitting as a slice of this cake is a huge comfort.

Apple Cheddar Thyme Crumble Cake

The sour cream sponge is densely crammed with apples and fragrant with thyme. A soft cheddar crumble blankets the surface to add a delicious mature nuttiness. I have chosen the earthy flavour of sorghum flour to compliment the cake, sweet rice flour to bind and give texture and potato flour to add fluffiness which works because of its hydroscopic nature.

Apple Cheddar Thyme Crumble Cake

I have had this cake on the cake stall many times and I am often asked what gave me inspiration for this slightly unusual combination. I have always loved apple pie with a cheese pastry crust, the smooth balance of a fine crumbly cheddar and sweet crisp autumn apples is never a taste I tire of. And cheese cake is a thing right?

Dad didn’t have a sweet tooth, he preferred the cheese board after a meal. I think this Apple Cheddar and Thyme Crumble Cake then is a fitting tribute.

Apple Cheddar Thyme Crumble Cake

I urge you to give this Apple Cheddar and Thyme Crumble Cake a try and if you do then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. I’d also love it if you’d share your version and tag me on instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your creations and variations of my recipes.

Apple Cheddar Thyme Crumble Cake {gluten-free}

This gluten-free Apple Cheddar Thyme Crumble Cake is the perfect comforting Autumnal cake, crammed with apples with a delicious cheddar crumble topping.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 610kcal

Ingredients

For the cheddar crumble top:

  • 140 g caster sugar
  • 150 g unsalted butter
  • 80 g sweet rice flour
  • 70 g sorghum flour
  • 20 g potato flour
  • 100 g cheddar grated

For the cake:

  • 215 g sweet rice flour
  • 200 g sorghum flour
  • 40 g potato flour
  • 3 teaspoons thyme leaves
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 340 g unsalted butter
  • 340 g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 300 g sour cream
  • 4 granny smiths peeled, cored and cubed

For the glaze:

  • 140 g icing sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons whole milk

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 170°C/160°C (fan oven)/gas mark 4 and line and grease a 9x13” rectangular cake tin.
  • First make the crumble topping by rubbing together all the ingredients except the cheddar. Then stir in the cheddar cheese. Spread out onto a baking sheet and place in the freezer whilst you prepare the rest of the cake.
  • In a large bowl sift the flours together with the baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, thyme leaves and set aside.
  • Cream the butter and sugar in a food mixer for 10 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, beating in one by one then add the vanilla extract.
  • Spoon in 1/3 of the flour mix, beat into the batter then add 1/2 of the sour cream and beat in. Repeat again and then add the last 1/3 of flour mix, beating until the batter is smooth.
  • Pour half of the cake mixture into the cake tin, then tumble in half of the chopped apples. Pour the rest of the cake mixture over, smooth and then scatter the rest of the apples over the top.
  • Finally sprinkle over the crumble topping so all the apples are covered.
  • Bake in the oven for 50 minutes, check after 25 minutes and if you think the cheese is browning too much then place a loose sheet of tin foil over the top of the cake tin for the rest of the bake.
  • Remove the cake from the oven, leave to rest for 5 minutes then carefully remove from the tin.
  • Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack until you decorate with the glaze.
  • To make the glaze mixing the icing sugar with the milk until thick but pourable. Drizzle over the cake and then leave to set for at least an hour before cutting into squares.

Nutrition

Calories: 610kcal | Carbohydrates: 77g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 248mg | Potassium: 244mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 44g | Vitamin A: 1030IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 104mg | Iron: 1mg

SHOP THE RECIPE

The cake tin I use for all my tray bakes and sheet cakes is the KitchenCraft Chicago Metallic Professional Non-Stick Baking and Roasting Tin, 33 x 23 cm (13″ x 9″) which I love because it’s robust and easy to clean.

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

This is the sorghum flour I’ve been using recently and I’ve been really loving it.yourhealthstore Premium Whole Grain Gluten Free Sorghum Flour 1kg (sweet white) It’s earthy, nutty and compliments the apples, thyme and cheddar in this cake perfectly.

You want to use potato flour and not potato starch in this cake, they are different ingredients and do different things so make sure you are using the right one. I use Wholefood Earth Organic Potato Flour, 1 kg which is a lovely fine flour.

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Apple Cheddar Thyme Crumble Cake

Nettle Leaf and Cheddar Tart {gluten-free}

This delicate Nettle Leaf and Cheddar Tart makes the most of the first of spring’s nettles luxuriously mixed with a good cheddar to make a glorious tart in beautiful flaky pastry.

Nettle Leaf and Cheddar Tart {gluten-free}

If you are up for a bit of very easy foraging, now is the perfect time to hunt, gather and eat nettles.  That’s right, stinging nettles. Granted the ‘stinging’ part of their name doesn’t make them sound the most appealing prospect but I urge you to give them a try. Between March and early April nettles are plentiful and everywhere. The freshly sprouted nettle leaf tops are what we are looking for, they are sweet and delicate and can be substituted in almost any recipe that calls for spinach.

Nettle Leaf and Cheddar Tart {gluten-free}

Nettles have the most protein of any green, including broccoli and spinach.  And now we’re all being ordered to eat 7-a-day, I think I need to bring something new to the table. I don’t think they even do 7 different types of fruit and veg at my Sainsbury’s Local, so gathering up a bit of free greenery crammed with nutrients seems like a good way to pack that veg into my diet.

Nettle Leaf and Cheddar Tart {gluten-free}

I’m so lucky that I live moments away from the Parkland Walk, the old railway line that used to run from Finsbury Park to Muswell Hill. Since 1984 it has been maintained as a nature reserve, looked after by the local community.  As well as a lovely spot to walk the puppy or go for a pleasant run, it is a treat to be so close to nature whilst North London bustles around outside the tree lined enclosure. You can barely hear the traffic so it’s easy to forget you are in the city. It is also perfect for a bit of foraging if you know what you are looking for.  I don’t really but even I can spot stinging nettles a mile away.

Nettle Leaf and Cheddar Tart {gluten-free}

You should pick nettles before they are waist high. When you go nettle picking wear heavy-duty kitchen gloves – not the flimsy food grade gloves as the stingers are tricksy and somehow manage to wheedle into the thin plastic gloves. Take a good long pair of scissors and a large carrier bag.  In order to garner the 200g of nettle leaves I needed for this recipe I filled a whole carrier bag with nettle tops. Not the hoary old timers that are the size of your palm but the fresh shoots from the top of the nettles. And no I did not look like a weirdo decked out in my marigolds and wellies, knee deep in the bushes and surrounded by stinging nettles. This is London, so odd behaviour is expected.

Nettle Leaf and Cheddar Tart {gluten-free}

Nettle Leaf and Cheddar Tart {gluten-free}

To prepare the nettles I filled up my kitchen sink with water, put on my rubber gloves and dunked the nettles in, swishing around to wash out the grit and bugs. I then plucked each nettle from the water, snipped off the leaves using scissors and popped them onto the scales. Once I had 200g of nettle leaves, I plunged them into a large saucepan filled with boiling salted water and, after bringing the water back to the boil, simmered for 2 minutes. The sting is subdued within the first 30 seconds of cooking so after this you can discard your rubber gloves and use your hands. The first time you do this you do tend to think the whole world is playing a bit of a joke and you are just about to get your innocent little hands completely ravished. But trust me, the nettles are perfectly placid by this point so feel free to naked up those paws.

Nettle Leaf and Cheddar Tart {gluten-free}

The resulting tart is lovely and mellow but with a gorgeously distinctive nettle flavour. I used a very light cheddar which I don’t normally do but I didn’t want to overpower the nettles since I went to so much trouble in my foraging expedition. I’m all about the bacon salt this week so I seasoned the tart filling with a touch of the good stuff. If you haven’t yet succumbed to its delights then normal salt will do just fine.  Like any self-respecting British tart I served it warm with a handful of oven baked chips. Utterly delicious.

Nettle Leaf and Cheddar Tart {gluten-free}

Nettle Leaf and Cheddar Tart {gluten-free}

This delicate tart makes the most of the first of Spring's nettles luxuriously mixed with a good cheddar to make a glorious tart in beautiful flaky pastry.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: British
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 503kcal

Ingredients

For the pastry*:

  • 80 g rice flour
  • 25 g oat flour
  • 45 g buckwheat flour
  • 30 g cornflour
  • 15 g tapioca starch
  • 15 g ground chia seeds
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 115 g cold unsalted butter cut into very thin slices
  • 1 egg medium, lightly beaten
  • 2-4 tablespoons iced water
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour for rolling out

For the filling:

  • 200 g nettle leaves
  • 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks
  • 200 ml crème fraiche
  • 1 tbsp chives
  • 100 g mellow cheddar grated

Equipment

  • 20 cm round tart tin with high sides

Instructions

Pastry

  • In a large mixing bowl combine the flours, chia seeds and salt.
  • Rub the butter into the flour in between your fingertips so it resembles very rough breadcrumbs then stir in the beaten egg with a fork.
  • Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time and start to bring the dough together with a pastry scraper. It should start to form quite quickly.
  • Tip the dough onto the work surface and quickly bring the ball into a round ball with your hands. You don’t really need to work the pastry as there’s no gluten to activate. The pastry should still be a little sticky.
  • Wrap the pastry ball in greaseproof paper and flatten it slightly.
  • Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  • Dust the work surface with a gluten-free flour blend then roll the pastry out into a circle large enough to line a 20cm tart tin.
  • Once you have lined the pastry in the tin and neatened the edges with a knife, place greaseproof paper over the pastry, so it comes up over the sides, then fill the tin with baking beans.
  • Place in the oven for 20 minutes. Take out of the oven then remove the baking beans and parchment and brush the surface of the pastry with the beaten egg.
  • Place back in the oven for a final five minutes to seal the pastry. Remove from the oven and leave to cool to room temperature before adding the filling.

Filling

  • Place your nettle leaves in a large saucepan of salted boiling water. Bring back to the boil then simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Drain the nettle leaves and douse in cold water to stop them cooking any further. When cool enough to handle, ball up the nettle leaves and squeeze out the excess water. Chop finely then set aside.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the eggs and egg yolks with the crème fraiche.
  • Add the chives, then the cheddar, then the nettle leaves. Season with plenty of salt and pepper or bacon salt if you have it.
  • Pour the filling into the tart shell and place back in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool to room temperature before trimming the edges off the pastry and taking it out of the tin. Serve warm.

Notes

*Pastry recipe adapted from Flaky Pie Dough in Alanna Taylor-Tobin's Alternative Baker
This recipe was updated in 2017 to be gluten-free, so the resulting pastry will not be as light in colour as those in the photos.

Nutrition

Calories: 503kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Cholesterol: 186mg | Sodium: 347mg | Potassium: 262mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1945IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 340mg | Iron: 1.8mg

Nettle Leaf and Cheddar Tart {gluten-free}

SHOP THE RECIPE

I love these tins by Alan Silverwood and to bake my tart I used this Fluted Flan Tin 20cm Alan Silverwood. It has a loose bottom so makes it easy to remove your baked tarts from and is a silver anodised finish so conducts heat evenly. Don’t put them in the dishwasher though as it will ruin the tin.

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