Gluten-Free Cherry Cake

This Gluten-Free Cherry Cake is a simple summer bake. Fluffy and tender with a sugary crust and packed with fruity glacé cherries. It’s ideal for taking on picnics or sitting resplendent on the stall of your local school fete.

Cherry Cake on a cooling rack with a cake knife sitting in front of a bowl of cherries

We are often asking a lot of our cake at this time of year, schlepping it about to picnics, family gatherings and donating it to school fetes, local fairs and festivals.

Not only must the cake be easily transportable but once it reaches its destination then we will need it to withstand the summer weather as it sits, probably uncovered, for a couple of hours battling with the hot sun’s rays. Preferably during all this time we will also demand that our cake look lovely, taste amazing and not poison our children.

So it’s better that our offering should not be some extravagantly decorated number with delicate buttercream flowers that can get smoodged in the car or spoil in the heat. We should also keep any kind of chocolate ganache out of the equation too lest we want our cake to turn into a big chocolate puddle.

Cherry Cake on a cooling rack with a cake knife sitting in front of a bowl of cherries

That’s where this crowd pleasing Gluten-Free Cherry Cake comes in. It’s a simple bake with no frills that can stand up well to being carted around in this strong summer weather. Plus there’s no creamy, rich covering that can feel too heavy or become a danger in this summer heat. It’s just all about a gorgeously fluffy sponge studded with plump and juicy glacé cherries sprinkled with a crunchy sugar dusting.

This is not a cake destined for a royal wedding but a beautiful homely affair. Your Gluten-Free Cherry Cake doesn’t need a cake fork but can be casually served on a napkin or just in your hands. Children will be delighted by the glacé cherries and the older crowd will be reminded of the cakes they grew up with.

A bowl of glacé cherries in front of a bowl of fresh cherries

How do you make Gluten-Free Cherry Cake?

This cake uses a straightforward creaming method and is very quick to whip up.

  1. Blend butter with caster sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs one at a time.
  3. Beat in the gluten-free flours, ground almonds, baking powder and salt.
  4. Add half the flour mixture. Then some lemon juice and zest. Finally add in the rest of the flour mixture.
  5. Stir in chopped cherries.
  6. Pour into the cake tin and bake for 70 minutes.
  7. Remove the cake from the tin and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

This recipe uses a blend of three different gluten-free flours:

  • White Rice Flour
  • Millet Flour
  • Tapioca Flour

We use white rice flour is because of its neutral flavour and light texture. It’s best not to use too much otherwise the cake will become claggy. We blend it with millet flour which is also a light flour but has slightly more earthy flavour which pairs beautifully with the cherries. Finally we use tapioca flour which is a starchy flour, which holds the cake together so isn’t crumbly and dry.

Along with the gluten-free flours we use ground almonds. This is totally traditional in a cherry cake as it gives the cake a beautiful flavour. Almonds and cherries are natural flavour companions. However, ground almonds also helps for this gluten-free cake as nut flours gives the cake moisture.

A slice of cherry cake on a cooling rack with a cake knife sitting in front of a bowl of cherries

Glacé Cherries

Traditionally you make cherry cake with glacé cherries, meaning you can make this cake all year round. I heartily recommend trying your hand at Homemade Glacé Cherries to make the most of this recipe. However if you don’t have any to hand then try to get the best quality glacé cherries you can find. The bright red ones are pretty but taste of little more than sugar.

Can you make Gluten-Free Cherry Cake with fresh cherries?

Yes! Pit the cherries then use in exactly the same way as you would the glacé cherries. The fresh cherries will release more moisture so the cake will have a slightly different consistency but it will still be delicious.

You can also make this cake with frozen cherries direct from the freezer.

Can you freeze Gluten-Free Cherry Cake?

This cake freezes extremely well. Wait until the cake has cooled completely, then wrap tightly in cling film and then a layer of tin foil so the cake is completely protected.

To defrost, remove the cake from the freezer the night before you want to serve it. De-frost still wrapped up, then unwrap it the next day and serve as usual.

Cherry Cake on a cooling rack with a cake knife sitting in front of a bowl of cherries

This Gluten-Free Cherry Cake is the stalwart of the party or the cake stall. It’s reliably delicious and crowd pleasing. For me, it’s what easy summer baking is all about and just the kind of cake I want to eat whatever the weather.

Have you seen these other recipes which would be great for a summer cake stall?

Gluten-Free Victoria Sponge
Vanilla Almond Cake with Lemon Curd Glaze
Whole Orange Chocolate Chip Cake
No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

If you make this Gluten-Free Cherry Cake then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Gluten-Free Cherry Cake

This Gluten-Free Cherry Cake is a simple summer bake. Fluffy and tender with a sugary crust and packed with fruity glacé cherries. It’s ideal for taking on picnics or sitting resplendent on the stall of your local school fete.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 10 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Servings: 10 slices
Calories: 514

Ingredients

  • 275 g glacé cherries*
  • 125 g white rice flour
  • 70 g millet flour
  • 30 g tapioca flour
  • 120 g ground almonds
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 225 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 170°C fan assisted oven or 180°C in a regular oven*.
  • Grease and line an 8 inch x 4 inch round cake tin.
  • Chop the cherries roughly, so some are halved and some quartered, then pour into a medium sized bowl, leave for a minute.
  • In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flours, almonds, baking powder and salt.
  • Take out a tablespoon of the dry mixture and stir into the cherries until all the cherries are well coated then set aside
  • Beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after every addition.
  • Pour in half the flour and mix in well, scraping down the sides. Mix in the zest and juice of the lemon then add the other half of the flour.
  • Stir in the cherries until evenly dispersed then pour into the cake tin.
  • Bake for about 70 minutes or until an inserted cocktail skewer comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out carefully and sprinkle the two teaspoons of granulated sugar over the top of the cake.

Notes

  • If you want to make homemade glacé cherries then get the recipe here.
  • I’m baking more and more of my cakes in a fan assisted oven. Gluten-Free flours can retain more moisture so I find that by keeping the air circulating in the oven during the bake it lightens the cake a little. By all means if you don’t have a fan-assisted oven then just raise the temperature by 10 degrees and your cake will turn out just fine.
  • Gluten-Free Cherry Cake freezes extremely well. Bake and cool completely then wrap up well before freezing.
  • If you can't get hold of some of these flours then you can use a gluten-free flour such as Doves Farm Plain Gluten-Free Flour. Substitute the white rice flour, millet flour and tapioca flour for 225g gluten-free flour.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 514kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 113mg | Sodium: 86mg | Potassium: 89mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 655IU | Vitamin C: 5.7mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 1.2mg

SHOP THE RECIPE

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.


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two images of gluten-free cherry cake. one of the whole cake and the other with a cut slice of cake

Coconut Cherry Clafoutis {gluten-free, dairy-free}

Coconut Cherry Clafoutis makes the most of cherry season. It’s a quick dessert, made even more delicious with the use of alternative flours and rich coconut milk which also helps to make the recipe dairy-free.

Coconut Cherry Clafoutis {gluten-free, dairy-free}

Cherry season must surely be my favourite fruit season. I am tearing through punnets of them like nobody’s business and the ones at the farmer’s market at the moment have been especially juicy and sweet. My fingers are constantly painted red with cherry juice but I have no regrets. They are utterly irresistible. The cherries that I’m not throwing down my gullet at every opportunity however have sought sweet solace in this beautiful clafoutis. It’s basically like cherries baked into custard, absolute perfection at the end of a long lazy Sunday barbecue.

Coconut Cherry Clafoutis {gluten-free, dairy-free}

There was a bit of banter on the recipes during my research over whether to pit or not to pit the cherries. It wasn’t much of a battle for me though as I am head over heels for my cherry pitter plus the fear of cracking a tooth whilst I’m supposed to be treating myself seemed unfair punishment. Also we have a toddler so to pit is the child friendly option. It’s true that the cherry pits can add an extra layer of flavour, intensifying the almondy tang of the cherries but I’ve made up for that by using flavourful gluten-free flours, fresh lemon zest, warming vanilla and of course rich coconut milk.

Coconut Cherry Clafoutis {gluten-free, dairy-free}

It’s a lovely quick dessert to knock up on a whim as long as you have your cherries to hand so even though you do have to put the oven on during a balmy summer day, there’s no slaving away beforehand. The cherries are just slung into a baking dish, the custard batter is whisked together in five minutes then it’s baked.

Coconut Cherry Clafoutis {gluten-free, dairy-free}

I love this dessert, warm from the oven bedecked with a handsome dollop of ice cream. Since this is a deliberately dairy-free dessert then I would possibly go for a dairy-free coconut ice cream but it’s up to you. If there is no ice cream to hand, then I can vouch that your Coconut Cherry Clafoutis is perfectly acceptable naked with just a light dusting of icing sugar. It’s really all about the cherries anyway.

Coconut Cherry Clafoutis {gluten-free, dairy-free}

Coconut Cherry Clafoutis {gluten-free, dairy-free}

Coconut Cherry Clafoutis is a delicious dairy-free and gluten-free dessert which makes the most of cherry season
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 253

Ingredients

  • 500 g cherries
  • 30 g sweet rice flour
  • 20 g gluten-free oat flour
  • 75 g soft light brown sugar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 3 medium eggs lightly beaten
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250 ml coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons icing sugar

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven and grease a 25cm baking dish with coconut oil.
  • Remove the stalks from cherries and pit them, then lay them into the greased dish in one layer.
  • Sift the flours together with the sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and whisk in the eggs until thick and smooth.
  • In a measuring jug stir together the lemon zest, vanilla extract and coconut milk then pour into the rest of the batter whisking well until smooth.
  • Pour the batter over the cherries then bake for 35-40 minutes until the clafoutis is set but still a little wobbly in the centre.
  • Dust the icing sugar over the top and serve warm. Amazing with ice cream.

Nutrition

Calories: 253kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 45mg | Potassium: 340mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 185IU | Vitamin C: 6.3mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 2.3mg

If you like this recipe then you may like…

Gluten-Free Cherry Cake

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Homemade Glacé Cherries

A cupcake on a cake stand next to some glacé cherries

Frozen Cherry Chocolate Pie

No-Bake Frozen Cherry Chocolate Pie with slices cut on a wooden board on a wooden table with cherries

Homemade Glacé Cherries

These Homemade Glacé Cherries are a labour of love but once you taste the difference between these and the pillar box red variety you can get in the supermarket then you won’t look back.

A cupcake on a cake stand next to some glacé cherries

If there is one member of the household who is thrilled that our kitchen is constantly filled these days with blackberries, damsons, crab apples and cherries it’s Wesley. I have spoken before about his obsession with pears but his fruit addiction is now getting out of control. I can’t turn my back on a bowl of freshly picked fruit without piquing his interest and five minutes later finding him batting them all over the kitchen floor.

Yesterday, after a bounteous yield of crab apples was happily soaking up the sun streaming in from the window, I was called into the kitchen by the sound of an energetic animal bouncing something around on the tiles which never spells goods news. I walked in to find Billy Buddy enthusiastically chasing round a poor crab apple. How did he get hold of that, there’s no way the puppy can get anywhere near our kitchen counter? I looked round the corner to see Wesley looking on forlornly as his hard worn apple had been rudely swiped by the puppy. He learnt the hard way that it’s not nice when someone else steals your fruit.

Unfortunately for Wesley his fruit supply is about to be cut short. From this week all furry little creatures are being banned from any food preparation areas, which is a sad little side effect of now opening my kitchen up as a business. I will feel very nostalgic for the days when my steadfast kitchen companion is fast asleep stretched across the full length of my counter as I’m in full on baking mode, flour and sugar flying across him blissfully unaware. I will especially miss the times when I am chopping onions in his vicinity and his eyes start blinking, full of confusion as to why they are now pouring with water. I am ashamed to say this is something that will never fail to make me laugh, as well as the time that he pounced up on the side as I was juicing some lemons. A cat with lemon juice in his eye produces a very sour look.

Thank goodness then that I just about managed to ward Wesley off these glacé cherries during the entire length of this candying process. These cherries, like Monday’s salt beef have been a bit of a labour of love. I started them weeks ago and only now are they finally ready to be presented to the world, having ascended from a lovely healthy fruit to pretty much just sugar.

I have been really keen to make glacé cherries for some time now as I always thought the cherriness of the commercially made versions was somehow lost in the candying. These homemade glacé cherries are a world away from anything you might have had before, they don’t have the brilliant postbox red colour but instead command an alluring burgundy. Their texture is also much more dense and fudgey; I can imagine them being the secret ingredient of the world’s best brownie.

The amount of cherries I’ve suggested in the recipe below is completely at mercy as to how many cherries you actually have. If you are gathering cherries specifically for this recipe then 450g is the best place to start but this recipe is easy to scale up. The more cherries you have the further they will go. They are especially wonderful in this Gluten-Free Cherry Cake but if you only have a few then feel free to sequester them away from snack venturing fingers and save for only the most reverential of cocktails, the most exquisite of cupcakes and to adorn only the most luxurious trifle. Although I often get into the habit of being a bit too precious about them, the last thing I want is to save them and save them until they are spoilt and no longer as prizeworthy as they currently are. One thing I know for certain, they are nowhere near any sneaky little cream coloured paws.

Homemade Glacé Cherries
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Homemade Glacé Cherries

A luxurious cherry for all your baking needs
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Servings: 450
Calories: 7

Ingredients

  • 450 g cherries stalks removed and stoned
  • 570 ml boiling water
  • 750 g granulated sugar

Instructions

Day 1

  • Place the cherries in a large pan with the boiling water and cook until the fruit is just tender.
  • Drain the cherries but reserve 425ml of the liquid. Put the cherries into a heatproof bowl.
  • Pour the liquid back into the saucepan with 250g of the sugar. Stir over a gentle heat to dissolve the sugar and bring to a boil.
  • Turn off the heat and pour the syrup over the cherries.
  • Cover the bowl and leave to soak for 24 hours.

Day 2

  • Strain the syrup into a large saucepan and return the fruit to the bowl.
  • Add 60g of sugar to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down to simmer for a couple of minutes making sure the sugar has completely dissolved.
  • Pour the syrup back over the cherries, cover and leave for another 24 hours.

Day 3-7

  • Repeat Day 2

Day 8

  • Times are a-changing. Strain the syrup into a large saucepan but this time add 85g of the sugar into the saucepan.
  • Cook over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved then add the cherries and bring to a boil.
  • Turn down to a simmer for 3 minutes, then pour the fruit and syrup back into the heatproof bowl, cover and leave to stand for 2 days.

Day 10

  • Repeat Day 8, but only add the remaining 55g sugar and then leaving for 4 days.

Day 14

  • The syrup should have now turned very thick and heavy, if not, repeat Day 10. Otherwise, drain the fruit, place on a wire rack and leave in a warm dry place until no longer sticky. They should be ready after a couple of days.

Notes

Recipe from The Cook's Scrapbook by Reader's Digest

Nutrition

Calories: 7kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 2mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 5IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 1mg

What To Do With The Leftover Cherry Syrup

After you have congratulated yourself on making the finest Homemade Glacé Cherries you may find yourself looking at a nice little jug of leftover cherry syrup. I don’t like delicious by products like this going to waste so I’ve put together a little guide of the best uses for your cherry syrup. So basically the gifts from this recipe are endless. If you would like a free copy of this guide then just click the link below!

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