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.

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

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.

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

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.

A bowl of glacé cherries in front of a bowl of fresh 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 recipe is perfect for making the most of your Homemade Glacé Cherries but if you don’t have any to hand then try to get the best quality glacé cherries you can find and the better your cake will be.

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

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.

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.

Print Recipe
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
Course cake
Cuisine British
Keyword cake, gluten-free
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 70 minutes
Servings
10-12 slices
Ingredients
  • 275 g glace 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
Course cake
Cuisine British
Keyword cake, gluten-free
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 70 minutes
Servings
10-12 slices
Ingredients
  • 275 g glace 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
Cherry Cake on a cooling rack with a cake knife sitting in front of a bowl of cherries
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 170°C fan assisted oven or 180°C in a regular oven*.
  2. Grease and line an 8 inch x 4 inch round cake tin.
  3. Chop the cherries roughly, so some are halved and some quartered, then pour into a medium sized bowl, leave for a minute.
  4. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flours, almonds, baking powder and salt.
  5. Take out a tablespoon of the dry mixture and stir into the cherries until all the cherries are well coated then set aside
  6. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy.
  7. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after every addition.
  8. 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.
  9. Stir in the cherries until evenly dispersed then pour into the cake tin.
  10. Bake for about 70 minutes or until an inserted cocktail skewer comes out clean.
  11. 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.
Recipe Notes

*If you want to make your own 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.

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, although typically I use the 8 inch tins.


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A cupcake on a cake stand next to some glacé cherries

Homemade Glacé Cherries

This Blood Orange Rosemary Polenta Cake is both gluten-free and dairy-free. Whole oranges are boiled then pureed to create an incredibly moist and intensely citrusy cake spiked with a hint of rosemary.

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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}

Print Recipe
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
Coconut Cherry Clafoutis {gluten-free, dairy-free}
Course dessert
Cuisine French
Keyword cherry
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35-40 minutes
Servings
6 people
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
Course dessert
Cuisine French
Keyword cherry
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35-40 minutes
Servings
6 people
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
Coconut Cherry Clafoutis {gluten-free, dairy-free}
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven and grease a 25cm baking dish with coconut oil.
  2. Remove the stalks from cherries and pit them, then lay them into the greased dish in one layer.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Dust the icing sugar over the top and serve warm. Amazing with ice cream.

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

Pickled Mirabelles

They are taking over. Sorry fresh veggies, butter, bacon and milk, you are now living on borrowed time. This is the age of the jars and they have decreed that there won’t be enough space for you in the fridge for much longer. Pretty soon there will be a jar in every gap, every shelf, in the drawers and in the doors and there’s nothing we can do to stop them.

It used to be, in our refrigerator, that our top shelf was for preserves, the middle shelf for dairy, the bottom shelf for meat and the drawers for veg. When I say casually that lately we seem to have acquired quite a lot of chutneys, relishes, jams, marmalades, pickles, fruit butters, ketchups, mustards, chilli sauce, sriracha, hoisin, horseradish, mint sauce… well, you get my drift. Basically it’s out of control. Our vast array of jarred goods are now happily commandeering every single shelf in our fridge. So much so that I have banned myself from doing any further food shopping until we have started to finish off some of the contents of those jars. It’s easier said than done as every little jar has its own special purpose in our kitchen. Whether it’s my chinese damson sauce for my duck summer rolls or my blackberry butter for my blackberry crumble bars or even my mango chutney which I like to dollop a small amount of into my curries, so they are all needed, constantly used and enjoyed.

Pickled Mirabelles

The worst thing is that yesterday, I added another jar to the fridge so really I might as well forego proper meals completely and just dig into the horseradish with a spoon and call it lunch.

These pickled mirabelles had been stored safely away in the larder until yesterday, sealed, where they could have been left undisturbed for another ten months at least. We made them weeks ago when the allotment man at Ally Pally farmers’ market had kilos and kilos of them for sale for a few weeks running – back when it was Mirabelle season presumably. They are from the plum family in case you don’t know them and I’m sorry to say I had never heard of them until this year. They can most commonly be found in Lorraine in France but these ones were from Essex. They are yellow, tiny and particularly sweet and juicy. They do make, by all accounts, a very lovely jam, but we wanted to do something different with them.

Pickled Mirabelles

For some reason I had become convinced I needed to pickle some fruits. I had eaten pickled gooseberries as part of a cheese board at a local restaurant and was up for pickling anything small sweet and round. When we brought a kilo of mirabelles home from the farmers’ market they seemed to be ideal for the purpose. I hadn’t pickled fruit before so I followed a recipe I knew was guaranteed to be delicious as it came from the kitchen of Diana Henry from her Salt, Sugar, Smoke cookbook ,which really must be one of my favourite cookbooks of all time. It was a simple recipe to follow as well, one of those assembly type affairs where you more or less put everything in a saucepan, bring to the boil for a few minutes then decant into jars. Really, the best kind of preserving. She used her pickling recipe for cherries but I saw no reason why it wouldn’t work for our mirabelles.

Pickled Mirabelles

I can very smugly say I was completely correct. They are golden and jewel like in the jar, and when you remove them they sparkle in the October sunshine making them look utterly irresistible. They taste sweet with just a touch of sourness which makes them absolutely ideal with cheese or cold meats. They do have a small stone in the middle though so you must be careful when you pop them in your mouth that you don’t break your tooth. Yesterday, when I found an errant jar of the mirabelles in the larder I remembered that not only had I not blogged about them (shame on me) but I was thrilled that they would be ideal with the ham salad I was about to eat for my lunch. So out they came and now they have been opened, they have joined the rest of their condiment comrades in the fridge.

I wasn’t content with just pickling my mirabelles but also had a go at doing the same with some grapes with the syrup which was leftover and then when I still had some more leftover syrup after that I pickled the original cherries but added a dash of amaretto. I haven’t tasted those yet, they are still for now in the larder where they could safely reside until our Christmas cheeseboard. Something tells me though they won’t last until Halloween as I’m now working my way through these mirabelles at an alarming pace. It’s safe to say that it doesn’t look like our fridge is going to be back in use any time soon.

Pickled Mirabelles

Pickled Mirabelles
Adapted from Diana Henry’s ‘Cerises au Vinegar’ in Salt Sugar Smoke

1 kg mirabelles
600ml cider vinegar
½ cinnamon stick
900g granulated sugar
4 cloves
¼ tsp nutmeg

  1. Prick each Mirabelle with a cocktail stick so the fruit doesn’t split in the pan, the place in a large saucepan with the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 4 minutes.
  3. Take off the heat and remove the mirabelles with a slotted spoon, decanting into sterilised jars.
  4. Place the syrupy vinegar back onto the heat then bring back to a boil and keep at a rolling boil for about 10 minutes until the syrup reduces slightly. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  5. Once cooled, spoon the syrup into the jars with the mirabelles until filled and seal.
  6. If there is any vinegar syrup left over then decant into a separate bottle and use for salad dressings.

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.

Wesley and the cherries

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.

Homemade Glacé Cherries

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.

Homemade Glacé Cherries

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.

Homemade Glacé Cherries

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.

Homemade Glacé Cherries

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
Homemade Glacé Cherries
A luxurious cherry for all your baking needs
Homemade Glacé Cherries
Prep Time 15 minutes each day
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
450g
Ingredients
  • 450 g cherries stalks removed and stoned
  • 570 ml boiling water
  • 750 g granulated sugar
Prep Time 15 minutes each day
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
450g
Ingredients
  • 450 g cherries stalks removed and stoned
  • 570 ml boiling water
  • 750 g granulated sugar
Homemade Glacé Cherries
Instructions
Day 1
  1. Place the cherries in a large pan with the boiling water and cook until the fruit is just tender.
  2. Drain the cherries but reserve 425ml of the liquid. Put the cherries into a heatproof bowl.
  3. 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.
  4. Turn off the heat and pour the syrup over the cherries.
  5. Cover the bowl and leave to soak for 24 hours.
Day 2
  1. Strain the syrup into a large saucepan and return the fruit to the bowl.
  2. 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.
  3. Pour the syrup back over the cherries, cover and leave for another 24 hours.
Day 3-7
  1. Repeat Day 2
Day 8
  1. Times are a-changing. Strain the syrup into a large saucepan but this time add 85g of the sugar into the saucepan.
  2. Cook over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved then add the cherries and bring to a boil.
  3. 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
  1. Repeat Day 8, but only add the remaining 55g sugar and then leaving for 4 days.
Day 14
  1. 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.
Recipe Notes

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

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