Healthy Banana Flapjacks

You won’t be able to get enough of these Healthy Banana Flapjacks. They are the perfect choice if you are looking for a vegan, refined sugar-free and gluten-free treat. Believe me you will be baking these and serving them to your friends and family time and time again.

Healthy Banana Flapjacks arranged on a metal tray

These Healthy Banana Flapjacks are on constant snack rotation in our house. They are ideal to have in the kitchen for the whole family to ward off mid-afternoon hunger pangs that don’t revolve around refined sugar. This recipe is golden and I guarantee you will be making it time and time again.

ingredients for banana flapjacks on a wooden board

Why should you make these Healthy Banana Flapjacks?

  • Perfect back-to-school or back-to-office healthy snack for lunchboxes.
  • No sugar. All the sweetness is from medjool dates and banana.
  • Deliciously chewy and fudgey texture.
  • Totally satisfying breakfast on the run.
  • Vegan!! Actually I used to make these flapjacks with melted butter but this vegan version with the coconut oil is better. It’s lighter and gives a slightly cleaner taste.

How do you make these flapjacks?

You start off by making a salted date caramel which is really just a fancy way of saying date paste. We use:

Dates
Water
Vanilla extract
Salt

Whizz this lovely foursome up in a food processor to create your caramel. And yes, it really does taste like a thick sweet golden caramel. Hard to believe there is no sugar!!

process image of making date caramel. Dates in a food processor and dates turned into caramel

What next?

Melt the coconut oil and whisk in the cashew butter, mashed banana and date caramel.

This is when the true magic happens. If you dare to dip a fingertip into this magic elixir then I warn you, there may be no coming back from it.

The fact that these flapjacks make it into the oven at all is a miracle each time.

Can’t find any cashew butter at the supermarket? It’s super easy to make your own – see this recipe.

saucepan of date caramel and a glass bowl of flapjack mixture

The final step

Smother the gorgeous nutty banana caramel mixture over the oats, mixing well together. Press into a tin and bake.

Two images of flapjack mixture in a bowl and flapjacks in a tin ready for the oven

Baker’s Tips

  • Make a double quantity of the date caramel as it blends up better in your food processor/blender. The date caramel is an amazing topping to porridge, mixed into coconut yoghurt, or can be used as the sweetener in sugar-free cakes like this Apple Blueberry Maple Cake.
  • For these flapjacks to be gluten-free then make sure to use gluten-free oats.
  • Use porridge oats rather than jumbo rolled oats as they hold together better.
  • The extra banana slices on the top are really important. So chewy and so good! 

Healthy Banana Flapjacks arranged on a metal tray

FAQs

Can you freeze these flapjacks? Yes. I recommend freezing before cutting up. As usual, double wrap to avoid freezer burn and take out the night before you want to eat to defrost on the counter overnight.

How long do they keep for? 3 days in an airtight container stored in a cool dark place.

Healthy Banana Flapjacks arranged on a metal tray with a bite taken out of one of them

Add-ins

This flapjack recipe is delicious on its own but you can pimp it up for something even more special. Why not try:

  • Chocolate – Dark chocolate chips (I feel like I always say this!)
  • Seeds – pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or hemp seeds
  • Dried Fruit – chopped apricots are particularly good here!

These Salted Date Caramel Banana Flapjacks are refined sugar-free and gluten-free for guilt-free snacking.

 

Do you want more vegan, no sugar and gluten-free snack recipes? Try these:

No-Bake Salted Chocolate Energy Bars
Coconut Lime Energy Balls
Best Granola Bars
Raw Blueberry Coconut Energy Bars

If you make these Healthy Banana Flapjacks then please leave a comment below and 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.

Healthy Banana Flapjacks

You won’t be able to get enough of these Healthy Banana Flapjacks. They are the perfect choice if you are looking for a vegan, refined sugar-free and gluten-free treat. Believe me you will be baking these and serving them to your friends and family time and time again.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: British
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 288kcal

Ingredients

  • 200 g medjool dates about 11
  • 60 ml warm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 170 g cashew butter
  • 175 g coconut oil
  • 120 g mashed banana about 1 large banana
  • 1 banana sliced for decoration
  • 350 g gluten-free porridge oats
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 170°C/ 150°C fan/ gas mark 3 and grease and line a 20cm square cake tin.
  • To make the date caramel pit the dates then place them in a food processor along with the warm water, vanilla extract and salt. Whizz together until completely smooth. You may have to scrap the sides of the processor a few times to help the process along.
  • Melt the coconut oil in a medium pan over a low heat then remove from the heat and stir in the cashew butter, date caramel and mashed banana.
  • Pour the oats into a large mixing bowl then smother with the banana caramel mixture until it is all mixed well together.
  • Press the flapjack mixture into the tin so the top is even and smooth. Cut the extra banana into slices then place on the surface of the flapjack. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.
  • Once cool, remove from the tin and cut into squares.

Notes

  • For these flapjacks to be gluten-free then make sure to use gluten-free oats.
  • Use porridge oats rather than jumbo rolled oats as they hold together better.
  • Don’t skip the sliced banana on the top!! So good.
  • Can't get to the shops for Cashew Butter? It's so easy to make, see this recipe.
  • You can add chocolate chips, pumpkin or sunflower seeds or even dried fruit like chopped apricots to make them really special.
  • These flapjacks freeze really well.
  • Store in a cool dark place for up to 3 days (if you can possibly resist them!)

Nutrition

Calories: 288kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Sodium: 149mg | Potassium: 277mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 28IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 2mg

This recipe was originally published in January 2017 but revised slightly to make vegan by swapping out the butter for coconut oil, adding more process photos and more tips and advice.

Calypso Chicken

The most incredible Calypso Chicken is creamy and punchy with tropical flavour. Crisply spiced chicken thighs are braised in a delicious rum and coconut sauce, flavoured with cumin and garlic and simmered with sliced onions and green peppers. Serve with fried plantain for food heaven.

Calypso Chicken on a plate with fried plantains and salad on a wooden board

I discovered this recipe for Calypso Chicken buried within my Dad’s old Taste Magazines from the 1980s. These magazines hold such fascination for me. I pick them up every so often when I need a little bit of retro dinner inspiration.

Taste Magazines

I have been making a version of this Calypso Chicken for many years now, I originally found it nestled in a piece about Floella Benjamin’s Caribbean food heritage and it leapt out at me as soon as I read it. I have adapted it slightly from its original incarnation including upping the ante on some of the ingredients for maximum impact (ahem, the rum) but it is still an absolutely classic recipe which I urge you to make.

Calypso Chicken on a plate with fried plantains and salad on a wooden board

Why is Calypso Chicken so brilliant?

  • Using chicken thighs instead of breast means the meat is more juicy and flavourful.
  • Even though the sauce is so creamy it is also naturally dairy-free as it’s made from a blend of rum, really good chicken stock and creamed coconut.
  • Did I mention rum?? You will always want to add rum to every chicken braise from now on. It is an insanely delicious basis for a sauce.
  • Creamed Coconut is an ingredient which is more than often replaced in modern recipes with coconut cream (not the same thing) or coconut milk. Use creamed coconut here for a deliciously intense coconut flavour.
  • You need a few dashes of Angostura bitters. It’s spiced fruity flavour is such a revelation if you take it out of the comfort of the cocktail cabinet. I usually add it to my fruit pie fillings but it’s also a perfect match in this rum coconut sauce.

ingredients for Calypso Chicken on a wooden board

How do you make Calypso Chicken?

  1. Rub the chicken thighs with a spice blend of cumin, garlic, chilli and seasoning.chicken in a glass bowl rubbed with spices on a wooden board with bowls of rum and coconut next to it
  2. Sear the chicken skin side down in a wide bottomed pan until the skin is crispy.
  3. Remove the chicken and add sliced onions and green peppers into the pan.Sliced green peppers and onions in a cast iron skillet
  4. Heat the chicken stock then pour in the rum, coconut cream, angostura bitters and saffron and whisk until smooth.
  5. Pour the sauce in with the softened onions and peppers.
  6. Bring to a boil then turn down to a gentle bubble. Add the chicken back in, flesh side down and simmer for 40 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the chicken has fully cooked.Chicken in a cast iron skillet simmering in a calypso sauce
  7. Sprinkle over the green chillies and parsley to serve.

Rum and Coconut Chicken | Stroud Green Larder

Pro Tips

  • Use free-range chicken if you can for the best flavour and provenance. If you eat meat you want to know where it’s coming from.
  • Chicken thighs vary in size so I recommend using 1-2 per person.
  • Pat the chicken dry with kitchen towel before adding the spice mix. It will mean really crisp chicken skin and help the spices stick better to the chicken.
  • Make sure the olive oil is hot before adding the chicken so the meat doesn’t stick to the pan.
  • Use creamed coconut, not coconut cream or coconut milk. We want to add flavour not liquid. The creamed coconut is just the coconut solids.
  • And if you can, use homemade chicken stock or good shop bought. Preferably not a stock cube.
  • I recommend serving with crisply fried plantain and fresh green chillies sprinkled on top which sparks it off deliciously.

Rum and Coconut Chicken | Stroud Green Larder

Recommended Equipment

A really good cast iron skillet is ideal for meals like these. It cooks everything at an even temperature. I use it for most of my weeknight dinners.

This Calypso Chicken is perfect if you need to spice up your usual dinner routine. It’s a lovely meal for 2 but you can easily serve it to the whole family if you leave out the fresh chillies at the end. The alcohol in the rum burns off during the braise so it’s perfectly safe to serve to your littles.

More easy Chicken Dinners you might like:

The Best Gluten-Free Chicken Schnitzel
Lemon Honey and Sesame Chicken
Cashew Chicken Satay
Sticky Smoky Bourbon Chicken
Orange Ginger and Sesame Chicken

If you make Calypso Chicken 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 dinner 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.

Calypso Chicken on a plate with fried plantains and salad on a wooden board
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Calypso Chicken

The most incredible Calypso Chicken is creamy and punchy with tropical flavour. Crisply spiced chicken thighs are braised in a delicious rum and coconut sauce, flavoured with cumin and garlic and simmered with sliced onions and green peppers. Serve with fried plantain for food heaven.
Prep Time8 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Caribbean
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 983kcal

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs boned
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 green pepper de-seeded and sliced
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • 50 g creamed coconut
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • good dash of angostura bitters
  • pinch of saffron
  • 1 green chilli sliced
  • Handful of fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Mix the cumin, garlic powder, chilli powder and salt and pepper together then rub generously over the chicken thighs.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large casserole dish on the hob and as soon as it’s hot add the chicken, skin side down.
  • Fry the chicken for 10-12 minutes until the skin is crisp and golden. Then with a pair of tongs remove the chicken, set aside and add the onion and green pepper to the casserole dish.
  • Heat the stock in a small saucepan until boiling, then remove from the heat and add the creamed coconut, rum, angostura bitters and saffron until they are well mixed together.
  • Pour in the stock mixture as soon as the onion and green pepper has softened and are staring to colour, stirring in well.
  • Bring up to a gentle boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer. Add the chicken on top of the stock, flesh side down and simmer for 40 minutes until the sauce has reduced to thick and creamy.
  • Sprinkle with the green chilli and parsley.

Notes

Adapted from Taste magazine’s ‘Calypso Chicken’, March 1987
  • Use free-range chicken if you can for the best flavour and provenance. If you eat meat you want to know where it’s coming from.
  • The recipe states to use 2 boneless chicken thighs per person. However it totally depends on your size of chicken thighs. The ones we buy really vary in size. You are looking for 2 small to medium chicken thighs per person.
  • Pat the chicken dry with kitchen towel before adding the spice mix. It will mean really crisp chicken skin and help the spices stick better to the chicken.
  • Make sure the olive oil is hot before adding the chicken so the meat doesn’t stick to the pan.
  • Use creamed coconut, not coconut cream or coconut milk. We want to add flavour not liquid. The creamed coconut is just the coconut solids.
  • And if you can, use homemade chicken stock or good shop bought. Preferably not a stock cube.
  • I recommend serving with crisply fried plantain and fresh green chillies sprinkled on top which sparks it off deliciously.
  • If you want to serve to more than 2 then you can double the recipe. If you are serving for a family then you can leave out the fresh green chillies at the end. The alcohol in the rum burns off in the braise so don’t worry about serving to little ones.

Nutrition

Calories: 983kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 72g | Saturated Fat: 28g | Cholesterol: 229mg | Sodium: 1212mg | Potassium: 1084mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 545IU | Vitamin C: 55mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 4mg

This recipe was originally published in July 2014 but was republished in February 2020 to clarify the recipe method with new photos and more detailed instructions.

Almond Flour Brownies

These Almond Flour Brownies are a really simple one-bowl recipe which creates incredibly fudgy and intensely chocolatey gluten-free brownies.

Overhead shot of almond flour brownies on a wooden board

Do you need an ultra easy brownie recipe that can be mixed together in a flash and baked in an instant? Maybe you don’t have a food mixer and can’t bear washing up. Or perhaps you need something gluten-free but get intimidated by all the different flours.

If you are nodding your head vigorously to all the above then this brownie is exactly the brownie you have been looking for:

1 bowl.
1 wooden spoon.
1 flour.
8 ingredients.
20 minutes.

Then the best bit? These are the fudgiest, most chocolatey brownies you could hope to imagine.

A stack of almond flour brownies with a flower on top.

So what’s the secret? The clue is is in the title.

Almond Flour. It’s kinda my favourite.

What is almond flour?

Almond flour is made from very finely milled almonds. It is a slightly different product than ground almonds or almond meal as it has a finer grind so is much softer and quite powdery. Basically it looks like flour.

Almond flour is very high in protein and as such is excellent used in baked goods. It gives a moist and tender crumb so is a very reliable flour for gluten-free recipes. Cakes and bakes made with almond flour are delightfully fluffy but also hold together very well.

If you would like to investigate the differences between ground almonds, almond meal and almond flour then visit my in depth post all about nut flours.

A mixing bowl of brownie batter

Can you sub almond flour for almond meal?

Yes you can but be prepared that the end result may not be quite the same. For instance, instead of the smooth texture you would get from baking these brownies with almond flour the brownies will be a little nubby from the more rubbly meal. However, all the taste will still be there and the brownies will be just as fudgy.

A mixing bowl of brownie batter

How do you make Almond Flour Brownies?

There are few steps involved in these brownies so it’s the recipe to reach for if you are short on time but still need to deliver the perfect brownie.

  1. Melt the chocolate with the butter in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water.
  2. Add sugar, eggs, almond flour, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla into the bowl and mix.
  3. Pour the brownie batter into an 8 inch lined and greased square cake tin.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Leave the brownies to cool in the tin.

Baker’s Tip: For these brownies we don’t use a bain marie for melting the chocolate. You just need a large glass mixing bowl (or you can use a metal one) then rest it over a pan of simmering water. You want the bowl to drop just a little into the saucepan but nowhere near the water. The mixing bowl should be large enough so that once the chocolate has melted you can add in the rest of the ingredients. Truly a one-bowl recipe.

Baker’s Tip: We don’t just use melted chocolate or cocoa powder in these brownies. We use both. The melted chocolate gives the brownie its fudgy texture and the cocoa powder gives the brownie its intense chocolate flavour.

Baker’s Tip: Once baked, leave the brownies in the tin to cool in the fridge for at least four hours. This makes the brownies much easier to cut.

Overhead shot of almond flour brownies on a wooden board

Can you make Almond Flour Brownies dairy-free and refined sugar-free?

Yes! Use dairy-free dark chocolate and substitute coconut oil for the unsalted butter. To make the brownies refined sugar-free simply substitute the caster sugar for coconut sugar.

Before we get too carried away with these brownies I feel I should give you a little caveat. There is no crackly top on these brownies. The surface is still delightfully crisp but because we are using melted butter and no creaming method then we don’t get the traditional crackle topped brownie. If this is a sticking point for you then may I point you in the direction of these other lovely gluten-free brownies which have crackles galore:

Milk Chocolate Peanut Caramel Brownies
Choc Chip Cookie Dough Brownies
Black Sesame Peanut Butter Brownies

If you make these Almond Flour Brownies 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. Did you know that I also have a Pinterest Board dedicated to Brownies. There is a lot of inspiration on there if you need a further brownie fix.

Overhead shot of almond flour brownies on a wooden board
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Almond Flour Brownies

These Almond Flour Brownies are a really simple one-bowl recipe which creates incredibly fudgy and intensely chocolatey gluten-free brownies.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16 brownies
Calories: 295kcal

Ingredients

  • 200 g dark chocolate broken into pieces
  • 165 g unsalted butter
  • 300 g caster sugar
  • 150 g almond flour
  • 60 g cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan assisted oven/ gas mark 4.
  • Line and grease an 8 inch square cake tin.
  • Place the chocolate and unsalted butter in a large glass or metal mixing bowl.
  • Set the mixing bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water and melt the chocolate and butter.
  • Once melted, removing the mixing bowl from the top of the saucepan and add the rest of the ingredients.
  • Beat well until the batter is thick and smooth.
  • Pour the brownie batter into the prepared cake tin.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the brownies from the oven and leave to cool in the tin before removing and cutting.

Notes

  • This recipe uses medium eggs. Although if you only have large eggs then that won’t really be a problem here.
  • If you can’t find almond flour then you can substitute ground almonds or almond meal. The texture will just be a little more nubby.
  • Cooling the brownies in the tin helps the brownies to set properly. I recommend refrigerating the tin of brownies for about 4 hours too which makes the brownies easier to cut.

Nutrition

Calories: 295kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 161mg | Potassium: 160mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 305IU | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 2.5mg

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A stack of almond flour brownies with a flower on top.

Raspberry Pistachio Cake {gluten-free}

This Raspberry Pistachio Cake is beautifully moist and fragrant. Pistachios are blended into a paste as the basis of the sponge and a handful of raspberries are baked into the batter. Finally a tangy raspberry icing is drizzled over the top with fresh raspberries and pistachios to scatter.

Raspberry Pistachio Cake sitting on a cake stand on a wooden table

I went to a birthday party recently where the cake had to be wheat, egg and dairy free due to the birthday boy’s elimination diet. The mum who had baked the cake was very proud that she had produced a cake which adhered to this strict criteria whilst also being ‘edible’ (her words not mine).

I also read on our community forum a complaint about our local farmer’s market that they only have a free-from cake stall there (not my cake stall as I’m still on maternity leave). The complaint went on to say that although she hadn’t tried any of the cakes from this cake stall, in her opinion gluten-free and vegan cakes are inferior products, the market was only pandering to current trends and that she would only return to the market when they had a good cake stall.

Raspberry Pistachio Cake sitting on a cake stand on a wooden table

It’s sad to me that gluten-free (and vegan) cakes have such a terrible reputation and mostly they are assumed to be inedible and inferior to wheat based cakes. I was a baker long before I became gluten-free and it’s true that when baking free-from cakes it is more difficult to achieve a delicious, beautifully textured and visually lovely cake than if you were using wheat flour. So yes, there are some poor gluten-free cakes out there and believe me I have eaten them. However, I pride myself on my commitment to my craft and unfortunately in my cake research I have also tried many terrible wheat based cakes. The same pitfalls of dry, overly sweet or compacted crumb can affect any cake. I have been baking exclusively gluten-free cakes for a few years now and am constantly learning new techniques for using alternative flours where results can rival and often surpass wheat cakes. Basically, like any baking, it’s all about the top quality ingredients you use. The better the butter, sugar, eggs and flour, the better the cake. You also need a good recipe and this is where I hope my blog can help.

Raspberry Pistachio Cake sitting on a cake stand on a wooden table

I am on maternity leave at the moment and am in a state of flux in my career. I love doing the cake stall and besides bringing money in on the day it’s great to do to generate further business for cake commissions. People know I’m out there and it take me back into the world and out of my kitchen. However, the cake stall also steals me away from my young family. The precious weekends when Luke isn’t working and we could spend time together with our children are the times I thrust myself back into work.

Sliced Raspberry Pistachio Cake sitting on a cake stand on a wooden table

One of my most important reasons to return to the cake stall is to continue to prove to everyone that gluten-free and vegan cakes can be absolutely delicious if they are baked correctly using the best ingredients and excellent recipes. It gives me a reach beyond the blog and social media. It’s kind of like a personal quest and it is thrilling to me that my regular customers are not all gluten-free, coeliac or vegan. They return time and time again because the cakes taste good.

A cut Raspberry Pistachio Cake sitting on a cake stand on a wooden table

Not every cake I bake is a success first time, a lot of them require a bunch of tweaking at the development stage before I’m happy to share them with the world but every single cake I publish on this blog and sell on my cake stall stands shoulder to shoulder with wheat cakes. Gluten-free cakes (and the few vegan cakes I do) are not pretenders to the throne but are their own unique product with their own identity. Cake is my most favourite thing in the world, I am extremely fussy about the quality of the cake I eat so if I couldn’t eat good cake because of my food intolerances then I would be a very unhappy person.

A slice of Raspberry Pistachio Cake on a white plate with a fork on a wooden table in front of a cake stand with cake on it

This Raspberry Pistachio Cake is an ideal example of how you can achieve the most glorious moist, evenly textured but not dense cake using a plain gluten-free flour blend that you can get in any supermarket. I don’t use any xanthan gum in my baking as it doesn’t agree with me but you don’t need these highly processed and hard to digest gums to bake an excellent gluten-free cake. To achieve the perfect texture in my gluten-free Raspberry Pistachio Cake I used pistachio nuts which I ground into a paste and used that as the basis for my sponge along with the gluten-free plain flour.

To read more about how to use nuts as an alternative flour do visit my post here.

Raspberry Pistachio Cake sitting on a cake stand on a wooden table

I was a little stingy I think here with the raspberries baked into the sponge, so feel free to add more if you really want to pack those raspberries in. However, the raspberry flavour is still very punchy due to the zingy raspberry icing made with fresh raspberry puree and the mountain of raspberries piled on top of the cake.

This cake is a wonderful gluten-free cake, made with easy ingredients that you can buy at any local supermarket. I think it’s proof that it’s easy to make gluten-free cakes not just edible but absolutely delicious just as long as you know where to look for the recipe.

Oh, that’s here by the way.

A slice of Raspberry Pistachio Cake on a white plate on a wooden table

Raspberry Pistachio Cake {gluten-free}

This Raspberry Pistachio Cake is beautifully moist and fragrant. Pistachios are blended into a paste as the basis of the sponge and a handful of raspberries are baked into the batter. Finally a tangy raspberry icing is drizzled over the top with fresh raspberries and pistachios to scatter.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 410kcal

Ingredients

For the pistachio paste:

  • 110 g pistachios + 15g extra for decoration
  • 110 g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white

For the cake:

  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 210 g caster sugar
  • 210 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 5 eggs
  • 150 g gluten-free plain flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • 120 g raspberries + 75g extra for decoration

For the raspberry icing:

  • 100 g raspberries
  • 150 g icing sugar

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 160°C and line and grease an 8 inch cake tin.
  • First make the pistachio paste by placing the pistachios in a food processor and blitzing until finely ground. Add the caster sugar, golden syrup, vanilla extract and egg white and blitz again until a paste has formed. Set aside for one moment.
  • Place the lemon zest in a food mixer along with the sugar and whisk for a minute together until fragrant.
  • Add the butter, one cube at a time and beat on high until light and fluffy.
  • Scrape the pistachio paste into the creamed butter and sugar and beat until combined.
  • Mix in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down after each addition.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add it to the rest of the batter until just combined.
  • Finally stir in the raspberries.
  • Pour into the cake tin, smoothing the top then bake for 60 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove from the tin then leave to cool completely before icing.

Raspberry Icing

  • Place the raspberries in a medium sized saucepan and heat gently until the raspberries have broken down into pulp.
  • Sieve the raspberry pulp, discarding the seeds.
  • Mix the raspberry puree with the icing sugar until a thick icing has formed and spoon onto the cooled cake, pushing the icing gently over the side so it forms droplets. Leave the icing to set for at least an hour
  • Pile the extra raspberries on top of the cake
  • Finely chop the extra pistachios and scatter over the top of the cake.

Notes

*I use Doves Farm Gluten-Free Plain White Flour which is really easy to find in almost any UK supermarket.

Nutrition

Calories: 410kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 81mg | Potassium: 205mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 575IU | Vitamin C: 5.3mg | Calcium: 58mg | 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, although typically I use the 8 inch tins.

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If you like this cake then you might like these other cakes:

Singing with citrusy aromatic flavour this gluten-free Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle Loaf is a showstopper of an everyday teatime cake.

Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle

This gluten-free Golden Beetroot Carrot Cake is the best carrot cake you will ever taste. Full of sweet earthy goodness thanks to using both golden beetroot and carrots; complex with pecans, sultanas and apples; perfectly complimented with a not too sweet cream cheese buttercream and adorned with the delightful crunch of a salted pecan praline and candied beetroot and carrots.

Golden Beetroot Carrot Cake

Gluten-Free and Me

This is an odd post. There is no recipe involved and it’s pretty self-indulgent. However, since I’m often asked I’d like to explain why this blog and my business is 100% gluten-free. 

Georgina sitting at her dining table writing a blog post

What was wrong with me?

In my early twenties I became quite sick. My symptoms were chronic nausea and the most debilitating fatigue. This led the way to horrible mood swings and depression which then caused stress, weight gain and even more depression. I had every blood test under the sun, maybe I had an under-active thyroid gland? Maybe I had ME? I lost count of the times well-meaning friends and family asked if I might be pregnant.

Guess what? I was gluten intolerant

I ignored my GP’s advice to consider taking medication for depression and instead decided to tackle my weight gain which I thought might help so I began to see a personal trainer and nutritionist. Straightaway she recommended I try cutting out gluten from my diet. It didn’t take long before my energy levels had picked up and the constant nausea I felt had vanished. Hand in hand with exercise my weight fell back down. I ate good nutritious whole food and I felt healthy and happy. Gluten-free bread and I lived happily ever after. The end.

Except it wasn’t.

I blame the baking

See, I love to bake. I knew nothing of gluten-free baking and just baked regular cakes. At the time I worked as a TV Producer and only baked for a hobby, giving most of my efforts away to friends, work colleagues and neighbours. I ate a little myself to see how a recipe had turned out, and of course because cake is brilliant, but it was all under control and a touch of wheat every now and then didn’t seem to affect me so much.

Food blog

After I stopped working full time as a TV Producer I began a food blog. Despite being known for my cakes by colleagues and friends I deliberately didn’t want to focus on that as I knew I had this gluten intolerance and baking and eating cakes every day didn’t make sense. Again, gluten-free baking just didn’t appeal. So instead I wrote a general cooking blog with the occasional wheat based recipe. It was very reflective of how I ate at the time.

Then two things happened:

1. The Cake Stall

It was like my self-restriction on baking suddenly erupted into an intense desperate need to combine sugar, eggs and flour at every available opportunity. To combat the overwhelming amount of cakes I started producing I decided to start a cake stall. It seemed the perfect solution, I could bake all the time and then sell what I made thereby not eating any of it.

The other thing that happened was that on the weekend of my second cake stall I discovered I was pregnant.

2. Pregnancy

Buttercream and morning sickness are not a happy combo. My dream of having my own cake stall in reality felt a little like a weird form of torture for nine months. As a result I barely ate anything I made but relied upon tried and true recipes that I had been baking for years. So I still kept to a mainly gluten-free diet and let the customers eat my cakes, which is kind of the whole point of a cake business anyway.

Life with a newborn

Despite my good health intentions I found life with a newborn difficult. I was so out of my depth (that has never changed), tired and constantly terrified (ditto), so I did what any anxious sleep deprived zombie would do and turned to carbs and sugar to get me through the long days and nights. It turns out that for me an excess of carbs and sugar were just gateway drugs to gluten. Soon I had an endless packet of digestives in the pocket of my nursing chair, I ordered cake for breakfast at cafes alongside my new mummy friends and absorbed thick wedges of toast in lieu of actual meals.

Cake testing

A few months into motherhood I was excited to start up my cake stall again and began recipe testing for the re-launch. Something had changed though. These recipes were not making me happy, the cakes that I was producing were delicious but I had no appetite for them and recipe testing was proving a really unenjoyable task. It took me longer than it should to realise that the consistent exhaustion and illness I had been feeling of late wasn’t the normal side effects of having a baby, after all he was pretty much sleeping through the night by this point. It was all the gluten I had begun ingesting again in complete denial of my intolerance. What an idiot. It’s one thing feeling crappy when there is only yourself to look after but my permanent gluten hangover made looking after a growing child more difficult than it needed to be.

Embarrassed by my gluten intolerance

As I took a hard look at myself I realised that for years I had been embarrassed by my gluten intolerance. Although I ate well privately, when I was unleashed into the big wide world I couldn’t commit to revealing to friends that I was gluten-free or double checking with restaurants the ingredients of each dish. I don’t like to make a fuss or call attention to myself so I didn’t.

Finding my freedom

When I started being honest about my gluten intolerance I actually found my food freedom. I don’t care if the naysayers think it’s a fad or fussy or want to question why I ate spaghetti perfectly happily for the first twenty years of my life without any drama. I don’t need to explain science’s current thinking as to why gluten intolerance is on the rise. I just know how I feel and gluten makes me feel like crap, so if you don’t mind I think I’ll give it a pass.

Gluten-Free Food Blog

Alternative Flours

One of my most important moments in terms of being a baker came when I started learning more about alternative flours and a lightbulb went off in my head. There were other flours out there besides wheat flour and what’s more, they tasted amazing. They may not behave like wheat flour but that was okay, they did other things which were even more interesting.

These days I devote myself to developing gluten-free recipes and everything on my cake stall including all my preserves is now totally gluten-free. You know what, everything I make tastes even better than ever.

I converted a lot of my older recipes on the blog to be gluten-free and I have been amazed by how much I prefer the alternative versions. However if you do find a recipe that you want to make which still contains gluten then contact me and I’ll help convert it with you.

In the meantime you might find these posts really helpful if you want to start learning about gluten-free baking and flours:

The Ultimate Guide to Gluten-Free & Alternative Flours

The Ultimate Guide to Gluten-Free Cakes

Happiness Bread {gluten-free}

Happiness Bread is a soft savoury paleo bread, perfect for kick-starting your day, nay your year. It is also pretty much summing up the January I am having so far, I am feeling so positive and sunny that I really don’t recognise myself.

Happiness Bread is a soft savoury gluten-free and paleo bread, packed with sweet potato, nuts, seeds, coconut and turmeric. Perfect for kick-starting your day, nay your year.

I feel like I have changed drastically since giving birth 18 months ago. Not just because I have become a mother and all that entails but I have become less tolerant, more irritable and my sense of humour has drained dry. Also since my downtime is non-existent I never really relax. Basically I am joy, hey come and meet me.

But the major thing that has changed about me is my appearance. There’s no discreet way to approach this but I have put on a lot of weight. Okay so I have never been a size zero. I have always fought a vicious battle with my body and only have to think about a Cadbury’s Caramel to put on another kilo. But since I ballooned during the first sleep deprived months of motherhood my body has been resolute in its new- found magnitude. Despite what my clothes size will tell you I am actually quite a healthy eater. Salads are an obligatory part of my day, I avoid gluten, I only drink in moderation and I don’t eat junk or processed food. So why have I been rolling around North London like a beach ball this past year?

Happiness Bread is a soft savoury gluten-free and paleo bread, packed with sweet potato, nuts, seeds, coconut and turmeric. Perfect for kick-starting your day, nay your year.

Well, okay my food choices have relaxed slightly and I am eating more. Way more to counteract my everyday exhaustion and I do eat more cake than I used to due to baking for a living and recipe testing. Although what’s really changed is my fitness which has take a drastic nosedive. I am not a natural keep fitter but I have taken pride in the fact that since taking up training 8 years ago I have strived to subvert my tendency to curl up on the sofa with my cats by going for a run or doing a CrossFit class. However after giving birth I have had two minor but significant setbacks. My back pain, caused by residual pregnancy issues, became so severe that I struggled to pick up Cole at all and I have a Morton’s neuroma which has meant running, jumping or any form of using the ball of my foot during exercise has been excruciatingly painful. I completely lost confidence in exercise as my body hurt too much, I stopped training and went downhill.

Happiness Bread is a soft savoury gluten-free and paleo bread, packed with sweet potato, nuts, seeds, coconut and turmeric. Perfect for kick-starting your day, nay your year.

Well these past couple of months have seen a little improvement, thanks to the amazing work of my physio, osteopath and personal trainer. My back has finally begun to loosen up, my Morton’s neuroma, although not gone, has become more manageable with a rigid exercise plan and I have just started doing cardio and actually working out again. As my body has been feeling better I have had more energy. So much so that I am now taking control of my diet; meal planning, mindful shopping and food prepping at weekends for the coming week. Plus it has helped that Cole is currently happy to stand on a stool and watch mummy make dinner, as opposed to running around the kitchen ripping the knobs off the oven and turning the dishwasher on and off. With this small change I have been able to eat better, eat less and have given up drinking, caffeine and sugar this month. I feel almost terrific and vaguely saintly.

Having a loaf of Happiness Bread helps me out immeasurably during the week. Baking it is a two-step process as the sweet potatoes need to be cooked before you can begin. I have started making sure I chuck a few sweet potatoes in the oven every few days if I know I am going to be at home for the next couple of hours. Cole thinks sweet potato is the best food invented so it’s a must to have some for him on dinner standby and then if I have the baked sweet potato on hand it only takes about 10 minutes to get this loaf mixed and in the oven.

Happiness Bread is a soft savoury gluten-free and paleo bread, packed with sweet potato, nuts, seeds, coconut and turmeric. Perfect for kick-starting your day, nay your year.

Happiness Bread is hearty and filling, packed with protein in the form of nuts and seeds and full of goodness thanks to the sweet potato, coconut oil and turmeric which is incredibly good for you. Turmeric is an antioxidant and has strong anti-inflammatory effects and is a great ingredient as you don’t need a lot of it for it to be beneficial. Plus the colour makes this bread so beautifully sunshiny. The coconut and turmeric flavour really come through and it is so delicious just slathered with butter or piled high with turkey and avocado – my current favourite way to enjoy it.

This is a paleo bread as well so ideal for anyone following that lifestyle and that means it is also gluten-free. The texture is almost cake like so cannot be used the same way you would use a sandwich loaf but it’s a great start to the day and will satiate you until lunchtime.

Happiness Bread is a soft savoury gluten-free and paleo bread, packed with sweet potato, nuts, seeds, coconut and turmeric. Perfect for kick-starting your day, nay your year.

Since introducing this bread to my morning routine I have felt very happy, it’s not just about the bread but having an easy and filling breakfast has definitely contributed to my general feeling of well being. Plus to cap it off I have even just finished reading a book, a trashy thriller mind, but a book nonetheless – so take that no downtime!

Happiness Bread is a soft savoury gluten-free and paleo bread, packed with sweet potato, nuts, seeds, coconut and turmeric. Perfect for kick-starting your day, nay your year.

Happiness Bread

A soft savoury gluten-free and paleo bread, packed with sweet potato, nuts, seeds, coconut and turmeric. Perfect for kick-starting your day, nay your year.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: British
Servings: 10 slices
Calories: 362kcal

Ingredients

  • 400 g cooked sweet potato*
  • 4 eggs
  • 140 g cashew butter
  • 60 g coconut oil melted to liquid state
  • 75 g coconut flour
  • 30 g tapioca flour
  • 75 g walnut halves
  • 30 g chia seeds
  • 25 g flaked almonds
  • 25 g pumpkin seeds
  • 20 g sunflower seeds
  • 20 g sesame seeds
  • 15 g ground flaxseed
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 170°C and line and grease a 9 inch loaf tin.
  • Beat the sweet potato, eggs, cashew butter and coconut oil in a large mixing bowl or food mixer.
  • In another mixing bowl combine the coconut flour, tapioca flour, walnuts, chia seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseed, turmeric, baking powder and sea salt.
  • Tip the dry ingredients into the sweet potato mixture and beat until well combined.
  • Pour into the loaf tin and bake for 50-55 minutes or until an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean.

Notes

*To prepare the sweet potato I bake my sweet potatoes by wrapping them individually in tin foil then placing them in a baking dish. I then bake them for between 1-1½ hours depending on how big the potato is. I then leave the potatoes to cool a little then unwrap the foil and peel away the skin with my fingers which comes away very easily. Then I refrigerate the potatoes until needed.

Nutrition

Calories: 362kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 242mg | Potassium: 452mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 5770IU | Vitamin C: 1.2mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 3.1mg