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

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

Apple Blueberry Maple Cake on a wooden board surrounded by flowers

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

Apple Blueberry Maple Cake on a wooden board surrounded by flowers

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

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

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

Apple Blueberry Maple Cake on a wooden board surrounded by flowers

My swiss meringue buttercream is too soupy

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

My swiss meringue buttercream is curdled or greasy

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

Apple Blueberry Maple Cake on a wooden board surrounded by flowers

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

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

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

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

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If you make Apple Blueberry Maple 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 cake 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.

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Apple Blueberry Maple Cake on a wooden board surrounded by flowers

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

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

Ingredients

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

Blueberry Chia Jam

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

Maple Swiss Meringue Buttercream

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

Instructions

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

Blueberry Chia Jam

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

Maple Swiss Meringue Buttercream

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

Assembly

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

Notes

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

Nutrition

Calories: 568kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 193mg | Potassium: 406mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 17.5% | Vitamin C: 2.3% | Calcium: 10.8% | Iron: 6.7%

SHOP THE RECIPE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Almond Butter Fudgsicles

These Almond Butter Fudgsicles are an easy vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free treat to see us through this heatwave.

overhead shot of Almond Butter Fudgsicles on a wooden board

Like everyone experiencing this massive heatwave we are feeling a little frayed around the edges in our house. We live in a compact railway cottage in North London and at the moment it feels like a hotbox. It seems impossible to get any room cool. All curtains are drawn throughout the day, windows as wide open as can be, extravagantly purchased oscillating tower fans constantly following us around the house. Yet still our bedrooms are measuring 30 degrees at 2am. This is weather I cannot get accustomed to. Hey, I signed up for the drizzly grey weather London is renowned for. I am a firm believer that brollies should be a staple companion and one never leaves the house without the buggy rain cover and a waterproof mac.

overhead shot of Almond Butter Fudgsicles on a wooden board

No such luck at the moment. Our poor bay tree, the only plant I truly love and tend to in our garden has succumbed to the elements and boasts beautifully crisp brown leaves where luscious fragrant green ones used to be. However, the fault probably lies in the fact that I got involved in its wellbeing at all. It’s just as well that old death fingers here had astroturf laid in lieu of a lawn a few years ago so thankfully our fake grass is thriving. Not that sitting out in the garden is an option at the moment. We spend most mornings in the park or local paddling pool and those couple of hours are enough to ensure you don’t venture out for the rest of the day.

overhead shot of Almond Butter Fudgsicles on a wooden board

Anything cold is a godsend in our life at the moment and I’m basically living off iced tea and salads. We are going through bags of ice and cucumber like there is no tomorrow and I’ve really been working on my vinaigrette repertoire to ensure varied meals.

I’m trying to be more mindful in my eating these days, as I’d let laziness creep into my food choices. Turns out oatcakes with almond butter are not a valid meal choice. So when the craving for a popsicle hits both Cole and I (a daily occurrence) then I need to reach for something that aren’t Tangle Twisters. Although I think they are just called Twisters these days, and not nearly as tasty as I remember either, having given into temptation a few weeks back.

overhead shot of Almond Butter Fudgsicles on a wooden board

These Almond Butter Fudgsicles though have been really hitting the spot and so much more satisfying than your average popsicle. Not only are they tremendously easy to bring together, merely requiring 5 minutes, a blender and a popsicle mould. But all of the ingredients, almond butter, coconut milk, maple syrup, chocolate and salted almonds are my larder staples. They might actually all be in my top ten favourite ingredients in the larder so it is no wonder that I have become quite enamoured with these Fudgsicles.

overhead shot of Almond Butter Fudgsicles on a wooden board

I think it tells a great deal about how simple these Almond Butter Fudgsicles are to make if I am getting the blender out a 9pm on a weekday, having only just got the children to sleep after a mammoth two hour settle from hell, dinner yet to be made and an episode of Marvel’s Agents of Shield waiting in the wings.

overhead shot of Almond Butter Fudgsicles on a wooden board

So the fudgsicles themselves are a cinch but even the chocolate almond dip is a five minute job once the fudgsicles are frozen. Dark chocolate melted with coconut oil is a bit of a magical beast, as it freezes immediately into a hard shell as soon as it touches the fudgsicle. Meaning that you pour your coconut chocolate into a tall glass, dip your fudgsicle in and out, and then by the time you are presenting it onto parchment so you can do the next one, the chocolate is practically set. It just leaves you enough time to sprinkle in some crushed salty almonds and then you are done. I’d recommend placing them in the freezer to set nice and hard but that only takes about 10 minutes. Then they are ready for your cool down. Gosh, don’t we need it.

overhead shot of Almond Butter Fudgsicles on a wooden board

Almond Butter Fudgsicles

These Almond Butter Fudgsicles are an easy vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free treat to see us through this heatwave.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keyword: almond butter fudgsicle recipe, almond butter fudgsicles, homemade vegan fudgsicles
Servings: 8 fudgsicles
Calories: 288kcal
Author: Georgina Hartley

Ingredients

  • 1 tin coconut milk 400g
  • 100 g drippy almond butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 50 ml maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 200 g 70% dark vegan chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons salted almonds roughly chopped

Instructions

  • Pour the coconut milk, almond butter, vanilla extract, maple syrup and salt into a blender and whizz together until smooth.
  • Pour into popsicle moulds, sticking a wooden stick through each one and place in the freezer overnight to set.
  • Remove the fudgsicles from the moulds, running briefly under the hot water tap if they are proving stubborn, and place on a parchment lined baking tray and back into the freezer until ready to dip.
  • Melt the chocolate with the coconut oil in a bain marie or a metal bowl set over simmering water, then once melted pour into a glass.
  • Get your chopped almonds to hand.
  • Remove your fudgsicles from the freezer and dip in and out of the melted chocolate quickly. Place back onto the parchment lined baking tray and sprinkle with the crushed almonds.
  • Repeat with each fudgsicle then place back into the freezer for 10 minutes to set firm. At this point they are ready to eat or you can decant them into a more convenient sized freezer safe container until needed.

Nutrition

Calories: 288kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Sodium: 79mg | Potassium: 303mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 0.2% | Calcium: 7.5% | Iron: 19.5%

SHOP THE RECIPE

I used this Norpro Frozen Ice Pop Maker, for this recipe and it’s one of my favourite moulds to use. Very sturdy and easy to remove the fudgsicles if you run them briefly under hot water then they slide out.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my Vitamix® Pro750 Food Blender, Copper UK Model since it’s one of my most favourite kitchen appliances and I use it almost daily, not least to make these fudgsicles. This blender is amazing! I loved the Kitchenaid blender I had before but my Vitamix produces the smoothest smoothies, most cohesive sauces and fantastic soups. I have been using it most frequently at the moment for making my iced matcha lattes and I now could not be without it. Okay, it isn’t cheap but if you have the budget for it and you are looking to be really spoilt then I really recommend it. Plus I love the colour!!

Some of the links above are affiliate links so if you decide to buy anything using the links then I will get a small commission from Amazon at no cost to you. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

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Salted Date Caramel Banana Flapjacks

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

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

I have made these flapjacks what feels like a dozen times over Christmas to get the recipe just right for January snacking. I was looking for something oat based to have in the kitchen for the whole family to ward off mid-afternoon hunger pangs that didn’t revolve around refined sugar and think I have struck gold with these little lovelies.

I am spending the first few weeks of this year on diet reset. My sugar, caffeine and martini intake quadrupled over the festive period and my energy levels have seriously plummeted as a result. This is ironic considering I have been resorting to chocolate and builder’s tea to help me battle toddler induced sleep deprivation and focus on keeping him alive during the day. The martinis have been essential to celebrate the fact that my son has been delivered to his bed in one piece each night.

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

These Salted Date Caramel Banana Flapjacks are a lovely recipe for the whole family, although feel free to omit the salt if you are worried about the intake for children, it’s just there to boost the flavour. A lady came to my cake stall a few weeks ago worried about those of my cakes described as Salted Caramel or Salted Honey. Salt is the new enemy she informed me with a very serious tone. Out of all my cake ingredients it was the 1 teaspoon of salt per layer cake not the 500g of caster sugar which concerned her.

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

However, these flapjacks have no refined sugar at all. All the sweetness is derived from medjool dates and a banana. However, dates and bananas do have sugar in them so these are still definitely a treat. The flapjacks are chewy and almost fudgey in texture thanks to the banana. I have erred on the texture over sweetness side of things so don’t expect a match for match replacement to your usual flapjack. These satisfy rather than lead to further sugar cravings so at first bite you may think they need to be sweeter but I guarantee you will finish your snack feeling completely satiated. That is also not to say that they are not delicious. Oh by golly gumdrops they are.

You start off by making a salted date caramel which is really just a fancy way of saying dates, water, vanilla and salt whizzed up in a food processor. Although the caramel flavour is not at all misleading, it really is a delicious alternative to the refined sugar version.

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

When the date caramel is mixed with the melted butter, cashew butter and mashed banana though true magic happens and if you dare to dip a fingertip into this magic elixir before you smother it over the oats, then I warn you, there may be no coming back from it. The fact that these flapjacks made it into the oven at all was a miracle each time. In fact if you eschew the flapjacks entirely and just make a Salted Date Caramel Banana soup then I wouldn’t judge.

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

Salted Date Caramel and Banana Flapjacks

These flapjacks are refined sugar-free and gluten-free for guilt-free snacking.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Snack
Cuisine: British
Keyword: gluten-free caramel banana flapjack recipe, gluten-free caramel banana flapjacks, gluten-free flapjack recipe
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 266kcal
Author: Georgina Hartley

Ingredients

  • 200 g medjool dates
  • 60 ml warm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 170 g cashew butter
  • 175 g unsalted butter or use coconut oil to make this cake vegan
  • 1 banana + 1 extra for decoration
  • 350 g gluten-free oats
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 150°C 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 butter 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 266kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 150mg | Potassium: 253mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 5.9% | Vitamin C: 0.8% | Calcium: 2.8% | Iron: 8.9%