This Gluten Free Cherry Almond Traybake has great texture mixed with wonderful flavours. Fresh, roasted cherries add a delightfully intense fruity burst of spirit to the cake that is hard to resist.
Every so often I hear of another friend, family member or acquaintance that has been advised to follow a gluten-free diet. It makes me sad, not just because it means that person has been unwell, but also because it means they will most likely miss out at some point. Although restaurants have rallied over the last decade, offering gluten-free, nut-free, vegan and vegetarian options, sooner or later the gluten-free amongst us will wind up at a party or event that doesn’t cater for their dietary needs.
When a person close to my heart was diagnosed as gluten intolerant late last year, I decided that it was high time I learned a few new kitchen skills and attempted to develope a few trusty gluten-free and vegan bakes. I never want to be the hostess who has failed to provide for all of my guests. As it happens, I created a great winter gluten-free bake for my friend, but that recipe is parked until the weather cools significantly… stay tuned.
Today it’s all about the cherries.
I could never let cherry season pass by without creating a treat with them and this Gluten Free Cherry Almond Traybake is it. But there’s a twist. Of course, there’s a twist. I’ve switched out the more typical glacé cherries for fresh sweet cherries that have been roasted to intensify their flavour. They add a burst of pure flavour to the cake that’s a total delight. Believe me, this simple switch-in knocks a cake made with glace cherries out of the park. Don’t get me wrong, this traybake is still lovely made with glacé cherries, but it’s just on another level entirely when made with freshly roasted cherries instead.
I’ve made this Gluten Free Cherry Almond Traybake at least 4 times in the last 3 weeks. I’ve tried this cake with both the roasted cherries and glacé cherries. I farmed chunks out to friends. You could say it’s been well tested.
What this Gluten Free Cherry Almond Traybake delivers (apart from those glorious cherries) is a light, bouncy and moist cake. I’ve used equal parts gluten-free flour and ground almonds. The result is a great textured cake with a gentle almond flavour that is just perfect when paired with those (sigh…) roasted cherries. It’s a wonderful cake to make whilst the season allows and for the rest of the year we can resort to those glacé cherries.
- 350 g/ 12 1/2oz Fresh cherries (about 35)
- 1 tbsp Caster sugar
- 180 g/ 3/4 cup Butter - softened
- 100 g/ 1/2 cup Golden caster sugar
- 80 g/ 1/3 cup Light brown sugar
- 120 g/ 1 cup (4 1/4 oz) Gluten free Plain flour (I used Dove's Farm)
- 120 g/ 1 cup (4 1/4oz) Ground almonds
- 3/8 tsp Xantham Gum (omit if your flour blend already contains xanthan gum)
- 1 1/2 tsp Baking powder (Gluten free)
- 3 Large eggs (preferably free range)
- 3 tbsp Whole (full fat) milk
- 3/4 tsp Vanilla extract
- 30 g/ 1/3 cup Flaked almonds
Preheat the oven to 150C/ 300F/ GM2 and line a baking tin with parchment
Pit the cherries, cut in half and drop into the baking tin
Sprinkle the sugar over the cherries and bake for 45 minutes. They will be slightly shrivelled and syrupy. Set aside to cool
Preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F/ GM4 and line a deep sided square (8" x 8") baking tin with parchment
Weight out the flour, ground almonds, xantham gum and baking powder into a bowl and mix
In a medium bowl cream the butter and sugars together using electric beaters
Crack the eggs into a jug, beat with a fork, then add to the creamed butter & sugar a little at a time, beating well between additions (this helps reduce the risk of the batter splitting)
Add the milk and vanilla extract and beat again
Tip the flour mix into the batter and beat gently and briefly, until just combined
Spoon 1/3 of the mix into the tin, level using the back of a metal spoon and top with 1/3 of the roasted cherries
Repeat with another 1/3 of batter and cherries, then top with the remaining batter and fruit. Scatter the almonds over the top of the cake and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a skewer poked into the centre of the cake comes out clean
Allow to cool completely in the tin, then carefully remove from the tin and loosen the parchment
Just before serving dredge with icing sugar and cut into squares
Keeps for 2 days in an airtight container. Store in a cool place (but not the fridge)