If you’re looking for some baking inspiration, this Easy Gluten-Free Blueberry Cake may just fit the bill.
It is a moist cake that features the classic combination of lemon and blueberries, encased in a rich batter of almond meal, eggs, yoghurt and sugar. The addition of a small amount of polenta adds a gentle crunch.
The cake has a tender texture with a flavour brightened by the addition of vanilla and freshly squeezed lemon juice. The Greek yoghurt adds a wonderful richness to the batter and makes the cake moist whilst further boosting the flavour with a zingy tang.
This truly is an easily made cake. The recipe does not require the traditional method of creaming butter and sugar together and adding the eggs separately.
You just put all the cake ingredients into a food processor, whiz to blend, pour the batter into a prepared cake tin, top with blueberries and bake.
Inspiration for this cake:
Faye has had this recipe, written in her cookbook, for so many years that she can no longer remember its origin. We decided to make this recipe when looking for one that we could quickly and easily prepare, but we also wanted one that had great flavour.
This one more than adequately meets the criteria. I love recipes for cakes that have the ingredients whizzed together in a food processor; so quick, so easy and less washing up.
Why we love this Blueberry Cake:
This cake is:
- gluten-free, making it suitable for people unable to tolerate gluten
- rich and buttery
- a moist, tender cake
- fresh and citrusy
- ideal for morning/afternoon tea or dessert
- fruity and fragrant
- scented with vanilla and lemon
Ingredients in this Gluten-Free Blueberry Cake:
When it comes to baking, butter beats margarine every time. It adds a richer flavour to baked goods.
After all, something which begins as cream will have better flavour and mouth-feel than a product which begins as flavourless vegetable oil.
Another advantage is that we know exactly what butter contains. It is a natural product which is made from cream and sometimes some added salt. If you’ve ever over-whipped cream you were on the way to making butter.
This is sugar with a smaller grain than regular sugar. It sits in the middle, between regular granulated sugar and icing/confectioners’ sugar. The caster sugar incorporates more readily than granulated sugar and helps to keep the cake light.
If you find it difficult to locate caster/superfine sugar, or you don’t have any on hand, you can make your own. You simply process regular granulated sugar in a food processor or blender until the granules are smaller.
The granules, however, will not be as evenly sized as the commercial varieties. But you need to be vigilant; if you process the sugar too long you’ll end up with icing/confectioners’ sugar.
I recommend that you use freshly squeezed lemon. The flavour is fresher and brighter than commercial varieties which may also contain preservatives or other additives.
Unless specified, I always use large eggs. For ethical reasons, I also make sure that the eggs I use are free-range.
Eggs are incredibly versatile. They perform so many functions and are suitable to use in so many ways, in sweet or savoury dishes. Could there be a more versatile culinary ingredient? It’s difficult to think of one.
When it comes to baking, eggs have several important roles. They add flavour and colour as well as creating structure and adding moisture to baked goods. In addition, they contain natural emulsifiers that help to form a thick, rich batter.
Almond meal/flour is a great addition to many gluten-free baked goods. One of the advantages of using almond meal is that it helps to replace some of the protein which is missing in gluten-free flours.
Gluten is a protein which helps retain moisture and provides lightness, strength and structure to baked goods. Therefore, with gluten-free baking, it is necessary to find alternatives.
In addition, some gluten-free cakes have a tendency to be dry but the addition of almond meal helps to overcome this. The finely ground almonds add moisture, texture, structure and flavour.
Although the terms almond meal and almond flour are used interchangeably, there may be slight variations. One may be made from blanched almonds and one from the whole almond. They are both finely ground. The main difference will be that the almond meal made from the whole almond will have some colour from the almond skin. Either is suitable to use for this cake.
Whilst cornmeal may replace polenta in many recipes, there are slight differences. Cornmeal is made from dried, ground corn which may be yellow, blue or white. Traditionally, polenta is from a specific type of yellow corn, with a grind which ranges from fine to coarse.
In fact, “polenta” is the name of the dish rather than the ingredient. In Italy, polenta, a porridge-type of dish, may be made from chestnut or chickpea flours, buckwheat meal or other grains.
I like to use Polenta/cornmeal for baked goods or for giving fried foods crunch and texture. I prefer to not use the instant variety of polenta as it has been par-cooked and I feel that the flavour is bland.
I use finely ground polenta for this cake.
Cornflour is also known as corn starch in the USA. It is finely ground to an ultra-fine, powdery consistency. As the name suggests, it is most frequently made from corn.
However, here in Australia, “cornflour” was once made from wheat, as wheat was more readily available. These days, more brands are actually made from corn. But if you want your cake to be gluten-free you will need to check the label.
The addition of a small amount of cornflour/corn-starch helps make the crumb of the cake tender.
Baking powder is a dry leavening agent, which means that it helps the cake to rise. It increases the volume and lightens the texture of baked goods.
It works by releasing carbon dioxide into a batter. Air bubbles form in the wet mixture and expand, thereby leavening the mixture.
Most commercial baking powders are known as “double-acting”. This means that they release some of their gas as soon as the wet ingredients incorporate with the dry. Then, the heat of the oven triggers the release of more.
It is easy to make your own baking powder. Just mix 1 part bicarbonate of soda with 2 parts cream of tartar.
Just be aware that this is a single-acting baking powder which means that it will begin to react as soon as it gets wet. Therefore, you will need to mix your batter and put it into the oven without delay.
Greek yoghurt is thicker than regular yoghurt. This is because Greek yoghurt has been strained to allow some of the liquid, the whey, to drain off. This produces yoghurt which is more nutritious and has a rich, velvety texture.
Straining yoghurt is popular throughout the Middle-East, Mediterranean and Eastern Europe. Avoid those which contain preservatives or have been artificially thickened, with ingredients such as gelatine or gums.
Vanilla is one of the most important flavouring ingredients in the kitchen. It comes from the seed pods of the vanilla orchid.
Whilst most often used in sweet baking recipes (I add it to almost everything I bake) some savoury recipes also contain vanilla.
Pure vanilla is expensive. As a result, imitation vanilla was developed to make the product more affordable. Always check the label to ensure that you have an essence or extract which has been produced from actual vanilla beans and not artificially flavoured.
I have used fresh blueberries here but you could use frozen berries. If using frozen, do not let them thaw first. Adding them while frozen helps them to retain their shape.
If you don’t have blueberries, raspberries would be a delicious substitute.
Icing sugar, confectioners’ sugar and powdered sugar is the same ingredient. The different names are regional differences.
Icing sugar is granulated sugar which has been ground to a fine powder. It is mainly used for dusting cakes before serving or frosting/icing on cakes.
There are two commonly available types; pure icing sugar and icing mixture. Icing mixture contains a small amount of cornflour to help prevent clumping. If using icing mixture it is important to check that it is gluten-free.
Why I use a combination of flours in this cake:
With gluten-free baking, it is necessary to find alternatives for gluten-containing flours. Gluten is a protein which helps retain moisture and provides lightness, strength and structure to baked goods.
Almond meal/flour is a great addition to many gluten-free baked goods. It helps to replace some of the protein which is missing in gluten-free flours. As well, the finely ground almonds add moisture, texture, structure and flavour. Almond Meal works perfectly in our Blueberry Cake and compliments the fruit and lemon.
Almond meal also has nutritional benefit. It is lower in carbohydrate than flour, contains protein, dietary fibre, manganese and vitamin E.
Almond meal/flour is readily available in supermarkets. However, you can also make your own. Whiz some almonds in a food processor or blender until finely ground. Do not over-process or you will have almond butter.
Store almond meal in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer as, once the almonds are ground, the meal/flour is prone to rancidity.
Polenta is great for baking, be it cakes or cookies. It contains a small amount of protein, further helping to provide strength and structure. I have used a small amount in this recipe and it adds a pleasant textural contrast with a gentle crunch.
A small addition of cornflour/cornstarch helps to produce a more tender cake.
This is how I make the Gluten-Free Blueberry Cake:
To begin, I pre-heat my oven to 170C/340F. Next, I grease the base and sides of a 25.5 cm/10” tart pan with a removable base.
Then, I add all the cake ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and whiz to combine. I pour the cake batter into the prepared tin, smooth the top and add the blueberries.
After baking for approximately 45 minutes, I remove the cake to a cooling rack and wait impatiently for the cake to be sufficiently cool to transfer to a serving platter.
I finish the cake with a light dusting of icing/confectioners’ sugar and serve with Greek yoghurt or lightly whipped cream.
Tips for Success:
My Gluten-Free Blueberry Cake is very easy to prepare, but there are a few steps that will make this cake foolproof.
It is important that the butter and eggs be at cool room temperature. As room temperature ingredients incorporate more readily, they produce a lighter, finer-textured cake. Batters made with cold ingredients don’t come together smoothly and may result in a heavy, dense-textured cake.
For most cakes to be light, it is important to begin with room temperature butter. The butter should be spreadable but still holding its shape and not beginning to melt. If you forget to get the butter out of the refrigerator, cut the butter into small cubes to hasten the softening process.
Fridge-cold eggs may cause a batter to separate and appear to have curdled. Room temperature eggs incorporate better in the batter. However, if you haven’t remembered to get your eggs out of the fridge (as I frequently do), it’s easy to remedy. Just place the eggs in a bowl of warm water for about five minutes. Don’t use boiling water; it may partially cook the eggs.
You can use either fresh or frozen blueberries. I love to use fresh blueberries at the height of their season when they’re abundant and reasonably priced.
However, it’s absolutely fine to use frozen berries. If you’re using frozen it is important to not defrost them first as they will “bleed” their colour into the cake batter.
Another lovely alternative would be to substitute raspberries for the blueberries. They also work very well with lemon and yoghurt.
More suggestions for these ingredients:
Almond meal is a star ingredient in this recipe.
We love it in gluten-free baking and also use it in:
- Gluten-free Almond Cookies
- Gluten-free Chewy Amaretti Cookies
- Easy Almond Croissants
- Gluten-free Pear and Raspberry Cake
- Salted Caramel Bliss Balls
- Peach and Plum Crumble
- Peach, Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffins
Blueberries are used either in or to decorate these dishes:
- Creamy Lemon Pie
- Individual Lemon Curd Meringues
- Mini Meringues with Berries and Cream
- Healthy Oat Yoghurt Pancakes
- Vegan No-Bake Blueberry Tarts by A Baking Journey
- Blueberry Salad with Plum Wine Infused Dragon Fruit by The Devil Wears Salad
- Gin and Tonic muddled with Blueberry by Sprinkles and Sprouts
- Blueberry and White Chocolate Waffles by Belly Rumbles
More delicious Gluten-Free Cake Recipes for you to try:
This lovely Gluten-Free Blueberry Cake recipe uses gluten-free ingredients, fresh lemon juice, yoghurt and blueberries, resulting in a light, flavoursome, fruity cake. It is quick to make and there are bursts of juicy blueberries in each bite.
This cake is special enough to serve to guests as a dessert, with whipped cream or a dollop of thick, rich Greek yoghurt as the perfect accompaniment. It’s also sufficiently homely to not need a special occasion at all.
Like most cakes, this cake is at its best on the day that it’s made. The edges then are deliciously, slightly crispy. However, it is still lovely even on the third day – if it lasts that long.
I am sure you will find this an essential addition to your recipe collection. An easily made cake that is extremely moist and moreish, exceptional yet simple, is something we all appreciate.
Please let me know if you try this beautiful Blueberry Cake.
Gluten-Free Blueberry Cake
- 1 cup caster/superfine sugar
- 125 g butter (room temperature)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice See Note 1
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups almond meal See Note 2
- 1/2 cup fine polenta/cornmeal
- 1/4 cup cornflour See Note 3
- 1/2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
- 3/4 cup plain Greek yoghurt
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 cup blueberries See Note 4
- icing sugar to dust optional
- Preheat your oven to 170 Degrees C (340 F).
- Grease a 25.5cm/10 “ tart pan with a removable base. You will need to carefully grease all the ridges in the edge of the pan.
- Place all the cake ingredients into the bowl of a food processor, except for the blueberries.Blend until the ingredients are smooth and well combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
- Add the blueberries to the top of the batter, and, using a skewer or the tip of a small knife, push some of the berries into the batter.
- Place the pan into the oven (see Note 5) and bake for approximately 45 minutes until the cake is golden and the centre is cooked. Test that the cake is done by inserting a small skewer or toothpick into the centre of the cake. The skewer/toothpick should come out clean.
- Stand the pan on a metal cooling rack for about 30 minutes or until the cake is sufficiently cool to gently remove the cake from the pan to a platter. Do not try to move it while it is still warm as it will be fragile and may break. I use an offset spatula to gently slide it off.
- Dust the cake with icing sugar to serve if desired.Serve with Greek yoghurt or cream.
- Use freshly squeezed lemon juice when possible, the flavour is fresher and brighter than the bottled variety, which may also contain a preservative. This measurement is based on the Australian tablespoon which is 20ml. In many other countries, the tablespoon measures 15ml so you may have to adjust your measurements accordingly.
- Almond meal is also known as almond flour.
- It’s odd, I know, but occasionally flour which is labelled “cornflour” is produced from wheat. If you follow a gluten-free diet it will be essential to ensure that the cornflour is actually produced from corn.
- I like to use fresh blueberries at the height of their season, but it’s also fine to use frozen berries. Use the berries directly from the freezer, do not defrost. Handle them gently to avoid them weeping into the batter. If you prefer, raspberries would be a lovely substitute.
- As a precaution, I suggest placing a baking tray on a rack underneath the cake in case there are any drips. It is experience which causes me to suggest this.