Coconut and Blueberry Gluten Free Cake

I've always been curious about coconut oil, and just how good it is to bake with. Many prefer it to regular fats for its nutritional values but just what difference does it make to the taste? We've all heard by now about melting points and that coconut oil pretty much trumps the rest with one of the highest. But in baking, this means cakes will have a lightness you won't be able to achieve with butter. Just substitute it one on one with your regular quantity of fat and gently melt in a pan or microwave before adding it to your ingredients. Admittedly, the coconut flavour isn't suited to all recipes but you can always use half butter and half coconut oil to limit the fat in any recipe.

And something I've not heard too much about, coconut flour (unless I've been living in a shell). I tend to swap any flour with ground almonds as a gluten free alternative if needed. I love the moistness and flavour it gives, particularly in brownies. But I'm not a fan of regular gluten free alternatives like rice flour. I just can't get the substitute quantities right, and to be frank, the taste is just not right. My research tells me that as coconut flour is so absorbent you need much less flour as it will soak up all your liquid ingredients. You'll also need more eggs to help bind everything together.

Essentially, coconut flour is low in carbohydrates and non-inflammatory unlike other grain free options so is much easier to digest. Although it would seem that substituting quantities is difficult, its definitely worthwhile for the added healthy fats it includes and as its high in fibre.

And so, here it is, a tried and tested recipe that introduced me into the world of coconut flour. This cake is almost virtuous so I'm just going to help myself to another slice...

Holland and Barrett online is my new favourite place for baking supplies! I didn't know how many coconut ingredients existed.

C O C O N U T   A N D   B L U E B E R R Y   G L U T E N   F R E E   C A K E
(Serves 6-8)

4 eggs
125g soft light brown sugar
100g coconut oil, melted
50g coconut flour
1tsp gluten free baking powder
50g desiccated coconut
200g fresh blueberries
220g cream cheese
120g icing sugar
zest of 2 lemons

  • Heat the oven to 180 degrees and grease and line the base and sides of three 6 inch sandwich tins (or one 7 inch deep round tin).
  • Whisk together the eggs and sugar on a medium speed until light, fluffy and doubled in size.
  • Continue to mix on a low speed and slowly pour in the coconut oil.
  • Add in the coconut flour, baking powder and coconut and gently fold together with a spatula.
  • Add the blueberries and mix until just combined.
  • Pour into the prepared tray, smooth a knife over the top to level and bake for 30 minutes. After this point, turn the heat down to 150 degrees for another 25 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Remove from the heat and leave to cool in the tray for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool fully.
  • To make the icing, beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar and all but a spoon of the zest until smooth and creamy.
  • Sandwich the cakes between layers of frosting and sprinkle the remaining lemon zest on top for decoration.

Thanks to the team at Holland and Barrett for sending over some coconut goodies to inspire this post.

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