gluten-free rhubarb, lemon and almond cake recipe

I was all set to write up this post last night, but I only got as far as uploading the photos before my eyes started to pause on shut for just a little too long. You see the kids and I have just finished the first of our 4 week period of eating Wheat. The first few days we were feeling okay, and I even started to think that maybe all our previous symptoms were a figment of my hypochondriac imagination. By the time day 4 hit, Kye's excema was looking bad, I was tired and Ada was GRUMPY. When day 7 came around I felt completely lifeless, hence my early night. It's something I have been thinking about for years now, but have only just built up the courage to finally do it. Yep, you guessed it... we are all getting tested for Coeliac disease.

Because of our Wheat and mostly gluten-free diet over the past 4 years, we have been asked to eat wheat for 4 weeks before having the initial Coeliac blood test, so that it will be a true test. I had thought I would be really excited, eat anything and everything you want they said. A few years back when I was struggling with going gluten-free I dreamt of this day. But you know what? I don't want to eat Wheat anymore.
It's like telling a reformed alcoholic that they can now drink as much as they want for the next month. Okay maybe that's taking it a little too far, but you get what I mean eh. Wheat and Gluten, is something that I as a mother of two young kids -who have previously reacted to Gluten and dairy badly- have learned to fear. To now be told I have to give it to them, has taken a few days of getting used to, that's for sure.
I'm hanging out for this month to be over and I can only hope that now the kids have tasted lovely soft wheat bread, they won't completely refuse to eat the only bread they had ever known before now. Toasted of course, to make it more palatable.

This Sunday just gone, Si celebrated his birthday and with the sun out in full force all weekend long we spent most of it outdoors, lapping it up! Being a long-weekend there were people everywhere. It's funny how after a long, quiet, wet winter like we have just experienced, you can forget just how busy Raglan gets when the sun is out. The beaches were packed and town buzzing with a definite feeling of summer in the air. Si is not the type to want for anything on his birthday. Not even a cake he said, but me being me and with the kids saying it's not a birthday without one, I decided to whip up this tasty wee Almond cake dotted with freshly picked Rhubarb from our garden.

If you haven't already got a Rhubarb plant in your garden, you really should. They produce all year round and don't ask for much more than the occasional feed of manure, or liquid fertiliser. Home grown stems don't seem to produce quite the same intense red colour as commercially grown crops, but if you add a handful of fresh or frozen berries to the mix when making a compote, stew or jam, you can fake it.

This buttery Almond cake is the perfect base for tart Rhubarb, but can also be topped with which ever fruit is in season. Pear halves, plums, apricots or even berries would all be great substitutes.

I hope all you New Zealand readers had a great Labour weekend, with plenty of time spent in your vege gardens. Ideally Labour weekend means D-day for getting your Tomato plants in, but if your quick I reckon you will still be fine to plant some over the next week or two.

gluten-free rhubarb, lemon and almond cake recipe
This recipe can easily be made dairy-free, simply by using dairy-free margarine in place of the butter. I used brown rice flour, but feel free to use white rice flour. Serves 6-8

  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup (145g) caster sugar
  • 125g extra soft butter, or dairy-free margarine
  • 2 3/4 cups (300g) almond meal (ground almonds)
  • 1/3 cup (40g) fine brown rice flour 
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 stalks of rhubarb (approx 150 g)
  • 2 teaspoons caster sugar, extra
  • gluten-free icing (powdered) sugar for dusting

Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F. Grease a 23 cm/9 inch cake tin and line the bottom with a round of baking paper. Wash the rhubarb stalks, cut into 1 inch lengths and while still slightly damp from washing place in a small bowl with the 2tsp of extra caster sugar, and mix to coat and set aside

Beat the eggs and sugar using either a hand-held electric beater or a stand-up mixer for 5 minutes until very thick and pale in colour. Slowly beat in the soft butter, then beat for a further few minutes. A few small lumps of butter will remain, this is okay. Gently fold in the almond meal, rice flour, baking powder and lemon zest. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin. Dot the rhubarb pieces on top, gently pushing them down into the batter a little. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a skewer pushed into the centre of the cake comes out clean and the rhubarb is tender.

Cool in the tin before serving dusted with icing sugar and softly whipped cream on the side. 

This recipe has been linked to: Seasonal Sunday @ Real Sustenance 

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  • Reply
    October 26, 2010 at 2:35 am

    Best of luck with getting through the four weeks! We got my daughter's blood test results right after I had fed her a whole wheat sandwich and then the doctor said she had to keep eating wheat for a week until the endoscopy. It's really hard for a parent, but knowing it's celiac disease without doubt helps so much with keeping to the GF diet. Healthy Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day has several really great gluten free bread recipes. The brioche dough makes a nice white honey loaf.

    We enjoy your blog! Thanks!

  • Reply
    October 26, 2010 at 6:12 am

    Thank you so much for your words of encouragment. Yes I think it will be so much better to know for sure. I will look into those breads you recommended. Thanks a lot -Emm

  • Reply
    October 26, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    I just came across your blog recently. It is really lovely and I like that the recipe are healthy.

  • Reply
    October 26, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Hi There, I'm gluten free and grew up vegetarian – although I eat meat now I really enjoy my vegetarian meals a couple of nights a week so I really enjoy your blog and your recipes. I'm home with our 4 & 1/2 month old baby girl, India, and can't wait to start introducing her to food when she's ready – I love it so much myself, and judging by the way she loves the homemade milky business, I think she will too! I make my own bread but use a breadmaker. After much experimentation I'm convinced that the trick is amaranth flour. I use 150 of both amaranth and brown rice and somewhere around 75 each of white rice and tapioca. I'm going to check out that artisan bread site too though, I dream of brioche!

    • Reply
      September 28, 2013 at 4:43 am


      Would you be willing to share your gluten-free bread recipe? I really don't like the shop-bought stuff. I have amaranth flour sitting waiting for a good recipe!

      By the way, if you haven't tried amaranth grain cooked as porridge, it is delicious and very nourishing.



  • Reply
    October 27, 2010 at 12:20 am

    Hi Veronika, thanks for stopping by 🙂
    MrsK- Thanks for sharing the info on the use of Amaranth flour in your bread, funny as I've just brought some to experiment with! I find yeast abit full-on on my tummy, so I tend to stick to soda bread type breads. That being said though, I've just got The Gluten-free girl and the chefs cookbook and am itching to try out their bread recipe when I find the time. Thanks for stopping by too 🙂

  • Reply
    October 27, 2010 at 3:00 am

    Who needs wheat when you can have this amazing cake??!! Looks so good:) I love rubarb and the addition of the lemon and almond was such a good idea. What a great spot you live in. I'm on the coast too. But you are entering summer and I'm entering winter. I hope your testing goes easily. At least you will know for sure. Thanks for the post. B

  • Reply
    October 27, 2010 at 7:11 am

    Thanks Beth, isn't it funny when you follow blogs from the other side of the world! I have been feeling super jelous reading all about the lovely hot summer your've all just had in America…now it's finally our turn! 🙂

  • Reply
    Anca@Bistro Gerard
    October 27, 2010 at 11:29 am

    The cake looks delicious! I came across your site recently and love your recipes, photos and gardening tips! I have a blog award for you if you would like to stop by my blog when you have time 🙂

  • Reply
    October 31, 2010 at 8:51 pm


    We bumped into your blog and we really liked it – great recipes YUM YUM.
    We would like to add it to the

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  • Reply
    November 1, 2010 at 1:15 am

    Many thanks for stopping by Vincent. Thanks for your offer too, I will look into Petitchef for sure -Emm

  • Reply
    November 17, 2010 at 4:50 am

    Wow this looks like a gorgeous cake!
    Absolutely beautiful photographs 🙂

  • Reply
    Kate at Serendipity
    November 26, 2010 at 11:58 am

    I've just found this recipe through Foodgawker. I'm not celiac, but I AM allergic to wheat. I'm going to see if you've posted your test results, but the symptoms you've described are exactly what happens to me when I eat wheat. I can eat rye with no problems, but wheat kills me. Spelt too–it's just an old version of wheat.

    Good luck with your tests–I'm off to see if I can find the results!

  • Reply
    December 13, 2010 at 5:34 am


    Which rice flour did you use? the glutinous rice? can I substitute rice flour with tapioca flour?

  • Reply
    December 13, 2010 at 7:10 am

    Hi Nadalein,
    I tend to use superfine brown rice flour, but regular white rice flour is fine to use too.

    Tapioca is not a very good substitute for rice flour, It would dry this cake out too much. I would substitute with sorghum/juar flour if available, if not at a pinch glutinous/sweet rice flour could be used, but that's just a guess. I have not made this cake using it before, so results will vary from mine.

    Hope that helps?!

    • Reply
      May 30, 2013 at 6:19 am

      Hiya- am loving your blog. We live in Raglan too-lucky us:) Just wondered if you could recommend where to buy sorghum flour from locally- have been on the look out for it for ages.I have a great cookbook with a 1000 gluten free recipes in it which I used to use a lot when we lived in Wellington but most of the baking recipes use a flour mixture containing sorghum flour which I haven't been able to find since we moved up here. Am off to try making your rhubarb cake now-thanks for the recipe-perfect timing as we got some organic rhubarb yesterday!
      Many thanks,

    • Reply
      May 30, 2013 at 7:42 am

      Hi Melissa, we've since moved over the ditch to Perth, W.A but I miss home terribly.
      Sorghum flour was never easy for me to find in NZ, but the gluten-free store now sell it online for a great price xx

  • Reply
    April 7, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    Would love to make this today! It looks so good but I don't have enough ground almonds left in my pantry so I have saved this post into my "recipes to try" folder until I can get some more. I have some rhubarb in my garden tub waiting to be picked. Thanks for the lovely recipes.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Is that a photo of Pirongia? I used to live in the village.

  • Reply
    April 12, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Hi Sleepinghorse, you're close! That's Mt. Karioi. Back in my hometown of Raglan. Just down the road from Pirongia really ;-)Beautiful huh?
    P.s I so miss my rhubarb patch! It was cranking right before we left to move over here 🙁

  • Reply
    April 19, 2011 at 8:46 am

    The rhubarb in the photo looks beautiful. Mine doesn't seem to go red. Don't know why.

  • Reply
    April 19, 2011 at 11:24 am

    It's hard to get home grown rhubarb to go red like the store brought ones. Not quite sure why either? I found that ours liked to be fed up with loads of manure over winter, then come spring time it fattens up nicely and goes a lot more red.

  • Reply
    April 22, 2011 at 5:51 am

    Hi, I just wanted to tell you I made this today and it is beautiful cake. I used the rhubarb from my garden.
    Thank you for the recipe. I will be making it again.

  • Reply
    May 14, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Rhubarb is in full season in the UK now. I had taken note that I wanted to try your recipe. I made it yesterday with a little bit less sugar and half spelt flour/half almond meal. It was really delicious 🙂

  • Reply
    July 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    I'm very newly gluten free, and as an avid baker, it's been a pretty rocky transition. Thank you so much for this lovely simple recipe. I made mine with strawberries pressed into the top instead of rhubarb. It turned out lovely. I will be back to try some more of your recipes!!

    • Reply
      July 14, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      Oh that's awesome to hear Emma. Strawberries would be perfect. All the best.

  • Reply
    April 26, 2013 at 6:31 am

    Im new to the gluten free club and I am absolutely blown away by this blog and also how healthy and amazing this cake is… thanks for the recepie Emma and thanks to your brother for letting me know about you and your website…:-) Cheers Ben

    • Reply
      April 26, 2013 at 10:22 am

      Hi Ben! Thanks for your lovely comment and welcome, Louie's a good brother isn't he? 🙂 xx

  • Reply
    September 3, 2013 at 8:10 am

    I've been in love with your blog for quiet a few months now( i visit every day in case you've posted something new, maybe a tad obsessed…)anyhow i was just wondering if i were to sub pears for rhubarb would it be best to omit the lemon or replace with some cinnamon? Adele 🙂

    • Reply
      September 3, 2013 at 10:23 am

      Hi Adele, so glad to hear you like my blog enough to check in often 😉
      I reckon lemon goes well with pears too, so it's up to you. Cinnamon would be nice though, as would some finely grated ginger if that's your thing. If using pears, I would cook and cool them first or slice them really thinly to make sure they're cooked through by the time the cake is done xx

  • Reply
    April 19, 2015 at 7:13 am

    Made a feijoa and lime version of this today Emma it was delicious!!! Very light and moist x

  • Reply
    May 18, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Just made it ! Absolutely delicious… I love the mix of taste sugar-acid, made with the rhubarb of our garden. thank you for this recipe, Frederique (from France)

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