Recipe: Gluten free version of Not Quite Nigella’s Lumberjack cake with maple butterscotch coconut topping

November 13, 2010 at 7:14 am (recipes) (, , , , )

I am an avid reader of Not Quite Nigella’s blog, all her recipes and adventures look amazing, to tell you the truth I envy her and her adventures. However up until now I haven’t got around to trying any of her recipes, mostly because I haven’t done much baking up until the last month, and also because I have had trouble re-creating glutenous recipes in the past (e.g. the scones I made last weekend which didn’t rise!).

Though, when I saw this post for Lumberjack cake with maple butterscotch coconut topping I knew I had to make it. I love the flavours of coconut and maple syrup and especially butterscotch! So what better way to spend a Friday night then to bake a cake. I have to say I was doubtful as I decided to use a gluten free flour mix, the exact same one that failed me with my scones last weekend. However, I gave it a go anyway and I am very pleased that I did. The cake tasted exactly like Not Quite Nigella explains it should, light and fluffy and the crunchy topping is a nice contrast. The cake was nice and moist and unlike my scones it did rise πŸ™‚

While it takes a bit of time to prepare, it is not hard, and is definitely worth the time.

A gluten free version of Not Quite Nigella's Lumberjack cake

Lumberjack cake (recipe taken from Not Quite Nigella)


Cake base

  • 1.5 cups Granny Smith apples – approximately 2 apples peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup pitted dates, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil (not olive oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups plain all purpose flour (I used Orgran gluten free all purpose plain flour)
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder


  • 70g butter
  • 4 tablespoons cream
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups shredded coconut


1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a cake tin with baking paper. In a bowl, place the chopped apple, dates, bicarb and boiling water and the bicarb should fizz. Allow to stand for 10 minutes making sure that the fruit sits in the water.

Sliced apple

2. Beat the the eggs, sugar, vanilla essence and oil with an electric mixer for 3 minutes.Β  Add the apple and date mixture, water and all, to this mix and fold to combine. Then fold into the salt, flour and baking powder folding gently, ensuring that it is completely mixed. Bake for 50 minutes (I had to cook mine for 60 minutes putting tin foil over it for the last 20 so the top didn’t burn) or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Apple and dates soaking in bicarb and water and the beaten egg, sugar, vanilla and oil mixture

The cake batter mix ready to go in the oven

3.While the cake is baking, make the topping. In a small saucepan on low heat, melt the butter along with the cream, brown sugar, maple syrup and vanilla. Once melted and it becomes a rich butterscotchy maple sauce, add in the coconut.

The topping mixture once the coconut has been added

4.When the cake is done, take the tin out of the oven and then spread over the topping reaching to all of the sides. Place cake in the oven on the same temperature and bake for another 20 minutes until the topping is golden.

5. Serve and enjoy πŸ™‚

The finished cake



  1. Fiona said,

    I only recently came across your blog. This looks great!

  2. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said,

    I’m so glad that it worked out well Petra! Your cake looks fantastic! πŸ˜€

  3. Emma @ The Food Rookie said,

    Yay, I was going to figure out how to ‘gluten-free’ the cake myself but you’ve done the hard work for us. Thankyou!

    You have a lovely blog, I’ll be checking back for more recipes πŸ™‚

  4. Anna said,

    omg i tried this cake and it is so delicious! i loved the coconut on top drenched in syrup! my hips hate me, but its worth it!!! love this recipe!

  5. Petra said,

    Thank you all for the great comments πŸ™‚

  6. Susan: My Food Obsession said,

    Thanks for sharing! This looks like a delicious Gluten Free Cake.

  7. Lauren T said,

    It looks soooo delicious. You should implement an ordering system on your blog coz I would pay to have you make me something that looks that good. Yum!

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