26 September 2023

Gluten-Free Baking

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By Christine Salins.


If you follow a gluten-free diet, you’ve most likely heard of Sydney’s Wholegreen Bakery, which has cafés in Sydney CBD, Alexandria and Waverley. It produces a stunning array of bread, pastries and baked goods, and it wholesales as well.

Nutritionist Cherie Lyden founded the business in 2014 after she and her daughter were diagnosed with coeliac disease. She was disappointed with the quality of gluten-free products on offer and began dipping her toe into the world of gluten-free baking so that her daughter could have access to good bread and the occasional sweet treat.

Wholegreen was accredited by Coeliac Australia in 2020 and Cherie is now an ambassador for the organization.

She certainly knows how to make gluten-free products look and taste delicious. The judges must think so too as she has twice won Champion Pastry of the Year in the Royal Sydney Fine Food Awards – and that’s while competing against glutinous pastries.

It’s no surprise then that the recipes in Cherie’s book, Gluten-Free Baking Made Simple (Murdoch Books, $49.99) look positively divine. It features many of the sweet and savoury recipes that she has developed and cooked over the years for her family, as well as at her bakery.

The simple, beautiful, approachable recipes include everything from muffins, cupcakes, biscuits, pancakes, cakes and tarts to quiches, pies, brioche, focaccia and loaves.

Each recipe includes the tips and know-how that she has mastered to achieve truly remarkable gluten-free results at home. As well, she shares her best flour blends, pantry essentials and the secret to the perfect crumb.

The recipe here is for one of the most popular lemon cakes ever made in the bakery. Light, soft and moist, it is dairy-free as well as grain-free, and will stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.

It also freezes beautifully. Simply wrap the (un-iced) cake in plastic wrap and freeze for up to one month, then remove from the freezer when ready to eat and glaze and slice your cake while still frozen (allow 20 minutes to defrost after cutting before serving).

Lemon and coconut cake with lemon glaze

Serves 8

2/3 cup coconut flour

1 cup almond meal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 eggs, at room temperature

1 1/3 cups caster sugar

1 1/3 cups (330 ml) sunflower oil

1 teaspoon vanilla paste

Zest and juice of 2 lemons, plus juice of 1 extra lemon for brushing

Toasted coconut flakes, to decorate


2 cups gluten-free icing sugar, sifted

¼ cup lemon juice

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus extra strands of zest to decorate

Preheat the oven to 170ºC (150ºC fan-forced) with the oven rack positioned in the middle of the oven. Grease a 20 cm round spring-form cake tin and line the base and sides with baking paper.

Sift the coconut flour, almond meal, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl and whisk together thoroughly.

Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar together on high speed until pale and fluffy. Slowly add the oil and vanilla and continue to whisk for 30 seconds more.

Using the paddle attachment on low speed, add the sifted dry ingredients and fold in until everything is mixed together thoroughly, then add the zest and juice of 2 lemons and mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.

Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, rotating roughly halfway through for even cooking, until the cake is dark golden, a skewer inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean, or the cake springs back when you press down gently on the top with two fingers.

Remove the cake from the oven and brush the top with lemon juice. Leave to cool completely in the tin before releasing the spring, removing the sides and peeling away any baking paper as necessary. Remove the cake tin base by sliding the cake onto a serving plate.

Make the lemon glaze by mixing the icing sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest together in a bowl until smooth.

Pour the icing over the top of the cake then use a flat-bladed spatula to quickly smooth the glaze out so it gently tips over the sides to create a drip effect. Decorate with toasted coconut flakes and a little lemon zest. If you want the icing to set (which makes it easier to slice), place the cake in the fridge for 10 minutes before slicing.


  • If the cake is looking a little dark on top towards the end of the cooking time, don’t worry. That’s how it should look. It won’t be burnt.
  • Be sure to sift the dry ingredients – the coconut flour in particular needs it, as it has a tendency to be lumpy and tricky to break down during the mixing process.

Recipe and image from Gluten-Free Baking Made Simple by Cherie Lyden, photography by Ben Dearnley. Published by Murdoch Books, RRP $49.99.

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