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Gluten Free Cherry Traybake

by James Morton

This recipe is gluten-free so it can be eaten with impunity, regardless of various intolerances. But it is not a recipe that has been twisted and tortured into the oh-sofashionable gluten-free box; it is simply without flour because it is better without flour. The addition of gluten makes this bake worse. The key is the ground almonds – or ‘almond flour’ as they call it in America. We can use this to make a thick frangipane, which is a basic French tart filling. But bake frangipane by itself and it stands proud to become a soft and crumbly cake that you can just eat and eat and eat until your doctors tells you not too. It’s divine.

Prep time

30 minutes

Cook time

1 hour







Step 1

First, preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Line a 8-inch square (or similar – cake tins will do) with a crumply piece of baking paper. There’s no need to grease anything, but you can if you like. 

Step 2

Into a large bowl, weigh your soft butter and caster sugar. If your butter wasn’t soft, give it a quick zap (out of any metal packaging) in the microwave. Beat these together using a wooden spoon or electric mixer for at least 5 minutes, or until almost-white and fluffy. 

Step 3

Add your eggs, one at a time. Beat well after adding each egg, so your mixture is totally smooth. If your mix happens to curdle, don’t worry – this is fine. 

Step 4

Finally, fold in your ground almonds with a big spoon until completely combined. Scoop this mixture into your prepared tin and smooth out until nearly flat. Scatter over your cherries (the mix will rise up about them). 

Step 5 

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when it’s a golden brown colour and, when lightly pressed, it feels dry and springy to the touch. If you’re unsure, stick it with a sharp knife or skewer; if there’s any mix on it, it’s fine. You can cover up any unsightly holes with a load of icing sugar! 

Top Tip

Can’t have gluten OR almonds? You can make this bake with any nut (and indeed, any fruit). Just place your whole nuts in a food processor and blitz until finely ground. Don’t go too far, or you’ll have nut-butter. Avoid peanuts. 




100g Graham’s salted butter, softened

100g caster sugar

2 medium eggs, at room temperature

150g ground almonds

100g (or more) of French glacé cherries (the dark ones)

Icing sugar, to finish.