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Plum Cake (Gluten Free & Vegan)

This Gluten Free Vegan Plum Cake recipe is a spin on my Apple Spiced Muffins, using seasonal plums and pears (at the time of baking) to make a delicious tea cake best shared with friends…

There is something about baked fruit in desserts. The way it releases its natural sweet syrup and oozes into the batter as it cooks forming sticky sweet pockets of flavour. I love the way it turns golden on its edges and becomes a more intense version of itself in the heat of the oven.

I think in general the diversity of how fruit can be used is under valued. Fruit does make a fabulous portable and easy snack, but it also offers so much more. It works from savoury to sweet, from winter to summer. Fruit also offers a richness of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that our gut microbiome adore.

One of the ways I love to use fruit is in salads. I just posted recently Cucumber, grapefruit & avocado salad w mustard dressing, but some other examples of salads with fruit in them I encourage you to explore are Millet Salad w Creamy Mustard Dressing (contains grapes) and my classic all time favourite, Apple Pie Salad.

Then you can’t go past fruit in braises in the depths of winter. Think classic apricots in a tagine for example. One of my favourites is pomegranates in this Slow cooked pomegranate beef ribs recipe.

Now all that being said, I do love fruit with classic pairings also. For instance, on the weekend I completed my longest (to date) trail run, running up to the top of Mount Saint Leonards from Maroondah Dam. It was just under 24km return. At the top of St Leonards is a lookout tower where I perched for a rest and ate from my pack the most delicious peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich I think I have ever tasted. There is something about the way food tastes when you are on a trail. If you have hiked a lot you will know what I mean.

I was pretty proud of myself for completing this out and back trail. The last section up to the tower is crazy step, so its more of a fast hike than a run. You can see the steep peak climb on All Trails if you are interested. On the decent of this section some young teenagers went flying by me on trail bikes geared up in helmets and googles. Talk about keen! I could hear the kid at the head of the pack ahead of me suddenly scream back to the others behind him..”treeeeee!” and they all somehow came to a quick stop just in time. They would pick the bikes up to carry over the fallen tree before flying off again. The boy at the back of the pack who would have been all of 12 or 13 years age had a look of blind terror when he passed me.

Circling back to the Plum Cake, I actually wanted to make this as a trail food option. I am training my digestion to use wholefoods as much as possible when out there, not because I have anything against gels, I just prefer food! Currently I am mixing food like the aforementioned sandwich with dried bananas, plant based protein bars (currently loving the Switch Nutrition ones) and homemade simple cakes studded with fruit (fresh and dried).

Hydration wise, I am working on fine tuning what I need as I am a massive sweater and dump so much sodium. I’m aiming for a certain amount of sodium per hour which generally sees me mix a carb/electrolyte mix (liking currently Ener-C Sport) with additional salt in my water pack. I’ll then pack additional plain water to alternate with.

Priming yourself nutritionally before an endurance effort alongside how you refuel afterwards is just as important and perhaps a topic for another day. If you would like to hear more about this leave me a comment below and I’ll be sure to provide more content around this.


Common baking adaption questions…

As always I like to provide some projected feedback on adaptions to make with the recipe to suit you. Obviously this recipe is already gluten free and vegan, but some of you may like to make swaps based on the below:

  • Fruit alternatives – yes, you can absolutely use other fruits. You want fruits that will caramelise up nicely and work with the lemon zest and coconut undertones. Nectarines, peaches, figs, banana, berries…so many options.
  • Adding egg – yes, you can add egg if you like. Just remove the chia seeds and drop rice milk to 1/4 cup then add 2 eggs.
  • Nut free – swap almond meal for sunflower seed meal (just blend sunflower seeds in a hi-speed blender to a meal). Sometimes you can source pumpkin seed meal which would also be lovely.
  • Tapioca flour – messing with this one will create a more dense cake. You can swap it for more buckwheat flour but the finish will not be as light so please keep this in mind.

If you have any more questions abut modifying this recipe, be sure to leave a comment below. I am always happy to help out and find an ingredient sub or tweak to make it work for you.

Enjoy! x

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Plum Cake (Gluten Free & Vegan)

10 large slices, or 15 medium slices
preparation time
30 min
cooking time
45 – 50min


  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups diced pear
  • 1/2 cup rice milk
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup + 2 extra tablespoons of soda water or sparkling water
  • 12 small plums
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons raw sugar for dusting (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180c fan-forced. Grease and line with baking paper a standard size square cake tin.
  2. Pre cut the plums in half removing the stones then set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl combine the buckwheat flour, tapioca flour, brown rice flour, almond meal, baking powder, lemon zest, desiccated coconut and salt, mixing well with a wooden spoon. Add the diced pear and fold through the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  4. Add the rice milk, vanilla extract, extra virgin olive oil, honey and chia seeds to a blender and blend till well combined.
  5. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients from the blender with the sparking water (when you leave adding the sparkling water right till the end it will help with it maintaining its bubbles in the batter). Mix through with a wooden spoon until everything is well combined.
  6. Spoon the batter into lined baking tin evenly distributing the batter out.
  7. Top the cake batter with the plums, skin side down pushing their bums into the batter. Sprinkle plums with a little raw sugar.
  8. Place the baking tin in the oven for 45 -50 minutes, checking around 25 minutes to ensure it is not cooking too quickly in your oven. If the cake is browning on the top but need a little longer, cover the top of the cake with some baking paper for the remaining time. The Plum Cake is cooked through when springy to touch in the centre with no raw batter on a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake.
  9. When the plum cake is cooked through, remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 5 -10 minutes. Then, gently release the cake from them from the edges using a butter knife if needed and carefully lift out and place on a wire rack to cool.
  10. This Plum Cake will last for 3 days in an air-tight container out of the fridge, otherwise keep in the fridge for 5 days or freeze for 3 months.

nutritional information for Plum Cake (Gluten Free & Vegan)

Nutritional information based on 1 serve (of larger serving sizes/cake cut into 10 pieces).

Calories/KJ344 cal/1439 kj
Total Fat14g
Saturated Fat 3g
Total Carbohydrates 58g
Sugars 35g
Fibre 6g
Protein 5g

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Jessica Cox is a qualified practicing Nutritionist with a Bachelor Health Science (Nutrition) and over 15 years of clinical experience. She is the founder and director JCN Clinic, published author and established recipe developer. Jessica is well respected within health and wellness space for her no fad approach and use of evidence-based nutrition.

Jessica Cox

Jessica Cox is a qualified practicing Nutritionist with a Bachelor Health Science (Nutrition) and over 15 years of clinical experience. She is the founder and director JCN Clinic, published author and established recipe developer. Jessica is well respected within health and wellness space for her no fad approach and use of evidence-based nutrition.

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