Gluten Free Cherry Bakewell Madeira Cake (Inspired by ‘The Great British Bake Off’)

It’s August, so that can only mean one thing…. ‘The Great British Bake Off’ is back!

I have been a fan of ‘Bake off’ ever since the very first show and have continued to watch it despite having to avoid gluten. You’d think it would be upsetting to watch, but I love watching the bakers create wonderful things – even if I can’t eat them! Every year I try to recreate bakes from the show which can be tricky on a gluten free diet, but not impossible.

I know there are lots of coeliacs who are fans of ‘Bake Off’ who would love to make bakes from the show but aren’t sure whether gluten free version would work, so throughout the new series I am going to pick and choose a few bakes from the show and create gluten free versions to share with you, starting with the Signature Challenge from Cake Week – Madeira Cake.

Paul and Mary asked the bakers to a create a Madeira cake. They were allowed to be adventurous with their flavours but essentially their bakes had to be easily recognisable as Madeira cakes and the contestants who stuck to slightly more traditional flavours seemed to fair a bit better.

I decided to create a cake based on the cherry Madeira cakes I had when I was a child and thought that a Cherry Bakewell flavoured cake would be a nice twist on the original without straying too far away from the traditional flavours of Madeira cake.

Paul and Mary expected the cakes to have the traditional cracked top and bakers who add fruit to their mixture had to make sure it didn’t all sink to the bottom of the cake.
I managed to get both of these elements right but on ‘Bake Off’ we all know the proof of the pudding is the eating (couldn’t resist); it’s not just about how the cake looks, it’s about how good it tastes… so i’ll let you judge that bit for yourselves.

On your marks, get set, BAKE!


Gluten Free Cherry Bakewell Madeira

For the Sponge:
175g caster sugar
175g butter, softened
200g gluten free self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g ground almonds
3 large eggs
2 – 3 tbsp milk
150g glacé cherries
1 tsp almond extract

To decorate:
50g glacé cherries
150g icing sugar
3 – 4 tsp water
A handful of flakes almonds, toasted


1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C (non fan) then grease and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment.

2. Chop the cherries into small pieces, rinse them in cold water to remove all the syrup and dry them with some kitchen towel. Coat the cherries in a tablespoon of flour – this will stop them sinking to the bottom of the cake.

3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder then stir through the ground almonds.

4. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time along with one tablespoon of the flour to stop the mixture from curdling.

5. Add the remaining flour, almond extract and milk then beat until all the ingredients are fully combined. Fold in the cherries and spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin.

6. Bake for 50 – 55 mins minutes. Insert a skewer into the middle of the cake to check if it’s cooked– if it comes out clean the cake is ready.

7. Allow the cake to cool in the tin before turning it out on a wire rack. Leave to cool completely.8. While the cake is cooling, lightly toast the almonds in the oven – 150 degrees C should be hot in enough.

8. To make the icing: sift the icing sugar into a bowl, add the water slowly whilst stirring – the icing shouldn’t be too runny but should be spreadable.

9. Spoon over the icing over the cake – you can use a piping bag to be neat but I quite like the informal look.

10. Scatter across the remaining cherries and toasted almonds, then serve!
If you want have a go at something a bit more spectacular, why not have a go at my Gluten Free Black Forest Gâteau Showstopper which I posted back in January, or, if you want to brush up on your biscuit skills ahead of the next show why not check out my Gluten Free Florentines Recipe which I adapted from last years show.

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