Brown Sugar Sponge Cake with Berries and Whipped Cream | Gluten Free

Brown sugar enriched gluten free sponge cake layers joined together by sweet fresh strawberries and clouds of vanilla whipped cream. This is a treat perfect for welcoming warmer days.Brown Sugar Sponge with Berries and Whipped Cream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI remember making many sponge cakes with my Dad when I was a little girl. Baking with Dad was one of Jessica and my favourite ways to spend a Saturday morning. We would climb up on chairs at the kitchen bench and pull down Dad’s old Navy cookbook: a maroon leather volume entitled ‘Australian and New Zealand Cookery’. We flipped past all the savoury pages until we found the sweets and baking section. This was an early sign of what was to come for Jess and I. Together with Dad we wandered all over the baking world: melting moments, jam drops, chocolate eclairs, marshmallows – and sponge cake.

Brown Sugar Sponge with Berries and Whipped Cream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThrough our Saturday baking mornings together Dad taught us so many fundamentals for our future endeavours in the kitchen, but more than that, he baked up memories with us that lasted long after the last crumbs vanished. This is one of the reasons that baking equals love in my family. Because baking takes time, and taking time to make something for someone you care about is an expression of love.Brown Sugar Sponge with Berries and Whipped Cream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis Father’s Day I wanted to recapture the spirit of some of our Saturday baking sessions, and I knew I had to recreate a gluten free version of sponge cake, with an Amy twist. This sponge is just as light and airy as those made long ago, but there is a hint of caramel in the background because this recipe replaces caster sugar with brown sugar. This is not a sponge that is merely a vehicle for cream and berries, but a cake that holds its own. Layered together with vanilla sweetened whipped cream and fresh strawberries, this cake evoked memories, and was the perfect way to celebrate my sweet Dad.Brown Sugar Sponge with Berries and Whipped Cream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I was a little nervous re-creating this classic so here are some handy hints that I picked up:

  • Make sure your eggs are at room temperature. This will ensure the maximum volume is achieved when you whip them with the sugar. More volume = lighter sponge.
  • Be prepared before you start: preheat the oven; measure out your ingredients; and grease and line your baking tins.
  • Yes. You really do need to sift your dry ingredients three times.
  • When folding use an under and over swooping motion and turn the bowl a quarter turn after each fold. Make sure you scrape the bottom too.
  • Be very careful when you are rotating the cakes and opening/closing the oven door. You do not want to bash all the air out of the cakes.
  • Remove your sponges immediately from the tins once they are out of the oven. And allow to cool completely before filling and decorating.
  • The more cream, the better.

Brown Sugar Sponge with Berries and Whipped Cream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeWe spent Sunday morning sitting on the patio of Jess and Trent’s house, celebrating Dad and enjoying the fresh spring morning. Slices of fluffy brown sugar sponge with mountains of sweet berries and whipped cream were passed around, plates were scraped and seconds were sneaked (that might have been me…). Recreate this family classic for your loved ones, and conjure up memories of teatimes past. Brown Sugar Sponge with Berries and Whipped Cream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Brown Sugar Sponge with Berries and Whipped Cream

Gluten Free | Serves 8-10 | Best eaten on the day it is made. Leftovers will keep up to two days in the refrigerator | Adapted from here.


For the cake

  • 4 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 165 grams brown sugar
  • 100 grams white rice flour
  • 50 grams sorghum flour
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For decoration and assembly

  • 300mL whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon gluten free icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry jam
  • 250 gram punnet strawberries, and extra for serving
  • Extra icing sugar for dusting, optional


  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F or 160C/320F if fan-forced) Grease two 8-inch round cake tins. Line the bottoms with baking paper.
  2. Place eggs and brown sugar in the bowl of a standmixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on high for 10 minutes or until thick and creamy. You could use a large bowl and a handheld mixer instead if preferred.
  3. Sift together white rice flour, sorghum flour, cream of tartar and baking soda three times.
  4. Once the eggs are finished beating, sift dry ingredients over the top and then very gently fold into the batter. Use an under and over motion and be sure to scrape the bottom.
  5. Divide batter between pans and bake for 15-18 minutes. Swap pan positions halfway through baking time.
  6. Once the cakes are finished cooking, remove from the oven and immediately turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
  7. Once the cakes are completely cool you are ready to assemble them.
  8. Start by whipping the cream together with the icing sugar and vanilla. Use a standmixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on high until you achieve stiff peaks.
  9. Place one layer of cake down onto the serving platter and spread with the strawberry jam.
  10. Slice strawberries into pieces and layer these onto the cake.
  11. Spread cream over strawberries and place second layer of cake on top.
  12. Dust with extra icing sugar if desired and serve with more strawberries.

Brown Sugar Sponge with Berries and Whipped Cream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Pumpkin Oat Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies | Gluten Free

These Pumpkin Oat Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies are soft and chewy with oats, studded with dark chocolate chips and toasted walnuts, and warmly spiced with cinnamon and ginger. A perfect dozen cookies just waiting for your cookie jar.

Pumpkin Oat Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeSometimes I just want a small batch of cookies. An appropriate number of cookies to keep in a house with only two people who are trying to maintain the illusion of eating healthily most of the time. You know what I mean. But in the midst of all that healthy eating do you ever come home from a long day at work following a morning workout and just want to eat cookies? I do, and I know you do too. These cookies are coming to our rescue. These cookies are our midweek cookie friends. No need to deal with 24, 36, 48 cookies in the cookie jar – this recipe makes a perfect dozen. Just the right amount to keep around the house for a treat or two during the week, or a sweet surprise in your darling’s lunchbox.

Pumpkin Oat Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeYou know I’m a fan of oatmeal cookies: we’ve had them chewy and studded with dried blueberries, and crispy with caramel chips. But I think these pumpkin and spice oatmeal cookies are my favourites ever. Ever. They are chewy, super chewy, and I recommend keeping them in the refrigerator for maximum chewiness. And they are filled with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg to bring warmth and compliment the brown sugar sweetness of these cookies.

Science time: the moisture content of these cookies is increased by the use of brown sugar, and only the yolk of an egg. There is no need for a full egg, just the egg yolk. Egg yolk protein once cooked makes for a denser, fudgy cookie. These two ingredients (brown sugar and egg yolk) are also the tenderisers, the moisture-boosters, in our perfect chewy oat cookies. Choosing baking soda as the leavening ingredient reacts with the acid in brown sugar and allows for the cookies to rise, but keeps them dense rather than cakey. So brown sugar + egg yolk + baking soda = dense, chewy, fudgy oatmeal cookies. Yay cookie science!

Pumpkin Oat Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeAnd then come the mix-ins. Gluten free quick oats bind the batter together and give extra chew. But the best bits, the most scrumptious, hunt-through-the-batter bits are toasted walnuts and dark chocolate chips. You could of course use milk chocolate, but the dark chocolate stands up well next to strongly flavoured toasted walnuts and the spiced cookie dough. And they just feel a little more indulgent. If you are going to make a tiny, every day kind of treat, you should make it as indulgent as possible. Enjoy this perfect dozen cookies for your next midweek cookie treat.

Pumpkin Oat Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifePumpkin Oat Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten Free | Makes 12 cookies


  • You need to chill this dough for an hour before baking. This is important to obtaining the perfect texture.
  • To make pumpkin purée: peel and chop about 3/4 cup pumpkin. Place in a microwave safe bowl with a small amount of water and microwave in 2 minute bursts until the pumpkin is soft all the way through. Cool completely and blend until smooth.



  • 30 grams buckwheat flour
  • 30 grams sorghum flour
  • 30 grams white rice flour
  • 1/3 cup gluten free quick oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 60 grams (1/4 cup) butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup toasted walnuts, chopped


  1. In a small bowl whisk together buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, white rice flour, quick oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer) beat butter, brown sugar, and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add egg yolk, vanilla extract, and pumpkin and beat until well combined.
  4. Reduce speed to low and add whisked dry ingredients. Mix until completely combined.
  5. Switch to a wooden spoon and mix in walnuts and chocolate chips.
  6. Chill dough for at least an hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line two baking sheets with baking paper.
  8. Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls and place on lined baking sheets. Leave space for spreading.
  9. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are golden. The centres will still be soft (this makes for chewy cookies). Remove and cool completely on baking sheets.
  10. Store cookies in refrigerator for maximum chewiness for up to four days.

Pumpkin Oat Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Ginger, Apple, and Almond Cake

I wish I could invite you over for coffee and cake. Just like last time I had a good, weighty, spiced cake to share over a cup of tea, there is much to talk about. Not big exciting things or changes in my life, but ideas and thoughts beyond my own sphere of experience. The mind knows no bounds and out there are ideas for us to capture, absorb, understand, and discuss. Ideas like – how would you live, how would you choose to live, in the shadow of an unpredicted, unexpected stroke that might reoccur at any moment, or, never again? Geoff Dyer provides insight. Lighter, happier ideas like wishing that this was my new kitchen, just look at those gleaming benches and that magnetic blackboard wall!

Ginger, Apple, and Almond Cake | Thoroughly Nourished Life


We would pour cups of freshly percolated coffee and I would serve you thick slices of this moist gingery cake with an angel dust coating of icing sugar, and over mouthfuls of soft sweet apple and roasted almonds we would talk about the intricacies of the creative brain or how neither of us can believe it took me so long to read this book.

Ginger, Apple, and Almond Cake | Thoroughly Nourished Life


At our worn wooden table we would share the thoughts that have made us smile, what has kept us up into the wee hours of the morning. What has made us grateful to be here, and all the future plans that we are looking forward to bringing into reality (hint: suitcases are hopefully involved!). One slice is not enough to enjoy the heady ginger scent and the richness of brown sugar, nor is it enough to talk about all that occupies our hearts and minds. Oh, won’t you knock on the door and come over for a coffee and a chat?

Ginger, Apple, and Almond Cake | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Ginger, Apple, and Almond Cake

Serves 10-12. Makes one 8-inch bundt cake

Note: if self-raising flour is unavailable use 2 1/2 cups plain flour and 1 tablespoon baking powder. To toast nuts: measure 1/2 a cup, spread over a tray and place in an oven heated to 180C (350F) and roast in oven for 10 minutes. Allow to cool and then chop.


  • 2 1/2 cups self raising flour (see note)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 100 grams butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup golden syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup Greek/natural yoghurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup almonds, toasted and roughly chopped (see note)
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour


  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Grease an 8-inch bundt tin very well. Set aside until required.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, and salt.
  3. In a medium size bowl whisk together melted and cooled butter, golden syrup, milk, yoghurt, eggs, and vanilla essence.
  4. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just mixed.
  5. Add almonds and apples and stir to distribute. Pour batter into prepared tin and smooth top.
  6. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  7. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool in tin for 15 minutes. Then turn out onto a plate and allow to cool completely.
  8. When cake is cool mix together icing sugar and cornflour and sift over cake.
  9. Serve with whipped cream or by itself.

Ginger, Apple, and Almond Cake | Thoroughly Nourished Life