Coffee Cardamom Cake | Gluten Free

Warmly spiced gluten free coffee cake with sweet coffee and butter glaze.This moist cake is perfect when paired with a cup of your favourite brew, and a friend or two to share it with.Coffee Cardamom Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI made this cake to celebrate my friend Lynn‘s 30th birthday! This week my sweet baking and blogging buddy celebrates her birthday – and you can’t have a birthday without a birthday cake! Lynn and I bonded over our love of baking science, the colour orange, cardamom, anything ending in -oatmeal cookie or beginning in lemon poppyseed. And in two weeks Chris and I get to meet Lynn and her incredible husband Matt for the first time! I’m sure there will be lots of celebrating while we are taking a local’s tour of Philadelphia, but I just had to celebrate my sweet bloggy friend’s birthday with a cake, which probably wouldn’t pack very well!Coffee Cardamom Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeLynn makes no secret of her love of coffee, and we are both massive fans of the sometimes under-used cardamom. This cake has a decent dose of each, and is sweetened only with brown sugar, which contributes moistness and an extra depth to this simple, but celebration-worthy coffee cake. Sometimes coffee cakes can be a little dry, but the brown sugar in this cake, along with the Greek yoghurt keep it nice and moist, and the coffee and butter glaze that tops the cooled cake gives a final touch of moisture and sweet coffee crackle. This gluten free cake is so simple to put together. Just creaming, beating, stirring, baking, and frosting. Simple but perfect. Coffee Cardamom Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeSimple though this cake might be, its simplicity is deceptive. I cut myself a slice to taste the cake before taking the remains to work, but I found myself returning not long after I’d finished that first slice for just ‘one more piece’. If you are a ‘one more sliver’ person who finds herself standing bathed in refrigerator light cutting perfectly straight lines with her fork, then this cake is dangerous to you – and so worth making! Everything about this cake is classic but perfect. Take it with you to a morning tea, or bake it up for your next celebration, this cake is simple sweet heaven.

Happy birthday Lynn! Coffee Cardamom Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Coffee Cardamom Cake

Gluten Free | Serves 8


  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 80 grams brown rice flour
  • 80 grams buckwheat flour
  • 50 grams white rice flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 125 grams butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 150 grams (3/4 cup) brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup Greek/natural yoghurt

For the frosting

  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 1/3 cup walnuts


  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and butter and line an 8-inch (20cm) round cake tin. Set aside until required.
  2. Mix together coffee and warm water and set aside to cool.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, white rice flour, baking powder, and cardamom.
  4. In the bowl of a standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl using a handmixer) beat together butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy.
  5. Add cooled coffee mixture and vanilla extract and beat in.
  6. Mix in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions.
  7. Beat in flour in two additions, alternating with the yoghurt.
  8. Pour batter into prepared cake tin and smooth the top. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes back clean.
  9. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
  10. To make the frosting dissolve coffee in milk. Place in the bowl of a standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment along with the butter and icing sugar. Beat until smooth.
  11. Frost the top of the cooled cake and top with the walnuts.

Coffee Cardamom Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Almond Butter Shortbread (gluten free)

Lately I have been addicted to The Newsroom – the TV show about a TV show. Jeff Daniels stars as a news anchorman, Emily Mortimer is his senior producer, and these two have a tenuous relationship and heavy history that adds delicious background tension to the political and media-related commentary of the show. I bow down to Aaron Sorkin’s genius, from the opening score (beautifully composed by Thomas Newman) to the real news footage laced throughout each episode, every piece of the show comes together perfectly.

Last night as I was balancing a bowl of baked beans and broccoli (post-gym and pre-internship online work dinner) on my knees curled up under the covers of Chris’s bed I commented to Chris that every time we finishing watching an episode I feel heavier. I feel weighted down by the emotional interpretation and exposition of each news story that this fictional team of journalists and newsroom staffers present. The scope of the stories and the impact of the facts that the team choose to expose and those they choose to hide seem more comprehensible viewed through the lens of a period of hindsight and the filter of fiction.

(c) HBO

(c) HBO

In reality I am an aspiring news-junky. Chris and I watch a lot of American political satire (our favourite is The Colbert Report), and I listen to ABC radio and pick up The Australian newspaper whenever I can, but given the chance I will just read the arts section of the newspaper and listen to the developments of the day before I return to reading blog posts from my favourite writers on the web. Still, one day I will learn enough to make erudite arguments at cocktail parties (because I go to so many of those…) or contribute knowledge-based arguments across the dinner table at large gatherings (my people generally aren’t discussing politics when we could be discussing Proust’s madeleines or the latest from delicious. magazine). For now, I am happy being an eternal student of the news, and dedicated watcher of The Newsroom.

I am curious though, where do y’all get your news from? Are you dedicated to one news program over the other? The hours of 6-7:30pm in my parent’s house is dedicated to various news and current affairs programs, while I am more of a radio news person.

As the closing credits rolled across the screen last night I had long finished my dinner and finally I tip-toed out to the kitchen, put the kettle on, and snuck one of these Almond Butter Shortbreads to nibble alongside while I pondered the latest developments from my favourite (fictional) news team…and scrolled through some blogs of course…

All piled up and ready for afternoon tea.

All piled up and ready for afternoon tea.

Almond Butter Shortbread (gluten free)

These are crisp little biscuits that are perfect saucer-side to accompany a cup of tea or coffee. They keep well for about a week in an airtight container and are perfect with or without the chocolate drizzle, but come on, who can live without some chocolate drizzle on their shortbread…

Note: almond butter is available from most supermarkets now or your local health food shop. If you want, you can make your own, which I plan to do when my current pot of nut butter runs out – try this recipe from Martha Stewart.


  • 100 grams butter, softened
  • 75 grams almond butter
  • 100 grams raw sugar (turbinado sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 150 grams buckwheat flour
  • 100 grams brown rice flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 100 grams dark chocolate, chopped


  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line two large cookie sheets with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl cream together butter, almond butter, and raw sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl sift together buckwheat and brown rice flours and cardamom.
  5. Add sifted flour mix to batter and combine. This is a very dry mixture so you may need to knead it with your hands to finish it off. Gather mix into a ball and place on a bench that is lightly sprinkled with some extra buckwheat flour.
  6. Roll out mix to 0.5-0.7 mm thickness and using desired cookie cutter (do you like my pretty birds?) cut out shapes and place on lined cookie sheets. Leave a few centimetres between each cookie so that they bake properly.
  7. Slide cookie sheets into preheated oven and cook for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden on top.
  8. Remove and cool completely.
  9. Once cookies are completely cooled, melt chocolate in the microwave and drizzle over the cookies.
  10. Allow chocolate to set (if you can wait that long) and then serve.
My afternoon treat.

My afternoon treat.


Dear reader, are you a Newsroom fan? Are you  a political news junkie? Or celebrity news junkie?

Chocolate Cardamom Fete Cookies

Do you remember the joy of a school fete? I do.

Not my own school actually (we had an ‘arts festival’ – not quite as good really for reasons that shall soon become apparent), but I remember with particular fondness the school fetes of my cousin’s primary school. Every year we would go along one Saturday morning and see the school and churchyard transformed. Stalls would be set up in the grass and line the concrete paths, a miniature Ferris Wheel would spin around those under four feet, and items of all natures would be for sale: the second hand book stall, which I always came away from with a heavier bag and lighter purse; student artwork that had been completed over the semester; and, my favourite of all – the homemade sweets and baked goods.

(This is where it becomes apparent why my school fete/ arts festival wasn’t as good – there were never any baked goods. What?!)

Before glaze, and still yummy

Before glaze, and still yummy

There upon the wooden trestle tables festooned with plastic tablecloths would be the offerings of the parents and grandparents of the pupils: buttery shortbread rounds their tops patterned with forks, splodge-shaped jam drops with sweet raspberry jam, sugary caramel fudge, pink and white coconut ice, ANZAC biscuits, patty cakes with pink butter icing decorated with lollies, and always, always, chocolate slice – my favourite.

I would search among all the other treats, wrapped in plastic packets, or little cardboard boxes, to find the chocolate slice. Sometimes with coconut, sometimes without. Always with a thin cocoa glaze. And always, always, my favourite.

Many years have passed since the last school fete of my cousin’s primary days, and many years have passed since I have eaten chocolate slice (too many other treats to spoon/fork/hand-shovel into my mouth).

To be honest, when I made these biscuits I didn’t even have chocolate slice in mind. I had four egg yolks to use up and a yen for something with a chocolate content. But, when I took the first bite of this puffy, lightly-spiced, cocoa and hazelnut treat I was transported back to those fetes – back to the damp schoolyard lawn on a Saturday morning clutching a plastic bag burgeoning with books in one hand and a crumbling piece of chocolate slice in the other. They are a little dry, a little cake-like inside, and infinitely better with a tea/coffee/milk.


Glazed and ready to devour

Glazed and ready to devour

Chocolate Cardamom Fete Cookies (gluten free)

Makes 9 large cookies, or 18 smaller ones. I suppose it depends how greedy you are feeling really. I made this using four egg yolks I had left over from a batch of seven-minute frosting, but it also works with whole eggs. Oh yeah, and these are gluten free!


  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 75 grams brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup no fat natural yoghurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 80 grams hazelnut meal
  • 80 grams buckwheat flour
  • 50 grams cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line a cookie sheet with baking paper.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the whole egg, egg yolk, olive oil, sugar and vanilla essence until smooth and thickened slightly.
  3. Add yoghurt and incorporate well.
  4. Weigh hazelnut meal, buckwheat flour, and cocoa powder into a small bowl then measure in ground cardamom and baking powder. Use a clean whisk to beat together until no lumps remain.
  5. Add dry ingredients to the egg and yoghurt mixture and beat well.
  6. Use an ice-cream scoop or tablespoon to measure out mounds of dough onto the cookie sheet. Leave some room between scoops as they will spread slightly during cooking.
  7. Place tray in oven and cook for 10-12 minutes. Rotate tray 180 degrees halfway through cooking time.
  8. Remove cookies from the oven and cool completely on a rack.
  9. Once completely cooled mix up glaze and spoon on top of the cookies and allow it to dribble enticingly down the side. This is about childhood sweets, not perfection, after all.
  10. Eat.

Glaze: Beat together 1 cup icing sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder and 2 tablespoons of milk.

Oh yum.

Oh yum.

Tell me, dear reader what were school fetes like at your school?

More importantly, what was your favourite homemade treat?