Gluten-Free Poppy Seed Cake with Pears & Cardamom
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Naomi uses weight to measure the dry ingredients for more precise baking. This is quite common with gluten-free recipes. I like to use a little electronic scale.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1 (8-inch) 2-layer cake
Pear Topping
  • 1 pound ripe pears (3 to 4), peeled, cored, quartered, and thinly sliced lengthwise
Gluten-Free Poppy Seed Cake
  • 4 ounces dairy-free buttery spread or sticks
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons oil
  • 4 ounces fruit sugar / fructose (can sub 6 ounces plain sugar)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 ounces ground almonds (almond meal or almond flour)
  • 2 ounces brown rice flour
  • 2 ounces organic soy flour
  • 1 ounce poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 10 to 20 green cardamom pods
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons dairy-free milk beverage beverage
  • 2 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 2 teaspoons rosewater
Vanilla Filling
  • 3 ounces dairy-free buttery spread or sticks
  • 6 ounces powdered confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pear Topping
  1. Preheat your oven to Gas mark 3½ (roughly 350°F).
  2. Spread the pear slices in a single layer on a greased baking sheet. Bake them on the top rack of the oven until they are soft and golden tinged. They should be ready about the same time as the cake.
Gluten-Free Poppy Seed Cake
  1. Grease and line the bottom of two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. Put the buttery spread in a saucepan and melt gently. Remove it from the heat and let it cool a little. Whisk in the oil and sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time until completely smooth.
  3. Put the ground almonds, rice flour, soy flour, poppy seeds, cream of tartar, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl, and whisk to combine.
  4. Bash the cardamom pods to split them and empty the little seeds into a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. Cardamom seeds vary in strength so use your own judgement here. If the seeds inside the pods are black and oily you might need only ten, if they look brownish and shrivelled then go for twenty. I love cardamom so I always throw in a few extra. Grind the seeds to a fine powder and tip into the bowl with the poppy seeds.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar and vanilla or rosewater to the milk beverage.
  6. Mix the sugar/egg mixture into the dry ingredients until it is completely smooth. Pour in the milk beverage mixture and fold in until it is just incorporated.
  7. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared tins and level out.
  8. Check the pears in the oven, they might be just about done. If they are, take them out now. If not, leave them in until the cake is cooked. Opening the oven while the cake is cooking can cause it to fall.
  9. Bake the cake for 20 to 25 minutes, until springy to the touch and golden on top.
  10. Let the cakes cool in the pans. Before cake assembly, carefully remove the cakes from the pans and peel off the parchment paper.
Vanilla Filling
  1. Put the buttery spread, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl, and beat until smooth and creamy.
  2. Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Evenly cover it with the Vanilla Filling. Place the second cake layer on top of the filling. Arrange the pear slices in a circle on top and drizzle any juices in the tin over the whole thing.
No Fresh Pears? You can substitute canned pears in juice, and reduce some of the juice to make a syrupy glaze for the pears.
Recipe by Go Dairy Free at