Naomi's Gluten Free and Diabetic Poppy Seed and Cardamom Cake

Corn, gluten, lactose, milk, nightshade, peanut, sesame & wheat free

Naomi says that to make this cake suitable for diabetics it needs to be sandwiched with cream - the icing alternative is far too sugary.
For a dairy free alternative, not suitable for diabetics, she suggests that you follow instructions for a dairy-free ‘butter cream’ filling and use extra oil
in place of butter in the cake.


  • 110g / 4 oz cow’s or goat’s butter or dairy free spread
  • 100ml / 3 fl oz vegetable oil
  • 110g/ 4 oz fruit sugar (fructose)
  • 3 large or 4 medium eggs
  • 140g / 5 oz ground almonds
  • 55g / 2 oz brown rice flour
  • 55g / 2 oz organic soya flour
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 15 green cardamom pods
  • 30g / 1 oz poppy seeds
  • 100ml / 3 fl oz whatever milk you can tolerate
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence or 2 tsp rosewater

Filling & Topping

  • 3-4 ripe pears - about 500g / 18oz
  • 200ml / 7 fl oz double (heavy) cream – or 85g / 3 oz dairy-free spread
  • 170g / 6 oz icing (confectioners) sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence


  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas mark 3½.
  2. Grease and line the bottom of two 20cm diameter sandwich tins (8" cake pans).
  3. Peel the pears – try to use the juiciest you can find.
  4. Quarter, core and slice each quarter into three slim pieces lengthways. They will be arranged on top of the cake at the end, so make them reasonably even.
  5. Spread them in a single layer on a buttered baking sheet and bake them at the top of the oven until they are soft and golden tinged. They should be ready about the same time as the cake.
  6. In the absence of fresh pears you could use those tinned in juice – you could reduce some of the juice to make a syrupy glaze for the pears.
  7. Put the butter / spread in a saucepan and melt gently.
  8. Take it off the heat and leave until it has cooled a little.
  9. Add the vegetable oil and then the fruit sugar.
  10. Beat in the eggs one at a time until completely smooth and set aside.
  11. Put the ground almonds, soya flour, rice flour and poppy seeds into a large mixing bowl.
  12. Sift in the bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and cream of tartar.
  13. Bash the cardamom pods to split them and empty the little seeds into a pestle and mortar or spice grinder.
  14. 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.
  15. Grind to a fine powder and tip into the bowl with the poppy seeds.
  16. Add the vinegar and vanilla or rosewater to the milk – it will curdle and that’s exactly what you want! It makes a lighter cake.
  17. Now to combine the flour and egg mixtures everything until it is completely smooth.
  18. Then pour the milk mixture over and fold in till it is just incorporated.
  19. Pour evenly into the prepared tins.
    Check the pears in the oven, they might be just about done. If they are, take them out now and put aside. If not, leave them in until the cake is cooked – opening the oven while the cake is cooking can cause it to fall.
  20. Put the tins in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until springy to the touch and golden on top.
  21. When done leave to cool in the tin. Remember to peel the paper off the bottom before assembly.
  22. Whip the cream until it is floppily thick – it tends to stiffen up once everything is assembled.
  23. To make the alternative dairy-free filling, put the spread, icing (confectioners) sugar and vanilla extract into a food processor and whiz till smooth or beat by hand.
  24. Sandwich the cakes together with the cream /dairy -free filling.
  25. Arrange the pear slices in a circle on top and drizzle any juices in the tin over the whole thing.
  26. Delicious with some cardomom coffee or fragrant Earl Grey tea.

Per Cake
5317cals - 80g protein
390g total fat - 151g sat / 170g mono / 40g poly
429g carbohydrate of which 230g sugar
24g fibre - 1792mg sodium / 4.5g salt

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