Lime and Coconut Cake (gluten-free)

Lime and Coconut Cake (8386)

Excluding Nigella’s Chocolate Olive Oil Cake from Nigellissima (recipe coming soon) I never tried making a gluten-free cake before this one. When I wrote something about this on my Facebook wall, I received quite a number of private messages (and public comments) asking me for gluten-free recipes. To be honest, I never imagined how much interest this was going to generate. I find that more often than not, many recipes claiming to be gluten-free, sugar-free or anything-free, are in fact gimmicky, as in shady, in their use of ingredients. During the past week I have spent hours searching for good ones and I only bookmarked a few.

Lime and Coconut Cake (8380)

I wasn’t going to post this one so soon, but I would never leave my readers and friends without this beautiful cake. A few hours after I baked it I gave a couple of slices to my neighbour, without having a taste myself. I cannot explain why but whilst mixing and making a mess in the kitchen I knew instinctively that this lime and coconut cake was going to work. I don’t know about you, but there are only a handful of established cooks I trust. The River Cottage gang is seriously making the list these days, and this particular recipe has become one of my go-tos. It’s effectively a lime version of the classic lemon drizzle cake, with rice flour. For the drizzle please make sure to use icing sugar instead of regular sugar though. You will get a smoother syrup this way.

  • 125g rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)
  • 175g soft unsalted butter
  • Zest of 3 small limes
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lime oil (optional)
  • 50g dessicated coconut

For the drizzle:

  • 75g icing sugar
  • Juice of 3 limes

Grease and line a loaf tin (approx. volume 1 litre), making sure to leave extra parchment paper at the sides. It will be easier to lift the cake from the tin later. Preheat the oven to 175C/Gas mark 4.

Sift the rice flour, baking powder and xanthan gum (if you choose to use this) in a medium-sized bowl, and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and lime zest, add the sugar and continue beating until you have a light and creamy mixture.

Add the eggs, one by one, adding 1 heaped tablespoon of the sifted rice flour mixture after each egg, and whisk this completely into the butter mixture before adding the second and third egg. Add the lime oil, if using.

Gently fold the remaining flour, preferably using a metal spoon. Fold in the coconut.

Tip the cake batter into the prepared tin, smooth the top, and bake for around 40 minutes, until it turns a nice golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. With the same skewer punch small holes into the surface of the cake, without reaching the bottom. Keep the cake in the tin.

Lime and Coconut Cake (8382)

Make the drizzle by heating the icing sugar and lime juice in a small saucepan. When fully dissolved, slowly pour half the liquid onto the cake, somewhat evenly. Cool the cake for 10 minutes on a wire rack, still in the tin, and pour the remainder of the syrup. Leave the cake to cool completely, before taking it out onto a serving plate. Smoothness and syrupiness galore!

It will keep for around 5 days in an airtight container. but it will retain the moistness for a couple more days in the fridge. So don’t throw it away!


Rob x

(Recipe adapted from River Cottage Handbook No. 8: Cakes, by Pam Corbin, Bloomsbury, 2011.)


18 thoughts on “Lime and Coconut Cake (gluten-free)”

  1. Hi Rob, I can’t wait to make this cake, we love a good drizzle in our house! Our daughter is GF and we have become pretty good at substitution. The Xanthan Gum is brilliant st replacing the sticky strands of gluten that help your cake stay together and we use it in varying quantities whenever we bake with GF flour. Respectfully (you are brave enough to have a food blog and so have earned huge respect in my opinion) I was a bit puzzled by your use of icing sugar. When I make a syrup cake I use your brilliant method but I always understood a drizzle is supposed to leave a slight sugary crust on the top of the cake or loaf and that is why you don’t dissolve the sugar. I could be wrong (don’t tell my family, I want them to believe I’m always right!) but we do love that little crunch along side the smooth, sharp, stickiness of the lemon drizzle cake we make, also from River Cottage. As always it’s a matter of taste, so, you do you, exactly how you want!

    1. Hi Susanne, thanks for your comment and for stopping by. During these past couple of years I haven’t kept up with the writing as much as I would have liked due to personal circumstances. This, as you well know is not my recipe and before making this cake I have never made a GF cake before. It’s a perfect River Cottage recipe and have come across it thanks to a little leaflet/small book I found in a thrift shop. It’s a favourite one of mine and very popular with my friends too. Regards the drizzle bit, the sugar is supposed to melt creating almost a syrupy kind of texture, as in many typical drizzle cake recipes. The smoother the mixture, the better absorption in the cake itself. That’s how I make it usually. To add crunch on top of a cake I usually sprinkle some Demerara sugar on top after the drizzle, but I usually leave it at that. For lovely drizzle cake recipes (not GF) I love Nigella and the queen of cakes Mary Berry. They never let me down. Have a lovely day and thanks again for your comment!

  2. Hi. Don’t faint. I’m going to bake this. As you know it’s been a while however what is the Xanthen gum for and where would I get some ?
    Hope you’re both fighting fit.
    Miss you lovely friend xxx

    1. I won’t faint not to worry! It’s a great cake. I have not made it again since moving back to Malta because I just can’t find Xanthan gum anywhere. But over there you can find it in supermarkets – got it from Sainsbury’s. It’s used as a raising agent, thickener to help the cake rise a little and gives the batter a sticky texture. It works well with the rice flour. Miss you too xxx

    1. Well to be honest I wouldn’t suggest it. Limes give you more depth and I think they are a better combo. I tried the cake with lemons and didn’t like it at all. The cake turned out to have a soapy taste and was more bitter-tasting than the limes, believe it of not. If you still would like to try it for yourself, by all means do so but I really don’t think it will work.

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