Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Chocolate Loaf Cake for Sports Day - gluten free

It's July....... So it must be school sports day....... Which means it's also time to bake cake for the cake stall!

Every year the school PFA sets up a cake and refreshment sale at sports day to raise funds and I try to make a home-baked gluten free contribution. Having a child who is Coeliac, I know just how upset and disappointed children can be when they look at all those delicious treats and know that they can't eat any of them. So I make sure there is at least one safe cake on sale that they can enjoy with all their friends.

Sports day cakes need to be easily portionable. I always make sure they are sliced before I leave home to avoid any gluten cross-contamination from being cut with cutlery already used for other cakes and I ensure they are safely boxed in a tub which will protect from adjacent wheat flour cakes.

Chocolate is usually the natural choice as it is a firm favourite with most kids. Last year I made a double chocolate layer cake which disappeared very quickly. This year I made a chocolate loaf cake, inspired by Nigella Lawson's Quadruple Loaf Cake, altered considerably to make it gluten free. I had bookmarked this recipe in her book Feast a while back with a mental note to 'take out the wheat'. My husband had baked it a few years ago for my birthday, long before we had to avoid gluten, and I remembered it being particularly delicious...... which I think was a memory of the cake and not just the fact that my husband had taken great effort to bake for me! You can also find the original wheat-flour recipe on the website.

I had intended to make the cake dairy free as well, but threw a load of chocolate chunks into the mix without thinking, completely dismissing the fact that they were dairy based as I did so. I simply didn't have the time to make another one, but the cake can easily be adapted by substituting for dairy free chocolate chopped into chunks, as it contains no other dairy ingredients.

I am pretty pleased with this loaf............ I did of course buy a couple of slices back from the stall. The sponge is very chocolatey and quite creamy on account of the use of coconut oil and milk. The melty chunks of milk and white chocolate surprise the taste buds with each bite. The chocolate syrup which is drizzled across the top (the original Nigella recipe) provides a slight crunch and a rich, moist, syrupy texture running through the cake where it has seeped into the skewered holes. And as if that is not chocolately enough, a sprinkle of grated chocolate on the top adds to the decadence.

This is a truly very muchly chocolatey cake! Unsurprisingly, it all sold........ I just hope the gluten free kids got there first!

On account of its bookmarked status, I am entering my gluten free adaptation of Nigella's Quadruple Chocolate Loaf Cake into this month's Bookmarked challenge brought to us by Jacqueline from Tinned Tomatoes, who encourages us to actually do something with that long list of recipes stored in favourites under 'must make'! This recipe now meets the criteria for 'must make more often'.............

Chocolate Loaf Cake (makes one 9x5 inch loaf)


280g plain gluten free flour mix 
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon GF baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
40g cocoa powder
4 tablespoons hot boiled water
120g coconut oil - melted
200g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs - room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
160 ml coconut milk
175g chocolate chunks (milk, plain or white)


  1. Base line a 9x5 inch non-stick loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas 3.
  3. Weigh and mix together the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and salt, making sure any lumps are completely broken down. Set aside.
  4. Mix the cocoa powder with the hot water in a small bowl until you have a smooth paste. Set aside.
  5. Beat together the coconut oil and sugar in a large bowl until well blended and airy.
  6. Beat in the vanilla extract and the eggs (one at a time).
  7. Add the cocoa paste and beat thoroughly.
  8. Fold in the flour mix about a third at a time, alternating with the coconut milk until just combined.
  9. Add and gently fold in the chocolate chunks.
  10. Spoon the mixture into the loaf pan and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
  11. Bake for approximately 45 minutes to an hour until the top springs back to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  12. Leave the cake to cool in the pan whilst you make the syrup.

Chocolate Drizzle Syrup (from a recipe by Nigella Lawson - Feast) 


1 teaspoon cocoa powder
125 ml water
100g caster sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

additional grated chocolate to decorate


  1. Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. 
  2. Allow to boil for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring until you have a chocolate syrup.
  3. Leaving the cake in the tin (still warm), pierce deep holes into the surface of the sponge with a skewer. Drizzle the syrup over the surface a little at a time to allow to absorb into the holes.
  4. Sprinkle the top of the cake with grated chocolate whilst the syrup is still wet.
  5. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the pan. Eat hungrily!

Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-14 unless otherwise indicated


  1. What can I say, this loaf cake looks delicious. It looks incredibly chocolatey and the pectin texture - I wish I had a slice right now!

    1. Thanks Laura. It needed nothing else and was definitely very chocolatey!

  2. What a glorious looking loaf - the colour is so rich

  3. You are right almost every child loves chocolate (and I think that's universal!) and this looks lovely!

  4. What a lovely mum you are. I bet this one disappeared quick too. It looks lush!

    Thanks for entering it into Bookmarked Recipes. The roundup is now live :)

  5. This cake looks so yummy - now it is going to have to go on my booked marked recipes list! that you for the recipe.


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