Gluten-Free Pear Cake

by Maggie on October 2, 2013

pear cake

Ever wondered why there are so many gluten-free flours?

It’s funny, isn’t it?  We all felt so limited when we went gluten-free.  All of a sudden there was a huge list of foods we couldn’t eat.

But have you ever stopped to think about all the foods we CAN eat?  It’s a much better way to look at a gluten-free diet, don’t ya think?

For instance, think about all of the gluten-free flours we can use in our baked goods.  It’s amazing!  It’s way better than choosing between white all purpose flour and whole wheat flour.  Our baked goods can have limitless flavor profiles; I say we’re the winners in this whole gluten versus gluten-free thing.

That said, one of the most common questions I get from readers is what are the best gluten-free flours to use in my baking?

Over the years (it’s been almost ten years since Pete was diagnosed with celiac disease), I have figured out which ones are my favorites, and I always stick with them when I’m doing my gluten-free baking.

These are the ones I always stock in my pantry (and freezer as they tend to keep better in there):

  • Quinoa flour
  • Teff flour
  • Almond flour
  • tapioca flour
    (also called tapioca starch)
  • Sorghum flour

I can make almost any gluten-free baked good with these 5 ingredients. These are my favourite flours because they’re more nutrient dense – packed with protein, fiber, and less processed than a lot of other gluten-free flours.  They’re also more flavorful.

Lately I’ve been playing around with millet flour too – and next on my list is coconut flour.  I’ve been avoiding it because coconut flour loves eggs so much, and I don’t really bake with eggs.  However, Callum’s been back on eggs since the Spring and his tummy is still happy!  Hooray.

Gluten-Free Pear Cake

This easy to make gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free Pear Cake uses some of my favorite flours.  Sprinkling the cake with coconut sugar gives the pears a caramelized look and taste. 


  • 1/3 cup tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour)
  • 2/3 cup quinoa flour
  • ½ cup sorghum flour
  • 1 tablespoon psyllium seed husks
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground chia combined with ¼ cup warm water (or 1 egg)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (I used coconut sugar), plus 1 tablespoon extra for sprinkling
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1 cup shredded ripe Bartlett pear (2 medium sized pears), plus 6-8 thin slices of pear


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 8×8 inch square baking dish.
2. Sift the flours in a large bowl.
3. Add the psyllium seed husks, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt. Mix well to combine.
4.  Combine the ground chia and warm water in a medium sized bowl.
5. Add the sugar, vanilla, oil and stir to combine.
6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
7.  Fold in the grated pears and mix until combined.
8.  Scrape batter into prepared pan and top with sliced pear, about ½ a pear.  Sprinkle cake with 1 tablespoon coconut sugar.
9.  Bake at 350 degrees for 16 minutes.
10. Remove from oven and brush cake with melted coconut oil. Return to oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, until a knife comes out clean.
11. Let cool on a wire rack. Let cool completely before cutting. 
Best on the day made – I find coconut sugar dries baked goods out a little faster – but keeps well covered for a couple of days.

What are your go-to gluten-free flours?

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen October 3, 2013 at 10:15 am

My favourites are pretty much the same, except that instead of sorghum I tend to use brown rice more often…. It’s nice and cheap! btw – I have you to thank for introducing me to teff flour. It has quickly become one of my all-time favourites!!


Maggie October 4, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Oh that’s awesome Jen! I’m so glad you like it – and that you can find it. I’ve had some people tell me they have a hard time finding it.
Thanks for the comment!


Shirley @ gfe & All Gluten-Free Desserts October 3, 2013 at 10:48 am

Great post, Maggie! While I’m one who doesn’t do well with many of the gf flours, it’s nice to know that others can. I love millet flour though. Hope you enjoy using it. And, last, but not least, this Pear Cake looks scrumptious! 🙂



Maggie October 4, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Thanks Shirley! I am loving millet flour too – especially it’s lovely color!
Have a great weekend,


Cheryl October 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Yummy and healthy…you said it!! I love your blog Maggie! x


Maggie October 4, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Ah, thanks Cheryl 🙂 xo


christine October 3, 2013 at 4:19 pm

I have chickpea flour, potato flour, rice flour, maizemeal and tapioca out on the counter all the time and I blend them according to how I feel each day! The cake looks lovely:)


Maggie October 4, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Sounds like great flours Christine! I have never used potato flour – can you believe it? Don’t know what I’d do without tapioca 🙂


Kim-Cook It Allergy Free October 7, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Maggie, this cake looks wonderful. What a perfect fall recipe. 🙂 And I just love all of the different gluten free flours available! I use almond, coconut, millet, and teff the most these days…


Maggie October 9, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Thanks Kim, oh loyal reader 🙂 I really need to play around more with coconut flour, thanks for inspiring me!


Julie October 8, 2013 at 10:22 am

Is there anything you can substitute for the psyllium seed husks? Can’t wait to try this recipe.
Also – our apple tree is loaded and we’re harvesting soon – got some yummy apple recipes?


Maggie October 9, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Hey Julie – You could use xanthan gum or guar gum. I would try 1 teaspoon though. I use psyllium to replace the gums in gluten-free baking.
I do have a good apple recipe (I clearly need to add more), especially .
Thanks Julie!


Mélanie November 1, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Can I replace psyllium seed husks with anything else? Hemp seeds or chia seeds, maybe? Can I just omit them or will it hurt the recipe?


Maggie November 2, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Hey Mélanie – I think you could. Here’s some options: 1 tsp of xanthan or guar gum OR 2 tablespoons ground chia seeds. I haven’t tried either, but I use psyllium to replace the xanthan gum component. I find it works better than chia seeds, which is why I’ve suggested 2 tablespoons. Sound good?
Let me know how it goes.
Happy baking 🙂


Mélanie November 1, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Sorry, I just read the other comments and found my answer 🙂


Maggie November 2, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Oh hahah! And I just saw this!


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