Gluten-Free Almond Pistachio Cake


Happy Monday and welcome to my pity party. Right before the holidays I learned that I have to go gluten-free.  Me, a person who is completely happy just eating bread and cheese for dinner. Me, a person who makes homemade cronuts. Me, a person whose favorite meal in San Francisco is pizza. Me, a person who just bought a pasta roller so I could make my own gluten filled homemade pasta. Gluten-free. Ugg.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I have to cut out gluten, dairy and eggs. What is left? So that officially started January 1st. Happy new year to me.The gluten-free, dairy free, egg free is a trial or for at least the next 3 months.

Let me backtrack a little. Last October it all started when out of the blue I started to get hives on my face.(Sorry if this is too much info) My lips would swell up like Angelina Jolie (not that that is a bad thing) and my voice would get hoarse and my throat felt like it was starting to close. I have never been allergic to any type of food so I was confused. It happened a couple times, including while I was sitting on a plane one day which was scary. So I went to an allergist for help. Well, after a series of tests as well as my face breaking out in hives on Thanksgiving so bad that it hurt to talk,  it turns out I have some issues with my thyroid. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis to be exact. Basically in laymens terms my body is trying to kill my thyroid. Lucky me.


Totally blown away that something could be wrong with me because I feel great, I asked my allergist what do I need to do to fix it? He said it is no big deal,  you will be fine, you just need to take a pill everyday for the rest fo your life. What!?! That sounds like a pretty big deal to me. I plan to live a very long time and that is going to be a lot of pills.

So I did what any good self-respecting quasi hippie San Franciscan does, I went to see a naturopath. This amazing naturopath explained Hashimoto’s much better than my allergist. It turns out in cases like mine gluten can make Hashimoto’s worse, a lot worse. So I need to take it out. But gluten is a sticky mother, which is why it makes breads taste so good. She said  that gluten takes 3 months to get out of your body.  So those Swedish cinnamon rolls that I shoved in my face while I was in Stockholm, well they are still floating around in my body somewhere. Gross right?


So since i can’t eat gluten for a while, I am determined not to skip a step and still make tasty gluten-free treats. Where is the joy in life if you can’t have a baked good? So here is my first attempt  at a gluten-free cake. This is not just substituting regular flour with gluten-free flour that you buy at the store. I used a blend of naturally gluten-free flours, pistachio, almond, potato starch and sorghum,  that to my amazement actually worked. And tasted good. Also, just for the heck of it, I used coconut oil instead of butter. I know right! That cake is darn good. Really tender, moist, and all around addicting.  I topped it with some blood oranges because they are in season.

I dare you to make this and say you miss gluten. Gluten-shumten. Who needs it?(That was a rhetorical question because I love gluten.) So for the next couple months I am going to be highlighting a lot of gluten-free recipes here. Hope you like them. Now if I could just figure out how to get eggs and dairy out of my life.



Gluten Free Almond Pistachio Cake
  • 1 1/3 cups unsalted, shelled pistachio nuts
  • 1 1/3 cups almond flour/meal
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1/2 sorghum flour
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 3/4 cups coconut oil, at room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unsweetened applesauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray a 9" bundt pan (You can use the cake pan of your choice, however depending on the size and depth it will change the cook time.)

In a food processor, pulse pistachios until finely ground. In a medium size bowl, add pistachios, almond flour/meal, potato starch, sorghum, baking soda and salt. Whisk together and set aside.

Add sugar and grated zest from lemon and orange to a bowl of a stand mixer. With your hands gently combine until the texture of the sugar looks like coarse sand. Add the coconut oil and combine with a paddle attachment. Once completely combined, add eggs one at a time. Once eggs are incorporated add vanilla extract and applesauce and blend until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepard bundt or cake pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.


  1. donna A says

    A loaf of gluten a jug of wine and thou. Bread just isn’t bread without it. Life just isn’t life without bread. But geez, you’re one of the healthiest people I know, glad you are on top of this thing and looking into alternatives. AND I get to join your pity party and enjoy trying out these gluten free recipes!

  2. says

    I am so sharing your gluten free recipes on FB and on my other food blog, which is about food issues and an occasional recipe of my own. Gluten free is horrid and we are doing that and non-GMO. We miss cake. This sounds yummy. Thanks, and thanks to Chase for turning me on to you!

  3. says

    This looks so delicious–I can’t wait to try it! I’ve been gluten-free for over a year, and it has helped reduce my headaches and migraines so much! I love the gluten as well, but being healthy seems to outweigh the negatives. I totally recommend Against All Grain for tons of tasty gluten-less treats. I think you’re going to end up loving this trial! Good luck!

  4. Julie says

    Curses!! I was GF for over a year (and dairy-free for much of that), but definitely have been cheating as of late. I am back on the horse as of – well, today – so am excited to see this recipe! My sister has Hashimoto’s and a GF diet works wonders for her. Good luck!

    Also, RUN, don’t walk, to your nearest Whole Foods and buy Omission Pale Ale beer. GF and really good. I know the Smiley’s (like myself) can’t subsist on wine alone. ;)

  5. says

    I have gained so much more than I could ever lose going GF. It has been the most fantastic life changing experience. This Cake is amazing. I think you have all the skills you could possibly require to eat or not eat any diet. You won’t look back.

  6. Annie says

    Has anyone else tried making this at high altitude? I live at 6500ft and just tried making this and it was a complete disaster! I haven’t tried messing with the leavening or liquid amounts, so maybe there’s a way to save it that some else has discovered? I’m sure it’s a lovely cake at sea level and I’m so sad it didn’t turn out. Would love any suggestions!

    • admin says

      Hi Annie, I am so sorry the cake didn’t work out! Sadly I have never made it at a high altitude. Although I am definitely not an expert in high altitude baking, especially gluten free baking – I would probably increase the flour content (both almond and sorghum) as well as decrease the sugar content. Such a bummer that it didn’t work! It is a delicious cake and I hope it works for you. Best of luck and please let me know if I can help :)

    • admin says

      Hi Samantha, I wouldn’t use all almond meal or the cake will be really dense.Can you get a gluten free all purpose flour mix? If so just use that in place of the potato starch and sorghum flour. You can definitely try it with just almond but I have a feeling it will be pretty dense. Let me know how it turns out either way!

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