Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Putney Bake Club Surprise Insides & Gluten-free Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Recipe

Last night I attended my second Putney Bake Club meeting and this time the theme was 'Surprise Insides.' I adapted a Nigella Lawson recipe for this event. Nigella's cake is chocolate & lime flavored, served with a Margarita cream, but I decided to make mine just chocolate with a peanut butter surprise inside.

Members got really creative with this project and brought everything from sponge cakes with fruit & cream in the middle to a maple syrup cake with a bacon filling. I ate so much delicious cake - it was insane and my sugar high lasted for about 2 hours!

If you're a South Londoner and interested in joining the Putney Bake Club, just visit the website for more information and registration! Click here. 

Gluten-free Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Recipe

This was not only the first time I've ever made a gluten-free cake, but I'm pretty sure it's the first time I've ever made a cake from scratch at all. Normally I make cake from a box and while I've made plenty of muffins, cookies and brownies from recipes, cake has somehow managed to pass me by before now. Because there are a few members of PBC who have gluten-free or wheat-free dietary requirements, I volunteered to make something they could enjoy. It never hurts to have a few Coeliac-friendly recipes in your repertoire and I do love a bit of a cooking challenge! Originally I thought I would make Nigella's recipe as intended, but to be honest, I changed it a lot.

I was very happy with how my cake turned out - it was delicious and very much resembled gooey, fudgy brownies even more so than the Gwyneth Paltrow spelt brownies I made for the previous PBC meeting. The top of the cake has a flaky, crusty texture like most traditional brownies while the center is nice and soft. The peanut butter inside worked a treat and was the perfect compliment to the rich chocolate. If you have a friend or family member who requires a gluten-free diet, I highly recommend this recipe. It's so good that no one, including gluten lovers will notice that there's anything missing! I will definitely be making this cake again, but in the meantime, here's the recipe:


150g best quality dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) chopped
150g soft unsalted butter cubed, plus more for greasing the pan
6 medium eggs
250g caster sugar plus extra for peanut butter filling
150g ground almonds or almond flour
5 teaspoons best quality cocoa powder
icing sugar or confectioners sugar to dust the top of the cake
About 3 tablespoons all natural peanut butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius/gas mark 4.
  2. Line the base of a springform cake pan with parchment paper or baking paper and grease the sides with butter.
  3. In a saucepan, melt the chopped chocolate and cubed butter over medium heat stirring constantly with a rubber spatula to keep it from burning. Once melted, remove the pan from heat and leave to cool while preparing the rest of the batter.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and 150g caster sugar with a handheld mixer for about 7 to 10 minutes until thick, pale and frothy. The mixture should be roughly triple the original volume.
  5. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the ground almonds and cocoa powder together until completely combined. It should turn a light brown color.
  6. Fold the almond mixture into the egg mixture gently followed by the melted chocolate & butter until all is combined.
  7. Pour about half of the batter into the prepared springform tin or at least enough to cover the bottom. 
  8. Put about 3 tablespoons of caster sugar into a small bowl. Take about a teaspoon of peanut butter at a time and roll it into the caster sugar with your hands to coat. You can either do balls of peanut butter or small logs you can arrange together to make a swirl - it's up to you. I used small logs. Lay the coated peanut butter gently into the pan on top of the batter, repeating this process until you have as much peanut butter in your cake as you'd like.
  9. Gently pour the remaining chocolate cake batter into the pan over the peanut butter using a rubber spatula to spread it if needed.
  10. Bake at 180 degrees Celcius for about 40 to 45 minutes. The cake should be hard on top, but have a bit of jiggle in the middle when it's done.
  11. When done, remove from the oven and let cool for about 15 minutes on a wire rack and then put it in the refrigerator for about an hour or in the freezer for about 25 minutes. 
  12. When the cake is cooled, remove the sides of the springform pan and dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar.
*Alternative Fillings & Toppings

You don't have to fill this cake with anything - it would be fine on it's own, but here are a few suggestions for other things you could try in the middle as well as a few alternative toppings to the powdered sugar!

  • Almond Butter - coat it in a bit of caster sugar similarly for a bit of friction so it doesn't melt into the cake or sink to the bottom.
  • A thick drizzle of caramel inside or on the top of this cake would be heavenly!
  • Bananas layered inside or on the top would be delicious. If layered on the top, a drizzle of caramel on them would be insanely good as well.
  • Raisins - like a chocolate covered raisins cake!
  • Almonds, walnuts or peanuts - would also work with caramel inside or on top.
  • Crunchy toffee pieces
  • Strawberries on top would be delicious - get them to stick with either drizzled dark chocolate, whipped cream or caramel.
  • Chocolate covered espresso beans would add an intense, sharp flavor and a bit of a caffeine kick!


  1. Thank you so much for posting this gluten-free cake recipe! It sounds delicious and my Celiac self has been craving a cake lately. I love PB and chocolate together.

    1. You are so welcome! If you love chocolate, you'll love this cake - it's pretty great! Enjoy! xx


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