blackberry swirl coffee cake


This day began in the jury assembly room of the San Francisco Hall of Justice.  Huge bummer. Backpack, snacks, laptop, an extra change of clothes.  Not sure what I thought was going to go down or how long I was going to have to be there but I was prepared regardless.  Turns out I was part of the juror selection process for a murder trial scheduled to last two months. Two.  Months.  Can you imagine taking two months off from your whole life?  I may have had to find that guy guilty just on account of being a pain in the ass.  Maybe that's too much.  Pretty sure everyone else in that room felt the same though.  Who can honestly (and literally) afford to do that?  In any case I was fully prepared to faint, cry, or just full on throw myself at the feet of the judge and beg for mercy.  When you're freelance anything that threatens to take you away from work for any period of time, even voluntary fun things like a legitimate vacation, can be panic inducing.  Even booking work can be panic inducing because you never know what other work you'll miss out on as a result.  Fortunately it didn't come to making a scene but if it had...  

Back at home, safe and sound, and free of duty for the rest of the week, it would be wise to shop and prep for my shoot tomorrow but I'm gonna write about cake first instead.  In the early preparation stages for annual Easter brunch and, no surprise, my favorite part is deciding on what to make for dessert.  This coffee cake is so good on it's own.  Super dense and cakey with a sugary crust.  MMM!!  No one would guess in a million years that it's free of the glutens.  We served a few variations on it last year but this year it's the means to an end.  It has a higher calling.  We'll get to that recipe in the next post or two but first, in all it's original glory, this coffee cake is the starting point.    

gluten free blackberry swirl coffee cake

This recipe is (very nearly) straight from Let Us All Eat Cake by Catherine Ruehle.  A few years back I got to assist on the food styling for this book and it's held the standalone spot on my cookbook holder since it's publishing.  Every recipe is worth making over and over again. 


  1. Bring blackberries, sugar, half of the lemon zest and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice to a boil over high heat.  Cook it down for about 10- 15 minutes until slightly thickened, mashing the blackberries as you stir. Cool over an ice bath.  
  2. Bring the coconut milk and the thyme sprig just to a simmer.  Steep for 10 minutes or so.  Strain and cool.  These two steps can be done in advance or skipped altogether if you've got a jar of loose blackberry jam on hand and just wanna get to it.
  3. Preheat to 350.  Brush a 10 cup Bundt pan with butter and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
  4. Whisk together the flour blend, baking powder, xanthan, and salt.
  5. Beat the butter and sugar on medium-high for about a minute.  Scrape down the sides beat for an additional minute until the sugar has mostly dissolved.  Scrape down the sides again.  With the mixer on low add the eggs one by one, beating to incorporate between each.  Add the coconut milk and remaining lemon juice and zest and beat on medium speed for about a minute.
  6. Reduce speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture.  Once it's all in there, increase your speed to medium and beat for about 30 seconds.  Scrape down the sides and beat for another 10.  
  7. Pour half of the batter into the Bundt pan and push it down with a spoon or spatula to make sure you get into all the corners of the pan.  Top with the cooled blackberry jam and use the spatula to swirl it through the batter.  Scrape the rest of the mixture into the Bundt pan over the jam layer and smooth the top.  Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the edges of the cake are just pulling away from the sides of the pan.  Cool for 10 minutes and turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Dust with confectioners sugar to serve.





2 pints blackberries
1/4 cup sugar
Zest from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
1 cup coconut milk (the boxed kind)
1 large sprig of thyme
3 cups gf flour blend
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup butter
2 cups superfine sugar
2 eggs