The Quest for Vegan, Sugar Free and Gluten Free Recipes!


There is no question I love to bake but I do get slightly concerned when I see the piles and piles of butter and sugar and all things nice I mean bad going into each of my bakes. Thus began my own challenge to start amending some of my trustworthy recipes to be vegan recipes, or sugar free or gluten free to try and allay my concerns.

To begin with I thought why not try all three!! I’d love to make more paleo recipes too but without the flour I’m getting a little stuck – that’ll be the next challenge! I decided to take my favourite blueberry, almond and orange cake recipe from an old Sainsburys magazine and well completely change it ☺️
So the recipe calls for eggs, caster sugar, orange zest, blueberries, baking powder, self raising flour, ground almonds, vanilla extract and butter. 9 ingredients in total 6 of which needed to go. I’ll be honest with you this recipe failed to be sugar free as I completely forgot that my vanilla extract contained alcohol sugars but a quick google check revealed that Neilsen-Massey do an organic sugar free vanilla extract that I will be buying shortly!
I had bought three new ingredients to try from a local organic vegan store. Firstly Koko dairy free spread, a substitute for butter made from vegetable oil and coconut oil. I substituted this like for like in my recipe. This is a family run business based in East Sumatra, Indonesia who have been farming coconuts there since 1986, only a few years after I was born! This spread contains 26% coconut oil and really didn’t seem any different to the usual Lurpak I use.
Secondly Agave Nectar by the Groovy Food Company, which I used to replace the golden caster sugar. Agave comes in a light amber and mild, which is a good replacement for white sugar and a dark and rich which is a great replacement for brown sugar. This comes from Mexico, from a spikey blue plant known as the Blue Webber agave plant, its 100% organic and because it is sweeter in taste you can reduce the amount you use in recipes by a third. Part of their label is that they are naturally sourced, naturally good and naturally groovy! Agave Nectar has a low GI of 17 so the energy it releases is slow and steady – no sugar rush!
Lastly I wanted to try a No Egg natural egg replacer by Orgran. It has no cholesterol, no lactose and no egg and one box is the equivilent of 66 eggs so perfect for keeping in the cupboard for any egg emergencies! And is great for vegans too!
So to bake this you need to preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 160 in a fan oven.
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

40g flaked almonds 
3 tsp no egg egg replacement with 6 tbsp water mixed together.
120g light Amber and mild agave nectar.
175g ground almonds.
150g gluten free self raising flour.
Zest of an orange.
150g blueberries.
1 tsp gluten free baking powder.
150g Koko coconut butter.

Cream the butter and agave. Don’t worry if it looks like it is separating this texture will change once flour is added.Make sure the no egg replacement is well combined with the water before adding to the mixture with the sifted gluten free flour. Fold in the baking powder and ground almond.
Add the vanilla extract and orange zest and combine well. In a lined 20cm x 20cm baking tin add half the batter mixture and then distribute half of the blueberries across the mixture. Add the remaining mixture and then place the remaining blueberries equally across the mixture. Top with the flaked almonds. Cook for 45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean, it’s golden on top and the edges are coming away from the side. Leave to cool in the tin before moving onto a wire rack.


N.B. This is in no way a sponsored post – I’m just interested in trying new products!! ☺️



  1. October 23, 2018 / 11:44 pm

    Looks like it came out perfect. I’m not vegan but I’ve been on a journey of reading vegan recipes because I’m cutting back on the sugar. I can’t remove sweet treats so I’ve been searching for tasty alternatives. I’m glad you found something that works for you ????
    Natonya |

    • The Baking Backpacker
      October 24, 2018 / 1:51 pm

      Tasted pretty good!!

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