I’ve always loved Ashley’s “Dating my Husband” series (and am eagerly awaiting the book of the same name) but I’ve always naively assumed that the concept didn’t really apply to my relationship with my boyfriend. We don’t have children or any other dependents to distract us from each other.  We eat dinner together almost every night of the week. We have, after all, just come back from a week in Sardinia where we barely spoke to anyone else.

On Saturday, we went into town to do a few jobs and decided to get lunch while we were out. We sat by the open doors of a restaurant, just off Oxford Street, and ordered champagne and pâté and steak and all the sorts of things that seem totally extravagant at 2pm on a Saturday when you’ve just been to the opticians. It felt celebratory even though we weren’t really celebrating anything.

Whilst it feels like we spend a lot of time together, and we do and we’re very lucky to be able to, most of that time is taken up with work (both our actual jobs but also this blog) or our families or just the boring tasks which seem to take up so much of everyday life. I’d forgotten that there’s nothing quite like spending a Saturday afternoon drinking champagne with your favourite person in the world.


After our rather indulgent lunch, we didn’t fancy anything too heavy for dinner on Saturday evening so I threw together a simple salad. Apart from piling some leaves and left over vegetables in a bowl and grating some parmesan over the top, I didn’t think about stepping into the kitchen all day. It’s the first time in a long while that that’s happened.

I’ve had a distressingly high number of kitchen fails recently and all too many days which have seen me still in my pyjamas at 5pm, surrounded by chaos and with nothing to show for it other than a pile of dirty dishes and a slightly wild-eyed look. I’m accustomed to baking fails – they’re an occupational hazard really – but my poor boyfriend has also had to put up with a fair number of mediocre (at best) dinners in the last few weeks.


I think it’s natural to want to push yourself in the kitchen and to try new recipes and techniques but I feel like I’ve forgotten what I really like to cook and, more importantly, eat.  I should know by now that my favourite recipes are simple recipes, those that come together quickly but which seem to be so much more than the sum of their parts.  I’ve neglected them recently though, in favour of the kind of fancy and complicated food that I have neither the patience/skill for nor, really, the appetite.  And because I’m not cooking what I actually want to eat, the results are predictably underwhelming.

This cake, made early on Sunday morning, my mind clear and my heart happy, is really the kind of cake that I like best. It sits neatly between breakfast and dessert (in other words, I will happily eat it for either. Or both). It’s not too sweet but heady with vanilla and heavy with sweet and sticky fruit. The buckwheat flour adds a nice wholesome touch but the crumb remains light and tender.

Neither of us can’t resist cutting ourselves a sliver every time we pass the kitchen.



nectarine, blueberry and buckwheat cake {gluten free}

Yield: An 8 inch cake

Serving Size: 8 - 10 people

This is one of my absolute favourite cakes. Since I first made it, I've played with the recipe a little, cutting down on the sweetness and changing the method to produce a slightly lighter crumb. It works with lots of different fruits but I'm very partial to this combination (inspired by a pie in the Four and Twenty Blackbirds cookbook); the nectarines are fragrant and sticky and I love how some of the blueberries burst, streaking the cake with purple.


  • 2 - 3 nectarines, sliced
  • A generous handful of blueberries
  • 150g (1 stick + 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened + extra for greasing the tin
  • 95ml (1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon) honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract)
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 75g (5/8 cup) buckwheat flour (whole grain for choice)
  • 75g (3/4 cup) ground almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • A pinch of salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F. Line an 8-inch round cake tin with a circle of well-buttered parchment paper and then butter the sides of your tin. Place the nectarine slices in the bottom of the tin however you like and scatter the blueberries over the top, tucking a few into any of the gaps between slices of nectarine. Don't worry about making it look too pretty - the blueberries will inevitably get redistributed when you add the cake batter.
  2. Beat together the butter, honey and vanilla until smooth and then very very slowly, gradually add the beaten egg, mixing well between each addition (this is to prevent curdling; if the mix looks like it might split, add a little buckwheat flour to try and bring it back from the brink).
  3. Fold in the buckwheat flour, ground almonds, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Dollop the mixture over the fruit and smooth it out to the edges. Bake it for about 35 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning onto a wire rack and carefully peeling back the parchment paper. Serve hot or cold; either way, vanilla ice cream does not go amiss.


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87 Responses to "nectarine, blueberry and buckwheat cake {gluten free}"
  1. Lovely post! I, too, CANNOT WAIT FOR ASHLEY’S BOOK. I don’t have kids either, but Robert and I definitely need to make time for “date time” as well, because otherwise we could end up always existing next to each other, doing our own things (for the most part). It’s definitely an important concept. Plus, then when you have those 2pm champagne lunches, it feels soooo wonderful to indulge like that with each other and appreciate each other all over again. :-)

  2. This looks beautiful – I’ve been craving a round, flattish cake with lots of fruit. I feel you on the fails – after a short period of everything going particularly well, I’ve been struggling too. It’s so frustrating.

    • kathryn says:

      They’re such good summer cakes aren’t they? Quick, easy and making the most of what’s in season. I hope you have a bit more success in the kitchen soon! (Which you clearly are, judging by those gorgeous waffles you posted)

  3. That looks great! Love the flavors in here, blueberries + buckwheat is a classic. :)

  4. Erin says:

    So many good points in this post. With a baby on the way I think my husband and I have realized how important our quality time together is and how we have taken it for granted before.
    I also love what you said about cooking what you want to eat. I feel like this is something I struggle with weekly (sometimes because I am so indecisive) but if I’m not cooking things I love, then I’m not going to love the results.

    • kathryn says:

      I think you’re right that we do end up taking time together for granted – you just always expect the other person to be there sat next to you and it’s only when you see that starting to change and other priorities coming up that you realise how special time together can be.

  5. Lindsey says:

    sometimes the best moments in life happen when they’re not planned at all – whether it’s a spontaneous champagne/pate meal in the middle of the afternoon, or just a quiet night at home. and life’s little joys are always that much more memorable when spent with a loved one! sounds like you two have great thing going on over there!

    and yes! to baking/cooking the way you eat, and the way you prefer to bake. my mom always told me to cook with love; but if you’re always worried of how something will turn out, or concerned it isn’t “fancy” enough, how could there ever be any room left to fill that baked good up with some good old love?! in any event, i always adore your upside down cakes, especially this one topped with summer freshness! xo

  6. susanne says:

    I also really love this recipe?

  7. Erika says:

    “mind clear and my heart happy” I just love this post.. and this cake.. It definitely makes a difference when you cook what you love…

    • kathryn says:

      Thanks Erika, it really does doesn’t it? I think sometimes I forget how much my emotions end up in what I’m making.

  8. mehrunnisa says:

    i loved reading this. every couple of months my hubby and i take a half day from work, have a leisurely lunch at a restaurant we have been meaning to try and then head over to a museum or something we would like to do. we don’t have children either but i do find that work and the various everyday happenings can sometimes sap a lot of energy. and although we share meals and see each other daily, we don’t always talk about the things that matter most until or most importantly laugh at silly little things like we do when we have an extended afternoon together. there is a pleasure to be had in ‘dating’ even as a married couple. m x

    • kathryn says:

      What a lovely idea! I’m definitely going to try and introduce that concept; it sounds so luxurious and a perfect break from reality.

  9. cynthia says:

    I am head over heels in love with this post, Kathryn. You have such an extraordinary way with words and capturing experiences that should be appreciated but might go unnoticed or unremarked upon if it wasn’t for your gift :) Such a resounding yes for cooking the way you eat, and remembering that sometimes simple is best! I know the feeling so well of being bogged down in the kitchen, getting that breath of fresh air when you step away, and the gladness when you take a moment to remember what you love about being there in the first place. So in love with this cake and your beautifully written words — thank you so much for sharing this! (P.S. LOVE “Dating My Husband” too!!)

  10. cynthia says:

    P.S. SO, SO bummed that this weekend won’t work out — but we will definitely make it happen whenever you do make it to NY!!

  11. I too am eargerly awaiting Ashley’s book! Her writing and style is so gorgeous, I can’t get enough. I agree with you, sometimes just being with each other with intention feels more quality than just spending time together. Also, this cake is gorgeous!

  12. So in love with this post, sweet Kathryn. I hear you with those kitchen fails… I had some delicious caramel overflowing in my oven last Sunday, and I felt like a child wanting to throw myself on the floor and cry while constantly asking myself if I really am too dumb to bake a cake. Oh well. (more on that in tomorrow’s post) This cake looks wonderful. Just the kind I would happily bake on a lazy Sunday morning.

    • kathryn says:

      Been there, done that! I’m glad your caramel worked out for you in the end though – that cake you’ve posted is an absolute stunner!

  13. This looks amazing! Love baking fresh fruit into cakes!

  14. : ) and it’s so pretty!

  15. Alanna says:

    What a handsome cake! Those flavors sound incredible together, and the texture looks perfect. Your date sounds delightful – I love that sort of impromptu fancy meal. And I totally feel you on the kitchen fails.

  16. So glad you shared your experience of fails in the kitchen. Sometimes I think it is just me. And you put into words exactly what i feel: my fails are often because I venture with ingredients and techniques I have never tried before but it really is simple food that makes me happy, both when I am cooking it and eating it x

    • kathryn says:

      It’s definitely not just you! I think we all have them – and probably more than we would care to admit!

  17. stephanie says:

    ooh, my favourite recipes are simple recipes too! love that you had the chance to have a fancy afternoon with your man. i kind of feel like i’m in your boat too – no kids, so really no distractions, but at the same time all those pesky annoying real life things (work, sigh) really eat into the day. YAY! for simplicity, cooking what you actually want to eat and of course, this beauty of a cake!


    • kathryn says:

      Thanks Stephanie! I think it’s so easy to get caught up in all the life crap that it’s easy to forget to just have fun!

  18. Michelle says:

    This is such a great post. I’ve had a number of baking fails in the kitchen recently as well, and it’s so discouraging to have spent hours on end with nothing but a big mess and piles of dishes to clean up. I love this reminder of yours that, while it’s good to push yourself, cooking simply is good too. Thank you!

    • kathryn says:

      Baking fails are the worst aren’t they? I think it was definitely helpful for me to take a step back this weekend and get a bit of perspective.

  19. Love the colours of this cake Kathryn! It looks so gorgeous and summery and perfect for this amazing weather we’re having!

  20. Flavia says:

    What a lovely cake, Kathryn! These are the types of desserts that I love to bake as well– uncomplicated and elegant in their simplicity. You articulated so well how I feel about cooking. Now that I write my own food blog, I constantly (and consistently) fall into the “trap” of always wanting to cook or bake something “blog worthy” because I tend to feel that the things I like to bake and cook on a more regular basis aren’t special enough for my blog. This frame of mind ends up in one kitchen fail after another–a reminder to me that I need to go back to what I know and love in the kitchen.

    • kathryn says:

      I definitely get caught up trying to make things ‘blog worthy’ too which is silly because if I don’t really want to eat something, why would anyone else?! Thanks for your sweet comment Flavia!

  21. Ashlae says:

    I’ve had many a baking fails lately, and I’ve finally accepted that it’s just something that comes with the territory. But damn it if I don’t die a little each time I waste an $8 jar of coconut oil. But lady! This cake is spectacular. You make gluten free baking look like a breeze and I am constantly inspired by your creativity and ability to whip up the most impressive and stunning desserts. What I’m trying to say is, those kitchen failures and days spent in your pajamas have obviously paid off.

    And I agree, not much compares to drinking champagne with the person you enjoy most. Cheers to that and scrumptious Sunday morning cake. <3

    • kathryn says:

      You always leave the best comments Ashlae (and yes, all that money down the drain (quite literally in some cases!). The worst.). Thanks friend and hope to catch up with you in NY at some point over the summer! xo

  22. Kezia says:

    I love this post! You are so right about the importance of making the food that you actually want to eat. Baking fails are so frustrating, but ultimately they often help me to either readjust my expectations or try even harder to achieve what I want to make. I made a blueberry and nectarine cake a few days ago – the combination of the two fruits is heavenly!

  23. This kind of cake is my favorite kind, too — simple, yet so delicious. With a wee one our days of going out on dates are numbered, but I am definitely going to save this recipe for a date night in soon!

    • kathryn says:

      I think date nights in can be just as wonderful as fancy lunches with champagne – you just have to commit to the quality time together (which I imagine can be hard with a little one but I’m hoping you get the chance from time to time!)

  24. Skye says:

    This is such a beautiful post, Kathryn. And I love nectarines with blueberries – such a great combination and it just screams summer!

  25. Wow this is simply gorgeous; love the combination of fruits!

  26. Beautiful cake! I would love a piece of this right now!

  27. Spending time appreciating the little things is SO important! I love attempting complicated new projects but often simplicity is best. What a beautiful cake.

  28. amber says:

    We’ve all had kitchen fails! I always find it rather frustrating, but also necessary to learn from it. I always try to think of The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Berenbaum, and the hundreds of cakes she made and adjusted before finally publishing her book.

    You are so right, in that cooking has to be a passion and remember why you are in the kitchen and what you like. It’s fun to try new things, but only if you find joy in it making and (of course) eating it. Sometimes going back to what you love, something simple, is also fun, and there is a familiarity and comfort in it, too.

    This recipe looks delicious. I’ve never baked with buckwheat flour before, but I should try it. Does it change the flavor vs. whole wheat flour, or all purpose? I’ve been wanting to try gluten free recipes, because my mom doesn’t eat gluten, so I never can impress her with my skills… she always turns down my food like “I don’t eat gluten!” The cake certainly looks delicious. Thanks for posting the recipe :)

    • kathryn says:

      Buckwheat flour has a slightly more pronounced taste than whole wheat flour – it’s a bit grassy/nutty (sort of like a less pungent quinoa). That said, it’s pretty light in this cake and you can’t really taste it too much so it’s a good gateway cake!

  29. Kathryn, so much of your post resonated with me! First, the sweet indulgence of sharing a decadent mid day meal with my sweetheart for no reason at all – one of my greatest pleasures. Second, that your favorite recipes are simple and “more than the sum of their parts.” And finally this cake… it looks just up my alley. Buckwheat and almonds are two of my favorite ingredients in GF baking and I love anything with nectarines and blueberries. I don’t think I could resist having a sliver for breakfast, lunch and dinner:)

    • kathryn says:

      Ha, I have been having it for all three meals recently! Thanks Erin, I always so appreciate your kind words.

  30. Ahhh, kathryn, I relished every word of this post. It’s wonderful.
    I’ve had my blog for about 6 months or so now and at first I didn’t seem to have too many fails, then they started … I wonder if at first I was taking it all a bit more lightly and actually was having the fails but posted anyway! About a month ago I had exactly one of those days you describe where I ran around my parents’ house in the UK frantically trying to make and photograph some beetroot burgers (on a dark cloudy day if I remember), splashing beetroot juice everywhere in the process as you can imagine. Since then I seem to have had loads more ‘fails’ but I guess I’m slowly realising that it’s all just part of the process, and it’s good that I’m trying not to post rubbish! Haha … food blogger problems, hey?
    Anyway, fabulous cake. Unfortunately it isn’t nectarine or blueberry season over here in Australia, but I’ll store this one away for another time as it comes so highly recommended (and tested)!

    • kathryn says:

      This cake works with any fruit really – the original pear version is wonderful too! Thanks for your comment Helen, it’s always good to know that we’re not alone in this crazy hobby!

  31. Dom says:

    is this the most perfect cake in the world?… i think perhaps it ver well may be…

  32. I’m so happy that you posted this recipe because I just came back from the store with nectarines and fresh rasberries with the thought of making a nectarin and rasberry cake! I think I’ll steal some parts of the recipe :) Did you make the cake with whole grain buckwheat or sifted buckwheat?

    • kathryn says:

      Hi Thea, I used wholegrain buckwheat flour (). I hope that helps and you like the cake, let me know how it turns out. Nectarines and raspberries sound wonderful together!

  33. Great cake. you are my gluten free recipe stop!

  34. Surviving a visit to the optician is truly worth celebrating! (It’s nearly impossible to decide which better; A or B!) Oh, the stress. :D

    This cake is gorgeously humble and sweet. I’m sure it made up for any & all baking disasters.

  35. Kristie says:

    Sometimes my kitchen fails end up being super delicious! I think we put too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect, as food bloggers. I get so anxious about having people over for food now that I have a food blog. I am worried that things will not turn out, etc. i now cherish those quiet moments in the kitchen when all i have to worry about is whether or not my husband wants his eggs over easy or sunny side up.
    This cake is lovely! Buckwheat flour is my favorite flour to bake with. The flavor of it lends itself so nicely to a vast array of flavors, but especially to fruit.

  36. Rosanna says:

    I am semi obsessed with blueberries lately, I love them! I haven’t ventured into baking with buckwheat flour yet, I might try this cake, it looks awesome.
    I hate when something you think will work turns into a terrible mess. I had throw a whole cake away last weekend, all that effort and even the dog didn’t like it :-)

  37. Joanne says:

    I think I definitely tend to err on the side of overcomplicated in my cooking, but it is great to embrace the simple and delicious every once in a while! This cake is definitely that. Love that you let the fruit shine through!

  38. Amanda Paa says:

    Lovely writing, and the cake, so simple and perfect. I totally hear you on the chaos of life when you and your significant other both work full time and then try to do make the blog work. Sometimes I have to remind myself to value the things that make my life so full, that bring me happiness, and when I do that, my creativity and enjoyment in the kitchen comes back. But it’s difficult! Ugh, lots of love and well, more cake… :)

  39. Jenny @ BAKE says:

    I have had one too many baking disasters before, it’s really disheartening. This cake looks absolutely perfect, the best antidote!

  40. Kathryn – this cake looks amazing! And your post points out so many important facts – kitchen time is quality time for me and while I like to glance at crazily difficult tasks, recipes and creation, spending hour after hour patiently in front of the stove top or oven, simple sunday morning cakes always get me back to the roots. They remind me why I love cooking and baking so much – simple, honest ingredients, creating flavourful food to be cherished while chatting with my family on a lazy (and in at the moment hopefully sunny and warm..) sunday afternoon. Catching up and creating memories.
    But back to your recipe – I love the combination of nectarines and blueberries and as I have a slight addicition to turning cakes upside down and we’ve got several nectarines waiting to be cherished in an adequate bake this cake seems perfect for the upcoming weekend. Thanks for sharing!

  41. This looks unbelievable!!

  42. I love the use of seasonal ingredients and albeit I have never tried buckwheat, this post has intrigued me massively. I only ever bake things that I love – otherwise the hobby turns into a chore and wheres the fun ? Stick to your roots and its your passion shines through which we all love! L x

  43. Laura says:

    Looks beautiful! Thinking blackcurrants would be amazing too? Love your baking :-) Out of interest where do you find gluten free buckwheat flour? I can only get it where it says contains gluten sadly.


    • kathryn says:

      Hi Laura, I used to use Dove’s Farm but their current harvest isn’t gluten free sadly. They do very small boxes of gluten free buckwheat flour which you can now get online. Otherwise I’ve found Infinity Food brand in health shops before or you can buy it on Amazon. Hope that helps!

  44. Hannah says:

    I just made this yesterday and it was so delicious! I couldn’t find buckwheat flour so I used Doves gluten free flour but it still tasted great – and it looks so pretty too :)

  45. Thanks for the reminder to enjoy the little things with our other halves! Sometimes work (and blogging) really gets in the way, and it’s almost necessary to set time aside on purpose to enjoy each other’s company :)

  46. Alexandria says:

    Are the measurements in U.S. cups?

    Please advise. Thank you! :)

  47. I just made this cake with sweet overripe Italian plums and loved it! The texture is so light and fluffy, especially for a completely whole grain cake. Thank you for sharing!

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