2 Apr 2020

Flour-free baking recipes to try under Covid-19 lockdown

From Checkpoint, 5:35 pm on 2 April 2020

As cafes and bakeries close under the Covid-19 lockdown in New Zealand there has been huge demand for all types of flour, leaving supermarket shelves bare. 

But there is plenty of grain in New Zealand, and while we wait for stocks to replenish, here are some delicious flour-free baking recipes for you to make at home.

Flourless Coffee & Cardamom Cake with whipped coconut icing 

This recipe comes from Dr Albert Hailes who runs the beautiful website trEAT right and shares delicious ideas here on Instagram.

Ingredients (serves 12)

Cake Batter:

A flour-free coffee and cardamom cake with whipped coconut icing.

A flour-free coffee and cardamom cake with whipped coconut icing. Photo: Supplied / Dr Albert Hailes

1 heaped Tbsp instant coffee granules

1 Tbsp boiling water

150g butter, softened to room temperature

3⁄4 cup (150g) castor sugar

1⁄4 cup (50g) soft brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

2 Tbsp tahini paste

4 eggs

1 1⁄4 cups (125g) ground almonds

3⁄4 cup (75g) desiccated coconut

2 tsp ground cardamom

1⁄4 tsp sea salt

Whipped Coconut Icing:

400g can coconut cream, refrigerated overnight (for approx. 24hrs)

1 Tbsp maple syrup (plus extra for drizzling)

Toasted coconut chips/threads

Brands of coconut cream can differ as to how the cream/water separates when refrigerated. ‘Solo’s Choice’ and ‘Countdown’ brands separate better to allow a thicker/fluffier icing.


Cake batter

1)  Preheat the oven to 180°C (165°C fan-forced). Grease and line a standard 20cm round cake tin with baking paper. Place the instant coffee and boiling water in a mug or bowl and stir until the coffee is dissolved. Set aside. 

2)  In a large bowl, using an electric hand or stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugars on high for 2-3 minutes until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla and tahini and beat for a further minute until smooth. Add the eggs, one by one, beating after each addition until well-combined.

3)  In a separate bowl, whisk together the ground almonds, coconut, cardamom and sea salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet until smooth and just combined (there should be no remaining specks of ground almonds left in the cake batter). Add the coffee/water mixture and fold through the batter.

4)  Pour the batter into the lined cake tin and bake for approx. 35-40 minutes (or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean). Allow the cake to cool towards room temperature before removing from the tin.

Whipped Coconut Icing:

1)  To make your icing, remove the can of coconut cream from the fridge. Turn the can upside down and open with a can opener. Discard the water that has separated from the cream.

2)  Scoop the solidified cream into a bowl. Add the maple syrup and beat on high with an electric beater until smooth, thickened and fluffy (approx. 3 minutes). If you feel that the icing is not yet thick enough, refrigerate for 30 minutes after whipping until it reaches a spreadable consistency.

To assemble, spread the Whipped Coconut Icing evenly over the top of your cake, drizzle with extra maple syrup and sprinkle over some toasted coconut. 

Chocolate chunk energy cookies

These cookies are from Little Bird Organics. They're gluten-free, refined cane sugar-free, dairy-free and most importantly delicious, with a soft brownie-like centre and a light, crisp outer. If you have a nut allergy, you can also swap out the cashew butter for tahini or coconut butter, although this will change the flavour.

Flour-free chocolate chunk energy cookies from Little Bird Organics.

Flour-free chocolate chunk energy cookies from Little Bird Organics. Photo: Supplied / Little Bird Organics

Dry ingredients

⅓ cup Buckwheat flour

⅓ cup Brown rice flour

1 Tbsp Tapioca flour

2 Tbsp Maca powder, see note below

3 Tbsp Cacao powder

½ tsp Baking powder

½ tsp Baking soda

1 tsp Cinnamon

⅛ tsp Salt

¾ tsp Ginger powder, optional

Wet ingredients

¼ cup Cashew butter - you can blend raw cashews until it forms a butter (you could substitute with another nut butter)

¼ cup Brown rice syrup or coconut nectar

3 Tbsp Coconut sugar

2 Tbsp Coconut oil, melted

½ tsp Pure vanilla extract

½ cup Coconut milk

40 g Chocolate chunks, homemade or store bought


1. Heat the oven to 175C.

2. Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together.

3. Place all the wet ingredients except for the coconut milk in another bowl and cream together by mixing vigorously with a fork until it becomes smooth. Add the coconut milk and gently mix together until fully incorporated.

4. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold together gently with the chocolate chunks. Place the bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes, or freezer for 10 minutes to firm up.

5. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Roll the mixture into balls (around 2 Tbsp each) then place on the tray and flatten gently with your hand or a fork. You will get around 13 cookies.

6. Place in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until they start to brown. Remove from the oven and leave on the tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool.

7. Store in an airtight container for around one week (they will soften after a few days but remain fudgy and delicious).

Read more: Covid-19 - Flour demand up 500 percent for NZ producer, but plenty of wheat

Socca flatbreads

Socca flatbreads are a traditionally flat bread served in Nice, France. They are naturally gluten free and packed with protein, plus they are really easy to make. You can top your socca with anything you desire, as you would a pizza! If you want to have it plain, (as it is traditionally served), finish with flaky salt and chilli flakes. 

Socca flatbreads from Little Bird Organics

Socca flatbreads from Little Bird Organics Photo: Supplied / Little Bird Organics

For the socca base

1 cup Besan (chickpea flour)

1 cup Water

1 Garlic clove, peeled and very finely chopped

1 Tbsp Chopped rosemary, or thyme

1 Tbsp Olive oil

1 Tbsp Coconut yoghurt, or 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, optional

1 dash Olive oil, or coconut oil, for cooking


1½ cups Hummus, plain; homemade or store-bought

1 handful Cavolo nero, roughly torn

1 small handful Brussels sprout, finely shredded

1 large Red onion, finely sliced and caramelised in a frying pan on a low heat with a little olive oil and organic maple syrup or coconut sugar

¼ cup Kalamata olives, pitted

¼ cup Parsley, roughly chopped

1 Blue cheese, or another cheese of your choice; I used cashew blue cheese made by Crescent Cashew Nut Cheese, available at Huckleberry

1 pinch Cracked black pepper


1. Place all the socca ingredients in a bowl and mix until you have a smooth batter. Season with a few pinches of salt and cover and leave overnight, or for a minimum of two hours, to ferment. You can then use straight away or leave it in the fridge until dinner time. The batter is reasonably thick, a little thicker than a pancake mixture.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a standard cast iron frying pan to a medium/high heat, then pour in a third of the batter and cook for around 5 minutes until it forms a crisp golden crust. Drizzle with a little more oil and flip, cook for a further 2 minutes until cooked through.

3. Remove from the pan and top generously with the hummus, followed by the rest of the ingredients, in the order listed. After topping, you can finish your socca flatbreads in the oven at around 240C for a few minutes to give you a pizza-like experience. If you try my topping, the hummus tastes delicious when warmed and the cavolo nero goes all lovely and crispy in the oven, so it’s worth giving it a little blast in the oven before serving.