Grain Free Strawberry Cake with Magic Cashew Frosting and Violets


Hey there honeybees! Just wanted to pop in today with this wonderful cake and frosting recipe to set you up for a great weekend. I just got back from a few days spent at my family’s house in Sandbridge (a very small-town vibe portion of Virginia Beach, it feels a lot like The Outer Banks in miniature). It was so great to get my toes in the sand and enjoy the salty air for a moment. I love it there, everyone is chilled out and the pace of life is so much slower than the rest of the country. I love seeing people walking barefoot everywhere with surf boards and beach gear in tow, taking whole days to play and soak in the glorious sunshine. 

But alas it was just a short trip and I’m home now. I’ve been in scrub-up clean-up mode, trying to get the house feeling fresh as we move into sweltering Summer heat. Do you ever get into the kind of mood where you just hate every piece of decor in your house? I’m having a moment. I just want to freshen everything up with new colors and chuck everything I feel blah about. If you guys have any resources or tips on how to live that minimalist chic life on the cheap, definitely leave me a comment! 

In lieu of spontaneously spending my life savings on vintage wicker baskets, West Elm mirrors and pre-framed art from Society6 I’ve been ticking stuff off of my to-do list that I’ve been meaning to do for years. Like clearing out the old paint cans from the hall closet that should live in the garage. And rearranging my bathroom storage so the stuff I use everyday isn’t just crowded around the sink. And retesting this magic cashew coconut frosting recipe, a version of which has shown up on the blog many times over. After lots of retesting, I feel pretty settled that this is the final, definitive, pass-it-on-to-my-grandchildren version.

The reason this frosting is "magic" is that its a pourable frosting when warm/room temp, and it's a thick spreadable frosting when chilled. You can even pipe lettering and frosting flowers with it when it's cold! I've made many different versions of it over the years, but some variation of it has graced my cakes for almost six years. This particular version -- made with cashews, coconut cream and coconut oil --  has been my go-to for a few years now. I'm just glad I finally tested it really well so I can confidently share it with you all!

On to the recipe, eh? I shot this cake months ago as you can probably tell by the violets and daffodils which were both blooming in my garden when I photographed it. It’s a little riff on a cake recipe I love from Lindsay Love’s Chickpea Flour Does it All. I’ve always loved the cakes Lindsay posts over on her blog Dolly & Oatmeal. And the recipes in her book are just genius, and play into my recent unintentional love affair with all things chickpea flour. It really is an incredibly versatile flour, sometimes I think of it as “wonder flour”! I use it in everything from homemade pasta to pie crusts and cupcakes and everything in between.

The cake recipe I have here today is almost exactly the same as the one in her book (Lemon Rhubarb Snacking Cake), except that I used maple syrup to sweeten instead of coconut sugar and melted coconut oil instead of sunflower oil, topping it off with fresh strawberries. It’s a simple treat, made all in one bowl with no whipping, folding or creaming involved. Using a liquid sweetener instead of a granular sweetener makes this cake significantly more rich and moist, which is the only type of cake I truly enjoy. It’s aromatic and luxurious all on it’s own, and doesn’t need a frosting at all. But since the frosting is so easy to pull together (it takes 5 minutes) I couldn’t help but go a little over the top and add that and some garden violets to the whole shebang. I would make this for myself for a birthday, possibly with two layers and a whole lot more flowers. I love that this recipe can be casual enough for any ol’ day or dressed up as a special occasion dessert. 

Regarding the violets… yes violets are edible! Both the flowers and leaves are edible (but don't eat the roots). Violet leaves are shaped like adorable little hearts, but they have many inedible look-alikes, so only harvest violets when the flowers are blooming (early Spring) so you can be sure you're getting the right thing. We had huge blooming violets in our yard this year, they were begging to be featured on a spectacular dessert of some sort. I think they look beautiful here! And the pink/red stuff on the cake is beet powder that I sifted overtop. It’s even prettier in person. 

Grain Free Cake with Strawberries

Author: Renee Byrd | Will Frolic for Food · Adapted from: Chickpea Flour Does it All by Lindsay Love, “Lemon-Rhubarb Snacking Cake” pg. 81 · Active prep time: 5 mins · Inactive prep time: 0 mins · Cook time: 30 mins · Makes one 9” cake, 8-12 servings · PRINT THIS RECIPE

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 farm fresh eggs
  • 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup apple sauce (mashed banana also works)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅛ tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries, green tops removed
  1. Grease pan a 9” round cake pan with coconut oil. Tap a tablespoon of chickpea flour over the greased pan to prevent sticking, discarding excess. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl stir together the dry ingredients: chickpea flour, almond flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, baking soda. Add the wet ingredients: eggs, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, apple sauce, vanilla bean powder or extract. Stir everything together until evenly combined and smooth.
  3. Pour the batter into your greased and floured cake pan. Arrange sliced strawberries over top.
  4. Bake the cake on the center rack 25-30 mins until evenly golden brown over top. The center will still be moist and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out with a soft crumb.
  5. Let cool 10 mins before removing from pan. Loosen edges of the cake with a sharp knife, then gently invert cake onto a large plate, and invert it again onto your serving plate to get it right-side-up. Let cool completely before frosting.

Magic Cashew Coconut Frosting

Author: Renee Byrd | Will Frolic for Food · Active prep time: 5 mins · Inactive prep time: 0 mins · Cook time: 0 mins · Makes 1 ⅓ cup frosting

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for 8 hours up to overnight
  • 5 tbsp chilled full fat coconut cream
  • 3 tbsp virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Vanilla bean powder or 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  1. Drain the soaked cashews and discard soaking liquid. Add all ingredients to a high powered blender: cashews, coconut cream, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, sea salt. Blend on high until smooth and creamy -- 90 seconds or more. Use immediately as a glaze. Or for a firmer, more spreadable frosting chill 4 hours up to overnight, which will give you very thick consistency. You can even pipe shapes and writing with this frosting when it’s chilled!