Gluten-free pistachio and prickly pear cake

Gluten-free cakes have a tendency to be dry and crumbly as they lack the gluten that binds the ingredients. In this recipe Sean Gravina uses polenta instead of wheat flour and keeps it moist with Greek yoghurt and lemon juice.  

Gluten-free pistachio and prickly pear cake


  • 250g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 250g sugar
  • 150g pistachios, plus extra to decorate
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 200g polenta
  • 1 tbsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 2 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 lemon

Prickly pear syrup

  • 150ml Prickly Pear Liqueur
  • 2 – 3 tbsp runny honey
  • ½ a lemon

Prickly Pear icing

  • 200 g Greek-style yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp prickly pear syrup


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm springform cake tin.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Roughly chop and add the pistachios, then mix in the almonds, polenta, baking powder and yoghurt until well combined.
  5. Crack in the eggs, one by one, and mix in.
  6. Add the lemon zest and juice, stir to combine and pour the mixture into the cake tin.
  7. Bake for 45 to 50 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  8. Remove from the oven and set aside while you make the syrup.
  9. Place the liqueur and honey in a saucepan over a medium heat and bring to the boil.
  10. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 mins till thickened. Taste and add a squeeze of lemon juice, if necessary.
  11. Reserve 2 tbsp of the syrup for the icing.
  12. Make a few holes in the warm cake with a skewer, then gently pour the remaining syrup over the cake.
  13. Leave the cake to cool a little in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack.
  14. For the icing, mix the yoghurt, icing sugar and syrup until smooth.
  15. Spread over the cooled cake and top with a handful of chopped pistachios, then serve.

This recipe first appeared on Gourmet Today TV, aired on TVM on 13 May, 2016. 

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