The Natural Gourmet Institute: Vegan and Gluten Free Cake Baking

I had been waiting to take this vegan and gluten-free cake baking class for forever! I think I signed up for it way back in March and have been so excited for it ever since. I took the class from The Natural Gourmet Institute which offers classes that focus on local, farm grown, organic and natural food. They offer lots of vegan and gluten-free classes and it is the most well respected natural cooking school in New York, and that’s saying something!

I’ve done my fair share of vegan baking with good results but baking gluten free is whole other story! I needed help.

The class covered five different cakes. All the recipes were created by our head baker and teacher Korrie Chichester who writes a blog over at Kokos Kitchen. Korrie knows what she is doing when it comes to baking vegan and gluten-free and she was nice enough to answer many of my questions. Maybe I’ll do a post on it sometime. Here Korrie is showing us how to decorate our cakes.


So lets cut to the cake. We made the following:

Hazelnut Cake with Maple Caramel Frosting • Strawberry Swirl Cake with Strawberry Cream Frosting • Peanut Butter and Raspberry Jam Swirl Cake with Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting • Pineapple Coconut Cake with Toasted Coconut Frosting • Cherry Chocolate Chip Cake with Creamy Cherry Frosting • Spiced Banana Cake with Rich Chocolate Frosting.

I’m going to share with you the Peanut Butter and Raspberry Jam Swirl cake with Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting because it was my favorite! If you’re not a huge fan of coconut milk you can use homemade almond milk instead but do not use thinner milks like rice milk.

Peanut Butter and Raspberry Jam Swirl Cake with Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting- Vegan and Gluten Free Makes two 8 inch round cakes 

Recipe by Korrie Chichester


2 14 OZ Cans Full Fat Coconut Milk

4 Teaspoons Agar Powder

1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt

1/2 Cup Plus 3 Tablespoons Agave

2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

1/2 Vanilla Bean

1/3 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter


1 and 1/2 Cup Sorghum Flour

1 and 1/2 Cup Tapioca Starch

1 and 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 and 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1 and 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt

1 and 1/2 Teaspoon Xanthan Gum

1/2 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup

1/2 Cup Agave

1/3 Cup Refined Coconut Oil

1/3 Cup Flax Egg (2 tablespoons ground flax and 8 tablespoons water)

1/2 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter

1 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Almond Milk

1 and 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1/2 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar

Raspberry Swirl:

1/3 Cup Raspberry Jam

2 Tablespoons Apple Juice


1) Making the Frosting- Combine the coconut milk and agar in a pot and stir to. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Once settled turn heat on the stove to high and bring the milk to a boil when the milk is boiling stir constantly until the agar dissolves. This process should take about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir all of the frosting ingredients expect the peanut butter, combine well. Pour the thick coconut milk frosting into a metal pan and place in the freezer to set while you start the cake. Once firm process the jelly like coconut milk and peanut butter together until smooth in your food processor. Place frosting in a covered bowl in the fridge until ready to use.

2) Heat oven to 350 degrees and oil two 8 inch round cake pans.

3) Combine all of your dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another. Wisk together the dry and wet ingredients until no lumps are left. Do not over mix.

4) Evenly distribute the batter between the two pans. Combine your raspberry swirl ingredients in a small ramekin and swirl it in the batter with a knife, make sure to not have any lumps of jam in any one spot of the batter because the cake will not cook evenly.

5) Bake the cakes until the center is firm and bounces back when you touch it. This will take about 20-30 minutes.

6) Cool the cakes for about 10 minutes and then slide the cakes gently out of their pans and place on cooling racks to cool completely before icing.

7) Frost and enjoy!

This cake needs to be stored in the fridge and will last for about 4 days.

securedownload-13 The icing will look like hard jello after its cooled and before you blend it up nice and smooth!

Coconut Frosting- Not So Perfect Life Look at that beautiful jelly swirl :)

All of our beautiful cakes finished and decorated!

The final product!

Creamy Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake- Not So Perfect Life

Such a fun night of baking!

Have you experimented with vegan or gluten-free baking?

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About rebacox

Pseudo athlete and vegan, learning to love all the imperfections in life. Follow me in my journey, training for races (a half marathon in all 50 states to be exact) and my adventures in the kitchen!
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21 Responses to The Natural Gourmet Institute: Vegan and Gluten Free Cake Baking

  1. what a fun experience :)
    Julie @ RDelicious Kitchen recently posted…Quinoa with mixed vegetablesMy Profile

  2. That is so crazy awesome!!! I loveee to bake! I make lots of vegan cupcakes, but they aren’t gluten free. I need to work on making them gluten free as well, but I generally use whole wheat flour so far. I’ve made gluten free /vegan cupcakes too but it was a store bought box (and I just had to add milk/oil) so doesn’t count as much! Looks delicious! I’d eat cake right now :)
    Em @ Love A Latte recently posted…Updated Marathon Plan – 12 Weeks To Go!My Profile

    • rebacox says:

      I need to buy that vegan cupcake book you have. I’m not a huge fan of gluten free baking BUT that’s probably because I’ve ruined so many desserts testing it out. This recipe really tasted yummy! I’m happy to have a couple of success stories under my belt. I think you can count your baking from a box :)

  3. Natalie says:

    Great photos! This cake looks so good. I need to experiment more with gluten-free and vegan baking!
    Natalie recently posted…Easy Vodka Gummy BearsMy Profile

  4. How fun..and those cakes! my gosh you guys made a lot of cakes. i would so love to try to make this cake…and from the ingredient list i only have to buy a couple things. also on a different note came across this website for Vegan eating in Madison, WI :-) my favorite is bloom bake shop which well may not be totally eating a meal but their vegan cookie whoopie pie is AHmazing!

    • rebacox says:

      I think you could use an all purpose mix but she said not to use Bob’s Mill all purpose because it is garbanzo bean based. Thanks for the link, I’ll check it out.

  5. Looks super yummie! Love the pics. Happy to have found your blog. Keep shining Beautiful!

  6. Wow…y’all made lots of different cakes and they all sound wonderful! I’m pretty sure the pb one would be my favorite too. I’m bookmarking this recipe. I would love to give it a try for a special occasion.
    Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl recently posted…Coconut Berry Pie (a healthy treat for Fourth of July celebrations)My Profile

  7. I’ve always wanted to enroll in some kind of baking class when I was in college.
    This looks so much fun. :) And the cakes look so delish! :)
    Ja @Ja on the RUN recently posted…Adventure in the SmokiesMy Profile

  8. That looks soo good! And what an awesome class! I want to sign up for something like that!
    Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness recently posted…Top 8 Things I Would Change About The Annual Visit To The Gynecologist If I Was In Charge Of Such ThingsMy Profile

  9. How exciting that you got to take that class. I love taking cooking classes, as it really steps up your cooking abilities and you always learn a thing or two that you just can’t get from following a recipe. I took this vegan cooking class once, and at first I was hesitant because I’m not vegan, but I learned so many techniques and tips from that class that I still use today (my whole massaging kale technique). Anyway, I wish we had a cooking school like that in the bay area. I want to take more classes, but I don’t want to deal with classes that teach you how to butcher and cut meat and fish. I’m so not into that! I just want one that teaches you healthy cooking!
    You look absolutely happy with those yummy slices of cake to sample. I would have been in dessert heaven! xoxo, Jackie
    jackie @ Marin mama cooks recently posted…beet, carrot, apple and ginger juice – no juicer requiredMy Profile

    • rebacox says:

      It was dessert heaven! I think learning new techniques is really interesting. Cooking gluten free and vegan is very challenging. Even if you don’t want to do it all of the time its worth learning how to do it. A good cook/ baker should welcome the challenge :) I bet there are class near you. Perhaps you just have to do some good googling.

  10. That class looks like a blast and look at the list of things you made! Reading it made me tired (and also extremely hungry!).
    Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl recently posted…Creamy Lettuce SoupMy Profile

  11. What a fun class–I would love to do something like that! And the cake looks AMAZING!
    Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies recently posted…Recipe | Lentil Mushroom BurgersMy Profile

  12. Kelsey says:

    You make baking look fun and possible! …you don’t trick me! I am a complete fail at desserts (except topping ice cream). I cannot measure to save my life. I try, but still manage to 1. forget how many teaspoons/cups I’ve put in 2. use the wrong ingredient (there is a difference between baking soda and baking powder?) 3. think I’m going good, then my cake has a Grand Canyon in it!.

    Desserts look amazing. And you look adorable! There is a healthy cooking class nearby that teaches searing fresh tuna (that’s the one for me!)
    Kelsey recently posted…Tired, Hungry, DehydratedMy Profile

    • rebacox says:

      HAHAH I’m not tricking you this cake is pretty easy but the frosting is a tad crazy to make on the regular. I know what you mean by forgetting how many cups/ tablespoons you have put in. That’s why its good to measure out ingredients in small ramekins so if you lose count you can easily start again.

  13. Kelly says:

    What a great class! I wish we had vegan/gluten free baking classes offered near my area – I would definitely be interested in taking that since my niece has a gluten intolerance. I am still learning various gluten free recipes and this one sounds great :) The cakes look fantastic and delicious! Glad you enjoyed yourself and thanks for sharing the recipe :)
    Kelly recently posted…Mini Birthday Mango Mousse CakeletteMy Profile

    • rebacox says:

      Baking gluten free is not easy. When I try taking gluten free recipes and making them vegan it hardly ever works. I find that its best to stick with a tried and true recipe. This one is really great and very versatile!

  14. You look so proud with your plate of finished slices Reba! Thank you for the great review and photos :)

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