June 03, 2014

Blueberry lemon flaugnarde, vegan and gluten-free (or not)

Blueberry lemon cake with lemon glaze.

Back in November, I tried to make a desert called a flaugnarde, which is basically a clafoutis made with blueberries instead of cherries. It was a huge failure that I saved by turning it into cake balls (you can read about it here, if you'd like), but it's always bugged me that I couldn't get it to turn out right, because it sounded so good. A clafoutis or flaugnarde is a French fruit dessert that is basically like a flan, from what I understand. Having never had a flan, my understanding is bound to be a little odd, but nevertheless, I'm not going to let a small thing like a complete lack of experience keep me from enjoying what I think a dessert should taste like. So, I tried again, and this time I made something delicious, that may or may not taste like a flaugnarde, but like, who cares? Everyone who has tasted it has wanted more. So take that, flaugnarde. It's not quite a cake — more like what I imagine a firm flan would be like. It's cake-y around the edges, and smooth and custardy on the inside — but not too custardy. Soothing is the word that comes to mind. I've made it twice — one large and one medium. Since the medium has about eight to 10 servings, I think that's the way to go. It's easy to make, too, which I appreciate. It comes together faster than you can say its name.

The cake,  just out of the oven.

When the cake first comes out of the oven, it looks like a normal, risen cake, but as it cools, it sinks a little, and takes on a more flaugnarde look. Ha! A cake that sinks appropriately is definitely my friend. The first time I made the dessert I used an 8-inch by 3-inch pan, and that worked great except that the cake was too huge. The next time I used a 7-inch by 2-inch pan and half the recipe, and it was a much better size for a small group of people. (I want to mention that I used and love Fat Daddio's annodized aluminum cake pans, which always work great for me. They don't have a non-stick coating but the cakes always pop right out. (Go to my "veg-friendly shopping" widget to the "kitchen stuff" page 3 if you want to see what I'm taking about. I have three different sizes.)

The BIG cake, with a blueberry glaze.

Cake #1, the BIG cake, had a blueberry glaze, which looked very pretty and added an extra blueberry thrill, but when I made cake #2, I had only enough berries for the cake, so I made a lemon glaze which, though slightly less dramatic, was also delicious. You could also just sprinkle powdered sugar over the top, which may be the more traditional topping.

The secret ingredient in the cake is half a lemon, including pith and skin but not the seeds, which I added to the blender ingredients. Because I used the skin, I used an organic lemon. I have a Vitamix, which just turned the lemon into purée, and if you have a high-speed blender I recommend you do what I did. If you have a regular blender or food processor, juice the lemon and zest the peel instead of blending the whole thing. You might also want to add a teaspoon of lemon extract to amp up the flavor.

I made the cake gluten-free, but you can probably just use whatever kind of wheat flour you like — white whole wheat, unbleached white, whole wheat pastry — if gluten isn't an issue. I don't recommend randomly subbing other GF flours, however, since that's where I got into trouble in November. Another GF flour mix other than Bob's, might be fine.

Blueberry lemon flaugnarde
about 8 servings or more
Preheat oven to 350˚ F

  • 1 tablespoon flax meal
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened dry shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup oil plus some for the pan
  • 1/2 organic lemon, washed, trimmed and seeds removed (or juice of 1/2 lemon plus the zest - see story)
  • 1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flour blend (or wheat flour - see story)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour plus more for the pan
  • 1/3 cup of evaporated cane juice (or your favorite dry sweetener)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  1. Add the flax meal to the cold water and let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Oil a 7-inch by 2-inch round baking pan and sprinkle it with almond flour, tapping to coat the surface well.
  3. Place the banana, almond milk, shredded coconut, oil, lemon in a blender and blend until smooth.
  4. In a mixing bowl, add the GF or regular flour, almond flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon, and whisk together until there are no lumps and everything is combined.
  5. Whip the flax and water with a fork until it becomes viscous. This should take a minute or less.
  6. Scrape the blender contents into the flour mix. Add the flax mix. Mix with a spoon until combined. 
  7. Gently stir in half the blueberries.
  8. Place the cake mix into the pan. Sprinkle the remaining blueberries evenly over the top, and gently press into the batter.
  9. Bake until the top is firm, evenly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (Blue is OK!) In my oven it took 55 minutes.
  10. Let the cake cool on a rack for an hour, turn it onto the rack then right-side-up onto a serving plate. Serve warm.
I made the simplest of glazes for the cake. For the blueberry glaze I added about 3/4 cup of blueberries, two tablespoons of sweetener and 1/4 cup of water to a pot, and brought it to a boil. Add one tablespoon of cold water to two teaspoons of arrowroot powder (or cornstarch) in a small dish and mix thoroughly to dissolve. Turn down the heat and whisk the dissolved arrowroot into the blueberry mix. Cook and stir a minute or two until the glaze clears. Pour evenly over the cake.

For a clear lemon glaze, use the juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/2 cup water and two tablespoons of your favorite liquid sweetener (I used bee-free honey) instead of the blueberry mixture. Follow the rest of the directions above. The glaze recipes should be tasted and adjusted to your preference. More lemon? More sweetener? You decide. 


  1. It looks really pretty! I think I like fruit desserts with not too much fruit, if that makes any sense. The lemon glaze one looks more appetizing to me but I'm sure they were both delicious.
    Clafoutis is so great! I made a cherry one for Bastille day one year. I think it was the recipe in Celebrate Vegan but I'm not if that's gluten free.

    1. I think this has just the right amount of fruit, and the right amount of lemony undertone, but that's just my opinion, and I'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite glaze. I want to try one with cherries, like a typical clafoutis, if I can get myself to stop making the blueberry one!

    2. I generally only like lemon and/or blueberry fruit things so I also appreciate these.

      I've seen flan and it wiggles; not my cup of tea.

    3. No wiggles or jiggles here — solid and unmoving. Gelatin-like consistency can upset me.

  2. Way to go on a baking experiment. I am usually too scared to deviate too much from baking recipes (unlike cooking) but I also recently made a lovely recipe from the random things in my pantry. :)

    1. Baking recipes, especially gluten-free ones, can be tricky. I used to be scared to try my own versions but not anymore. Most of them turn out OK, now that I've got a feel for the ingredients. I love cookbooks but I hate following rules. :)

  3. Never tried a flaugnarde before either but it sure does look good! and it sounds like my kind of dessert - cakey on the outside and custardy on the inside. :-)

    1. I used the word 'custardy' for lack of a better term — it's kind of soft and kind of firm. What can I call it? I like it a lot, especially warm.

  4. You showed that flaugnarde, didn't you!! I like the confusingly delicious description of your flaugnardey :)

    1. Yes, I'm confused as to how to describe the texture and taste — it's not really a custard and not really cake-like. What the hell is it then? Obviously, I don't know. I don't know. I don't know.

    2. well...I don't know either :)

  5. This looks wonderful! Thank you for sharing the process of making this with us. This loos so light and easy, nobody would suspect all that work behind it. I am it finally turned out for you!

    1. Thanks, Mihl! I'm a little embarrassed to admit that it wasn't very much work at all — the cake is really easy to make. :)

  6. I do remember liking clafoutis a lot, and I have some cherries that really need using up, so maybe it's time to give it a go and hope it turns out as well as your flaugnarde. I love the combination of blueberries and lemon.

    1. Bear in mind I've never had a non-vegan, non-gluten-free clafoutis, so this may not even be one! I don't know what else to call it, though, since it's not quite like a cake.

  7. Gorgeous! Blueberry-lemon is such a lovely combination.

    1. Thanks! I love blueberries and lemon. Or just lemon. :)

  8. Super impressive! And is there anything better than blueberry and lemon? I mean really.

    1. Hmmm. Maybe chocolate and orange? But, blueberry and lemon is right at the top!

  9. Gorgeous! This sounds wonderful, and blueberries and lemons are so delicious together. Also your pictures are absolutely stunning!

    1. Thanks. I want to make one with cherries just to compare.


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