• Layered cashew meringue cake (sans rival) (Alan Benson)Source: Alan Benson
Creative desserts from around the world that don't use wheat flour because gluten-free doesn’t mean glutton-free.
27 Jul 2020 - 11:03 AM  UPDATED 14 Dec 2020 - 10:24 AM

1. Persian love cake

Aka Persian “Love at first bite” Cake. This cake exudes the rich, nutty, feminine flavours of the Middle East like rosewater, pistachios and almonds. The crumb is moist and sticky, with sides that caramelise lusciously in the baking process.

Persian love cake

2. Chai chocolate truffles

One.. two... five... but who’s counting? Truffles make a great festive season treat for any time of day, and these ones come flavoured with the warm aromatic spice of chai. Wrap them in some metallic paper for a festive shimmer, and an ideal gift.

3. Dairy-free flourless chocolate cake 

If you’re after a dark, moist and luxurious chocolate cake - but without gluten - this recipe is for you. The richness comes from ground roasted pecans and olive oil, and because this cake also lacks dairy, it can be served to balance out other meat or dairy-heavy courses.

4. Layered cashew meringue cake (sans rival)

Layers of crisp, chewy cashew meringue and a creamy, boozy rum buttercream come together in this Filipino classic.

5. Smashed liquorice meringues with berries & chocolate cream

Liquorice may be a love-it-or-hate-it flavour, but these meringues are ever-so-softly hinted with the sweet and exotic aroma of the divisive herb. The pairing with clouds of luscious chocolate cream and tart berries is bound to win over any doubters; plus, how many Icelandic desserts have you served?

6. Caramelised pineapple upside-down cake

This cake needs little introduction, nor does it need much convincing to make: it’s charmingly easy and reliably pleasing. This version is light and moist, with burnt caramel flavours thanks to jaggery (Sri Lankan palm sugar), spice from the star anise, a nicely textured crumb from the polenta, and the characteristic zingy hit of pineapple.

7. Cardamom, pistachio and rose chocolate crackles

The good old chocolate crackle gets a modern makeover with the use of coconut oil in place of cocoa, and an air of refinement with the addition of cardamom and topping of crushed pistachios and rose petals. These are chocolate crackles all grown up.

8. Honey, almond and ginger semifreddo with a hint of thyme (semifreddo di mandorla e miele, con zenzero e timo)

While semifreddo may be the name many of us give to that ice cream that doesn’t quite set, this softly frozen dessert is an Italian classic. In this version, salted roasted almonds, spicy ginger and herbaceous thyme give savoury and textural dimensions to the sweet, smooth honey ice-cream.

9. Mastiha shortbread stars

You may have a shortbread recipe passed down through generations and by no means do we want to mess with that - but if you’re up for trying something different, mastiha is a musky, woody, incense-like spice used in Mediterranean cooking that brings a mysterious and exotic element to this shortbread.

Mastiha shortbread stars

10. Hazelnut meringue layer cakes with coffee buttercream (fragelite)

Meaning fragile in Danish, this elegant cake features layers of delicate hazelnuts meringue and silky mocha buttercream. 

11. St Clements polenta cake with blueberries

This cake is wonderfully straightforward to make, combining whole boiled and blitzed oranges with remaining batter ingredients. Incorporating the oranges in this way gives the cake a marmalade-like appeal, and the polenta provides a deliciously grainy texture and golden flavour of corn.

12. Star anise yoghurt mousse with fig compote

Figs are in season during the festive season in Australia, and this elegant dessert is a great way to showcase them. It can be made up to two days in advance, so it's great if you want to get ahead with your party prep, and if you want to double the fig compote, it makes a great addition to a cheese platter.

13. Pomegranate and rosewater baked custard

Want to make a dish look and taste festive? Sprinkle it with pomegranate seeds; these crimson seeds glitter like gemstones and burst with a sweet and tart juice. Here they provide the perfect contrast to a creamy baked custard flavoured gently with rosewater for a light and elegant dessert.

More gluten-free goodies
Gluten-free lemon and pistachio cake with rosewater icing

This gluten-free and dairy-free recipe, with its subtle lemon flavour teamed with an aromatic rosewater icing and light nutty texture, is the perfect afternoon-tea cake. 

Gluten-free and dairy-free banana, coconut and berry muffins

Often gluten-free muffins have little substance – they lack not only flavour but also texture. These ones however, thanks to a clever combination of gluten-free flours, along with three forms of coconut and loads of fruit, will not disappoint.

Vietnamese iced coffee pavlova

Vietnamese iced coffee is made with a delicious, chicory flavoured coffee, plenty of condensed milk, and ice – hugely refreshing in the humid Vietnamese climate. #BringBackTheClassics

Pineapple, lime & coconut delicious pudding

This tropical take on Australia’s much loved lemon delicious pudding sees finely diced pineapple, coconut and zesty lime take centre stage. #BringBackTheClassics

Chocolate swirl meringue kisses with caramel ganache

These mouthfuls of chocolate sweetness are simply too cute for words! 

Pumpkin pie chocolate bars

Most pumpkin recipes and sweets are served warm, but these are almost like ice-cream bars, which makes a nice contrast to the warm and sweet spices.