Julia's Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake With Strawberries & Cream

It’s no secret we are big fans of Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s cooking. Collectively, the TDF office has made her recipes countless times (just last week we were indulging in her chocolate, peanut and caramel tart, again!).

Today’s recipe is extra special. It’s gluten-free (which meant our designer Sarah could finally indulge whilst styling this shoot!), and honestly – you wouldn’t even know. It’s oh-so delectable.

With a hint of coconut in the sponge base, and lashings of whipped cream and strawberries, we know this will be a frequent treat in the TDF office.

Find the recipe below!

Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Sarah Hendriks

Fresh strawberries! One of the season’s best treats.

Julia’s strawberry jam has less sugar than store-bought jams as it doesn’t need to be preserved.

Bake the gluten-free vanilla cakes separately and allow them to cool before layering them with cream and strawberries.

Dust with icing sugar to finish!

A generous helping of cream and strawberries!

Julia Busuttil Nishimura

Sarah Hendriks

16th of November 2023

There is nothing quite like a delicious cake to impress and bring joy. It doesn’t need to be anything extravagant — in fact, I usually prefer uncomplicated one-bowl type cakes.

This recipe is so simple and can be made with gluten-free or regular self-raising flour. The sour cream produces the most incredible cake and I love the texture the coconut brings.

I’ve divided the batter between two tins and sandwiched them with some homemade jam, whipped cream and fresh strawberries for a classic filling.

This jam has much less sugar than many store-bought varieties, as it is intended for immediate use and not preserving. If you’re short on time, a jar from the shops is completely fine too. You can sweeten the cream with some icing sugar or flavour it with vanilla, however I like it unsweetened and plain so you can really enjoy the strawberry flavour of the filling and the buttery vanilla from the cake.

If you’re using gluten-free flour, try and buy one intended for baking with — there are some really good quality ones available, which produce great results.

This cake is a mouth-watering bake.

The perfect slice.

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake With Strawberries & Cream

(Serves  8-12)

250g unsalted butter, softened
250g caster sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
125g full fat sour cream
250g gluten-free self-raising flour
80g desiccated coconut
Pinch of salt

Strawberry jam

250 g strawberries, roughly chopped
125 g caster sugar
Juice of half a lemon

400ml whipped thickened cream, to serve
200g strawberries, hulled, halved and sliced, to serve
Pure icing sugar, to dust


Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line two 21cm round baking tins. Set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on a medium-high speed for 6-7 minutes or until very pale and light.

Add the vanilla, and mix briefly. Reduce the speed to medium and add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl, as needed.

Add the sour cream and continue to mix. The mixture may look split but will come together once the dry ingredients are added.

With the mixer on a low speed, add in the flour, coconut and salt and mix until just combined.

Divide the batter between the two tins and smooth to even out. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when tested. Allow to cool briefly in the tin then transfer to a wire rack to complete cooling.

Meanwhile, make the strawberry jam by combining all of the ingredients together in a saucepan and cook on a high heat until it reaches 104-105 C on an instant read thermometer. Alternatively, place a small plate in the freezer and when the jam looks  thick, take it off the heat and place a teaspoon of the jam onto the cold plate. Push your finger through the jam and if it doesn’t flood back into the centre, it is ready. If it is still runny, return the jam to the heat and try again a few minutes later. Transfer to a small bowl and allow to cool completely.

Place the cooled cake on a cake stand or serving plate and spoon over the jam, spreading it almost to the edge.

Spoon over the whipped cream and next add the sliced fresh strawberries. Top with the second cake and gently press to sandwich. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

What else I’m cooking: I’ve been trying to perfect my pizza dough so I have been making A LOT of pizza lately! Topped with creme fraiche, lemon and prawns, or a classic one of buffalo mozzarella, garlicky tomato sauce and basil!

What else I’m eating: Spinach, feta and wild weed pie from Sydney’s Bar Copains!

Click HERE to download the recipe!

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