Pink peppercorn-kissed rhubarb and berry cake


Skagit Valley tulip festival

Skagit Valley tulip festival

I am blown away by spring in Washington.

Everywhere we turn there is a blooming tree or a garden full of color.

It was spring break last week and the children were out of school. My friend Lecia invited us for a day trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, which is something of an institution around here. It felt strange to be out and about, going on with our lives and laughing after the horrific bombings in Boston. We couldn’t get the images out of our minds and the suffering of those affected. It always feels strange and so unfair. There was definitely some air of mourning that day, but we wanted the children to live and laugh – as they are supposed to do. So I packed a picnic and we joined Lecia and her boys Abbott and Cal for a day in the country.


Gluten and dairy free pink peppercorn-kissed rhubarb and berry cake

Gluten and dairy free pink peppercorn-kissed rhubarb and berry cake


As we drove north, the fog and clouds opened up to magnificent blue skies, mountains and a bucolic landscape of red barns, goats and flowers. I love conversing with Lecia whose insight into the world is always thoughtful and full of compassion. Our boys loved sharing and playing.

The tulip fields were in full splendor – perfect infinite lines of color against the blue horizon. And it was out lucky day… the fields were muddy, which turned to be the most amusing event of the day. Wellies covered in crusty mud make the best play time, don’t they?

So we walked, ran, photographed and then we had a picnic.

I had made a simple rice, bonito tuna, avocado, tomato and mâche salad for us to share. Even without the vinaigrette that I had forgotten at home, the whole thing was devoured. Then we had apples, strawberries, and the banana, hazelnut and chocolate bread, which is in my book.


Tulip Town

Tulip Town

And then there was this cake, which I made with the bundles of bundles of rhubarb I have at home now. Compulsive rhubarb purchases perhaps? I just cannot get enough of it. I have been eating it stewed in the morning with kefir and as an afternoon snack on toasted bread and drizzle of raw honey. I have also eyed a couple of savory dishes I will be adding it too.

So back to the cake. It is gluten and dairy free, really moist from all the fruit and lightly flavored with pink peppercorns, ginger and lemon. And in case you think using pink peppercorns in a cake is odd… please reconsider. They really enhance berries. Give it a try.

Remember the pink peppercorn macarons from way back when?


Pink peppercorn-kissed rhubarb and berry cake

Makes one 8-inch cake

1 cup (250 ml) full-fat coconut milk (canned)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup (140 g) superfine brown rice flour
3/4 cup (90 g) millet flour
3/4 cup (90 g) quinoa flour
1/4 cup (25 g) almond flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (115 g) natural cane sugar
Zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
3 small eggs (my friend Kim gave me some and they had deep orange yolks which make the cake rich and yellow)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 ounces (90 g) diced rhubarb
3 ounces (90 g) sliced strawberries
3 ounces (90 g) raspberries
1/2 teaspoon ground pink peppercorns

1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Line an 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper. Stir the coconut milk and lemon juice together. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the superfine brown rice, millet, quinoa, almond flour, baking powder, sea salt, and ground ginger.

3. In a medium bowl, rub 1/2 cup (100 g) of the sugar together with the lemon zest until it becomes very fragrant. Add the eggs, coconut milk mixture, and olive oil and whisk to combine. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and fold to combine. Pour the batter in the prepared cake pan and top with rhubarb, strawberries and raspberries. Sprinkle the top with remaining sugar and ground pink peppercorns.

4. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 30 minutes before inverting. Store wrapped in the refrigerator.

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74 Responses to “Pink peppercorn-kissed rhubarb and berry cake”

  1. Lisa says:

    How unbelievably gorgeous! There is nothing quite like a picnic to soothe the soul a bit and celebrate life.

  2. sara says:

    Gorgeous flowers – they’re amazing!

  3. Too beautiful. You are so lucky to enjoy the weather and the coming of spring. Perfect celebration cake

  4. Rosa says:

    Those tulip fields are mindblowingly beautiful! A wonderful cake and an original flavor combination.

    Thanks for sharing your lovely pictures with us!



    • Barbara T says:

      The tulips are absolutely gorgeous. I have a question for you Aran. I have always been told that you have to be exact in baking. So what would 3 small eggs translate to if all you had were large eggs. Do you go by cup measurement?

      • Aran says:

        Hi Barbara,

        I would just use 2 large eggs. 1 large egg weighs about 50 grams (about 1.5 ounces). I did weigh the 3 eggs and came to a tiny bit more than 3 ounces but not significant. 2 large eggs will work.


  5. Golubka says:

    You introduced me to pink peppercorns in desserts and I can’t get enough, thank you! Those tulip fields are breathtaking. We’re still in Florida, but are thinking about moving from here and looking for a perfect place for us. Seattle looks very tempting through your eyes.

  6. Che posto splendido, e che foto stupende!!! Sono anche golosa del tuo buonissimo dolce.
    Baci e grazie per avere condiviso tutto questo con noi.

  7. I couldn’t wait for you to share your experience at the tulip festival. I lived here for a long time before I finally went and then was wondering why I waited for so long!

  8. Melissa says:

    Stunning Aran. Thank you for celebrating the beauty in life. Happy Earth Day!

  9. Danielle says:

    All the lovely tulips, it looks just like Holland where I live!

  10. Giulia says:

    I can’t wait for tulips! We have the tulip festival here in Ottawa and I look forward to it every year – but we still have a few weeks to wait. As usual your photos are amazing and your food looks scrumptious.

  11. I love your flowered utensils. Where did you find such a fantastic item?

  12. Utterly gorgeous! And the tulips! Oh tulips :)

  13. These photos are absolutely gorgeous! The fields of tulips are incredible, I’ve never seen fields like these before.
    AND now for the cake. It looks divine, my mouth is watering just looking at these photos.
    I also love that the cake is gluten and dairy free.

  14. Lynn says:

    Such beautiful photography!! This recipe looks divine! If I was looking to not make this GF, could I sub in AP Flour or WW Pastry Flour for the brown rice, millet and quinoa flour and then add almond flour (which I have onhand)?

  15. Manderley says:

    Que lugar tan maravillos y que fotos tan bonitas.


  16. Monique says:

    Would be a dream to see..Love Tulips.

  17. Dena says:

    Really beautiful, colorful post. It cheered me up! The cake looks amazing. I am so happy you are settling in to Washington State, making it home.

  18. Magda says:

    I live in Holland and looking at your beautiful photographs I could have sworn you were here and not in America. Amazing tulips!
    I love your tart, I will try it as soon as I find some rhubarb!

  19. Lecia says:

    We so enjoyed spending this day with you! I still daydream about that salad you made. Your images are breathtaking. Hope to see you again soon. xoxo

  20. Meeling says:

    Amazing photos! This cake is a must try for me…I love rhubarb!!

  21. Julia says:

    Such beautiful photos – two of my favourite things: food and flowers! This post makes me wish spring to hurry up here in London!

  22. Katie says:

    I love that you took the kids to the tulip festival. It surely warmed your spirits up to see them having fun. This cake is smashing. You are much farther into your spring there, and I can’t wait for rhubarb to come into season here. Beautiful as always, Aran.

  23. Letty says:

    One day I will get to Washington in the spring to visit these tulips–and thank you for the inspiration.
    As far as the cake–sounds divine. Is there a reason one chooses brown rice flour over (white) rice flour in gluten-free baking? A reason other than the nutritional aspect. Does it behave differently or better?

    • Aran says:

      They can be slightly different and sometimes the texture too. I love Authentic Foods’ superfine brown rice flour best.

      • Letty says:

        I see that I need to experiment with the same recipe, trying it with brown once and then white, to see, feel and taste the differences for myself. I lean to whole grains in my home use but for production at Deer Valley we use white rice flour, which seems to be more easily available in larger quantities.

  24. Shelby says:

    What a lovely post..brimful of breathtaking images and moments both savored and shared.. Thank you!

  25. What a surprise! I never knew about tulips in WA State. This is incredible and beautiful.

  26. lauren says:

    Aran, these photos are spectacular just outstanding! I cannot stop taking pictures of the tulips blooming in our yard :)

  27. This is so lovely and perfect for spring. What a delight!

  28. fabuloso pastel y unas fotografías preciosas!!

    un abrazo

  29. Those colourful fields of tulips look so pretty and your images are stunning

  30. Berta says:

    Hi Aran,
    I love the colorful clothes that your little one always wears. Where do you buy them?
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures.

  31. cri says:

    Foto meravigliose e tanta voglia di rabarbaro!! cri

  32. melanie says:

    Where do you find those spoons at….want those ASAP

  33. Mmmmm, the cake looks delicious! Must add it to our ‘to-cook’ list.

  34. Rachelle says:

    The tulips look lovely!

    And I never thought of adding pink peppercorn to dessert … I bet it taste awesome!

    Thank you for sharing. :)

  35. Carla Owens says:

    I’ve been meaning to ask you where you get that adorable cutlery! I just finally got around to asking!

  36. Lane says:

    Where did you buy that spoon from? So adorable!! Big thanks :)

  37. El says:

    I read about this festival online. It looks like a very magical place. Thanks for posting it and thanks also for the nod to Boston. It was a rough week. It’s nice to take respite in such beauty.

  38. I adore this pink peppercorn-kised post.
    Heidi xo

  39. Those tulips are GORGEOUS. I love that spring is alive and how perfect to celebrate with rhubarb and berry cake!

  40. In Spain is very difficult to find rhubarb but we have a crazy craving to cook. Congratulations for the recipe. Greetings ‘spicy’

  41. This cake sounds and looks incredible! So funny – I just made a shrub (vinegar and fruit drink) with these exact flavors – rhubarb, pink peppercorns, lemon and ginger. The combination is just stellar, and I bet they’re equally incredible in cake. I will definitely be making this! I suffer from compulsive rhubarb-buying disorder this time of year, too. Love your site, Aran. :)

  42. Great idea!I love the spoon you in the picture.Could you tell me where you bought it or the brand?thank you very much

  43. aubrey t says:

    I just made this lovely cake, but only with strawberries and rhubarb because I had no raspberries. I also used sorghum flour instead of quinoa. I also found there to be a lot of batter and could tell it would not fit in an 8 in pan so I used 9in and still got a rather high cake. Excellent, Excellent cake, not too sweet, for breakfast or afternoon tea. Thanks so much, will be making this again soon!

  44. Rhubarb and strawberry are already so lovely matched up together I imagine the peppercorns add a nice little extra zing to this. I wanna make it as a loaf and just eat it toasted for breakfast with tea :)

  45. Danielle says:


    Glad to see you are settling into life in the northwest! Such vibrant, sunny pictures – and the cake sounds divine. I think that will be my afternoon project today :)

    Thank you for being such an inspiration!


  46. […] Recipe adapted from Cannelle et Vanille‘s Pink peppercorn-kissed rhubarb and berry cake. […]

  47. Liz says:

    Aran, I really love your food photos – especially the colours and light! I don’t know if it is too cheeky to ask this, but I really would like to source some brightly coloured translucent spoons like the ones you often use, but funnily enough in the whole big internet I cannot find anything really like the ones in your photos of rainbow colours and pretty patterns. Would you mind sharing that with me? If not, I fully understand – just wanted to ask!

  48. […] Pink Peppercorn Rhubarb and Berry Cake from Canelle et Vanille […]

  49. Your pictures are truly amazing and beautiful. All this colours and composition. simply amazing.

  50. Sabina says:

    Where have you bought the spoons?

  51. Sukey says:

    I’m always on the lookout for a new use for rhubarb, pink peppercorn sounds delish! Stunning photography, too!

  52. Susan says:

    If I am not gluten-free and I don’t want to have 4 kinds of flour that I won’t use again, is there a substitution quantity for wheat flour? I love the idea of all these flavours!

  53. I can’t wait to try this rhubarb berry cake. I am slowly trying to turn my family toward gluten free foods. My Mom, who has had a cafe for 30 years, is finally serving gluten free options. On a side note we share a love for these fun spoons. I just received my shipment with these sweet floral print spoons and smiled when I saw them here with your cake.

  54. saundra says:

    Thank you for your blog! My son was recently diagnosed as allergic to eggs and gluten. I really appreciate the beautiful photographs and wonderful recipes. I have to ask, where did you find those adorable spoons?

  55. nusrat2010 says:

    I feel and find peace and bliss when I visit your blog. And take a stroll on your blog pretty often.

    Sensational, sublime pictures along with unique, mindful, thoughtful recipes… You are a treasure!

  56. […] Sour Cherry Pie (adapted from here) […]

  57. […] (da una ricetta del blog Cannelle et Vanille): 140g di farina di riso integrale 90g di farina di miglio 90g di farina di quinoa 25g di farina di […]







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