Nectarine-Topped Oatmeal Cake

Nectarine-Topped Oatmeal Cake Follow Me on Pinterest
Finding a good nectarine or peach is sort of like looking for a needle in a haystack. When I’m shopping, I always make sure to carefully survey my options, give the fruit a gentle squeeze and a quick sniff (although I have no idea what I’m doing), and then cross my fingers that I’ve chosen well. More often than not, though, I end up biting into a dried out, mealy piece of fruit and then complaining to whoever is around about the amount of money I just wasted and how it’s so hard to find a good nectarine/peach. Sometimes I think I’m twenty-nine going on eighty.

Vegan Nectarine-Topped Oatmeal Cake Follow Me on Pinterest
The other week I went through this routine, picking up organic nectarines at Trader Joe’s and peaches at Whole Foods. I have low expectations for these things at TJ’s. Apples? Totally acceptable to save some money and buy from them. Nectarines? You are likely asking to eat sawdust. But surprisingly, the peaches from Whole Foods sucked and the nectarines were perfect. My apologies to TJ’s: I may have misjudged you.

Vegan Nectarine-Topped Oatmeal Cake  1 Follow Me on Pinterest
The timing for my nectarine success was ideal too, because I had just received a copy of Celine Steen’s and Tamasin Noyes’ beautiful new cookbook, Whole Grain Vegan Baking, and immediately gravitated towards a nectarine-topped cake. Truly, this is one very pretty book, and all of the recipes sound amazing. Admittedly, it’s far from gluten-free aside from a few vegan treats, but the recipes are simple enough that I think you could probably sub in your favorite gluten-free flour blends (and maybe a little xanthan gum or the equivalent where necessary) and have excellent results. That’s exactly what I did for this stunning (and super easy!) oatmeal cake.

Vegan Nectarine-Topped Oatmeal Cake 2 Follow Me on Pinterest Vegan Nectarine-Topped Oatmeal Cake 3 Follow Me on Pinterest
Fair Winds Press has generously allowed me to share the original recipe, but if you’re interested in my substitutions, I swapped the whole wheat pastry flour for a mix of equal parts millet flour, sorghum flour, and potato starch and added in one scant half of a teaspoon of xanthan gum to hold it all together. It turned out fabulously.

Whole Grain Vegan Baking Follow Me on Pinterest

Nectarine-Topped Oatmeal Cake (Vegan)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
We’ve learned that cashews make a rich cake base, allowing us to use a little less sweetener and oil. Perfect nectarines are like perfect avocados: They don’t happen as often as we’d like, but when they do, they’re sublime. The next time you happen upon the ultimate nectarines, make this wholesome, tender-crumbed cake.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: One 8-inch (20 cm) cake
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) apple juice, more if needed
  • 47 g (1⁄3 cup) cashews
  • 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup
  • 7 g (1 tablespoon) flax meal
  • 80 g (1⁄3 cup) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) neutral-flavored oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 90 g (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) quick-cooking oats, divided
  • 120 g (1 cup) whole wheat pastry flour
  • 45 g (1⁄2 cup) oat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 2 nectarines, pitted and sliced
  • 24 g (2 tablespoons) Sucanat
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Lightly coat an 8-inch (20 cm) round cake pan with cooking spray.
  2. Combine the apple juice, cashews, maple syrup, and flax meal in a blender. Process until completely smooth. Add the applesauce, oil, and vanilla. Process until blended.
  3. Whisk together 80 g (1 cup) of the oats, the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg in a medium-size bowl. Pour the cashew mixture into the oat mixture and stir to combine. The mixture will be thick but spreadable. If necessary, add an extra 1 tablespoon (15 ml) apple juice. Spread the batter in the pan and arrange the nectarine slices on top.
  4. Combine the remaining 10 g (2 tablespoons) oats and Sucanat in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the cake, gently pressing it into the cake with flat hands. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack before slicing.
If the nectarines at your market aren’t tempting, opt for peaches or apples instead.


Recipe copyright Fair Winds Press, 2013. Photos copyright Amanda Maguire.

Disclosure: I received Whole Grain Vegan Baking for free, but as always, all opinions are my own.

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  1. says

    So funny! I do the exact same thing, such a challenge finding good peaches & nectarines. I decided to get a whole bunch of peaches at Trader Joe’s last week because they were for a party and they were cheaper. To my surprise, they were AMAZING! Sweet and juicy and they had that gorgeous red center when I cut them open. This looks delicious, I’m going to have to give it a try.

  2. says

    Amanda—these photographs are stunning!

    And can I just say, we are totally soul-sisters, as these two things perfectly describe my method of fruit shopping and my constant state-of-being:

    “…I give the fruit a gentle squeeze and a quick sniff (although I have no idea what I’m doing), and then cross my fingers that I’ve chosen well.” Which also almost always makes me think of that Indiana Jones scene with the knight, “you must choose, but choose wisely” (


    “Sometimes I think I’m twenty-nine going on eighty.” (True story). :)

    • says

      Thank you! This cake photographed really well, and nothing beats good old-fashioned natural light.

      So funny about the Indiana Jones reference. I take my fruit picking very seriously. 😉

  3. says

    Yum, looks amazing. I have this book and can attest that it is great cookbook. I also have very low expectations for peaches or nectarines but went to the farmers market this weekend and they were amazing. All grown locally and super juciy and sweet. Hmm, I think I will have to make this now as I have a surplus of nectarines in my fridge.

  4. says

    Hi Amanda,

    Your cake looks absolutely DELISH! Your success with finding quality fruits during the summer has renewed my faith. I had practically given up on realizing such success as the fruits at the produce shops in my community are so tasteless and expensive. I look forward to trying this recipe when I’m settled in Oman.
    Keep well and continue to do great deeds both in and outside your kitchen. :)


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