Gut Feelings: Olive Oil Kefir Cake with Roasted Grapes and Rosemary (GF)

Finally, a cake recipe that leaves you feeling satisfied without the guilt, upset stomach and sugary mess. 

This post comes to us from our FP contributor Lexie Smith!

There is a way to straddle the line between obstinately habitual and radically inconsistent, and I have a cake that proves it. Despite being a baker and a lover of general indulgences, I do not like cake. It is so often covered in a sticky, sugary mess that coats teeth and stomach in regret. To make matters worse, beneath the frosting, it can be dry and paltry in taste and texture, uninspired in flavoring, and altogether not worth eating. On my birthday I’ll request pie, or a pound or two of cookies, and make my mistakes that way. Please don’t even talk to me about cupcakes. 


But, something is happening. Recently, I’ve been working from home a good deal and find myself staring at an empty countertop come 11am and 4pm, then again at 10pm or so, each time looking around as though something might have appeared since I last checked. I’ll open the fridge and look in there too, then turn back to the counter. Still bare. Because, there is this thing about standing in the kitchen at the odd times of day. The times when the light and the mood are in flux, when nothing seems as right as a snack that will leave a puddle of crumbs in its wake — a puddle that you can smush together and assemble into one last bite on the tip of your finger, all without dirtying a fork.



I wasn’t sure how to pinpoint the craving at first — I didn’t want a cookie, or a scone, or a granola bar. I wanted something smooth that filled all the corners of my mouth in every bite, that had some weight to it but not much grit, and that had a chorus of flavors all whispering together, none too sweet or too savory.  Something that would satisfy but not overwhelm. And though it took me a while, I figured it out. I’ve been looking for cake.

So, I braced myself for either disappointment or radical revelation, and made myself one. Then another, and another. The recipe I’m sharing here has kefir, olive oil, rosemary and roasted grapes, and it’s gluten free. So, if you’re like me, rest assured that making it will by no means turn you into a traditionalist.


Now, while I am forever grateful for the service of this sweet friend (which is indeed just the thing I was looking for) I am almost sorry that the recipe, stained and wrinkled, has become permanently displayed on my kitchen wall. You see, now my counter always has cake on it, and I have no choice but to eat it. And suddenly, a main tenet of my personality has become dislodged and is floating away into the ether. Because as it turns out, ugh, I am a cake person.



*To be fair, this really would make a lovely layer cake, especially with a simple whipped cream or yogurt to top.

Olive Oil Kefir Cake with Roast Grapes and Rosemary (GF)

Yield: 1 large cake/1 dozen muffins

Ingredient Notes:
I have made this recipe substituting sorghum flour for the oat, and tapioca starch for the potato starch, and it comes out equally delicious.
If you cannot find kefir, sub a runny plain yogurt.
Play with fruit and flavoring additions and changes — this cake is a great vehicle for whatever you can come up with.

Dry Ingredients:

1 cup GF oat flour
½ cup brown rice flour
½ cup white rice flour
½ cup potato starch
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
rounded ½ tsp salt

Wet Ingredients:

cup + 1 tbsp olive oil
2 eggs
½ cup +2 tbsp cane sugar
1 cup kefir
1 ½ tsp vanilla
10 oz red seedless grapes
1 scant tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped


Roast grapes:

Toss rinsed grapes with a tablespoon of olive oil and honey and roast at 400F for about 25 minutes, until bubbling and wrinkled. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

For cake:

Turn the oven down to 350F and grease a large cake pan or muffin tin.

Whisk together wet ingredients in a large bowl thoroughly, until it becomes lighter in color.

Combine dry ingredients separately and add into the wet, stirring to combine. Mix in rosemary and grapes.

Pour batter into your baking vessel and top with a bit more sugar and coarse salt.

Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes, depending on the size of your baking tray (less if you’re making muffins). Cake should be golden around edges and a tester should come out free of crumbs.


Follow Lexie on Instagram and check out her website!

Leave a Reply

Notify of