Sweet, Snacks

Vanilla & Almond Sheet Cake with Fresh Peaches & Thyme

This is just about the simplest cake to make, and is deliciously light yet moist. It‘s also incredibly adaptable – I make many variations of this recipe. If you're not a lover of almond, feel free to omit the almond extract and just go for vanilla. You could also take out the ground almond and use more flour in its place.

This cake takes mere minutes to put together, and could be made in round tins and layered, if you like. But the simplicity of the recipe is reflected in its presentation, too.

If I'm feeding a crowd, I like to make the cake and frosting ahead, and slather on the frosting just before serving. I place it in the middle of the table, with an array of various toppings for guests to choose from – and if it's for a birthday, I might add some pretty sprinkles.

This version is topped with fresh sliced peaches and little sprinkling of thyme leaves, but any fresh fruits would be delicious combined with toasted nuts or coconut chips.

You can also feel free to top this with your favourite icing, such as buttercream – but I just love the light freshness of the creamy cheese and yogurt one used here. In the height of spring, instead of adding maple syrup to the frosting I use elderflower cordial, and top it with roasted gooseberries and fresh elderflowers.

In winter you could add spices to the cake batter, and top it with baked plums. Be creative, and use what‘s in season in your part of the world. See? I told you it was adaptable...



Wet ingredients

1½ cup oat milk or alternative

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract (optional)

½ cup ground nut oil or coconut oil, melted

Dry ingredients

1½ cups plain flour, plus 3 tbsp – be careful not to pack the cup too tightly

½ cup ground almonds, or more flour

1 tbsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ cup caster sugar or coconut sugar

Pinch of salt

For the frosting

150g almond cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla extract

2-3 tbsp maple syrup, to taste

1½ cups thick coconut yogurt

To serve (optional ideas)

Sliced peaches and fresh thyme leaves

Mixed berries

Roasted strawberries

Passion fruit pulp

Mango and toasted coconut


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/Gas 4. Grease a 30x20cm cake tin with light oil.
  2. Combine the wet ingredients in one large bowl, and combine the dry ingredients in another.
  3. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined, being careful not to over-mix the batter.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 20 mins. The cake should be lightly golden on top and come away from the sides. Check it's ready by inserting a skewer. If it comes out clean, the cake is done – if not, give it another 5 mins in the oven.
  5. When it's ready, remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  6. Meanwhile, make your frosting. Whip the cream cheese by hand, or in a stand mixer, until light and smooth. Add in the vanilla extract and maple syrup, and whisk again.
  7. Add in the coconut yogurt, ½ a cup at a time, whisking continuously until fully incorporated. Keep whisking until the frosting is thick and holds its shape a little.
  8. Empty the frosting into a smaller bowl, and store in the fridge.
  9. When you're ready to serve, carefully remove the cooled cake from the tin and onto a serving plate. Top with the frosting, some sliced peaches and a sprinkling of thyme leaves, or with your chosen fruit combination.

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