Gluten Free Mini Prickly Pear Chiffon Cakes


The other day, I asked my better half to bring me some fresh figs with him after work from the supermarket as I wanted to try out a recipe I came across with figs.  He came back with another type of fig, what the Italians call ‘Fici D’India’ as they did not have the figs I wanted.  He assumed that I would find something to make with those as well.  Fici D’India are our Bajtar tax-Xewk … Prickly Pears!  I thought Oh no, and what the heck am I going to do with these?

I remember as a little girl, we used to spend our summers in Bugibba, and this farmer used to come with a truck selling Bajtar Tax-Xewk. He had buckets of them and I remember his old weighing scales and his horrid sweaty smell.  Housewives and husbands alike used to come out with some plastic bowl or other utensil and gather round his truck to buy these prickly pears.  He used to peel them for you and fill your bowl with this beautifully coloured fruit.  My mum used to send me to buy some for her. I used to love the smell (of the prickly pears, not the farmer!) and the colours … however I despised the pips.

Since that time, I never looked at prickly pears …. until yesterday.

So first I thought of making granita or some sweet sauce.  Then I thought, maybe … a cake … yes why not a cake? So, I decided on the cake.

Please note that it is not just prickly pears in this cake but there is also some lime juice and zest in it.  The prickly pears give a lovely colour to the batter which unfortunately disappeared when baked! Obviously the more vibrant the colour of the prickly pear, the darker the batter will be!


I made little cakes rather than a large one.  They keep better, being Gluten Free.  Dusted with a little icing, they looked pretty!  Excuse my cake decoration though, it is nothing but a real flower, but which still looked pretty for the picture.

One advantage about prickly pears at the supermarket was that the prickles were removed.  Although being the hero I am, I tried to peel them with no gloves and still I got some little transparent ones in my fingers!  So wear gloves anyways!

I must say though, the prickly pears we have in Malta, taste far better than these ones in supermarkets.  Maltese ones have much more flavour. AND you get them peeled for you too!

So, are you ready to try this cake?  If you do not find prickly pears, this Gluten Free Chiffon Cake is still yummy with just lime juice and zest!

You will need …

1 cup Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Potato Starch
1/4 Tapioca Starch
1/8 tsp of salt

6 egg yolks
1/3 cup of sugar
3/4 cup Prickly Pear juice (approx 4 prickly pears)
1 tbsp Lime juice
1 tsp Lime zest
1/4 cup of vegetable oil

3/4 cup of sugar
6 egg whites
1 tsp of cream of tartar

First you have to prepare the Prickly Pear Juice.

Peel the prickly pears and put it in a food processor and give it a few pulses. Strain out the juice to get rid of those pesky seeds. Set it aside, with the lime juice and zest.

Pre-heat oven to 110 degree C.  Put the flour, starches and the salt in a mixing bowl and mix until well combined.

Mix the yolks, sugar, prickly pear juice, lemon juice, lemon zest and oil until well blended and then add to the flour mixture and combine until smooth. It should have a lovely colour from the prickly pear juice!  Set it aside.

Whisk the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a stand mixer over high speed until stiff peak. It should not fall out when you turn the mixing bowl over.

Fold a third of the egg whites into the flour/egg yolk mixture and continue to do so until egg white mix is finished. Remember to fold in not stir in, until well mixed.

Pour batter into little cake tins or large cup cake tins and bake until a skewer, when inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.  Let cool completely BEFORE removing from the pans or tins. Important!

Decorate as desired.

Now have too much cake … so off to do something else with that ….

Senza G – Living without Gluten

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