May Day Blueberry Crumb Cake (gluten-free, vegan)

Much to my surprise, I just found this completed post in my drafts section. I had written it all the way back in May and thought I had scheduled it to post, but apparently, I forgot! So, here it is, much delayed, but still delicious.  I have made this a couple of times since, each time with slight tweaks, and it has always been delicious. Enjoy!

On Sunday I marched in the annual MayDay Parade.  Every year in Minneapolis, everyone comes out to the streets to see a wild procession of larger than life puppets and celebrate the renewed energy and rebirth of Spring. It is incredible, and this year I marched in a rowdy marching band with a bunch of people that I played music with last fall.  It fulfilled my childhood dream of playing viola in a marching band - we had a whole marching string section! We also  had a banjo, accordions, a big brass section, a ton of drummers, and a flag twirling color guard. Our parade section theme color was blue and silver, and some very talented people made us beautiful costumes to wear.  It was incredible.

We were having a big grill out brunch before the parade. Inspired by the blue color theme and the communal brunch, I wanted to bring a blueberry coffee cake to share.  

So I did.

I showed up to this brunch feast with fresh coffee cake, snap peas, raw sauerkraut, and a couple chicken sausages in hand, and was greeted with a table FULL of food, a grill going, and a backyard full of people. This backyard is huge, and has gardens, a chicken coop, and a hand-built little cottage that someone lives in with a wood stove inside.  A seriously great space.  The feast was incredible. Everything was homemade (with the exception of some very out of place Pringles and PopTarts).  Sliced beets, zucchini, and other veggies were on the grill. Fresh fruit was on the table. Pear crisp and banana bread joined my bread, along with homemade pancakes, fresh yogurt, egg bake, and hardboiled eggs. There was a big pot of brown rice with curry. There was pasta salad. There were roasted potatoes. Sure, I couldn't eat all of it, but it was a site to behold. I snapped a shot at the end, when most stuff was gone... including my cake, whose nearly empty pan is in the front left corner.  

Pre-parade feast.

Lining up before the parade begins. So many accordions! My dream come true.

My amazing parade uniform cape, from the back.

By the time I arrived at the end of the parade, my 4 slices of cake had definitely been walked off.

 This cake is crumbly and delicious, full of plump tasty blueberries and with a crunchy, crumbly topping of quinoa flakes, pine nuts, and just a hint of maple syrup.  I adapted this cake from Karina's recipe, making a whole bunch of tweaks here and there.  I made up my own tasty crunchy crumb topping. Yeah, yeah, I cheated and went for the maple in the cake and topping, because what the hell, I already am having a flare up in symptoms, what's one more day of discomfort, right?  I'm so bad.

I hadn't eaten blueberry coffee cake in, oh, at least 2 1/2 years, so I figured I deserved it, right?  And so did everyone else in the marching band. Before posting it, I thought about making this recipe one more time to see if I could make it even tastier, and try it without any binder at all.  I had already significantly reduced the amount of binder from Karina's original recipe, and ended up with a rather crumbly cake, but it's crumb cake, so I didn't mind that!  I didn't see any of it go to waste, and people other than me went back for second, so I took that as a good sign.  So, here you go with it as-is!  I shouldn't make this thing again any time soon, so I should probably share it now, or it might be a while! My body needs a break from flour, fruit, and maple syrup especially.  Yikes.  At least I broke my dietary restrictions it on something totally delicious and satisfying, right? :)

May Day Blueberry Crumb Cake

adapted from Gluten Free Goddess

yield 1 9-inch square pan, approx 16 squares

This recipe can also be made with any other fresh berry you may have on hand. I like this because it isn't too sweet, just sweet enough and full of spices. I prefer to sweeten with a mix of maple syrup and stevia, but you can use any other liquid sweetener as well. 



  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 3/4 cup millet flour
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flakes
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp guar gum or xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon or 1 Tbsp mesquite flour
  • 1/2 tsp powdered stevia extract (the white stuff) or 1 tsp plain or vanilla liquid stevia


  • 2 Tbsp finely ground flax seed  + 6 Tbsp hot water
  • 2-4 Tbsp maple syrup, agave nectar, yacon syrup, vegetable glycerin, or brown rice syrup (I like 2, but you could add up to 4 if you really want it very sweet. If you add 3 or 4 Tbsp syrup, reduce the amount of hot water by 1 or 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil or other oil
  • 1/4 cup Spectrum shortening (softened ghee or butter would also work)
  • 1 Tbsp gluten-free vanilla extract or flavoring
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 pint (10 oz) fresh or frozen blueberries

Crumble Topping

  • 2/3 cup quinoa flakes
  • 3 Tbsp pine nuts (or other chopped nut/seed)
  • 3 Tbsp millet flour
  • 2 Tbsp grapeseed oil or other oil
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup, agave nectar, yacon syrup, vegetable glycerin, or brown rice syrup
  • pinch each cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg
  • pinch stevia powder
  • 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • Heat oven to 350º F and oil a 9-inch square cake pan. 

Whisk together flaxmeal and water in a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes.  Whisk briskly before using.

While the flax-water mixture sits, mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, whisking briskly to make light.  Create a well in the center, then add flax "egg" and remaining wet ingredients, and mix until smooth.  Fold in blueberries.  Transfer into oiled cake pan.

Mix together crumble topping in a small bowl and sprinkle all over the top of the cake.  Place in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, until cake is firm to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven, place on a rack, and immediately drizzle the additional 1-2 Tbsp of maple syrup over the top of the warm cake.  Let cool before slicing, otherwise you'll end up with a very crumbly mess!

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