Vegan Gluten-free French Fancies

First of all I would like to wish my mum and all the amazing mothers out there a ?HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY?

If you live in the UK you will be very familiar with french fancies. They’re these cute mini sponge cakes, similar to petit four, with a jam centre and covered in different coloured icing – pink (strawberry), yellow (lemon) and brown (chocolate).

I used to find the sponge in french fancies a little dry, which wasn’t too bad since the jam and icing added a bit of moisture and complemented the whole thing, but I still prefer my cakes a little more moist, so I wanted to make mine a little denser and not as spongy.

My version might not look exactly like the real thing, but it’s impassible to create a healthier, lower in sugar and dairy-free version and make it look as pretty as the original. French Fancies are covered in icing made mainly of sugar which then solidifies giving it a smooth, non-sticky finish. I could’t achieve that effect without using some form of sugar, but I think they still look pretty cute even if you have to eat it with a form instead of with your fingers.

Vegan Gluten-free French Fancies

Makes: 16


For the cake:

  • 1.5 cups (200g) plain gluten-free flour
  • 1/3 cup (70g) coconut/brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) milk of choice 
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) water 
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the jam layer:

3 tbsp homemade raspberry jam – or you can use shop bought

For the marzipan layer:

  • 3 tbsp ground almonds
  • 1.5 tbsp maple syrup – more if needed

For the icing:

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp beetroot powder – alternatively you can use pink food colouring.
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup 


  • Preheat your oven to 180*C (160* fan assisted)/ 350*F
  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 
  • Pour in the oil, milk, water, apple cider vinegar and vanilla extract. Mix to combine.
  • Pour into an 8″ square cake tin lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes. 
  • Leave to cool completely then slice in half horizontally so you have a top and bottom part. 
  • Spread a thin layer of jam on the bottom part, then place the other half of the cake on top.
  • Divide the cake into 16 even slices. 
  • In a small bowl, mix together the ground almonds and maple syrup. Add more maple if needed. Create small marzipan balls and press one ball on top of each slice. 
  • Remove the solid part of the can of coconut milk and place in a mixing bowl along with the maple syrup. Whip the coconut milk using a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Fold in the beetroot or food colouring. 
  • Take your time icing each cake ensuring all the sides are evenly covered.
  • Place in the fridge for an hour to allow the icing to set.
  • Enjoy!