CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — Julia Spondike first appeared on FOX 8 News in the Morning back in 2017 as a high school student.

She won a scholarship to attend The Culinary Institute of America in New York and traveled to Russia where she represented the USA in a World Skills Competition. She talked about that during a visit in 2018.

Fast forward six years and she is the executive sous chef at The Hotel at Oberlin.

She returned to FOX 8 News in the Morning to share a recipe for gluten-free almond cake with strawberry & rhubarb jam.

Strawberry & Rhubarb Jam


  • 2 cups fresh, diced strawberries
  • 3 cups fresh, diced rhubarb
  • 1/2 T vanilla bean paste
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon


  1. Gather all ingredients
  2. Cut rhubarb and strawberries into a medium dice
  3. Add diced rhubarb and strawberries to a sauce pan or water
  4. Simmer at medium-low heat
  5. Add sugar and vanilla, continue to simmer for 20-30 minutes
  6. The jam should come together and the water should be almost completely evaporated
  7. Add a pinch of salt and lemon zest, if desired
  8. Store under refrigeration (Fresh jam that is not preserved should be kept no longer than 7 days)

Gluten-free almond cake


  • 2 cups gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds (blanched)
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds (for garnish)
  • 1/2 T baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 t almond extract
  • 1/2 T vanilla bean paste
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream


  1. Set oven to 325° before beginning
  2. Spray 9″ spring pans with pan spray, and lightly spread 1 T of softened butter into pan
  3. Grind 1 cup of almonds in a spice mixer or grinder until fine flour-like texture
  4. Combine all dry ingredients (omitting sugar) in a medium mixing bowl, reserve
  5. In the standing mixer, cream butter and sugar for approx. 5 minutes using the paddle attachment
  6. One at a time, add eggs into creamed butter
  7. Add almond extract, vanilla bean paste, and sour cream into the egg mixture. Mix until incorporated
  8. Add dry ingredient into egg mixture, mix until flour is hydrated (don’t over mix)
  9. Transfer the dough into prepared pans. Garnish with 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  10. Bake for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, cover pans with foil and return to over for 10 minutes
  11. Cool on a wire rack, let cakes set in pan for 30 minutes before removing from pans
  12. When completely cooled, cut and enjoy