In the past three weekends, I've made this cake three times. First, in a baking class...then for a family dinner...and finally for Tom's birthday. And every single time, it has been a huge hit with absolutely everyone and I've had multiple requests for the recipe.
The cake base is incredibly flexible - you can pretty much top it with just about anything. The cooked peach topping was terrific last weekend. Blackberries cooked down to almost a jam-like consistency were pretty darn good, too. Chopped mandarin oranges and pineapple? Also yummy. As a gluten-free base for strawberry shortcake? I can't wait. Maybe a glaze of chocolate ganache...or apricot jam...a caramel drizzle...an orange glaze? It would all work wonderfully. Even the spices are infinitely adaptable - I want to try ginger with that apricot jam. I'm even planning to turn it into a carrot cake for Easter, and after that maybe a banana cake.
And it goes without saying that any of those are even better with a dollop of fresh whipped cream!
But even better than all of that is that there is no refined sugar and no gluten in this cake, but it still retains a moist, cake-like texture. It's also fairly easy to throw together and doesn't require any of the expensive and often intimidating gums so often found in gluten-free baking.
Note: I've been buying almond meal from Whole Foods, and after learning to grind my own in class I will definitely not be doing that again! A cup and a quarter of almonds yields about a cup and a half of ground almonds - just what you need for this recipe. Just throw them in a food processor and turn it on and let it go. Grind until you have a fine flour. Go to far, and you'll end up with almond butter - but the savings are definitely worth the few minutes and a little experimenting!
Gluten-Free Almond Cake
Serves 4 to 6
Recipe inspired by Bauman College Staff
1.5 cups ground almonds
3/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. plus 1/8 t. salt
1 to 2 teaspoon cinnamon (your preference - 1 t. gives just a hint)
pinch of nutmeg
3 eggs, separated
3 T. honey
2.25 t. vanilla extract
small pinch cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 350.
Lightly oil a springform pan or tart pan, and line the bottom with a parchment round.
Could you use a regular cake pan? Maybe. I haven't tried it yet, but with enough oil and parchment I think it might work. Let me know if you try!
Place almonds in large mixing bowl, and add baking powder, salt and spices. Mix until combined.
Separate the eggs.
Add the yolks to the dry ingredients, along with the honey and vanilla.
Using a hand or stand mixer, whip the egg whites until you have stiff peaks.
Gently fold the egg whites into the almond mixture, about a third at a time.
That almond mixture is THICK - so really take your time with this and be gentle, but also be sure they're completely combined or you'll have white streaks in your finished cake.
Carefully pour the batter into your prepared pan, and gently spread evenly.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool for a few minutes before removing the ring of the springform pan or the base of the tart pan.
Allow to cool completely before serving.
One more thing: be sure to remove that parchment paper before placing it on your serving dish!
Not that I'm talking from experience or anything =)
Spiced Peach Topping
Serves: 4 to 6
3 cups frozen or fresh peaches, (if frozen, defrosted and juice reserved)
2 - 3 teaspoons sugar (I've been using coconut sugar and love it - low on the glycemic index and plenty sweet)
1 t. cinnamon
A few tablespoons of water, if needed
Combine all ingredients on saucepan over medium heat.
Allow to come to a simmer and turn heat to low.
Simmer until the peaches break down and the sauce reduces and thickens.
Can be served warm or at room temperature.
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