Tuesday, January 29, 2013

[flourless] lemon almond cake

When it comes to gluten-free baking, most people tend to turn up their nose.
"Baking without flour? Isn't that an oxymoron?"
"Gluten-free products are never as good as the regular ones."
"I just can't give up eating flour, that would be impossible!"
Well, today is one of those days where those people are wrong.

This cake is the perfect combination of lemon and almond, with just enough sweetness.
It's light, moist, and delicious in every way.

Flourless Lemon Almond Cake (gluten-free)

  • 4 eggs, separated into 4 egg yolks and 4 egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest, packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup white sugar, divided (1/4 cup and 1/4 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground almond flour*
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (white or cider vinegar works too)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Powdered sugar for sprinkling
* If almond flour is not available at your market, you can grind up blanched, slivered almonds in a food processor until finely ground.

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Place a round of parchment paper on the bottom of a 8-inch cake pan (or a springform pan), and grease it and the sides of the pan with butter or cooking spray. (I recommend also flouring the pan with rice flour so it comes out easier.)

2) In a large bowl, beat together the egg yolks, lemon zest, and 1/4 cup sugar until smooth.

3) In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond flour, ground cinnamon, and baking powder.   Add the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture and beat until smooth.

4) With an electric mixer with a very clean bowl and clean whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, starting on low speed and gradually increasing the speed. When bubbles start to form, add a pinch of salt and the teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar (both the salt and the juice/vinegar will help the beaten egg whites maintain better structure, as will the sugar in the next step). As the egg whites begin to increase in volume, sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, a little at a time, as you continue to beat the eggs whites.  Beat until soft peaks form.

5) Fold the beaten egg whites into the almond mixture a large scoopful at a time.  You won't get much lift with the first third of the egg whites, but as you add more, you'll be able to gently fold in the whites in such a way as to create a light batter.

6) Gently scoop the batter into a the prepared springform pan and place in the oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake helping it to separate from the side of the pan. Flip the pan upside down (gently) onto a cooling rack; lift the pan away from the cake. Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes, then place it on a serving plate. (If using a springform pan, release the springform pan sides, and gently move the cake to a serving plate.) Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar before serving.

7) If feeling adventurous, make a blueberry compote and fresh whipped cream to go on top of the cake. I really recommend this. I did this for my mother-in-law's birthday, and my family absolutely LOVED it. The blueberry compote and whipped cream add a wonderful tangy & sweet contrast to the already delectable cake. See the recipes for the blueberry compote and fresh whipped cream below...

Blueberry Compote

2 cups frozen blueberries
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Combine 1 cup of the blueberries, water, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Cook over a medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add the rest of the blueberries and cook for 8 minutes more, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Spread this on top of your cake.

Fresh Whipped Cream

2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl, whip cream until it starts to thicken. It will look like stiff peaks are just about to form. Add in vanilla and sugar, and beat until peaks form. (Make sure not to over-beat, as your cream will become lumpy and butter-like.)

Thank you Elise, for your inspiration :)

This is what your cake will look like with the blueberry compote and whipped cream. TRUST ME, you will love this combination!

My husband's littlest sister: Panda-Bear (AKA Danielle)

Happy Birthday Alisa! My mother-in-law turned 47 and is more beautiful than ever.
We all pitched in and got her tickets to Phantom of the Opera.
My husband and I saw it already and loved it.

Steve (my father-in-law) got his wife two diamond bands to go around her wedding ring.
So beautiful.


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