From Grace Cheetham’s Simply Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free.
Being gluten intolerant or having a dairy allergy (or like Grace, both) doesn’t have to mean missing out on delicious baked treats. Grace has spent years experimenting with the growing range of free-from products, and has developed a wealth of delicious recipes, such as this wonderful almond cake. Thanks to the ground almonds, it comes out of the oven light, fluffy and moist. The flavours are delicate, and the almond cream and flaked almonds add a rich coating with a crunchy top.
Makes: 1 cake (10–12 slices)
Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus at least 12 hours soaking
Cooking time: 35 minutes
150g/5½oz dairy-free margarine, softened, plus extra for greasing
75g/2½oz/heaped ⅓ cup fruit sugar or caster sugar
1 tsp almond extract
3 eggs, beaten
175g/6oz/heaped 1⅔ cups ground almonds
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
scant ½ tsp xanthan gum
30g/1oz/⅓ cup flaked almonds, to decorate
For the almond cream:
100g/3½oz/⅔ cup blanched almonds
2 tbsp fruit sugar or caster sugar
¼ tsp almond extract
2 tsp agar agar flakes
1. To make the almond cream, put the blanched almonds in a bowl, cover with water and leave to soak overnight or for at least 12 hours, then drain, rinse well and transfer to a blender. Add 150ml/5fl oz/scant ⅔ cup water and blend for 10 minutes until smooth. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and add the sugar, almond extract and agar agar flakes. Heat over a low heat for 3–4 minutes until the sugar and agar agar flakes have dissolved completely, stirring continuously to make sure the mixture doesn’t burn. Transfer to a heatproof bowl, leave to cool, then cover and chill in the fridge until needed.
2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and lightly grease a 20cm/8in cake tin with dairy-free margarine and line the base with baking parchment. Using an electric mixer, beat the dairy-free margarine and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the almond extract and gradually beat in the eggs, a little at a time, until well mixed. Add the ground almonds, gluten-free baking powder and xanthan gum to the mixture, then quickly fold in, using a spoon. Mix well, but take care not to overmix, then pour into the tin.
3. Bake for 20–25 minutes until golden brown, well risen and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Turn out of the tin, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
4. Spread the almond cream over the cake, sprinkle with the flaked almonds and serve. Keep any leftover cake in the fridge.
Simply Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free by Grace Cheetham.
176 pages • Illustrated • £12.99