Master Almond Cake

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten Free Cooking with Oonagh

This is a variation of my English Bakewell Tart with shortbread pastry crust, raspberry preserves layer, almond cake and sliced almonds. One of my son’s most favorite desserts so the first one I made completely gluten-free. If you can only eat other nuts, then weigh (roughly eyeball from packet) nut you can eat, add sugar and process together in food processor until nuts are very finely ground. Sugar helps stop nuts from turning into a paste. 

This is what I make for those times we’re asked to bring something to a meeting. Throw it all in a bowl and beat. I get into trouble with friends at conferences if I don’t bring it with me. Including flying from Boston to Atlanta to speak at a GIG conference. I was on a four page cover wrap for Blue Diamond Almonds for National Food and Wine magazine.

Gluten-Free Almond Cake

makes 1 x 8×8 or 1 x8″ cake pan. About 1 “ deep.

Naturally gluten-free, easily dairy-free, paleo, can be made egg-free.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 stick (2oz) very soft butter 
  • ½ c (4 oz) ordinary sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1+1/4 cup (4 oz, 115g) of almond meal/flour slightly rounded 
  • 1/2 tsp gluten-free baking powder – I use Rumford’s, labeled gluten-free
  • 2 tsp gluten-free almond extract – I use Penzey’s that they say is gluten-free. Optional but adds to flavor.
  • Topping: powdered sugar, ¼ – ½ c sliced almonds

Note: Different brands of almond flour or almond meal will often give a different weight to volume measure. For best results weigh.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F/ 170*C.
  2. Place all ingredients in 4 c (1 ltr) mixing bowl and beat until well blended and fluffy- 2 minutes.  Mix will go lighter in color as you beat it.
  3. Spread mix in greased and gf floured 8×8, or one 8” cake pan. Sprinkle with sliced almonds.
  4. Bake in 350* oven for about 25-30 minutes until well risen, golden brown and set but still soft in the middle. The texture should be similar to rolls of almond paste when cut, but cooked throughout.
  5. Remove from oven, serve warm or cold,  sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Variations:

  • Cut into wedges and serve with raspberry sauce.  
  • Cook in 8×8 pan and cut into tiny squares for a buffet table. 
  • Cook in 8×8 and cut into large squares and then cut large squares into 4 triangles or 2 larger triangles.
  • Divide mixture between 2 holes of Wilton Giant Whoopie pie pan or 2 x 8 inch cake pans to make thin layer cake.
  • Divide mixture in 12 holes of Wilton mini whoopie pie pan,  watch for temperature as dark lined pan browns rapidly underneath. Use as base for individual Baked Alaska, different strawberry shortcake, ice cream sandwiches.
  • Top with chocolate ganache, raspberry, mango couli, fresh berries.
  • Spread cooled cooked cake with Nutella and top with more almonds, make a chocolate ganache with either equal quantities of heavy cream and semi sweet chocolate or with Sodelicious vanilla or hazelnut creamer mixed with gf, cf chocolate.  Serve in puddle of raspberry sauce or with a mix of fresh berries slightly sweetened, add some Amaretto. 
  • Whip 1 cup cream until nearly stiff, whip in 1/2 c Nutella and chill to stiffen. Use as filling or topping.
  • If you don’t use almond extract, you really do need to add the zest of 1-2 lemons or 1-2 oranges if you eat the cake plain. You can also add 1-2 tbsp poppy seeds and make a melted lemon juice/sugar glaze to drizzle on top of baked cake.
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