Gluten Free Almond Cake

The idea behind this cake was to create a recipe for a guilt free, healthy version of the cake, based on almond meal as a dry ingredient. In this cake sugar and fat content are dramatically reduced by using less sugar and substituting part of almond meal by protein rich ingredient – cottage cheese.

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As a result, you can have this cake as a healthy breakfast. It has eggs, cottage cheese, almond meal and is very low in sugar, compared to regular breakfast cereals. I make my own cottage cheese from equal parts of reduced fat buttermilk and milk. It is possible to use Ricotta cheese, but the texture of the cake would not be the same. Overall, this cake has only 25 g of rice flour and can be made grain free, if necessary.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 200-220 g cottage cheese (as dry as possible)
  • 100 g almond meal
  • 25 g fine rice flour (corn flour can be used as well)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 table spoon of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean extract
  • 1/2 tea spoon gluten free baking powder
  • apple or pear slices
  • icing sugar for dusting.

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Preparation:

  • Whisk egg whites and slowly add sugar (50 g) until the mixture is white and smooth with stiff peaks. Put aside.
  • Cream egg yolks with sugar (50 g) until pale, add vanilla bean extract, cottage cheese, lemon juice and mix together until smooth.
  • Mix all dry ingredients: almond meal, rice flour, lemon zest and baking powder.
  • Incorporate dry ingredients into cottage cheese mixture.
  • Mix in the first big spoon of egg whites to loosen the mix. Fold in the rest of egg whites.
  • Spoon the dough into prepared oiled baking tin or tray. Insert apple slices half deep into the dough.
  • Bake in the preheated fan forced oven at 170 degrees (conventional oven 180-190) for the first 30 min, then reduce temperature to 150 degrees for another 20-30 min. Baking time will depend on the shape of the tin and the thickness of the dough.
  • Let it rest and cool, dust with icing sugar.

You can have this cake with fruits, berries, yogurt, fresh or frozen, ice-cream or sour cream.

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Variations:

When the quantity of cottage cheese is reduced to 170 g, the mixture for the cake becomes even thicker and the cake does not rise as much. In that case, I bake the cake in tart shape. The cake is more dense, the texture is dry and flavours are more intense. I personally like it more. Because the dough does not rise high, apples on the top give the cake a different look.

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It is possible to make this cake with plums or figs and almonds on the top.

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The cake with softer and more airy texture can be made when corn flour is used instead of rice flour, and the cake is baked in a tin with a hole in the middle. It is necessary to mix eggs yolks with sugar and incorporate cottage cheese and later dry ingredients gently, using hand-held mixer on very low speed, or just manually. Even better is to add half of dry ingredients, one big spoon of egg whites after that, followed by second portion of dry ingredients, and finally carefully folding the rest of egg whites.

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The cake can be decorated with candied orange pieces instead of dusting with icing sugar.

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The mixture of the ingredients in this cake provides balanced composition of all main nutrient groups, which is rarely achieved in baked deserts, cakes in particular. You can always try to change quantities of three main ingredients – almond meal, cottage cheese and rice or corn flour, even exclude the flour altogether, to adjust the texture, density and shape of the cake to your family tastes.

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