Gluten Free Lemon and Almond Cake

This winter we have an abundance of wonderful lemons with practically sweet skin. I did everything with lemons: lemon peel, lemon glaze, lemon curd and plenty of frozen lemon juice and zest in the freezer. And now another first for me – Lemon and Almond Cake.

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Now, when just a tiny part of the cake is left, I started to think where was I before. Why did it never occurred to me that lemons can boiled whole, pureed and lemon puree can be used to make the cake similar to orange and almond cake. With continuous supply of organic lemons all year round,I am not sure that I will be so keen on orange cake, having tried the lemon one.

When creating this recipe I knew, that I do not want to make too moist cake. I wanted the cake with texture closer to teacake texture, which is usually achieved with plenty of butter in recipe. It was obviously clear to me, that pure whole lemon puree would be very acidic and will demand too much sugar to make the taste palatable. Previously, I used apple and quince puree to make almond cakes, but, compared to orange cakes, they did not have the intensity and any distinct taste, and were poor cousins to orange cakes. Using vanilla in different forms, lemon and almond essences, even lemon zest to enhance their taste did not help. Those cakes tasted a bit plain and bland to me. However apple and quince purees, with high pectin content, are good for any cake structure. I decided to mix apple puree with whole lemon puree to dilute acidity without using too much sugar.

I got nice lemon from the tree this morning, it was soft and fully cooked after 30min in boiling water.  When I cut it open, there was a lot of liquid on the plate. I drained all the juices and homogenised the rest with a stick blender. Puree was surprisingly thick and pale.

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I got nearly 200g of puree out of 1 lemon. I used 100g and mixed it with 100g of apple puree. I usually prepare my apple puree for cakes and marshmallows cooking skinned and chopped Granny Smith apples in microwave. Cooking time depends on apples moisture content. It varies from 15 to 20min on high with stirring apple pieces in between. Mixed apple and lemon puree had coarser texture compared to lemon puree itself.

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Ingredients:

  • 100g whole lemon puree
  • 100g thick apple puree
  • 140g sugar, extra to dust springform pan
  • 10g vanilla sugar
  • 150g almond meal
  • 3 large eggs (600g box)
  • 50g fine white rice flour ( I use McKenzie’s brand)
  • 1/2 tea spoon gluten free baking powder
  • 1 cored apple, sliced
  • unsalted butter for the pan
  • icing sugar for cake decoration

Preparation:

  • butter 19cm springform pan, dust the bottom with rice flour and sides with granulated sugar
  • beat eggs with sugar and vanilla sugar on high speed until at least double in volume and pale
  • mix apple and whole lemon puree, prepared as described above
  • add mixed fruit puree to beaten eggs and beat for 1-2 min more
  • mix dry ingredients: almond meal, rice flour and baking powder
  • sift dry ingredients
  • add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and carefully mix until fully combined with spatula, the batter would not be runny, but can be poured into baking pan
  • shake springform to level cake batter in the pan or use spatula to make cake surface level
  • insert sliced apples, trying to keep the same intervals between slices; I like to insert apples instead of laying them on the top, because it makes easier to slice the cake later

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  • bake in preheated to 160C fan forced oven for 55-60min, until golden brown, the middle of the cake is firm to touch and the cake tester (toothpick) inserted into cake comes back clean
  • take the side of the springform down and let the cake rest on its base for 10 min
  • release the cake from springform base using palette knife

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  •  dust the cake with icing sugar

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The cake texture was better than I expected. It was not at all similar to orange cake texture. It was more fine and, if I did not make the cake myself, I would be sure that butter was used as one of the ingredients. It was moist, but not wet. When the cake was raising during baking, apple slices were pushed up, too. In orange cakes or frangipane tart fillings, apple or pear slices usually stay where they are and only cake batter raises. Lemon and almond cake batter was strong enough for apples to stay on top, some of them got burned as the result.

The cake was very homogenous inside, it was easy to have a clean cut without the cake side crumbling. Was it due to pectin presence or any other reason, I do not know, but I never had such a nice clean cut from the cake without butter as an ingredient.

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I was very happy with the result. The cake had intense lemony taste, but it was not overly acidic. If anything, I might try to increase the proportion of lemon puree in fruit puree mix. Next cake for me to try is lemon, almond and poppy seed cake, with more lemon puree in the mix. This is just from the top of my head, and of course I will try sugar and grain free version, with honey and without rice flour.

Another bake with this recipe.

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6 thoughts on “Gluten Free Lemon and Almond Cake

  1. Dear Irena, I am reporting on my substitution of eggs with flax seeds and water. First I want to say that I do not remember when I had such a delicious cake last time! I took 1 egg and beat it with 1/3 of sugar, then I added presoaked 2 table spoons of ground gold flax and 6 table spoons of water. I beat that as well with the rest of sugar added. I added 1 tea spoon total of baking powder versus 1/2, as you recommended. The cake came out with very nice texture, very moist. Stayed as soft and did not become soggy next day. Now it is gone , so I can’t say anything about the 3d day. Thank you so much- quick question though- I do not have lemons all the time- do you think it will work if I use apple puree instead? As I have to have this cake now all the time: lemons- no lemons 🙂

    1. Yes Liza, you can use apples instead of lemons, the cake would not have the same flavour intensity. It will have more tender and gentle taste, but the texture will be the same. I am very happy that the substitution with flax egg worked. I have this question now and then and can answer with more confidence now. Many thanks for taking your time to write.
      Please keep in mind that any cooked fruit puree can be frozen in portions in zip locked plastic bags for future cooking. I always cook my oranges for cakes in large portions, to have orange puree for baking at all times. I also prepare lemons, plums and peaches in season. Plum puree is wonderful to make frangipane and peaches puree is perfect for flourless cake without any sweeteners at all. And quince puree is a delight by itself, but also very handy to make sweets and creams.

  2. Irena, thank you for your feedback. May I please ask if you have a recipe for cake with peach puree- I am very intrigued. I looked but did not find the recipe. I was also thinking – what if one was to mix 100 grams of apple puree and 100 grams of date puree. And may be cut sugar some to compensate for the sweetness form dates? I also wanted to thank you again for your work- both sites: in English and in Russian. Everything is so exquisite- what you do and how you do it! Thank you, it is such a treat!

    1. Fruit Cake – Grain, Dairy and Sugar Free – e-cooking blog
      https://ecookingblog.wordpress.com/2015/05/15/fruit-cake-grain-dairy-and-sugar-free/
      This is the recipe for a large cake with peaches puree. It is grain, pseudo-grain, starches, dairy and sugar free. I have the second blog, where I publish recipes with very strict dietary restrictions, which I develop for our family friend with a specific list of allowed ingredients. The list is actually more strict that paleo protocol. You can get to that blog going to paleo category in the menu.

    2. Grain, Dairy and Sugar Free Cake with Raisins and Walnuts – e-cooking blog
      https://ecookingblog.wordpress.com/2015/04/02/grain-dairy-and-sugar-free-cake-with-raisins-and-walnuts/
      This is another recipe from e-cooking blog for a cake smaller in size. My answer to your question about dates is a positive one. The only problem I had with dates, is to blend them into a fine paste. They are a great substitution for sugar or other sweeteners. In the above recipe I used apple or orange juice, which now I try not to use in fruit cakes. Fructose in juices makes the cake to go dark. If using light flours it is better to soak dry fruits in water if you want to get cakes lighter in colour.

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