Almond Acai Gluten Free Cake with Vanilla Cream

 

The recipe for acai cake is based on my version of gluten free Black Forest Cake. As I do not like intense chocolate taste, I wanted to have cake with the same almond and apple puree sponge, but without cacao powder, as one of the dry ingredients. The abundance of gluten free powders, coming from different plants and berries, gives plenty of opportunities to incorporate completely different type of dry ingredient into sponge batter. However, having very high carbohydrate content, acai powder does not replace cacao powder in the recipe 1 to 1. Sponge batter needed extra dry ingredient to have stable structure to be able to hold the moisture from the cream. The cake is very stable, easy to cut, it has soft and moist texture with delicate vanilla taste and fruity overtones from blackcurrant and acai berries.

Cake decoration can be left simple and elegant, with vanilla cream on top, dried sponge crumbs on sides and toasted, crushed almonds on perimeter. You can play with cream and blackcurrant jam decorations, added to the top of the cake.

For the best taste and flavours to develop, the cake has to be refrigerated, ideally overnight.

Ingredients:

sponge batter to be baked in 20cmx30cm baking tray, as a thin layer, cut in three pieces 9cmx20cm

  • 2 large eggs
  • 200g pure apple puree (I used blended commercial apple pie filling)
  • 80g sugar
  • 10g vanilla sugar
  • 40g acai powder
  • 120g almond meal
  • 20g rice flour
  • 6g baking powder

vanilla cream

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 150ml milk
  • 50g sugar
  • 20g corn starch
  • 5ml alcohol of your choice, I used French apple brandy Calvados
  • 2 leaves of gold grade gelatin

separately

  • 300g whipping cream 35% fat
  • 15g icing sugar
  • 5g vanilla sugar
  • tea spoon of vanilla paste

options for vanilla cream with ruby chocolate buttons

I tried to modify cream recipe by adding 50g of Callebaut chocolate made from ruby cacao beans. Chocolate was added directly to hot pastry cream, before any other ingredients. It did not add much colour to the cream, but made it too sweet. If using this option, do not add any sugar to whipping cream. Chocolate addition to vanilla cream did not alter the overall appearance and even taste of the cake.

I have found that the best source of vanilla in cream is pure vanilla powder.

for cake assembly

  • blackcurrant jam (I used my own, but any commercial jam based on sugar with fine texture will do)
  • toasted almonds, chopped
  • fine crumbs from sponge cut-offs

Preparation:

vanilla cream

Vanilla cream has to be prepared the day before. Step by step preparation can be found here.

  • in a sauce pan with thick and rounded bottom mix egg yolks with sugar, add corn starch
  • mix into homogeneous paste with a whisk
  • add milk in portions, stir, let the mixture rest for 1-2 minutes, stir again
  • cover gelatin with cold water, let it soak
  • heat cream mixture on a low heat constantly stirring with a whisk
  • when cream starts to thicken, take it from the heat and vigorously stir to prevent any lumps, use whisk attachment of stick blender if necessary
  • return cream for 1 minute to heat
  • add alcohol and chocolate (if using) to hot cream, stir
  • let cream rest 2-3 minutes
  • squeeze as much water as you can from gelatin leaves
  • add gelatin to pastry cream and mix it in until fully dissolved
  • periodically stir the cream with a whisk to prevent  the appearance of skin on its surface
  • whisk whipping cream with icing sugar
  • when pastry cream reaches room temperature add it to whipped cream
  • whisk cream for 1 minute, cover the bowl with cling wrap and refrigerate
  • whisk the cream before using

sponge batter 

Step by step preparation of similar sponge with cacao powder can be found here.

  • prepare baking tray, lightly grease baking paper, fold it to line baking tray 20cmx30cm
  • mix all dry ingredients – sifted almond meal, rice flour, acai powder, baking soda
  • blend apple pie filling

  • whisk eggs with sugar for 3-4 minutes, add apple puree, whisk for another 2-3 minutes
  • add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, combine with a whisk
  • pour batter into lined tray, let batter spread to have it level, gently tap the tray on benchtop to let air bubbles out
  • bake in preheated to 170C fan forced oven, at least 30 minutes
  • check the sponge, baking time depends on your oven, the thickness of apple puree and the texture of almond meal
  • when sponge becomes springy to the touch, remove it from the oven, let it rest 5 minutes in a tray
  • turn it over to a lined with baking paper wire rack
  • gently peel baking paper first from the side, then from the top
  • if the paper does not come off easy, cover the sponge with baking paper on top with a wet kitchen towel for 2-3 minutes
  • return the sponge to the oven for 10-15 minutes at 160C
  • let the sponge let to cool down, cut 1-1.5 cm pieces from the short sides
  • dry them in the oven for 10 min at 130-140C, when dry and cooled down, make fine crumbs to decorate the sides of the cake
  • assemble cake on a sheet of baking paper, smear little cream on paper to prevent cake moving
  • use blackcurrant jam on top of the first sponge layer
  • apply cream on top generously
  • repeat the process with the second sponge layer
  • use only cream on top of the third sponge layer
  • decorate the cake with crumbs on the sides and almond on edges
  • refrigerate the cake, better overnight

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