I am always looking for gluten free alternatives to regular cake recipes, in particular ones that are simple and do not have five separate ingredients replacing the flour. When I was at the Agrarian Kitchen in August I had the most delightful almond and coconut cake which was also gluten free. Stacey, who made the cake, pulled out the recipe book from a huge set of shelves in the dining room. All of them were cook books!
It was from the book “Mix and bake” by Australian cookbook author Belinda Jeffries (link to Belinda’s recipe online is here ). The cake was delightfully moist and dense. The coconut was in no way overpowering – it was like a flash of the sunny tropics in sweet almond paste. I couldn’t wait to make it at home.
As glorious as it tasted, it was a bit too sweet for my liking, so when I made it at home, I modified the recipe, reducing the sugar and increasing the amounts of almond meal and coconut. I also added Amaretto di Saronno, an Italian liqueur made with apricot kernels (but tasting of almonds) in place of the almond essence. I have made it several times in the past few weeks as the preparation takes only 15 minutes and it remains beautifully moist covered in the fridge for up to five days. It can also be stored frozen but I don’t see this ever being the case unless I make two at the same time. The cake is very popular with my husband, my mother but also with my daughter who eats gluten free (she has been known to take a bite of her boyfriend’s slice when he isn’t looking!). This cake is ideal for morning or afternoon tea accompanied by a short macchiato. I am sure it will become a favourite of yours too!
Flourless almond and coconut cake
75g (2 and 1/2 oz) coconut
200g (7oz) caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
200g (7oz) unsalted butter, melted then cooled
1 tsp pure vanilla essence
1 tsp Amaretto di Saronno liqueur (or 1/4 tsp almond essence)
2 tsp slivered almonds
Sifted icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and line the base and sides of a 23cm (9 inch) diameter cake tin with a removable base.
Place the almond meal, coconut, salt and sugar in a large bowl and give it a good whisk and set aside. In a separate bowl, place the eggs, vanilla and liqueur (or almond essence), beating it using a whisk for a minute until well combined. Stir in the melted butter.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until they are well combined. Pour into the prepared cake tin. Scatter on the slivered almonds and bake for 40 minutes or until golden on top and the cake springs back slightly when you push it with your finger.
Place on a wire cooling rack and remove from the tin when completely cold. Dust icing sugar over the top if you like prior to cutting into slices to serve.