We're getting into strawberry season (rhubarb too), possibly my favorite time of the year. Actually I've realized that spring and fall are my absolute favorites of the four; spring in Northern California is gloriously green and as the planet continues to heat up, we know this is not to be taken for granted. Once summer descends, the green is gone til October or later. So, let's celebrate the growing time. This deceptively simple cake -- just eggs, separated and whipped separately, maple sugar, almond flour, vanilla, and strawberries -- would make a lovely dessert for Passover, or for your spring table.
When I wrote my cookbook, I focused on homemade gluten-free ingredients, like grinding up almond to make a coarse meal or processing oats to make flour. While doing this is still a worthy endeavor, gluten-free ingredients have come a long way from when I was first writing about them! Now I prefer to buy finely ground almond flour for baking; I find it makes cakes light and fluffy, with a texture that almost resembles that from wheat flour. For a delicate spring cake like this one, I recommend going with a pre-made almond flour. A bonus is that this saves on prep time.
I riffed off of a recipe on Food and Wine to create this cake. I added strawberries mixed with a bit of coconut sugar to make it a sort of strawberry upside down cake in a nod to the beautiful early spring days we're currently experiencing. There's no dairy, which makes the cake kosher, and it adheres to other Passover necessities. Of course, this is a wonderful cake any day of the year -- in winter you could sub cranberries or clementines or add lemon zest to make it a lemony almond cake.
Some other recipes I've written up over the years:
Gluten-Free Desserts a Natural Choice for Passover, Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Passover Desserts Free of Flour, San Francisco Chronicle
Til next time - N x
Need substitutions? I wouldn't switch out the almond flour, but if you absolutely must, try tiger nut flour. Swap granulated sugar for the maple sugar. And if you don't do eggs, try aquafaba in place of the eggs.
Gluten-Free Strawberry Almond Flour Cake
- 1 carton strawberries, tops removed and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- 6 6 eggs separated, at room temperature
- 1 cup maple sugar or sugar
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 ¼ cups/225 g almond flour
- Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan and line with a circle of parchment paper. Toss the strawberry slices with the coconut sugar, then spread slices evenly across the bottom. Preheat oven to 325° F.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg white with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.
- In a separate large bowl, beat egg yolks and maple sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until thick and pale, about 1 ½ minutes. Add vanilla and salt, beating until well combined, about 30 seconds.
- Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites and one-third of the almond flour into egg yolk mixture until just combined (do not over fold); repeat 2 more times. Pour batter into prepared pan.
- Place in the oven and bake until cake is golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cake cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove sides from pan, and let cool completely, about 40 minutes.
- Cake will keep, in an airtight container, or wrapped in the fridge, for 5 days.
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