The reluctant baker
I’m not much of a baker. I’ve never been very interested in baking really, even when I was a gluten-eater. I’m just not that good at following recipes. And since going gluten-free, my desire to bake has dropped to just about nil. Except that lately, I’ve noticed a whole bunch of cake recipes with only 1/2 cup of flour. And these are the easiest recipes to adapt without resorting to funny things like xanthan gum. (And don’t get me wrong, I love xanthan gum just as much as the next girl, but it’s expensive and I’m just not excited by the chemistry part of baking).
This lemon-scented almond cake is heavily adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s walnut jam cake. I did make the walnut jam cake, mostly as she suggests, and it was lovely. I used apricot jam and much less whipped cream than she did, and it was fantastic. But tonight, I didn’t have any walnuts. So I used almonds and didn’t bother to toast them because it’s Thursday night, and really, who can be bothered? And I added lemon zest because when I made the walnut cake, I thought it could use a little zing.
In both the original and my adaptation of the recipe, I’ve used a buckwheat flour that comes from Bouchard Family Farm in northern Maine. This is a silver hulled buckwheat that is lighter in color and milder in taste than regular buckwheat. It just isn’t quite as intense and is nice in something where you don’t want the flavor of buckwheat to take center stage. I can get it at Hannaford supermarkets locally, but those of you who don’t live in Vermont, you can order from Bouchard Family Farm on-line.
If you wanted to spread this cake with jam and top it with whipped cream, I think that’s just fine. But this time around, I was happy to dust it with powdered sugar and call it dessert. Enjoy.
Lemon-scented Almond Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s walnut jam cake.
4 1/2 ounces almonds
2/3 c. brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter cut into pieces
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp. almond extract
zest of one lemon
1/2 c. buckwheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour (buckwheat flour) 9″ springform pan.
Combine almonds and sugar in food processor. Pulse until almonds are finely ground. Add butter and pulse until combined. Add eggs, almond extract and lemon zest, pulse. Scrape down the sides and add buckwheat flour, baking powder and salt and pulse until just incorporated. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 30 minutes or until firm and golden and a tester inserted into center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes in pan. Then remove from pan and let cake cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.