Fluffy Almond Cake (gf + df)

Each time we transition into a new season, I find myself thinking, "this is my favorite season." Until the next season rolls around, and I decidedly declare that this season is my favorite season. And the cycle continues. There is so much to be enjoyed about the unique personalities of each and every season! The weather, seasonal produce, and prominent color scheme of each one contributes to 4 distinct phases of life each year that can be looked upon with a nostalgic sense of warmth and enjoyment for different reasons.

Summer vibes entail endless sunshine and blue, clear skies, lush greenery leftover from all of the spring showers, an overall sense of relaxation and carefree-ness, and a renewed sense of motivation to adventure, experience, and explore. Mornings are indulged with refreshing, bright smoothie bowls, and I often find myself getting most creative in the kitchen with salads with lots of fresh greens and vegetables that can be enjoyed raw and fresh or grilled or versatility (think corn, tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini and summer squash). Afternoons are washed down with lots of rose and friends, and happy hour get-togethers are at an all time high. Being the dessert addict that I am, ice cream is an immediate go-to, but I also love finding companions for two of my favorite summer companions, big juicy strawberries and (coconut) whipped cream. 

Now, I've never been much of a baker. My gluten and dairy-free life has mostly consisted of coconut milk ice cream, fruit, and chocolate for dessert because a) gluten-free baking is so HARD b) baking is messy and as much as I love cooking I despise the clean up process and c) I don't exactly enjoy eating pastries with the consistency of a brick. So there. I made a few meager attempts here and there, hoping to please my also gluten-free mother or fool my very not gluten-free roommates. Neither attempt was a success. But lately, cake has just been calling my name. The abundance of berries in season right now just beckoned for a spongy, light mate to accompany my afternoon tea (ok who are we kidding, it's usually kombucha) or for a post-dinner treat. So I got to playing, reading and researching, gathered as few ingredients as possible, crossed my fingers, and hoped for the best. The result? A LIGHT, FLUFFY, SPONGY, MOIST yellow cake that, when layered with the most decadent coconut whipped cream (several variations listed below) and piled high with fresh fruit, can actually be eaten morning, noon, or night pretty much guiltlessly. The health nut in me is proud to say that this cake is refined-sugar free, packed with protein and fiber, and is even Paleo-friendly if you swing that way. So yay! You may now all eat cake. 

For the cake:

(Makes three 8 in. layer cakes)

  • 12 eggs, separated
  • 1.5 c coconut sugar
  • 3 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 3/4 c almond flour
  • 3/4 c hazelnut flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • a few pinches of sea salt

method to the madness: preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease the bottom of 3 8 in. round baking pans. separate your egg yolks into one bowl, and your egg whites into another. beat 3/4 c coconut sugar with egg yolks and vanilla. whip your egg whites until they thicken and form peaks, and add the remaining 3/4 c coconut sugar, beating until thoroughly combined. in a new bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients before adding the egg yolk mixture and mixing to combine. gently fold in your egg whites, a little at a time. divide the batter between the 3 cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. allow the cakes to cool a bit before flipping out of the pan, and allow to cool completely at room temperature before frosting. see below for frosting ideas, or simply eat plan for breakfast slathered with nut butter and berries or with a drizzle of maple syrup. 

tasty tips: for the chocolate coconut whip pictured here I used this recipe from dolly and oatmeal (x3). I topped this version with 6-8 strawberries thinly sliced and chopped hazelnuts. for an easier and lighter topping, simply whip together the cream from 3 cans of full-fat coconut milk refrigerated overnight with a touch of honey and maple syrup until it has the consistency of whipped cream. layer your cakes with the coconut whipped cream, fresh summer berries, and pineapple. you can also divide this recipe by 1/3 to make a mini-layer cake (shown in the photos) or a single-layer cake if you're not serving a large number of people!

 

Enjoy folks! I'm off to Seattle today (currently typing this in the Austin airport sipping coffee and munching on gf/df donuts from NYC that I've been hoarding in my freezer), and am so excited to reunite with my siblings and take in the fresh air (laden with the scent of coffee and seafood), the mountains, and all of the wonderful eats before hopping up to Alaska afterwards. Follow along with my journey on my Instagram, I'll be back in a few weeks!