Sunday, March 21, 2010

Lemony Almond Cake with Coconut Whipped Cream and Blueberries

Once a month or so a group of my friends get together for dinner. We take turns preparing the main course. My fabulous friend Vagisha has wowed us with many wonderful South Asian dishes, Alfred has cooked delicious Persian and Mexican meals, and our gracious hosts Kristin and Erik made a mean pot of Gumbo! At these dinners I am always the designated dessert maker, a task that I greatly love! Alfred teases me because the moment our next dinner is scheduled I begin planning the dessert. Things got a little tougher once I had to stop eating wheat. I didn’t want my friends to have to eat some so-so dessert made with weird ingredients just because of me. So the first meal after giving up wheat I made my classic (wheat-filled) gingerbread with cream cheese icing and abstained from dessert (how sad!). When the next meal came around Alfred insisted that I make something that I could eat too. I played it safe and made a very tasty pear crisp (topping made from almond flour, oats, and walnuts). I was super nervous about making a cake, the crisp was easy, but a cake without wheat (and without a dozen different flours and “gums” because lets face it I’m a grad student on a budget). As the next dinner approached I decided it was time to conquer my fear of wheat-free cake making. For a week I looked and looked and found tons and tons of recipes. In the end, I combined several different ideas and came up with a cake that I was very pleased with. More importantly, all of my wheat-eating friends loved it!

In addition to being gluten-free, this cake is also sugar free and dairy-free (yes my tummy dislikes dairy too!). The cake is topped with a coconut based whipped cream – it was my first time making this and I loved it! I can’t wait to try the coconut cream with fresh fruit tarts and strawberry shortcake this summer!

Hopefully all of these labels - gluten free, dairy free, sugar free - won't scare away anyone whose diet is not limited. The ingredients in this cake are all easy to find and delicious!

Here’s the recipe I hope you like it as much as we did!

2 Large Eggs, Separated
¼ Cup Olive Oil
3/4 Cup Plus 2 Tablespoons Honey or Agave Nectar
¼ Cup of Lemon Juice, divided
Zest of 1 Large Lemon, finely shredded
2 ½ Cups Almond Meal or Flour (or finely ground almonds, you can do this in a food processor - I used Trader Joe’s Almond Meal because it is the most affordable almond meal I have found)
½ teaspoon Sea Salt
½ teaspoon Baking Soda

1)Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
2)Lightly Oil and flour (with almond flour) a 9 inch spring form pan
3)In a large bowl combine the egg yolks, oil, ¾ cup of honey or agave, lemon juice, and lemon zest
4)In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks
5)Gently fold the whites into the yolk mixture
6)In another bowl sift together the almond meal/flour, salt and baking soda
7)Gently fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture
8)Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, until gold brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
9)Mix together the remaining 2 Tablespoons of Honey or Agave and the remaining 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice to make a thin syrup
10)Brush the syrup on top of the warm cake
11)Let the cake cool completely, remove from the spring form pan

Coconut Cream:
1 Can of Coconut Milk, refrigerated overnight (the refrigeration is crucial!)
2 -4 Tablespoons Honey or Agave

1)Remove the coconut milk from your refrigeration, use a can opener to open the bottom of the can, drain off the clean coconut liquid – reserve for another use
2)Place all of the solid white coconut cream in a large bowl
3)Using a hand mixer whip the cream until is light and creamy, whip in the sweetener – adjust the amount to suit your taste, but it should taste lightly sweet like whipped cream, not super sweet like frosting

1 Cup (more or less) Blueberries rinsed and dried

Once the cake is completely cool, spread a generous layer of the coconut cream over the top of the cake. Mound the blueberries in the center of the cake. Refrigerate the assembled cake until you are ready to serve.

By the way, I've included this recipe as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Slightly Induglent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, and Tuesdays at the Table. Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!

I've also included this recipe as part of a wonderful monthly event, Go Ahead Honey! It's Gluten Free. Click on the link to find out more about the event and to see all the other great gluten free guiltless pleasures!


  1. That looks so pretty and delicious!

  2. YUM....I've used the combination of lemon, coconut and raspberries but not blueberries. I'll have to give this a try :)


    P.S. Be sure to pop over and enter in for my 100th post giveaway :)

  3. What a pretty cake! Looks delicious!

  4. That cake is BEAUTIFUL!! Thanks for sharing with TATT. :-)

  5. Very nice recipe; I haven't tried the almond flour yet but want to.Thanks for sharing!

  6. Fantastic job! Simple presentation, yet stunning. :-) I love all your ingredients Okay, I'm not a blueberry fan yet, but one day I will be! But, I'm already on board with everything else. ;-)


  7. Thanks for all your comments and compliments - I'm really quite proud of this one!

    Mrs. P and GFE - Raspberries would be a great sub for the blueberries, I'll have to try that out myself!

    Laurie - almond flour is great, I highly recommend TJ's almond meal. It comes in a small package (compared to a lot of brands that require you buy 5+ pounds) and is quite affordable.

  8. I love your presentation on this, very tempting, I can't wait to try it!

  9. This looks great. I think I'll make it the next time my parents come to visit. It's so pretty it would be perfect for guests.

  10. Beautiful cake. I can imagine it's heavenly scent wafting through the air. Good job on making the dairy free whip cream. It sounds out of this world.

  11. The coconut cream topping sounds amazing--ok the entire recipe does, really.

  12. I have to try this. I love that it is dairy and sugar free. Thanks for participating in the cake challenge. Would you please add a link back?