Over the weekend, my friend messaged me and asked me if I had a go-to recipe for a gluten free cake - She was baking for a colleague who consistently missed out on morning tea because of her inability to tolerate glutinous treats. A) cute and B) my answer is obviously this cake.
My mum used to make a version of this cake for me for every birthday, and I was fiercely loyal in requesting it without fail. I loved it before the word gluten had even crossed my radar, and I love it even more now, because gluten has crossed my radar and I can still eat it.
Although I've jazzed it up a bit (I.e gone nuts for baklava crumb, as discussed in this post) in it's plainest form, this cake is a dense, fudgy slice of heaven, sans grain flour of any kind. There are so many things that can be added to it (baklava, for a very convenient example) but is also perfection on it's own. It's foolproof for the uninitiated to gluten free baking, because it doesn't require a complicated mix of flours, and it's not embarrassing when it doesn't rise, because it was never meant to. Boom.
INGREDIENTS - I used a 20cm springform tin
FOR THE CAKE
200g dark cooking chocolate
150g butter, room temperature
4 tablespoons maple syrup
4 medium eggs, separated and at room temperature (they won't whip otherwise)
1 1/2 cups almond meal
2 tablespoons fresh espresso
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
FOR THE BAKLAVA CRUMB
1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 cup walnuts
1-2 tablespoons honey, depending on your sweet tooth (I used 1)
10g room temperature butter
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon rosewater, optional
FOR THE CHOC ALMOND ICING
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons almond butter
2 tablespoons cocoa or cacao
2 teaspoons maple syrup
Pinch of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. Take a small saucepan and fill it with water. Place on top of that a metal bowl, ensuring the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl. Turn the stove to high, and place in the bowl the chocolate and the butter. Stir intermittently until it has melted.
3. Once the chocolate mixture has completely melted, remove it from the heat, and stir in the espresso and the maple syrup. Set aside.
4. Once your eggs are separated, beat the egg whites in a super clean bowl until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
5. Take a large bowl and add the almond meal, the chocolate batter mixture, and the egg yolks. Mix until it is all combined. Next, gently fold in a spoonful at a time of the egg white mixture, trying to retain as much of the airiness as possible. Continue to fold in the egg whites until they are completely incorporated.
6. Pour the batter into a lined and greased springform pan. The mixture doesn't rise, so don't go too big. As I mentioned, mine is a 20cm springform pan.
7. Cook for 45 minutes or until a lil skewer comes out clean. While the cake is cooking, whizz up all the ingredients for the baklava crumble in your food processor until the nuts are chopped and everything is combined. In a small bowl, melt the coconut oil and almond butter for the icing, and add in the cacao, maple syrup and salt, mixing until a runny icing consistency forms.
8. Once the cake is cooked and cooled, ice the cake with the chocolate icing, and top it with the baklava crumb, spooning over a bit of extra honey if you're so inclined, and serve. Excessive rose petals entirely optional.