Gluten-Free Almond Cake with Lavender Honey
I made a little agreement with my dad for the month of April. It was a "no white" deal. We both agreed to give up white flour, white sugar, white rice, and white potatoes. (Technically milk should fall into that category, but I've tried every milk substitute in my morning coffee – soy, almond, rice, and even coconut milk – and nothing tastes good. So we left that on the safe list!) Our reasons for doing this little experiment were different. My dad's trying to eat healthier, cut back on sweets, and hopefully lose some weight in the process. For me, it's not about weight. It's more about building good habits (like substituting my mid-afternoon cookie with a handful of almonds or a piece of dark chocolate), and part of a general effort to lower my gluten and sugar intake.
For those of you that know me, or that read the blog regularly, you know that my husband Brandon has chronic Lyme disease. He's definitely on the mend, thanks to some high-powered antibiotics and significant lifestyle changes, including diet. I've come to learn that gluten and sugar (formerly two of our favorite food groups) can actually make Lyme worse. We're certainly not perfect, but we've really made a concerted effort to eat more vegetables, more grains, more fish, and less gluten, dairy, and sugar. Though we aren't going totally gluten-free, it's been a fun challenge to try and make desserts that breakfast items without gluten. And for Easter this year, thanks to the "deal" I had to come up with a dessert with no white flour and no white sugar. Which is how I ended up googling flour-less, sugarless almond cake...
The recipe I came up with was from a website calling Eating Well. Their version used ground toasted almonds, along with a honey and toasted almond glaze. I switched mine up a bit: I used almond meal, since I already had some in the pantry, and used some aromatic lavender honey I bought in Nova Scotia last fall from Tangled Garden. I skipped the glaze altogether and just sprinkled it with powdered sugar (oops...guess that's white!).
The result was divine. Despite the lack of butter (and sugar and flour!), it was one of the moistest, most flavorful cakes I've ever made. The four eggs and honey gave it a moist, soft crumb, and the almonds gave it a wonderful nutty flavor. I loved the herbal note of the lavender, but you could just as easily use a clover or wildflower honey. Just make sure to invest in a good, local, small-production honey, which contain less risk of pollutants and pesticides. I served it with sliced strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries, and a dollop of yogurt. It was a perfect addition to the brunch buffet, but it could just as easily be served for dessert or breakfast.
POST-SCRIPT: In the spirit of full-disclosure, I've got to tell the rest of the story. Despite our great intentions, my dad and I did not last long on the "no white" plan! I caught him eating cookies from a bag while on Skype (ha!) – and I had a weak moment walking past Billy's Bakery last week. Alas. Hopefully we at least learned a few good principles through all of this. And I suppose there's always May...[recipe:best-gluten-free-almond-cake-lavender-honey-recipe]