Although I have baked many grain-free goodies over the years, I have actually never attempted a grain-free birthday cake. Yes, we keep a gluten-free home, but to buy a birthday cake for my kids from a bakery a couple times a year has been something I was always willing (ok and happy) to do.
This morning I woke up feeling ambitious and energetic. For my daughter Daria’s first birthday, I was determined to make her a home-made, healthy, birthday cake that would satisfy every sweet craving that we all long for in a birthday cake.
I turned to the “Nut Torte With Creamy Frosting” from the cookbook “A Taste of Wellness” by Rochel Weiss (available on amazon.com), the cover picture on the book. Considering all of the steps involved, not just for baking the cake but for the frosting too, I would not consider this cake “easy” and therefore did not plan on including the recipe here, which is why I don’t have pictures of the steps involved… After serving the cake tonight to family, my most honest reviewers, I was told that it was too good not to share. I will say though, that like most recipes I read, I did adapt the original grain-free “torte” and changed some steps to make my birthday cake easier and even healthier . My version is a one layer cake, compared to two layers with frosting in between. This reduced the work, time and calories involved in the original. I also reduced the amount of honey in the cake, by 1/3 and I replaced some of the almond flour that the original recipe calls for with pecan flour to add moistness and a rich but subtle almost chocolaty taste.
I will admit this cake does require more time and patience than most recipes I feature, but if you have an occasion to celebrate, or are just trying to impress your guests with a delicious dessert that is homemade and healthy, this recipe is worth the work.
Tip: this recipe calls for almond flour and pecan meal. I have tried different types of nut flours and I think the quality of the flour will really affect the consistency and taste of grain-free baked goods. The absolute BEST BEST BEST nut flours are available on-line at www.digestivewellness.com. If baking grain-free or gluten-free is something you are really committed to, it is definitely worth it to buy in bulk from this site, you cannot compare the taste (and cost) to any local grocery store variety.
Grain-Free Birthday Cake
recipes adapted from A Taste of Wellness: “Nut Torte With Creamy Frosting” (page 42 and 45)
12 large eggs, whites and yolks separated
pinch of salt
1 cup of honey
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoon baking soda
5 cups almond flour
2.5 cups pecan flour
Preheat oven to 300. Using the largest bowl of a standing mixer, beat egg whites on low for about a minute and add pinch of salt. turn mixer to high and beat until soft peaks form. Watch that the peaks do not become too stiff. Reduce mixer speed to low and add yolks one at a time, allowing them to become mixed in before adding the next. Slowly add in oil, applesauce, honey and vanilla. Make sure all ingredients are completely blended. Use a wooden or rubber spatula to gently and evenly fold in the nut flours and baking soda. Lightly grease the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch cake pan and line (bottom only) with parchment paper. Pour batter into pan, filled to about half the height of the pan, leaving room for the cake to rise. Smooth batter gently with spatula. I used extra batter for cupcakes. Bake cake approximately 40 minutes or until light brown on top and toothpick inserted in middle comes out dry (cupcakes take about 18-20 minutes). After cake cools completely, use a knife along the sides to remove cake. It should slide upside down onto a baking sheet easily, because of the parchment paper on the bottom. Place in freezer to harden before frosting about an hour/ hour and a half.
Honey Cream Frosting
6 egg yolks
2 cups coconut oil (solid form)
1 cup honey
2 Tablespoon vanilla extract.
Blend egg yolks and coconut oil in food processor about 5 minutes. Add honey and vanilla and mix until smooth. The original recipe tells you to refrigerate for 2 hours for frosting to thicken. After one hour, I noticed that the top layer of mine was completely hard, but the inside was extremely runny. I threw the frosting pack in the food processor for a few minutes and it reached the perfect creamy thick consistency.
Keep cake in fridge after icing because the frosting will melt if out for too long.
Tip: cake tastes really delicious with fresh fruit garnishings.
Warning: frosting does contain raw eggs and honey so do not serve to anyone that may have issues with these foods