It might be stretch to say this is a healthy treat as it does contain a whopping 175g of caster sugar but it is full of good fat from the olive oil and ground almonds and it is delicious. Also it is always handy to have delicious gluten free dessert recipe to hand.
And isn’t it nice to start the new year on a sweet note.
So ground almonds or almond flour as people following a “Paleo” diet seem to call it, is a protein and nutrient dense flour. Searching online you see some people are very much in favour of it while others seem to think it’s very over-rated. All I know is that I have often used it as a replacement for flour when I’m doing a long (i.e. at least 2 months) detox and I’ve felt much better using it. You can find more information on the health benefits of almonds here.
Now recipes which use olive oil as a replacement for butter will advise you to use olive oil that isn’t the extra virgin olive oil kind which normally tastes so strong that it can overpower the sweet taste of the cake. OK, this is true if you are using an extra virgin olive oil bought from a deli or one that has a really strong taste, but being honest about it these oils vary greatly in just how “olivey” they truly are, and if you are buying extra virgin olive oil from your local supermarket and it has a very mild taste you can get away with using this. How healthy is the oil if it’s this mild? I don’t know really but personally, unless it’s fantastic quality, I much prefer the more neutral tasting oils.
I’ve since found out that the reason they say to use regular olive oil is because it is less viscous (thick) than regular olive oil – and yes regular olive oil does work better here. But in a pinch you’ll get away with using the extra virgin type. The cake will just have more of a custard-like texture.
Cherries are also full of goodness. I leave them un-pitted in the cake because I think they hold their flavour better this way but it can also be made with pitted cherries.
- 175g caster sugar
- 2 medium-sized eggs
- 75ml regular olive oil
- zest of 1 lemon
- juice of 1.5 medium-sized lemons (approx.)
- 150g ground almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon best quality vanilla extract
- 400g cherries
- Preheat the oven to 160° C.
- Grease a 9″ cake tin with a little oil and line the bottom with grease-proof paper.
- Beat the eggs into the sugar until you have a creamy butter-like consistency. Next beat in the lemon zest. Next add in the olive oil and beat until it is well mixed in.
- Stir the baking soda and salt into the ground almonds and then beat this into the sugar-egg-oil mix. Next beat in the vanilla extract.
- Next stir in the lemon juice, tablespoon by tablespoon. You need to add enough that you have a sweet but strong lemon taste from the batter but not so much that the batter turns to liquid. It should be a little thick still when it’s done.
- Pour the batter over the cherries and bake in the oven for 60 minutes.
- When done remove from the oven. Leave for about 15 minutes to cool a little. Then turn it out on a plate and dust with icing sugar.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Have a Happy (& Sweet) New Year!