“Kitchen Impossible” Continues… Paleo Cake

Another friend, another celebration, another cake.

If you’ve been following the Kitchen Impossible series then you know that I truly enjoy and relish in the challenge of baking cakes for people with very specific, and often very limited, diets.  I have already tackled gluten-free , dabbled in sugar-free, stopped over in corn and soy-free, and visited vegan baking.  This one is a whole other adventure.  This time we’re going Paleo.

The Paleolithic diet has many forms, but the simplest version recommends that people eat like their ancestors did waaaaaaaaaaay back when.  Translation: animal protein, vegetables, fruit (mostly berries), and some nuts, but no grains, no legumes, and no dairy.

Just how does one bake a cake without flour?  The answer, in this case: Almonds.  I ground almonds in a food processor to make fresh, tasty almond meal.  High in healthy fats and packed with nutritional value, almonds make a rich and delicious health-supportive “flour” when finely ground.

The key technique in this recipe is the folding.  The egg whites are whipped into stiff peaks, then folded gently into the thick almondy batter.  The air in the egg whites gives this cake a nice fluffy texture.

This cake is a real crowd-pleaser and the variations are endless….   Try topping it with fresh fruit, whipped cream, or dark chocolate ganache for a decadent dessert.  Or substitute different nuts, add citus zest or use different extracts to shift the flavor profile.  Anything is possible.

-Kasey Caletti, Culinary Curriculum Coordinator, Bauman College

                                  Paleo Almond Cake

3 cups whole almonds (will need 4 cups ground)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
8 eggs, separated
1/2 cup honey
2 Tbs vanilla extract
1 pinch cream of tartar

1. Preheat the oven to 350.

2. Oil and parchment two 9″ cake or springform pans

3. Grind the almonds in a food processor until finely ground, like almond flour.  Add to a large bowl with the baking powder and salt.  Mix until combined.

4. Separate the eggs.  Add the yolks to one bowl and the whites to another (or to the bowl of a stand mixer).  Add the honey and vanilla extract to the egg yolks and whisk to combine.

5. Add the egg yolk mixture into the ground almond mixture and mix until well-combined.

6. Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites.  Whip the egg whites with a whisk, electric mixer, or in a stand mixer until stiff peaks form (make sure the whites are still moist and not dry or over-whipped).

7. With a spatula, very gently fold the egg whites into the almond mixture until well-combined, folding in about 1/3 of the egg whites at a time.  Since the almond mixture is thick, this will take about 15 minutes to do properly.  Work slowly and gently.

8. Pour the cake batter gently into the prepared pans and tip gently to spread evenly and smooth the top.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, checking at 25 minutes with a toothpick.  Allow to cool completely.

Yield: two 9 inch cake layers