What dream indeed…wheat free, dairy free, sugar free! Does it actually taste good?! Well, you know it wouldn’t be here if it didn’t. You can have your cake and eat it too.
I dipped into this delight for the first time last weekend at my friend’s place. After a long walk in the wintery frost, we came back inside to enjoy in a hot cup of tea and this totally fantastic date-almond-orange cake. It was love at first bite: rich, moist, spicy oragne-y-ness, and oh so satisfying! “What the heck is in this thing?!” I asked. She said she’d send me the recipe.
I should have guessed: dates. Those sweet little nuggets get me every time – and if you haven’t started baking with dates I suggest you jump on the bandwagon. They not only add a sweetness that rivals processed sugar, but they impart a moistness, and rich flavour that the refined stuff just can’t touch.
Almonds instead of Flour
The almonds in this recipe replace the flour, which is great news for people who are trying to avoid wheat and gluten. You can find almond flour at natural / health food stores, but the almonds used in this recipe are not exactly the same thing. Almond flour or almond meal is very different from whole ground almonds as it’s more like flour. The almonds in this recipe will become chunky, not finely ground. In this form they add a certain heaviness to the cake, and desired richness.
Often called “the king of nuts”, almonds are loaded with many essential nutrients. They are higher in calcium and fiber than any other nut, and are also an excellent source of potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, folic acid, and protein. Choose raw almonds for this recipe, and purchase organically grown ones if possible.
The original recipe called for 6 (!!!) eggs, but if I know anything now, it’s that I can replace eggs with applesauce. I was a tad hesitant to substitute all of them, so I replaced 4 of them and left the other two. It worked out just fine, so I will make the next version completely vegan. Exciting.
Dream Date Almond Orange Cake
2 ¼ cups soft dates (soaked overnight if necessary)
1 ½ cups raw almonds, plus more for garnish
5 Tbsp. sunflower oil
zest and juice of 1 non-waxed, organic orange
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
generous pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 organic, free-range eggs
1. Preheat oven to 320F or 160C.
2. Flour an 8” bundt, spring form, or round cake pan.
3. Put all ingredients in a food processor, except applesauce and eggs. Blend until rather uniform, with some chunks of nuts remaining.
4. Add applesauce slowly, ¼ cup at a time while blender is running. Then add the two eggs in the same manner, one at a time while blender is running.
5. Pour batter into pan, spread until even. Bake for 40-45 minutes until a knife inserted comes out clean.
6. Let cake cool completely before removing it from the pan (important!)
7. Chop up some extra almonds and scatter them on top. Serve.
This cake is super-moist and dense – almost like a pudding cake. A small slice goes a long way and makes for a delicious afternoon pick-me-up with tea or even an indulgent breakfast! Remember that the main ingredients are fruit and nuts, so enjoy with delight, it’s a dream come true.
info source: Balch, Phyllis A. Prescription for Dietary Wellness.
New York, NY: Penguin, 2003.