Olive Oil Almond Cake {Vegan}

Olive Oil Almond Cake

I've had years of experience experimenting with savory dishes in my kitchen, and my cooking confidence level has increased as a consequence. I rarely follow a recipe to the letter, instead choosing to adapt it to suit my preferences so that it becomes my own. It's not unlike me to spend a considerable length of time developing a dish on paper after consulting various recipe ideas and guidelines before heading into the kitchen and then following my instincts when it gets down to cooking.

However, when it comes to baking, I've always exercised a greater degree of caution as the chemistry in baked goods usually requires more precision. It is true that cooking up successful and extraordinary savory dishes does require a a sound knowledge of cooking fundamentals and foundations in order to get the perfect balance of seasonings and textures, but I've typically found most savory dishes more forgiving.


But I do enjoy baking and have fond memories of helping my mother in the kitchen baking cookies, biscuits, loaves, cakes and other delights. So I have learned the fundamentals, and my baked goods usually meet my expectations, but still, when it comes to drafting my own variations or coming up with something rather new, there has always been a certain timidity that characterizes my approach.

While I don't claim to be a master baker by any means, especially as I usually stick to relatively basic creations, my confidence level is rising and I'm more willing to experiment these days. This cake is a perfect example and I'm really quite proud of this vegan version of an olive oil almond tea cake that I have made before on more than a few occasions, and really quite enjoyed. Eggs are not a staple in my kitchen, nor dairy milk, and that has inspired me to come up with vegan versions of some classics favorites.


The addition of olive oil along with light spelt flour results in an ultra moist cake that nearly melts in your mouth, while the cornmeal adds just a bit of crunch to the outer layer of the cake. I've used a bit of orange zest, along with freshly squeezed orange juice for an underlying citrus-y flavor that goes remarkably well with the subtle aromatic elements of ground spices present. Not to be missed, of course, are the almonds! The best thing for the baker is that this cake is easy to make and a guaranteed hit with anyone you happen to share it with.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds
  • 1 1/4 cup light spelt flour (or use unbleached all-purpose white flour)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour or meal
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2/3 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup coconut or brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions:
  • Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease again and sprinkle with a bit more flour. Evenly spread the almonds over the bottom of the pan. Preheat an oven to 325°.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, orange juice, zest, applesauce, almond milk, sugar, almond and vanilla extracts until well combined and frothy. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, and then invert onto a wire rack to cool before slicing and serving.

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