Naomi's Freefrom Walnut and Apricot Cake
Nightshade, peanut, sesame, soya & wheat free; can be lactose & milk free
This is a rich tea-time treat that is great with a strong espresso or some vanilla-scented rooibos. If you are trying to control your blood sugar, use tea to soak the fruit and rice bran instead of rice flour.
- 185g / 6½ oz walnuts (or pecans)
- 170g / 6 oz ground almonds
- 225g / 8 oz soft butter (or Pure dairy-free spread)
- 85g / 3 oz rice bran or rice flour
- 15g / ½ oz cornflour or gluten/wheat-free custard (sauce) powder
- 110g / 4 oz fruit sugar
- 4 large eggs (6 medium) separated
- 110g / 4 oz dried apricots
- 100ml / 3 fl oz brandy, Amaretto or strong tea
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp gluten/wheat-free baking powder (baking soda)
(or ½ tsp cream of tartar & ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda)
- 1 lemon
- A few hours before you plan to make the cake, chop up the apricots and pour the alcohol (or tea) over them.
- Get the butter out of the fridge to soften.
- Grease and line the bottom of a 20cm diameter, deep cake tin (8" cake pan) with greaseproof (waxed) paper.
- Set the oven to 150C/300F/Gas mark 2.
- In a food processor grind half the walnuts till they are really fine and the rest medium coarse. Set aside. If you are doing this by hand just try to chop all the nuts as finely as possible – you will get a slightly coarser textured cake.
- Beat the butter (or dairy-free spread) and sugar together till pale and fluffy, either in the food processor or by hand.
- Scrape it out into a mixing bowl and stir in the ground almonds – it will feel quite stiff.
- Grate the zest from the lemon and juice it.
- Beat the egg yolks into the butter mixture one at a time.
- Fold in the walnuts, apricots, vanilla, lemon zest and 50ml / 2 fl oz of the lemon juice.
- Rub a large clean bowl with one of the squeezed lemon halves. Whisk the egg whites in this bowl with a pinch of salt until they form stiff peaks. Alternatively, whisk them in your scrupulously cleaned and grease-free food processor.
- Sift the rice flour or bran, cornflour and raising agents into the butter mixture and stir in gently with a few strokes. You don’t need to combine it completely, just introduce it a bit.
- Add a large spoonful of the whisked egg white and stir to loosen it. The mixture will be quite stiff.
- Then add the rest of the whites and fold with a metal spoon until only just combined and no huge white bits are showing.
- Ease it into the prepared tin and level the top gently.
- Bake for about 1½ hours till golden brown on top and a cake probe or skewer comes out clean.
- Leave it to cool in the tin and then turn out.
- It does improve for being wrapped up and kept for a couple of days (although I rarely manage this). It will keep for up to a week in an airtight tin, wrapped in a double layer of foil or waxed paper.
- To make it more of a dessert, serve in small slices with some stewed or grilled fresh apricots or peaches. Stir a spoonful of maple syrup into some crème fraiche, or sheep’s yoghurt and spoon over the fruit. For a dairy-free alternative, vanilla soya desert is great.
5719 cals - 120g protein
448g total fat - 2153g sat / 151g mono / 116g poly
259g carbohydrate of which 161g sugar
2.5g fibre - 2900mg sodium / 7.3g salt
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