Sunday, July 24, 2016

Almond and Cherry Black Pepper Cake

After two years, I finally got a cake to rise!

It’s all science, I guess, but adding cornstarch to the gluten-free flour resulted in a cake that my taste tester said was better than the Rustic Bakery pastry she had just enjoyed.

Spice up your summer desserts with a black pepper cake. Somewhere between sweet and savory, enjoy before the cherry season disappears.

My Paleo Marin Rating: 5 Persimmons*


1 1/2 cups Cup4Cup gluten-free flour

1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup almonds, finely ground in food processor
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing pan
1/2 cup coconut sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 cup Trader Joe’s coconut cream + 2 tablespoons water; or 1/4 cup Califia Farms Original Almond Milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups ripe cherries, pitted and chopped in quarters*

Powdered Sugar for dusting


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9” cake pan, add a round layer of parchment paper to cover the bottom, and butter the top of the parchment paper.

1. In a large bowl, add 1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour; return 1 tablespoon and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the flour back to the package. Add 1 tablespoon and 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch to the gluten-free flour and mix with a whisk. 

2. Add the following in the bowl with the gluten-free flour: baking powder, baking soda, black pepper, and salt. Mix with a whisk. Sift into another bowl.

3. Measure the ground almonds out to 1 1/2 cups; sift into bowl with other dry ingredients. I had about 1/4 cup of almonds that wouldn't sift, so added them in for texture. Mix all with a wire whisk and set aside.

4. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, cream at medium-low speed for about 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until incorporated in the batter. Batter will be wet and lumpy.

5. Add half the dry ingredients in bowl of the stand mixer and mix on medium-low speed. 

6. Add the coconut cream and water (or almond milk) and almond extract; mix at medium-low speed until everything is combined. 

7. Remove the bowl from the stand and fold in the remaining dry ingredients; add the cherries and distribute them throughout the batter.  Batter will be sticky. Pour immediately into the prepared cake pan.

8. Bake for about 1 hour, checking at 45 minutes. The cake is done when a skewer comes out of the middle of the cake clean and the top of cake looks baked through.


Using the coconut cream + water, my cake took about 1 hour + 15 minutes to bake all the way through. The finished cake was very moist. I used the extra coconut cream in another recipe.

When I made the cake again with almond milk, it took about 1 hour to bake through; I let it sit in the oven with the temperature turned off for another 10 minutes. The finished cake was a bit drier, but still good. 

9. Leave the baked cake in the pan and let cool on a rack on a tabletop for about 10 minutes. Remove the cake from pan and let it cool thoroughly on a wire rack. Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar when the cake has cooled, and you are ready to serve it.

#paleo #desserts #cake #cherries #glutenfree #coconut #almond #pepper

Recipe adapted for Paleo from popular food blogger, Nik Sharma, and his “A Brown Table” website.

*If fresh cherries are unavailable, fresh apricots may work as a substitute.

*MPM Rating between 1-5 Persimmons
I try out these recipes so you don't have to (and modify them for Paleo where possible). The rating will reflect my opinion of the final result in terms of taste, ease of preparation, nutrition, and sometimes, cost.

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