Gluten Free Lemon-Almond Olive Oil Cake
My easiest, most reliable cake recipe is delightful made gluten free and infused with spring’s best flavors: lemon and almond. It can be made vegan, too.
On the day that one of my friends was hosting a Sunday brunch I got up at six a.m. hoping that the early start would provide ample time to scour the web for inspiration and ideas for a recipe, bake and be out the door by 10 a.m. It had been a busy five days leading to the girlfriend-gathering this past weekend with back-to-back obligations and appointments from the moment my husband and I stepped off the plane early last week from a last-minute trip to Mexico. The eleventh hour was the only slot on my calendar that remained unclaimed.
My friend had been planning this get-together for months and it was not a potluck. In fact, she insisted that everyone bring nothing but themselves. But I can’t help it. I always feel better showing up at the door with a little something from my kitchen.
The only consideration I’ve had to make since my friend’s Celiac diagnosis last year was that my offering would have to be gluten-free. I’ve shared a few dessert recipes here that happen to be gluten free (since they contain no flour) but finding a party-worthy recipe that was intentionally gluten free proved a little more challenging at the last minute. As I sipped my morning tea and clicked through pages of recipes, I was dismayed that the time ticked quickly away without producing a recipe fit for this gathering. Not that I didn’t come across any promising ones…I found several I wanted to try. The problem was time and missing ingredients from my pantry.
I finally ended up going with one of my tried-and-true recipes–not a Celiac-friendly recipe originally but thanks to some forethought to pick up a bag of gluten-free flour during the week, I was able to bake a gluten-free Blueberry-Almond Olive Oil Cake that I’m pleased (and relieved) to say was met with praise.
Fueled by the positive feedback from my weekend efforts, the next day I baked another cake to see if I could go two-for-two on this self-imposed gluten-free challenge.
But don’t let me fool you–challenge is almost too strong a word here. There was nothing difficult here at all–a grade schooler can easily make this cake. The original recipe is a one-bowl genie of a cake for its simplicity and flexibility. I’ve used all-purpose flour, whole wheat and my favorite, spelt flour, all with great results. It is just as delicious made vegan using non-dairy milk and flax meal to replace the eggs and works with most seasonal fruit. The only frontier I had not crossed was gluten-free flour.
And after two successful tries I present this lovely Lemon-Almond Olive Oil Cake. Lemons and almonds have a way with each other but the silent star is Bob’s Red Mill 1-to1 Baking Flour. Maybe gluten free flour mixes are old news to you but I was surprised by the wonderful results. The difference in the cake’s texture was hardly noticeable and frankly, I was expecting a flat, dense cake but both times the cake rose beautifully. The gluten-free flour performing so well it’s the flavor combination you choose that will shine. This is the kind of cake you can whip up in a few minutes and have ready in less than an hour. Perfect for when unexpected company drops by or when you simply need a solid base recipe that would be flexible for certain dietary restrictions. I never expected I’d need one of the latter but I’m happy to have one in my baking repertoire now. I can’t wait for summer to come around for a cherry or peach version of this cake. What flavor combination would you put together?
Gluten-free cake, check.
Gluten Free Lemon-Almond Olive Oil Cake
- 2 cups gluten free flour mix I used Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour
- ½ cup almond meal
- 1 cup granulated or superfine sugar
- 2 eggs beaten lightly with a fork
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice plus
- enough milk to make 3/4 cup liquid use half-n-half for a slightly richer cake
- ⅔ cup olive oil
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Turbinado sugar for sprinkling on top
- Sliced almonds for sprinkling on top
Preheat your oven to 350℉. Spray a cast iron skillet or 10-inch round cake pan with cooking spray (or brush with butter).
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the eggs, olive oil, lemon juice and milk. Stir until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared skillet or baking pan and sprinkle the top with turbinado sugar and almond slices. Bake for 35-40 minutes (rotating halfway through baking time) or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Check the cake at the thirty minute mark and adjust the time accordingly. I bake in a convection oven and mine is usually done within 35 minutes. This cake will keep for a few days.
For a vegan cake replace the milk with your favorite non-dairy milk and the eggs with your favorite egg substitute. I use flax meal. For one egg required in a recipe I combine one tablespoon flax meal with three tablespoons water and let it sit for 10-15 minutes to thicken. This recipe calls for two eggs so you would need two tablespoons flax meal and six tablespoons water.