Miz Chef

Cooking Up a Healthy Life

Almond-Lucuma Cake

4 Comments

IMG_4798 _V2

Photo: Akramm via Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Akramm via Wikimedia Commons

If you haven’t heard of lucuma, it’s because it’s a fruit indigenous to Peru, Chile, and Ecuador that hasn’t really had much play outside of its native region, especially since it only thrives in subtropical climates. It has a dark green skin, and a pit (sometimes two) that look like avocado pits. Its yellow flesh is dry and often compared to hard-boiled egg yolk, and its mild flavor has been likened to maple syrup, caramel, and sweet potatoes.

Indigenous Andean peoples used lucuma not just as food but medicinally as well. The Incas believed it to be a symbol of fertility and creation and it was dubbed “Gold of the Incas.” Modern studies of lucuma show that the fruit contains beta carotene, iron, zinc, vitamin B3, calcium, and protein. It aids in warding off heart disease and hypertension, maintaining skin health and blood sugar levels (and it is hoped that it will help people with diabetes), and supporting healthy digestion.lucuma[1]

You will most likely not find fresh lucuma in the U.S., but you can find frozen lucuma or paste in Latin markets or online. Powdered lucuma (i.e., flour) is also available and can be added to baked products or smoothies.

IMG_4721I first learned about lucuma in 2011, when I was in culinary school. For my class’s final assignment—a complete vegan dinner for about 80 people—we decided to do a Peruvian menu. In researching Peruvian cuisine, I discovered lucuma. Lucuma is used mainly in desserts, the way we would use any fruit. I didn’t know, however, that they made a flour out of it but I stumbled upon it at my favorite Latin Market in Queens. And I finally had an opportunity to use it!

It’s Easter weekend and instead of making a traditional Italian dessert, I decided to do something with the lucuma. I used it in place of wheat flour to make a gluten-free cake, and combined it with ground almonds. The cake has a unique flavor and it reminded me of some Italian cakes. If you can get your hands lucuma flour, give this a try.

Lucuma flour

Lucuma flour

Almond-Lucuma Cake

Makes one 8-inch cake.

1 cup ground almonds
1 cup lucuma flour
½ cup butter, room temperature
¾ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
¼ cup buttermilk

IMG_4725Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch cake pan and line it with parchment paper.

Combine flours in a medium bowl.

Beat butter with brown sugar, zest, vanilla, baking powder, and salt until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating each one in.IMG_4726Alternate adding the flours and buttermilk in two parts, starting with flour and ending with buttermilk. Transfer batter to the prepared pan. IMG_4736Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.IMG_4756Place on wire rack and let cool 5 minutes. Invert it onto the rack, then invert it right-side up.IMG_4777Let cool completely, then frost or decorate as you like. I decided to stay simple and use just confectioners’ sugar and some sliced strawberries. Stencils are really nice for things like this.IMG_4780Keep tightly wrapped at room temperature up to 3 days, then refrigerate (will keep another few days). IMG_4802IMG_4803Copyright © R. Roberti

 

Advertisements

Author: Miz Chef

I am an Agent of Food—a writer, cookbook author, and personal chef.

4 thoughts on “Almond-Lucuma Cake

  1. You’ve done such a beautiful job with this cake. It is absolutely gorgeous! Thank you for sharing 😄

    Like

  2. I have to try this. Can you tell me the name of the shop in Queens where you got the lucuma flour? Thanks.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s