In the world of gluten-free baking, things can get complicated. Without wheat flour, you need the right combination of ingredients to create a a cake that is light and flavorful, that has good texture and pleasant mouthfeel. A gluten-free cake can very easily be heavy, dense, bland, gritty, flat, and, at its worst, taste like sawdust.
But when the ingredients come together well, you have something that rivals traditional wheat-flour cake. It won’t taste exactly the same, but it’s just as good.
Such was the case with this almond-coconut cake. I had very simple intentions with it, and it is a simple cake. It was Mother’s Day and I had baked a cake that I thought would suit my mother’s taste. Then I found out that my brother’s wife would be joining us at our Mother’s Day luncheon at my parents’ house. My sister-in-law has Celiac disease and so, for her, I decided to create something gluten free.
Since this was a last-minute plan, I had to use what I had on hand. Since I always have almond and coconut flours, that was a no-brainer. But to make it a little more special, I used buttermilk for the liquid ingredient. This added a richness and moisture that the usual milks don’t provide.
To finish it off, I took some orange marmalade that I’d gotten as a sample at the recent Women Chefs and Restaurateurs conference and mixed it with some pinot grigio. (The fact that I had some leftover white wine in the fridge should not surprise anyone who knows me.) To that I added some confectioners’ sugar, and that was my glaze.
There’s nothing over the top about this cake. It’s simple and easy, but it’s moist and delicious. And for gluten free, that goes a long way.
I hope you enjoy it.
Buttermilk Coconut-Almond Cake
Makes 1 (8-inch) cake.
½ cup almond flour
1 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch
½ cup glutinous rice flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup maple crystals
3 large eggs
½ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut flakes
Glaze and topping:
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 tablespoon white wine
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 toasted coconut flakes
In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, tapioca starch, glutinous rice flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Cream the butter with an electric mixer. Add the maple crystals and mix well.Beat in the eggs, one at a time, blending in each one before adding the next. Add the buttermilk and vanilla.Add the flour in 3 batches; mix in each batch. Stir in the coconut flakes.Transfer the batter to the cake pan and smooth out the top.Bake until the top is lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 to 40 minutes.Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool 10 minutes. Invert it onto a cooling rack and let it cool completely.
Frost or decorate as desired. To do the marmalade glaze, combine the marmalade, wine, and confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl. Whisk until completely blended. Spread over the cake and top with the coconut flakes.