This flourless almond cake is sweetened with maple syrup and vanilla, and topped with rich, syrupy balsamic cherries to create a delicious gluten free, refined sugar free dessert.
Let me introduce you to my current favourite Summer dessert- a flourless almond cake with balsamic roasted cherries (YUMMM!). This dessert actually came about as a sort of happy accident, I had friends visiting, and for dessert I was planning on making this almond cake with rhubarb and strawberries. The only flaw in this plan was that I forgot to buy rhubarb at the shop… Ah. So we chopped up the strawberries for breakfast the next day, and the remaining ingredients went untouched.
The following week, James and I were cooped up on a rainy day, and my mind wandered back to this almond cake. Now strawberry-less and rhubarb-less I decided top it with some cherries instead. After my first bite I put down my fork and exclaimed, “ohhhhmmyyyygggoooosssshhhhsooooogooood” to my bemused 6 month old (who was probably wandering why Mummy gets all the good stuff while he’s stuck gumming mushy bananas…).
This was my first time baking with almond meal and I’m a total convert. The almond meal made for a light cake with a slightly nutty texture, and the sweetness of maple syrup and vanilla creeping through. The cherries pair beautifully with balsamic vinegar, and slowly roasting them produces a glorious sticky fruity syrup. Summer dessert perfection.
- For the Cherries:
- 3 cups of pitted cherries (see notes)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- For the cake:
- 2 cups almond meal (see notes)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 3 eggs, beaten
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350F/175C
- First prepare the cherries: whisk together maple syrup, balsamic vinegar and olive oil in a medium bowl. Add the pitted cherries, and toss together so the cherries are coated. Arrange them on a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer. Place on the top shelf of the oven and cook for about 50 minutes until tender and syrupy. Stir every 10-15 minutes to prevent burning.
- Prepare the cake: Grease a 9 inch spring form cake tin, and sprinkle with a coating of almond meal.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, olive oil and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until fully combined.
- Pur the mixture into the greased cake pan, and place in the middle of the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes until golden and firm. If you get your timing right, the cake and cherries should be ready at around the same time.
- Remove cherries from the oven, and set aside.
- Remove cake from the oven, and allow to cool in the pan for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Top the cake with the cherries and any syrup, and serve!
Adapted from Cookie and Kate’s Strawberry Rhubarb Almond Cake.
I bought almond meal from the shop, but if you can’t find it, or would like to save a few pennies making your own, here is a helpful guide from the Kitchn: DIY Almond Meal.
There are many ways to pit a cherry. I used the “bashing” technique for this dish, as the cherries were going to be roasted and didn’t need to look especially pretty.