A better-for-you apple and almond cake
This delicious red apple and almond cake has all the fruity goodness of a traditional apple cake, but without the usual quantities of refined sugar. In fact, there’s no added refined sugar at all, thanks to the natural sweetness of the apples and a big dollop of honey. It’s also dairy free and gluten free, using olive oil instead of butter, and ground almonds instead of a regular grain flour.
This is the perfect healthier alternative for those times when you crave something sweet yet nutritious. Enjoy a slice of this cake with your afternoon tea or as a dessert after dinner with a scoop of natural yogurt.
An apple a day…
As suggested by its name, this cake is packed full of sweet and juicy chunks of apple, creating a light and refreshing flavor and a lovely, moist consistency. The old sayings about the health benefits of apples are spot on. Apples are said to possess many health-promoting attributes, including the following:
- Apples are high in fiber, which contributes to a healthy and regular digestive system
- Apples contain acetylcholine and antioxidants, which help to fight the effects of aging on the brain
- Apples are high in flavanols, which can help to reduce risk of some cancers
- Studies suggest that eating an apple a day can help to reduce cholesterol and the risk of diabetes.
In addition, this cake packs an extra nutritional punch with the use of ground almonds instead of flour. Almonds are a good source of protein and high in healthy monounsaturated fat, both of which keep you feeling fuller for longer. Almonds are also a fantastic source of vitamin E, which helps to protect cell membranes and has been associated with lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.
While much of the sweetness comes from the apples, a squeeze of lemon juice makes the apple flavor zing, and the honey adds to the sweet, sticky texture. Both honey and lemons contain antioxidants, which can reduce inflammation.
Baking with olive oil
This cake is a great option for those following gluten-free or dairy-free diets. While there are many gluten-free alternatives to regular flour, there are fewer options to replace the dairy ingredients in many baked goods. One way to replace the fat content, usually obtained from butter, is to use heart-healthy olive oil.
Olive oil works well as a substitute for butter in cakes, producing a moist texture and subtle flavor which is great in fruit cakes such as this. The oil really makes the apple and almond flavors pop.
When using olive oil, choose a good quality, mild-flavored oil of the sort you’d enjoy drizzled on a salad. However, oil doesn’t work as a substitute for all baked goods, and for very light and fluffy sponges, which are made from creaming butter and sugar, olive oil will be less successful.
Apple and Almond Cake
2 large, tart, red apples
2 cups ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
2 medium eggs
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup honey
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Toasted, flaked almonds
- Pre-heat the oven to 350°F / 320°C fan / Gas 4.
- Line a 7 inch / 20cm round cake tin.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground almonds, baking powder, eggs, lemon juice, honey, olive oil, and vanilla extract. Mix well using a wooden spoon or electric mixer.
- Peel and chop the apples into small cubes, and fold them into the cake batter.
- Spoon the mixture evenly into the cake tin. Sprinkle the flaked almonds over the top.
- Bake on the middle shelf in the oven for 45-60 minutes, checking to see that it is not burning.
- Once the cake is golden brown and firm to touch, remove it from the oven and allow to cool in its tin.
- Serve warm with some natural yogurt or cold with a cup of lemon tea.
- If you prefer to eat vegan, you can swap the eggs for a cup of applesauce, though this will create a wetter texture.
- For a nut-free version, you can swap the ground almonds for a gluten-free flour of your choice, and omit the flaked almonds on top.
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