Fluffy and pillowy, dusted with icing sugar, with a few raspberries half-submerged in the batter peeking through the sugar, this cake is amazingly delicate and tasty. And it’s gluten and fat free to boot.
Gorgeous flourless cakes
As much as I am militantly opposed to people who choose to ‘be gluten free’ without a medical reason, there are some wonderful flourless bakes and cakes. This is one of those: almond cake with fresh or frozen raspberries folded into the batter. It is delightfully light being not only gluten, but also fat free: no butter or oil in the ingredients.
Those airy cakes are so luscious and they, for me, belong in the corner of more innocent treats. Of course there’s sugar, and the ground almonds are quite calorificaly substantial but at least the third usual suspect is absent. No butter means I can have two slices of this cake instead of one!
German or Spanish cake?
The cake is very similar to the Spanish tarta de Santiago, a specialty from Santiago de Compostela, the capital city of Galicia which is the destination of famous Christian pilgrimage route through Northern Spain.
The similarity is quite surprising as this is based on the recipe I found on a comprehensive German cookery website Lecker. The only difference is in the method: Spanish tarta is a bish-bash, mix and bake concoction while the German Kuchen takes its time, separates the eggs and beats them into, respectively, peaks and ribbons. Oh, and the added raspberries.
The result in this instance, the cake below, is an amazingly fluffy and airy crumb which miraculously supports the raspberries instead of letting them all down to the bottom in a sorry layer. Those few to reserve and scatter on top of the batter – that’s just for show.
Do we have to separate eggs?
I used to be often tempted to skip the egg separation, which is an awful chore no matter how cold the eggs are (I actually find them easier to separate when kept at room temperature).
I’d think of genoise, truly a sophisticated bake, in which whole eggs are beaten to oblivion with no separation, albeit on a double boiler. But in this case the fluffiness depends on the whites whipped to stiff peaks and gently folded into the sugar and egg yolk mix.
Fresh or frozen fruit for baking?
On one hand it is a bit of a waste to use fresh fruit in a cake. On the other, that’s what you should do when it is plenty and in season – because I am not for a moment allowing the thought of using so called fresh soft fruit air flown from the southern hemisphere in February.
So one way of looking at it is precisely that: use fresh in and frozen outside season.
The problem with frozen fruit is that it extends the baking time. The island cake for instance takes only about 40 minutes to bake with fresh berries in it, and twice as long with frozen!
Cakes where you fold the fruit in the batter are generally better made with fresh produce. The ones where you scatter it on top of the batter will start cooking quicker so that’s a safer option with frozen fruit, like this raspberry cake or summer cherry cake.
Muffins are an exception. It’s much easier to fold frozen berries into the thick muffin mix, without them turning into streaky mush. Check out the blueberry or the white chocolate and raspberry muffin recipes – it’s better to make them with frozen fruit.
More raspberry baking recipes
Soft and buttery sponge topped with raspberries, that’s the cake mentioned above.
Raspberries are wonderful in cake fillings: raspberry buttercream in the chocolate cake is just divine.
And I couldn’t skip my two favourite roulades: the meringue raspberry and pistachio roulade and the sponge and cream one.
More gluten free cake recipes
You can replace wheat flour with ground nuts with marvellous results: flourless walnut cake or the Hungarian hazelnut torte are the proof.
Or just make it all about chocolate, rich and fudgy. I call it Morticia’s chocolate cake because it’s so dark and awesome!
Venetian carrot cake is the gluten free version of the tearoom staple, with almond flour and, unusually, pine nuts.
And the gluten free classic, lemon polenta cake, is made with cornmeal.