Here is a cake worth adding to your repertoire — it’s super-fast to put together, pleases many dietary requirements (it’s free of gluten and dairy) and can either be dressed up or down depending on how you serve it.
The pureed pear and almond meal give the cake batter a frangipane-like texture. And the addition of vanilla, maple and coconut oil contribute to the irresistible flavor. For dessert, top the cake with some soft whipped cream, ice cream or warm chocolate sauce. For afternoon or morning tea, the cake is delicious served plain — warm from the oven or cold from the fridge.
Gluten-Free Pear and Almond Cake
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
½ cup gluten-free rolled oats
1½ cups almond meal
¼ cup gluten-free oat flour
3 tablespoons brown rice flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 large ripe Anjou pears, divided
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil, plus more to oil parchment paper
5 tablespoons maple syrup, plus more to drizzle
¼ cup maple sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
Pinch sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 12-inch square piece of parchment paper. Press paper into a 9-inch cake pan (don’t worry about the sides overlapping — this is what creates a rustic edge). Set aside.
Add oats, almond meal, oat flour, rice flour and baking powder to a food processor and blend until rolled oats are ground. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.
Beat the egg in another medium bowl and set aside. Peel and roughly chop one pear and add it to the food processor along with coconut oil, maple syrup, maple sugar, vanilla, almond extract and salt. Blend until smooth. Add to the bowl with the egg and whisk to combine. Pour into almond meal mixture and stir to combine.
Pour into prepared cake pan, lightly spread out batter and set aside. Working quickly, peel and quarter the remaining pear. Cut each quarter into 4 long slices and arrange in a circle over the top of the batter. Sprinkle with chopped almonds and bake for 50 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean and edges are deep golden.
Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Drizzle with maple syrup and serve warm or cool. Leftover cake can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Amy Chaplin is a chef and recipe developer in New York City. Her cookbook At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen will be available fall 2014. She blogs at Coconut & Quinoa.