Lemon & Almond Cake – Dairy-Free Delight

For me, this cake was a lot more than just a cake. It was a bit like a test. And an attack of nerves. And an attempt to prove that I can cook, even though no one asked me to prove it. This was especially trying because I don’t really bake much, and this cake most certainly requires baking.

The gentleman and I took a trip up to his hometown, Edinburgh, to meet a new member of his family. There was a family lunch to celebrate her, even though she’s too young to eat anything we had at the table. As a surprise, and a gesture of good guestliness (or something), I decided to bring a dessert. Two of the guests were lactose intolerant, so this needed to be a pretty specific dessert. Enter: Angel-food-inspired cake.

Having never made this cake, or any angel food cake before, I decided to test this magical dairy-free cake out on myself and some willing coworkers. Thankfully, it was a big hit, and I didn’t have to spend the Friday night before our trip frantically and nervously trying to plan something new. Instead, I spent it frantically and nervously baking the cake I’d first done two days before.

And then it went to Edinburgh, packed carefully into my carry-on bag, still in its springform pan, through security, onto the plane and then around town for a bit. And it stayed in one piece, no problem. Worth noting, then, that this cake is pretty hearty in travel situations.

Finally, the cake hit the table, and it was a big hit! Dairy eaters and non really enjoyed it, and I proved not only to myself, but to others that I could … bake. (I’ll save the actual cooking for next time.)

And finally, to the recipe.

Adapted from Big Girls, Small Kitchen

Serves: 10, depending how big your slices are.

On The Counter

10 oz (280 g)almonds, chopped roughly or pre-sliced
1 1/4 cups (125 g) granulated sugar
8 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon (1 g) salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 g) cream of tartar
zest of 2 lemons
6 tbsp (90 g) flour
dairy free spread or oil for greasing the pan

What To Do

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Generously grease an 8 inch (20 cm) springform pan and set aside.

In a food processor, pulse the almonds and sugar until almonds are finely chopped. The almonds can be larger pieces; don’t over-process. You don’t want nut butter! Mix in the lemon zest and set aside.

Add salt and cream of tartar  to egg whites and beat until they form stiff peaks.

Sprinkle the lemon almond sugar onto to egg whites, a bit at a time. Fold it in gently. You want to keep as much volume as possible in the whites.

Once the almond mix is almost completely combined, sift the flour on top, and fold it in gently. Stop when all the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Pour the batter into the springform pan, and spread it evenly.

Bake for 35-40 minutes. To test the cake’s doneness, stick a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, your cake is finished. If it does not, bake in 5 minute increments until it does.

Cool your cake for at least 20 minutes before unlocking the pan and removing it. It will store fine in the pan, if you’d like to transport it somewhere.

In all the serving, eating and chatting, I completely forgot to take a photo of the cake on a plate! Instead, I’ll end with a photo of the cake before it hit the oven.

Unbaked Lemon Almond Cake

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