Almond, apricot and pecan cake

You know how I feel about cake and desserts: even when they’re made with the best ingredients, they are too energy dense for every day scoffing. That’s why making a cake is a treat – because we don’t do it very often.

But my few forays into gluten-free cake baking (I’ve made about 4 attempts in 4 years) have been disappointing which is probably one of the reasons I don’t bother. This one, however, is the most cakey cake I’ve ever made without gluten. It has a crumby texture and a soft of springiness that is completely delicious. There is a tiny bit of honey in there – about 4g per slice – so if you need to maintain strict ketosis, this may not be the best choice for you. For those who are keto-adapted and relatively fit, the odd slice shouldn’t present a problem.

I’m sharing this recipe in its plainest form but I think it would carry extra flavours well. I’m thinking orange or lemon, maybe some rosemary or blueberries, and you could even add some cocoa.

I hope you like the picture – including the fire burned edges of the baking parchment which caught light in the oven because I made such a bad job of lining the tin!!


For the batter

  • 300g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 50g xylitol
  • 3 large eggs
  • 50ml honey
  • 120ml olive oil
  • 1 tsp natural almond flavour
  • 1 tsp Madacascan vanilla essence
  • 50ml warm water

For the topping

  • 6 dried apricots – soaked in tea
  • 6 pecan nuts
  • (or you could use prunes and walnuts, figs and almonds)


  1. Heat the oven to 160°C/fan 140°C/gas 3 and grease and line a 20cm cake tin.
  2. Put the almonds, baking powder, salt and xylitol into a large mixing bowl, stirring to mix together and break up any lumps.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, honey, olive oil and flavourings in a separate bowl, then stir into the dry ingredients with the warm water.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and arrange the apricots and pecans on top.
  5. Bake for 40–50 minutes, until golden brown on top, and fairly firm.
  6. If you are feeling wicked you can pour a couple of tablespoons of amaretto over the top when it cools a little.


The recipe above will easily feed 8 as a dessert but it also doubles very successfully for larger gatherings. Tastes great served with sliced oranges and creme fraiche.

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