Apple and Almond Cake

We invited some dear friends to supper last night for an impromptu birthday celebration. Although I’m not the world’s most prolific or skilled baker I decided to make a cake. My inspiration was a delicious apple and almond cake I tasted at the delightful Southern Cross cafe in Edinburgh – it made such an impression on me that I vowed to recreate it. It’s supposed to have some flaked almonds on top to make it look pretty but the cupboard was bare yesterday so that didn’t happen. The resulting cake is both light and dense, moist and crumbly – easy to make and well worth the effort.


  • 2 large cooking apples (such as Bramleys) or 3 tart eating apples
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • zest of half a lemon
  • Olive oil to grease the cake tin, if using
  • 5 organic, free range eggs
  • 100g xylitol
  • 300g ground almonds
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 50g flaked almonds


  1. Grease or line a loaf tin with baking parchment and pre-heat the oven to 160’C
  2. Peel, core and chop the apples roughly into a small saucepan with the lemon juice and zest. Cook gently for 10 minutes until it forms a rough puree.
  3. Allow the apple to cool for an hour or so.
  4. Combine the cool apple, eggs, xylitol and half the almonds and blitz in the large cup of your nutribullet or food processor and mix until thoroughly amalgamated.
  5. Add this batter to a mixing bowl and combine with the rest of the almonds.
  6. Scrape the cake mix into the cake tin, sprinkle the flaked almond on top, and bake for around 40 minutes until the top is slightly cracked and the cake has a little bit of bounce when pressed in the middle.
  7. Optional – add half the cake mix to the tin, arrange a layer of berries in the middle, add the rest of the cake mix on top. I used blueberries but raspberries would also work well.
  8. The cake works well warm or cold, served with Greek yoghurt.


  • If using eating apples you can leave the puree lumpy to add more texture to the cake.
  • Experiment with adding extra flavours like vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, or lavender into the mix at stage 5.
  • Cover the top with pumpkin seeds instead of flaked almonds.
  • Use pears instead of apples.
  • Substitute ground pistachios or hazelnuts for some of the ground almonds.



Carrot, nut and yoghurt brunch bowl

I must confess, I find ‘during the day’ food a bit of a pain. I really love my evening cooking ritual but I’m too often tempted to cut myself a quick chunk of cheese at midday and carry on working. To cure myself of my bad habits I’ve been trying different brunch bowls. This one works well – and it was especially easy because I made my favourite rainbow room salad last night and simply processed a few extra carrots for later. Continue reading

Guilt-free, gluten-free, almost sugar-free chocolate brownies.

When I first tasted these brownies I had a moment of pure bliss. As Van Morrison would say, ‘I’ve been searching a long time, for some[thing] exactly like you’. For while these brownies are free from naughtiness they are most certainly not free from tastiness. There is a tiny amount of sugar in there furnished by the chocolate, but the higher the rating of the chocolate you buy, the less there will be. (About 2g per brownie if you use 85% chocolate Continue reading