My blog is having an existential crisis at the moment. I write a lot of blog posts in my head, but recently they haven’t made it much further than that. When I have had the time I’ve lacked the motivation, and vice versa. I am struggling to take decent photos (or forget) so a lot of things I have baked recently have not appeared and the blog has been neglected. Not to mention that I end up being the only person to eat most of it. I need some inspiration and a proper plan.
This cake comes from Harry Eastwood’s Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache, a book from 2009 that I baked from continuously over one summer. I was reminded of it recently when I was asked if I had a cake recipe that was fat and sugar free. Back in 2009 it was all about reducing and replacing fat. She replaces the butter in cakes with vegetables and you can hardly tell the difference. Although as she uses ground almonds in a lot of the recipes they are not exactly fat free. The kids loved trying to guess which vegetable was in their cakes to start with but quickly got fed up with it and started refusing to eat them so I moved on to another book. Probably the fat and sugar heavy Hummingbird Bakery… It’s incredible how quickly things change: now it’s the fat that is fine and the sugar that needs to be replaced. There is no such thing as a fat and sugar free cake: these days we can replace refined sugars with other sugars but it’s still essentially sugar. Fat can be removed (swiss rolls, for example) but there is still fat in the egg yolks, so even that is not entirely fat-free.
I gave this recipe a go because I already had some sweet potatoes and this cake uses honey instead of refined sugar. The rice flour can be replaced with plain flour if you don’t have any and don’t need it to be gluten free, but you can easily grind your own if you have a powerful enough food processor or a Nutri Bullet style one. If I make this again I will use agave instead as the honey taste is quite strong and really not my favourite. Which sort of defeats the object and would make it an Agave Cake… I meant to use an 8″ square tin instead of the 9″ round tin required but used a 9″ square by mistake so the cake is thinner than it should be (and as you can see baked faster than I was expecting…)
100g dried apricots, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150g peeled, grated sweet potato
Zest of half a lemon
100g whole almonds (reserve a few for decoration)
100g rice flour (or plain flour)
100g ground almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
Apricot jam or honey to glaze
Set the oven to 180°C.
Grease, and line the base of a 9″ loose based cake tin, or an 8″ square tin.
Put the chopped apricots into a small bowl and soak them with enough boiling water to cover them.
Beat the eggs and honey for around 3 minutes.
Mix in the vanilla extract, sweet potato and lemon zest.
Drain the apricots and mix in along with the whole almonds (reserving a few to decorate the top).
Mix together the flour (rice or wheat), ground almonds and baking powder and fold into the wet ingredients.
Tip into the prepared tin and scatter over the reserved almonds.
Bake for around 40-45 minutes but check after about 30 minutes and cover with aluminium foil if it is browning too quickly.
Brush the top with apricot jam or honey while it is still hot to glaze.
Leave to cool on a wire rack and cut into squares when cool.
It also makes a good dessert, with some ice cream or crème fraiche.