My friend Naoimh suffers from gluten intolerance and loves eating very healthily. How could I get her to enjoy my desserts? I had to solve this problem when, inviting me to her place, she challenged me to bake a cake with no gluten, no dairy, no sugar. What am I going to do? I wondered. A cake without those ingredients would not be sweet, and surely it wouldn't be nice! Well, I was wrong. Another friend, the Polish author of Magda's Cauldron, found a recipe blog that was perfect for my dilemma, Anja's Food 4 Thought, containing plenty of desserts dedicated to those who suffer from coeliac disease and/or dairy intolerance. After making some small changes, I baked this loaf and offered it to Naoimh, wondering whether something so healthy could also be edible ... and I got a surprise when Naoimh wasn't the only one who liked it . In fact, everyone did! Perfect for breakfast, this loaf is sweetened with fruit and contains no flour. Buon appetito:-)
- a loaf tin
- measuring cups (1 cup = 250ml, 1/2 cup =125ml, 1/3 cup = 80ml, 1/4 cup = 60ml)
- food processor to grate the carrots
- 3/4 cup of almond powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp light olive oil (or coconut oil)
- 3 very ripe bananas (2 if they are large), mashed
- 1/2 cup seedless dates, chopped (you can replace these with dried apricots)
- 1/2 cup carrots, coarsely grated
- 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup dried coconut shavings (1/4 if you used coconut oil)
- 1/4 cup of cranberry (or other chopped fruit)
Pre-heat your oven to 170 °C (fan) or 180 °C (traditional), gas 6.
Butter the loaf tin, then pour on it some almond powder and get rid of the excess. This way, you will stop the cake from sticking to the tin.
In a large bowl, mix almond powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
In another bowl (or in that of a food processor), beat the eggs. Add vanilla essence, oil and mashed bananas, and mix.
Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ones. Still mixing, add dates (or apricots), carrots, coconut shavings, chopped hazelnuts and cranberry (or other fruit).
Pour into the tin and cook for 35-40 minutes, checking the loaf by inserting a skewer in the centre of it. If it comes back wet, wait another 5 minutes. The banana might remain a little liquid, thus wetting the skewer even though the cake is ready, so make sure you don't overcook it. It should be quite dark on the top, but tender on the inside.
Let it cool down, and enjoy it with no guilt!