I have had a book for years from Williams-Sonoma called Cakes that is a wonderful resource for any pastry-chef wannabe. It gives all kinds of baking techniques and explanations of what to do when you want to bake a cake. Unfortunately it is also all based on wheat flours and regular white sugars, so not exactly in the realm of someone on Paleo/GAPS/SCD or even gluten-free.
However, this book has a recipe within it that has been an absolute favorite of ours every autumn when apples are in season. This recipe, called Apple Cake, is delicious and really shows the flavors of the season. BUT, it is made with white wheat flour and 2.5 cups (500 g) of sugar. Even if I was going to cheat and deal with the effects of gluten, that is one heck of a lot of sugar. I made it my mission this year to replicate the cake in a grain-free way that also uses a ton less sweetener. I am really pleased with how this came out - moist, not cloyingly sweet, cinnamony, and above all, delicious.
Makes: 1 cake
Prep time: 30 min Total time: 1 hr 30 min
1 tbs (15 mL) Cinnamon
1/4 cup (65 g) Coconut Sugar
3 tbs (21 g) Coconut Flour
2.5 cups (280 g) Almond Flour
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) Salt
1.5 tsp (7.5 mL) Baking Soda
1/2 cup (120 mL) Honey
2 tsp (10 mL) Vanilla Extract
2/3 cup (160 mL) Coconut Oil, melted
1/3 cup (80 mL) Coconut Cream (the solid part from a refrigerated can of coconut milk)
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F (177° C). Generously grease (with coconut oil) and flour (with almond flour) a fixed-bottom tube pan or a bundt pan.
2. Make the cinnamon sugar by mixing the cinnamon and coconut sugar together in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Using the large holes on a box grater, shred the apples onto a piece of parchment paper. (I'm lazy so I don't peel the apples first but you certainly could)
4. Place the shredded apples into a measuring cup and continue until you have 2 cups (250 g).
5. Transfer the shredded apples to a small bowl and toss with 3 tbs (40 g) of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Let sit for 15 minutes to let the apples absorb the flavor and to release some of their juices.
6. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt. Make sure no clumps remain.
7. In a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer, or using a stand mixer, mix the eggs and honey together for about 2-3 minutes until the mixture is a pale yellow.
8. Add the vanilla extract and then with the mixer running, slowly pour in the coconut oil.
9. Add the dry ingredients in 2 equal additions, mixing each until incorporated.
10. Add the coconut cream and mix until the white streaks disappear.
11. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and put the apples in it. Gently squeeze the apples a bit to release more of the moisture. You don't want to wring them dry like a sponge, but enough that anything easily given up comes out.
12. Fold the apple mixture into the batter.
13. Evenly pour about 2/3 of the batter into the prepared cake pan. Sprinkle half of the remaining cinnamon sugar over the surface of the batter.
14. Pour the rest of the batter into the pan, spreading it out to make an even layer. It may not completely cover the sugar layer. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar on the surface.
15. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
16. Let the cake cool on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes, then run a butter knife around any area that touches the pan to gently dislodge the cake from the sides. Then invert a plate over the cake pan and turn both the pan and the plate over together. Lift the pan off of the cake and let cool completely before serving.