Glazes, drizzles, and any confectioner’s sugar based frostings have become the bane of my sugar free existence, so we’re just going to ignore the fiasco of an attempt at an orange glaze on what is otherwise a very nice cake. Okay, now that we’ve gotten that unpleasantness out of the way (and, hey, if you’re on a sugar free diet and have come up with a nice glaze or drizzle recipe, I’d love to hear it!), I want to talk about my new favorite flour blend.
Late last year, I picked up a copy of Elana Amsterdam’s The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook (her chocolate chip scone recipe is a must try!). I’ve been using almond flour in my baking for a couple of years, but this cookbook has taken my interest to the next level. I’ve been blending almond flour with my other new favorite flour, coconut flour, and a bit of a starch like cornstarch or arrowroot starch with great results!
This orange poppyseed cake is a new favorite. The crumb is fantastic, and it stayed very moist for at least four days (that’s how long it lasted before we gobbled it all up). It’s a dense cake, like a pound cake, but it’s not heavy. In other words, it doesn’t sit in your stomach like a brick, which is a very good thing.
At the last minute, I decided to add almond extract to the batter because I’ve been hoping to recreate the taste of these yummy almond poppyseed muffins that I had years ago (in my pre-gluten free and sugar free days) at an office potluck, of all places. I think I came pretty close to the flavor with this cake, but unfortunately the almond sort of overpowered the orange, so if you want an orange-ier cake then you can leave out the almond flavoring. And, if you’re not sugar free, you should be able to substitute table sugar 1 to 1 for the xylitol with no problems.
1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup xylitol
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract (optional)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2-3 oranges)
1 Tbsp. grated orange zest
1/3 cup poppyseeds
1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line a 9 inch cake pan with oven parchment, and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large mixing bowl, add the softened butter and xylitol and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and almond extracts. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until blended.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, arrowroot starch, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt. Blend with a fork until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the orange juice to the egg and butter mixture and mix until you can no longer see pockets of dry ingredients throughout the batter. Add the orange zest and poppyseeds and mix until evenly distributed.
4. Using a spatula, spread the batter evenly in the prepared cake pan. The batter will be very thick.
5. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on a cooling rack before turning the cake out of the pan and serving.