Admission: I am not a baker by nature. Most of the time, I would rather be slinging stir-fries, simmering sauces and dicing onions than measuring sugar, sifting flour and folding eggs. When it comes to baking, I gravitate towards quick breads, tarts and rustic, wholesome cakes. This is the kind of cake I love to make. It’s simple, it makes your kitchen smell amazing, and it’s a cake that you can feel good about serving your family. I’ve been experimenting with different kinds of flours and have fallen in love with coconut and almond flours, which are naturally sweet, high in protein and nutritious (and gluten-free). This cake—made with almond flour, coconut flour, shredded coconut, honey and eggs—is dense and rich and makes for a scrumptious snack or mid-week dessert. It can also be easily dressed up, and for those more indulgent moments I top it with unsweetened, almond-scented whipped cream, strawberries and toasted coconut curls. Amazing. Nobody can believe how simple (and healthful) it really is.
A few tips: You’ll notice that I include weights for the flours in the recipe. When baking, I much prefer to weigh my flours on a kitchen scale than to measure them in cups. Not only is it easier—you just dump flour into a bowl until you reach the desired weight, zero it out, then continue on with the next ingredient—but it’s also much more accurate (a cup of all-purpose flour, for instance, can vary in weight from 4-6 ounces!). Kitchen scales aren’t expensive, and I highly recommend them for folks who like to bake, or for cooks like me who simply don’t have the patience for measuring. Also, for this cake, it’s important to beat the egg whites just to soft peaks—they should double in volume, look foamy and the beaters should make soft ripples. If you beat them to stiff peaks the cake will collapse. Fold the whites gently into the batter, cutting your spatula into the batter and turning the bowl while scooping. Fold just until evenly combined.
A final note: this cake is just as good the next day… if it lasts that long.
Almond Coconut Cake
- Coconut oil or butter for pan
- 1 cup (4.5 oz/120 g) almond meal/flour
- ¼ cup (1 oz/28 g) coconut flour
- ¼ cup (0.7 oz/20 g) unsweetened shredded coconut
- ¼ teaspoon plus pinch fine sea salt , divided
- 4 eggs , separated
- ½ cup (6 oz/170 g) honey (plus more for serving, if you wish)
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- Sliced strawberries
- Coconut flakes , lightly toasted
Preheat the oven to 350˚ with a rack in the middle. Rub a 9-inch springform pan with coconut oil. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment and rub the parchment with more oil.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond meal, coconut flour, shredded coconut and ¼ teaspoon sea salt.
In a large bowl, beat 4 egg yolks (reserve whites) with the honey and almond extract. Add the dry ingredients and beat until well combined.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites (be sure to use clean beaters) with a pinch of salt until they have doubled in volume and have formed soft, foamy peaks (they shouldn’t form stiff peaks). Stir one-third of the whites into the batter until smooth. Using a spatula, gently fold the remaining whites into the batter. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly, smoothing the top with a spatula.
Bake 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the center feels soft but solid to the touch. Cool in pan 10 minutes then run a small knife along inside of pan and release the cake from the mold. Transfer cake to wire rack and cool completely. Do Ahead: The cake can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Cover tightly and store at room temperature.
In the meantime, if making the topping, beat the heavy cream and almond extract to soft peaks.
Serve the cake either on its own or with a drizzle of honey, or dress it up with a dollop of whipped cream, sliced strawberries, and toasted coconut.