The forthcoming Year of the Horse provided the best excuse to run out and pick up the Horse Shaped tin in the Ikea Drömmar [Dream] line. [Bea has already commandeered the baby horse tin that came with the larger horse tin for some sort of project with the stuffed animals upstairs!] Since we’re trying to go for a “lighter” take on our Chinese New Year feasting, I thought I’d make a grain- and gluten-free cake to go with our grain-free, vegetarian-adaptable main courses. As I’ve been trying to limit the sugar consumption in the household, too, I thought I’d go for the gold and look into sugar free-cake options. I’ve made cakes and pavlovas with stevia and other natural sweeteners before, but I haven’t been too happy with the results. Luckily, a friend of mine turned me on to her date-sweetened almond cookies [they’re not too far off in flavour from the original Drömmar, the swedish almond cookie, actually]. So, I borrowed her technique of making a date-and-water “paste” to sweeten my nut cake, here. This cake is not necessarily a low-calorie option, nor do the dates put it in much of a low-carb zone, but it IS gluten and sugar free. And, most importantly, it tastes FANTASTIC. Of course, you don’t have to use the Ikea pan to make the cake. But, this recipe sure bakes into a pretty dreamy horse! Enjoy!
1.5 cup pulverized nuts [you can use up to .5 c pulverized unsweetened coconut in this mix]
[I used .5 c raw almonds, .5 c raw pecans, and .5 c unsweetened coconut]
.5 tsp baking soda
.25 tsp salt [I used Pink Himalayan]
1 generous cup pitted dates
.3 c boiling water
1 tsp organic lemon essence or extract [optional, or substitute vanilla]
2 tbs butter, softened, or healthy oil [coconut or olive]
[Berries and Greek Yogurt as Garnish]
Heat oven to 325 F.
Grease the Ikea Drommar Horse Tin or a small cake pan with just a small bit of butter, oil or baking spray.
Pulverize nuts [and coconut] in a food processor and measure out 1.5 cup of “meal.”
[I prefer this method to using nut flours, as you get a more toothsome cake.]
Add baking soda and salt to this nut meal and set aside.
Set dates, .3 cup boiling water and essence/extract in the bowl of a food processor and let sit for 5 minutes.
Pulverize dates and water.
Spoon this date mixture in a mixing bowl, removing any large pieces or whole dates which may have missed the blade.
Add eggs and butter [or oil] to the date mixture, combining well.
Add the nut mixture to the wet mixture and stir to combine.
Bake for 27-32 minutes, or until springy yet firm to the touch in the centre of the cake.
Cool tin on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes.
Remove the cake from the tin and serve, warm or cool.
Top cake with berries and a dollop of greek yogurt if so desired.
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