Paleo Icelandic Date Cake

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My friend from Iceland is an amazing cook! I look forward to parties at her house, where there’s sure to be a variety of exotic and delicious desserts. This recipe is a favorite, and comes from a holiday baking magazine that comes out once a year in Iceland. Happily, it happens to be naturally Paleo….and very delicious! The cake is made of egg whites, dates, almonds and dark chocolate. Topped with whipped coconut cream and fresh berries, it has a wonderful and unique texture that makes for the perfect light but satisfying dessert.

The recipe is written in Icelandic (a complicated language if every there was one) and needed to be translated both in terms of language and measurements. I played around a bit with it, and it’s flexible enough that fudging a little with the original didn’t make a big difference with the final product. You start by chopping dates, almonds, and dark chocolate. You can play around a bit with this, I chopped mine more coarsely than she usually chops hers…both ways are good, it’s really up to you as to how “chewy” you want your cake to be. Once you’ve got the chopping finished, whip three egg whites with a bit of coconut sugar until stiff peaks form. Then, just fold the chopped nuts, dates and chocolate into the egg whites. Bake the cake in a spring form pan for 40 minutes.

You can top the cake with whipped cream (if you’re OK with dairy) or whipped coconut cream. The cake itself is sweet enough that you really don’t need to add any sweetener to the topping! Slather on the cream, sprinkle some fresh berries on top, and it’s ready to serve. Elegant, unusual and delicious!

Paleo Icelandic Date Cake
A delightful meringue cake made with dates, almonds, and dark chocolate. Elegant and delicious!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup chopped dates
  2. 1 cup chopped blanched almonds
  3. 1 cup chopped dark chocolate
  4. 3 egg whites
  5. 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  6. Whipped cream or whipped coconut cream (for the topping)
  7. Fresh berries
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 320 degrees.
  2. Chop the dates, almonds, and dark chocolate. You'll want to chop these finely, although you can adjust this depending on what you'd like the texture of the cake to be.
  3. Whip the egg whites with the coconut sugar until stiff peaks form.
  4. Fold the chopped dates, almonds and chocolate into the egg whites, stirring until they are evenly distributed.
  5. Grease the sides of a spring-form pan with coconut oil. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Spread the batter into the pan, and bake for 40 minutes.
  6. Let the cake cool completely. Use a knife to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan before removing the sides.
  7. Spread or pipe the whipped cream or coconut cream over the top of the cake, and sprinkle with fresh berries.
Adapted from a recipe by Nói and Siríus, in the 2002 holiday recipe magazine.
Adapted from a recipe by Nói and Siríus, in the 2002 holiday recipe magazine.
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Grain Free Cinnamon Sponge Cake

When you give up grain, it can feel like you’ve seen the last of light, fluffy cakes. But I’ve found two little secrets that bring your healthy cake to a whole new level! This grain free cinnamon sponge cake is as light and fluffy as a traditional cake, even though it’s grain and dairy free. Sweetened with a little coconut sugar and some honey, it’s satisfying but not overly sweet. Add some warm cinnamon and vanilla and you’ve got a dessert that bakes up beautifully and looks as good as it tastes! You can even cut it into two layers…perfect for adding a layer of vanilla custard or whipped coconut cream.

The first secret to this cake is banana flour. This flour is so fine and soft, it bakes very much like cake flour (but it’s full of nutrients rather than gluten). I’ve found that when texture is important, banana flour is a great thing to use! There isn’t a strong banana flavor, since the flour is made from green bananas. It’s also high in resistant starch, which is great for your digestion and helps balance blood sugar.

The other secret is to use a recipe for sponge cake rather than a regular cake recipe. Sponge cake doesn’t call for much flour, which is helpful both for texture and cost when you’re baking grain free. The trick to sponge cake is in separating the eggs. You beat the yolks with your flavorings (in this case, vanilla and cinnamon) and sweetener. Then, whip the whites until stiff peaks form. Don’t over beat the whites…I’ve learned that they won’t bake up as fluffy if you whip them until they’re dry. There’s a specific order to combining the ingredients that gives the cake its light and airy texture…you combine the yolk mixture with a bit of flour, fold half the whites into the yolks, add another bit of flour, fold in the rest of the whites, and finally add flour a third time. It’s a bit of extra work, but so worth it!

You can serve the cake as is, or cut it into layers and add something in the middle. Creamy vanilla custard is delicious, or a fluffy layer of whipped coconut cream. You could even make a compote of apples, raisins and nuts and spread it between the layers! Any way you serve it, your friends will have a hard time believing that this is a grain-free, non-dairy cake. It’s a must-try recipe!

Grain Free Cinnamon Sponge Cake
This delicious grain free cake bakes up unbelievable light, soft and fluffy! Wonderful with a layer of vanilla custard or whipped coconut cream in the center.
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Ingredients
  1. 6 organic, cage-free eggs, separated
  2. 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
  3. 1 teaspoon organic ground cinnamon
  4. 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  5. 1/4 cup raw organic honey
  6. 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons banana flour
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, combine the egg yolks, vanilla, cinnamon, coconut sugar and honey. Whip until the mixture is creamy and a very pale yellow.
  3. Add 1/4 cup of the banana flour to the egg yolks and whip again.
  4. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Be sure to wash your beaters before whipping the whites, and don't whip them too much. The cake won't be as fluffy if the egg whites are too dry.
  5. Fold 1/2 of the egg whites into the yolk mixture by hand.
  6. Add 1/4 cup of the banana flour and fold this is by hand as well.
  7. Fold the remaining egg whites into the batter, then add the 2 tablespoons of banana flour and fold this in as well.
  8. Pour the batter into a greased springform pan and bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Allow the cake to cool, and serve...or, cut the cake horizontally into two layers and fill with vanilla custard, whipped coconut cream, etc.
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