First of all, let me say that going to graduate school while owning a business and being a Mom is hard work. It is a juggling game at best. When I am not immersed in hydrocarbons and ionic compounds (thank you organic chemistry), I am in the kitchen putting chemistry to work with culinary techniques like caramelizing and flavor combining for my Cooking Lab class. Last week was a mind-spinning organic chemistry unit, so I was happy to find out that in Cooking Lab, we were baking with the emphasis on natural sweeteners! Cookies, oatmeal, fruit crumble, and of course an amazing flourless almond torte.
Since posting the picture of this torte on Facebook, I have had many requests for the recipe. It is not my recipe, but offered through Maryland University of Integrative Health and adapted from One Bite at a Time by Rebecca Katz (if you have not checked out Rebecca Katz’s cookbooks yet, please do. They are amazing!). The recipe is low in sugar, using maple syrup as the chosen sweetener. The “flour” is almond meal, so this is a gluten free, protein rich cake, that is certainly not on the light side, but a small piece does the trick.
And so, for the sake of homework, we (my kids and I) set to work. The first step to any successful baking recipe is to set up your mise en place, or in other words – get your stuff together before you begin.
Next, separate the eggs (make sure they are room temperature – this makes the eggs easier to work with), then whip up those egg whites. Then set them aside in a separate bowl.
The next step is to combine the yolks with the syrup and almond extract to make a creamy, strong almond smelling mixture. I love watching the eggs transform from three yellow blobs to a rich cream-like texture. Chemistry in the kitchen.
Finally, we add in the almond flour, fold in the egg whites and spread evenly into a cake pan, then bake.
Once cooled, it is time to put on the finishing touches. While the recipe does not call for chocolate drizzle, my older daughter insisted it needed it. She said it was too plain-looking and desperately required chocolate. She was right. Chocolate was a welcome addition. (We also served it with whipped cream, but she.. don’t tell anyone).
And that is that. With just a few simple ingredients, magic is made. Now, its back to the books.
Flourless Almond Torte
3 large eggs, at room temperature separated (no yolk in the egg whites)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups almond meal (7 oz)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Fresh seasonal fruit for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 o F
- Line an 8″ cake pan with a parchment paper circle cut to fit the bottom.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk beat the egg whites with salt on medium speed to form a stiff peak, but not dry. Transfer the egg whites to a clean bowl.
- Using the same mixer bowl (no need to wash the bowl) adds the yolks and beat on medium speed. Gradually add the maple syrup and the almond extract, and beat on high-speed until mixture is thick, light in color and foamy about 5 minutes.
- Beat in the almond meal and the vanilla extract
- Fold the beaten egg whites into the batter quickly and gently with a rubber spatula taking care not to deflate the mixture too much.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top gently with the rubber spatula
- Bake for about 35 minutes or until lightly browned and the toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool on a rack for 10 minutes than invert the cake and cool completely
- Serve in wedges with your favorite seasonal fruit (I roasted plums)
- Drizzle melted chocolate on top and sprinkle chopped rosemary (added in by Appetites for Life)