Life as a carb-loving glutard (def. one who is unable to deal with gluten due to allergy, sensitivity, or Celiac) sucks. You’ll wistfully remember every sandwich you unfairly deemed “boring” or scone you passed up on the chance that it was too dry and regret you didn’t devour every last morsel with flour-loving abandon. Or maybe that’s just me. At any rate, once you know the mere suggestion of your typical baked good will send your body into DEFCON 3, you will do almost anything for a substitute that doesn’t taste like gritty cardboard. Enter this recipe.
This cake is light, lovely and has a wonderful balance of tart lemony sunshine, warm vanilla bean and delicate powdered sweetness. But be warned, it is a bit labor-intensive (I’m looking at you, unreasonable amount of lemon zest and meringue), but it will TOTALLY pass the, “This is gluten-free?!” test of incredulousness. The best part (if it gets better than being an actually delicious gf cake) is that it actually gets better after a day or two in the refrigerator, so feel free to
hog it all for yourself share generous pieces with people so they may also have leftovers. But enough with the chit-chat. Let’s get to the good stuff.
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1/4 cup lemon zest
4 eggs, separated and at room temperature
2 1/2 cups almond flour
10 1/2 oz ricotta
Flaked almonds, to decorate
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line the base and sides of a 9″ springform pan with baking paper and set aside.Place the butter, 1 cup of sugar, vanilla seeds and lemon zest in an electric mixer and beat for 8-10 minutes or until pale and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then gradually add the egg yolks, one at a time, continuing to beat until fully combined. Add the almond flour and beat to combine. Fold ricotta through the almond meal mixture.Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl with a hand-held electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar to the egg whites mixture and whisk until stiff peaks form. Gently fold a third of the egg whites into the cake mixture. Repeat with the rest of the egg whites.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, smooth the tops with a palette knife, decorate the cake with almond flakes, and bake for 40-45 minutes or until cooked and firm to touch. Allow to cool completely in the pan, then carefully remove the outer rim and transfer to a cake plate. Dust with powdered sugar to serve.