During the Jewish spring festival of Pesach (Passover) observant Jews eschew any food containing leavened wheat flour (among other things) – so bread, cake, pasta etc. is all off the menu. Most cooks have a list of alternatives that enable them to make something approaching edible for the duration of the festival, and one such common substitute is potato flour.
Visually indistinguishable from wheat flour, potato flour behaves, as you might expect, completely differently. It contains no gluten, but is high in starch, and absorbs significantly more liquid than wheat flour. It also has a tendency to become gummy and sticky. Useful if you want to make glue, less good in pancakes, for instance.
Anyway, last Pesach I bought a bag of it, and it’s sat in the cupboard ever since, looking at me accusingly every time I open the door and take something else out. So, I set myself the task of using some of it up.
While its chemical and physical properties make it a poor substitute for wheat flour in most instances, they do make it an excellent stabiliser, and it’s this job that I’ve used it for here. The bulk of this moist, gluten-free almond cake is made up of ground almonds and eggs, but the small amount of potato flour acts to prevent the butter and egg mixture from curdling during the preparation of the cake batter. It also helps to create a moist, even crumb that holds together beautifully.
The potato flour does its job remarkably well – I added the first egg to the fat/sugar and watched as the mixture began to split almost immediately. A teaspoon of the potato flour was all that was needed to bring it all together again. Adding the potato flour with the eggs ensured that the almond cake batter was smooth and well amalgamated, with no trace of curdling.
This lovely moist almond cake is flavoured with lemon and lavender flowers from our garden. Kipper was very excited to be allowed to pick the lavender flowers, as usually there’s a strict “no vandalising the plants” rule in place. I think she’s fairly excited to eat the resulting cake, too.
Makes one 21cm diameter cake.
If you want to be kept informed when I post delicious recipes like this one, then please sign up to receive updates by email. It only takes a second and you’ll get the new recipes directly to your inbox. And of course, I’ll never pass on your email address to anyone. Click here to sign up.
- 200g soft butter or margarine
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 25g potato flour
- 250g ground almonds
- zest & juice of 2 lemons
- 1.5 tbsp fresh lavender flowers - about 4 sprigs
- 50g icing sugar
- Juice of half a lemon
- Few sprigs of lavender (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 21cm loose bottomed round cake tin.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a spoonful of the potato flour with each egg.
- Mix in the almonds, the lemon zest and juice, and the lavender flowers.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake at 180C for 50 minutes - 1 hour, until risen and golden, and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and leave in the tin to cool.
- Once cold, remove from the tin and place on a serving plate. Mix the icing sugar and lemon juice to give a smooth, runny icing. Pour over the cake and allow to set slightly.
- Decorate with lavender flowers if desired.
- Omit the lavender for a simpler lemon and almond cake.
Even though the recipe doesn’t use up much potato flour, it has helped to clear the backlog a little, and I’ll certainly be making it again 🙂 So I’m entering this lemon, lavender and almond cake recipe into the No Waste Food Challenge, hosted by Anne’s Kitchen and organised by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary. As we picked the lavender flowers from our garden, I think this most certainly qualifies for the Simple and In Season challenge, hosted by My Custard Pie. Vanesther (at Bangers & Mash) has kindly agreed with me that lavender is an honorary spice(!), and therefore this cake can be entered into The Spice Trail – Summer Spice challenge. Finally, I’m entering it into the Cake Club link-up, hosted by Kerry at Kerry Cooks.