I’m not referring to the times when food needs to appear on the table because someone (ahem) is on the verge of turning into Cranky Starving Dragon Wo/Man. That’s a time of cooking-necessity, not baking-necessity.
The moments when baking is absolutely essential are the moments when heart and soul need respite from the world; when the simple acts of measuring, stirring, folding, sweetening, flavouring, rising, caramelising, and offering coalesce into a tangible representation of the world making sense, of love and contentment existing.
This weekend, I moved to my parents’ place to house-sit, worked at the office on Saturday and from home on Sunday, and spent a significant amount of time cleaning the carpet on my hands and knees, because, well, our family dog is getting very old.
I can’t be mad at her, though. How can I feel anything but love for the creature who, as I sit with my legs curled under me scrubscrubbing, silently pads up from behind and rests her head on my thigh, looking up at me sadly with her big brown eyes?
All she deserves is cuddles.
Amidst the cleaningworkingcleaningworking, I set aside some time for just-me, and baked this Almond and Coconut Cake with Raspberries. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and truly wonderful. It’s moist, nutty, perfumed with coconut and vanilla, and jewelled with raspberries.
I took half to my grandparents, and we talked together over tea, laughing, hoping, pondering. “This cake is lovely, dear,” my grandma said. “No,” my grandpa interjected. “It’s scrumptious.”
And that’s good enough for me.
Almond and Coconut Cake with Raspberries, Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free
Recipe found scribbled in a notebook, like a gift from a magic sugar fairy.
- 1 1/2 cups (170g) almond meal
- 1 1/4 cups (275g) caster sugar
- 3/4 cup (70g) desiccated coconut
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 200g Nuttelex (dairy-free spread, or butter if that’s your thing), melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup (55g) fresh or frozen raspberries.
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F), lightly grease a 24cm springform pan and line base and sides with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, stir together almond meal, sugar, and coconut.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla extract until combined. Slowly whisk in the melted butter.
- Add butter mixture into the almond mixture, stirring until smooth.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan, then dot the top with the raspberries.
- Bake 50-55 minutes, until the cake is golden and the top springs back (or, at least, doesn’t feel uncooked… fancy that) when you press it lightly.
- Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely.