In my quest to find and create desserts that are rich and tasty, all while keeping the sugar down, or for those of you in need of it being gluten free like my friend Mary, this Chocolate Almond Tea Cake is for you. It has it all really.
It’s gluten free, it’s moist, it’s rich and gives the feeling of being indulgent when you’re not. Olive oil, toasted, ground almonds with cocoa for the base and eggs mixed with a few other ingredients come together for one delicious tea cake.
Tea cake? What’s that? Well it’s not a round, large cake, it’s term is a smaller version, usually loaf size for tea time. I am more of an espresso kind of guy, but feel free. Either way, this is perfect for that morning break with coffee or tea or as a dessert. With the upcoming hectic holidays, out of town guests and visiting family, this is a perfect little snack.
I taste tested this version on a friend we had over for dinner the other evening and it was rather spectacular served alongside a scoop of my Sweet and Sour Strawberry Semifreddo that I had made from a previous evening for guests (killer by the way!). Dave was good and had just a slice of the cake and one scoop of the semifreddo the other evening. Moderation is key when a diabetic and by no means do we eat dessert every evening.
The roasted almonds get ground with cocoa powder, chocolate chips and water are melted and blended in with egg yolks and orange zest.
The egg whites get whipped and then folded in with the chocolate mixture. Easy, right?
The cream of tartar assists in stabilizing the egg whites to hold up and this little cake rises up beautifully. It’s dense, moist and doesn’t crumble to pieces. The crunchy almonds and some finishing sugar on top add that added texture crunch. I added some orange zest as a little secret flavor weapon and the citrus note is wonderful.
Making and enjoying a dessert that is gluten free doesn’t have to be tasteless or dry, and this Chocolate Almond Tea Cake proves it. Enjoy!
Chocolate Almond Tea Cake (Gluten Free)
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup unsalted roasted almonds, plus 2 tablespoons chopped
- 8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 3/4 cup sugar divided
- 4 large eggs separated
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tbsp finishing sugar optional
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly coat a 8.5x4.5” loaf pan with nonstick spray. Line with parchment paper, allowing some to overhang on each side (see picture).
- In a food processor pulse 1 cup of almonds and cocoa powder until very finely ground, about 1 minute.
- Microwave chocolate chips and 1/4 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl at 15-second intervals (or heat in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water), stirring until melted. Whisk in oil, kosher salt, orange zest and then almond mixture and half of granulated sugar, then egg yolks.
- Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until frothy. With motor running, gradually add remaining sugar, beating egg whites to glossy, firm peaks.
- Using a spatula, gently fold egg whites into chocolate mixture in 2 additions, folding just until incorporated each time. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Top with 2 tablespoons of chopped almonds and finishing sugar (optional).
- Bake cake until top is firm when gently pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 50–60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow cake to cool in pan 15 minutes. Lift out of pan by parchment paper and turn out onto rack and let cool completely. Dust top with powdered sugar (optional). Slice using a serrated knife.