The soft, smooth, warm taste of vanilla is a wonderful thing. So often people simply use it as a background flavour, which never quite does it justice. When allowed to take centre stage, it delivers stunning results.
This cake fills the kitchen with the true old-fashioned scent of baking. The sweet delicacy of vanilla goes perfectly with the chewy, nutty crunch of pecans. The combination is so delicious that you’d never know it’s low-carb. This makes it perfect for diabetics, paleo-fans, gluten-intolerants and those on a ketogenic-diet.
To make the cake, weigh up 5oz of ground-almonds and 5oz of dessicated coconut. Place in a sturdy mixing-bowl and stir in 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, plus the same of flaxseed. If you’re using vanilla-pods, scrape out the seeds of one pod and add to the mix. If you prefer dried vanilla powder (as I used), half a teaspoon should be more than enough. You can use vanilla-essence but this tends to contain liquid sugar-syrup, which isn’t ideal from a carb-perspective.
Measure 3oz of xylitol sweetener and add this to the mix. I always use xylitol in baking. In my experience, it’s the only sweetener which retains its sweetness once cooked; and its granular texture means that it behaves exactly like sugar in cake-recipes.
Set 2 large tablespoons of coconut-oil to melt by the range; or microwave it until liquid. Finely grate the zest of an orange and add both this and the coconut-oil to the mixing-bowl. Stir in 3 beaten eggs and a good handful of chopped pecans. Fold these in until you have an obliging dropping-consistency.
Spoon the cake-mix into your cake-tins. I used small, individual squares, but this can equally go into one larger tin; round or square to your preference. Bake in a moderate oven for circa 30 minutes, until risen, golden but not too brown. The cakes should be spongy and resistant to the touch, and rise back up when pressed lightly with the finger. Remove from the oven and cool until room-temperature.
Once the cake is thoroughly cooled (it needs to be cool, or your icing will melt); place 4 large tablespoons of cream cheese into a bowl. Add half a cup full of table-sweetener (this can be other than xylitol, because it’s uncooked) and a third of a teaspoon of vanilla powder. Fold through with a knife until vanilla seeds are evenly dispersed into the mixture. Make sure not to over-mix or it will go runny. Test for sweetness, adjusting vanilla or sweetener levels to your preference.
Layer the frosting generously atop the cakes with a palette-knife. Top with pecan nuts and lemon zest to decorate.
Serve with a light drizzle of cream for that extra touch of indulgence. Once you’ve made this cake, you’ll go back to it time and time again – it’s a true classic in the making!
Thanks for reading and bon ap!