Monday, August 17, 2015

Little Flourless No Oil No Butter Vanilla Almond Cakes (Gluten free)

Hear, hear...

I have to tell everyone about these amazing vanilla almond cakes...

These are made with NO flour and NO oil or butter and yet they are very moist and delicious!!!

What???!!! How can this happen? I was fascinated and curious when I first saw this recipe at the book, Super Legumes by Chrissy Freer.

True enough that this happen with a few magic ingredients... LOL! Can you guess what are the magic ingredients?

Little flourless no added oil butter vanilla almond cakes gluten free
Little flourless vanilla almond cakes with no added oil or butter!!!
This recipe originates from the book, Super Legumes by Chrissy Freer.
... and this is the page that shows a picture of the cakes dusted with cocoa powder.

Based on the title of this book, I'm sure you must have made a right guess to one of the magic ingredients... It is obviously a legume!!! Not just legumes but SUPER legumes if you are a believer of "superfoods". This healthy and informative cookbook introduces the concept of incorporating a wide range of legumes in our diet as well as illustrates the benefits of consuming legumes.

What are legumes? Are legumes just beans and lentils? You know those healthy... but boring boring food???

I must admit that I did held back a little when I first saw this book title. I thought that the recipes are making so-called healthy foods with many diet restrictions like gluten free, dairy free, vegan, low carb, low sodium or low sugar... Please don't get me wrong. I'm a believer of "superfoods" but I like to enjoy my 'superfoods" with pleasure and moderation. To me, life is too short to eat tasteless food!!!

After reading this book and baked these cakes, I'm enlightened!!! Depending on how we cooked and perceive superfoods as superfoods can be both healthy and delicious too. 

Correction one: Legumes are not just beans and lentils. The book says "We typically think of legumes as dried seeds like white beans, chickpeas, borlotti beans, adzuki beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, dried peas, black beans and lentil and the like... The legumes family also encompass surprising members as wattleseed, carob, mesquite, lupins and peanuts. This book explores legumes in all and many varied states.

Correction two: Not all food made with diet restrictions like gluten free, dairy free, vegan, low carb, low sodium or low sugar are healthy food. Whenever a core ingredient is substitute with another ingredients, the balance of its texture and taste can also affect the quality of the food, resulting some foods with diet restrictions to be either not so delicious and skew in other aspects of its nutritional values. However, I wouldn't worry if I'm cooking with the recipes in Super Legumes. Chrissy Freer, the author of Superlegumes is an Australian nutritionist and food writer who has developed many delicious recipes with a holistic health focus. Being a member of the Nutritional Society of Australia, she studied food and nutrition at the University of Western Sydney before establishing a successful career as a recipe developer, food editor and stylist. Knowing these, I'm sure that Chrissy is a food writer that you can trust.

Correction three: Healthy foods can be tasty too. In this book, you can eat your way to good health with pulled pork black bean burgers with green chilli salsa, pork satays with pickled carrot salad and even cakes like I have baked here with no oil and butter added. Surprise! Surprise! Nutritionally balanced food like these can be delicious too!

Correction four: Legumes are not for vegetarians! They can be enjoyable to both meat-eaters and vegetarians. There are more than 85 nutritious and adventurous recipes in this book and most are colourful and flavoursome food like oven braised pork with soy beans, egg plants and chilli bean sauce, prawn tacos with black bean and cabbage salad and more ...

... like this BEST baked beans.
... like this hummus with a nutty twist.
... like this my always vegetarian fav, falafel with tomato and radish salad.
... like this very comforting pumpkin, bean and coconut soup

Among all these recipes, I like to start exploring this book by baking these flourless no added oil and butter vanilla almond cakes and this is the magic ingredient....

a can of these cannellini beans!

These magic beans are not the ones at Jack and the Beanstalk...
... but magical enough to bake these flourless vanilla almond cakes.
You can replace the canned cannellini beans with 240g cooked cannellini beans as this is the drained weight of the beans in a typical can.
And of course, almond cakes need the addition of almonds.
I have roasted almond meal at preheat 180°C oven for 5 mins and set aside to cool completely.
This roasting step is optional as it is not mentioned in the recipe but I always like to do this to minimise the raw taste of almond.
This is another fabulous ingredient, coconut sugar.
It is fragrant, subtly sweet like brown sugar with slight hint of caramel taste 
and also low in GI 
Baking these cakes is easy and this is what I did.
Just mix mix mix... or you can use a processor to do the mixing if you wish.
Line a standard 12-hole muffin (1/3 cup) tray with 10 paper cups and divide the batter between the cups and bake ...
I can't wait to try one of these cakes... It is so moist and delicious!
This is so irresistibly good!!!
I love these cakes the best with drizzles of honey!!!

With only 7g of coconut sugar in each cake, I have to say that the sweetness of these cakes is just right and so do not reduce the amount of added sugar further.

To serve, the original recipe suggests that you can dust the cakes with cocoa powder but I love them the best with a moderate amount of honey drizzled... yummy!

The recipe also mentioned that these cupcakes are suitable to freeze. Cool completely then wrap individually in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 1 month.

After discovering this amazing recipe, I actually gave this recipe to my friend and her son who are both suffering from coeliac disease and they said that they love it! My friend told me that she and her 13 year old boy had baked these more than once. They have tried baking these cakes in their original forms and sometimes substitute coconut sugar with brown sugar or substitute cannellini beans with black beans and it all worked! Best of all, my friend told me that she didn't even process the beans and all she did was mixing all ingredient by mashing the beans with a fork! So easy!

I hope that I have illustrated well enough that the foods made with Super Legumes are good for you!!! As this post is specially written to review this book, I'm sorry that I have agreed to the publisher that I can't publish the recipes in this book in this post. This newly published book is selling at a retail price of AUD$29.99 at most retail or online stores.

However, if you really wish to cook these wholesome cakes, please read my post in details, you will see that you can actually bake these cakes without a written recipe as I have fully illustrated the process of baking very thoroughly to you. *Hint*

Before ending this post, I like to thank Murdoch Books for giving me this opportunity to do this review. I like to make a disclaimer here that I'm not paid to do this and like to share my most honest opinions with everyone who read this review.

Happy Baking
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  1. Woot! Superfood almond cake? Haha... Sounds truly awesome... All ingredients are my super cup of tea! Can we have breakfast ?

  2. No flour, no oil/butter cake, still looks very nice.. Yes, I hear many cakes that uses no this & that, like no flour, no oil, no egg, no sugar timmm... Usually just no egg and butter and sugar, they substituted with cooking oil and molasses sugar.. But no flour cake, seldom hear before.. No flour pancake I hear before though..

  3. I love cannellini beans in my salad. Never would I have thought that beans could be included in our cupcakes! Thanks for the great idea Zoe. Looks yummy.

  4. Zoe, I wanted to buy coconut sugar too, already love anything with coconut, recently even more crazy on it hahahha... this cake looks good, moreover no oil no butter flourless, sound like great for diet person like me, I mean use mouth to diet heeheehee

  5. I love how this turned out, Zoe. The top is gorgeous! ❤

  6. Zoe, I love my legumes and this is the first time I see beans used to make cakes.

  7. Does this taste beany at all? I don't have almond flour but do have hazelnut flour , I guess this should work too?? Do you need to add additional " water" into the batter?? Thanks

    1. Hi Mel,

      If you are using cannellini beans, the taste is actually quite neutral. I'm pretty sure that you can substitute almond meal with hazelnut meal without adding more or less of other ingredients but I have tried this substitution before. Please tell me if it works! Happy baking and experimenting! Cheers!


  8. Once again your almond cake with the honey drizzle makes me want to grab one and eat it.

  9. That sounds so good and healthy...I wanna try it soon

  10. Oh wow, this is so new to me! I really would love to be able to invest more time into learning about alternative diets. I'm very open to trying new diets and would be happy to try vegetarian or a more plant based diet that is made of dishes from the Mediterranean and other cuisines known for super tasty dishes that are more plant based. I can't believe you didn't use any oil/butter, they look amazing!