Thursday, 16 August 2012

Healthy grain cherry macaroon cake (coincidentally gluten and dairy free!)

This creation actually came about not from an abundance of seasonal produce being put to good use, but from my next favourite option, frozen stock!  The great thing about buying frozen fruits (or freezing your own home grown crops) is not just the bleeding obvious, being able to eat them all year round, but the nutrition status can often be better than their fresh siblings due to being snap frozen only hours after picking.


The only down side is that structurally, some fruits and vegetables don't seem to maintain their fresh state as well as others once defrosted.  For example, you wouldn't really be able to serve up a bowl of defrosted raspberries on a fruit platter as they would be quite squashy and 'liquidy', but for a sauce, jam, smoothie, muffins, cordial etc, they would be perfectly acceptable.

I'm sure I've said in previous posts that they are really quite reasonable in price, and quite often these days are on half price specials in the major supermarkets regularly.  We always stock up with a few boxes in these weeks!

So anyway, my eldest boy spotted a box of frozen cherries the other day at the supermarket and was adamant he 'needed' them!  So they have been sitting in our freezer and I have been wondering what I could make.  In my mind I really wanted a recipe that would 'show off' the beautiful colour, keep their shape to get bursts of delicious fruity flavour, and yet keep it as healthy as possible (after last months barrage of birthday cakes we are on a bit of a 'cake detox' here now, until next month!)

So this cake was born.  Anyone with a Thermomix will benefit from the freshness of the milled brown rice and almonds, but for those who don't, brown rice flour and almond meal are still very healthy for you!  I used the minimum amount of sugar necessary to bring flavour out of the grains and fruit, and for those avoiding dairy, you may now rejoice, as this cake just happens to be dairy free (and of course gluten free)!!

The original name I gave to this cake was a bit clunky but a friend came up with a much more catchy name, hence Cherry Macaroon Cake!  (Thanks Jen!)  We loved it and I'm sure you won't be disappointed either!  If you are wanting to tap into the 'Cadbury Cherry Ripe' flavour profile even further, why not dust it with some raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder) to give it that chocolate finish?!

By all means substitute cherries with any berries of your choice, or even sliced fresh stone fruits when in season would be amazing!  Mmmm, think I'll revisit this recipe in a few months when the peaches/plums/nectarines are in abundance here!! 

Cherry Macaroon Cake

Ingredients

170g brown rice (or brown rice flour (available in health food stores and some health food aisles of the supermarket) if you don't have a Thermomix)
100g raw almonds (or almond meal if you don't have a Thermomix)
70g gluten free self raising flour (if you are not avoiding gluten, wheat flour would work just as well)
90g rapadura sugar (raw or brown sugar would also be fine)
2 tbs chia seeds
200ml coconut milk (I used organic reduced fat coconut milk)
2 eggs (free range will give you that gorgeous rich yellow yolk!)
2 tbs oil
150-300g fresh or frozen pitted cherries, halved (The picture shows 150g as that it what I used however next time I think I will use the whole 300g pack to get a really dense covering of cherries on the top!)
a couple of handfuls of shredded coconut (I use organic to avoid the sulphates)

Method - Conventional

1.  Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.  Lightly grease a 20cm round cake tin and line the bottom with greaseproof baking paper.  (I used a 26cm oval baking dish as seen in the pictures, which would equate in size roughly to a 20cm round pan)
2.  Place the halved pitted cherries evenly on the base of the baking pan.  Scatter the shredded coconut on top.
3.  Place all remaining ingredients in the mixing bowl of an electric mixer and blend on medium speed for a couple of minutes.
4.  Pour batter over the cherries and coconut.  Place in oven and bake until cooked through - approx 40-45 minutes.  
5.  Leave to cool in tin for 5 minutes before turning out and gently peeling off the paper.  Serve with the cherries facing up, dusted lightly with cocoa powder if desired.

Method - Thermomix

1.  Follow steps 1 and 2 above.
2.  Place rice in your dry TM bowl and mill for 40 seconds on speed 9.  Add almonds and mill for a further 20 seconds on speed 9.
3.  Add the flour, sugar and chia seeds and blend on speed 5 for 10 seconds.
4.  Add coconut milk, eggs and oil.  Blend on speed 5 for 15 seconds.  Scrape bowl and blend for a further 15 seconds on speed 5.
5.  Follow steps 4 and 5 above.

Enjoy!

     

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