Sunday, April 24, 2016


What to serve for dessert for a dinner party or holiday occasion is, for me, always a dilemma. That’s because I don’t eat sugar. None whatsoever. (I am borderline diabetic and determined not to cross over.) So the usual cakes, pastries and puddings are out-of-bounds. I usually resolve the issue by going ahead and making a sweet dessert, then sitting back and watching my guests enjoy it. 

Slivered almonds top a sugar-free almond torte.
This week I decided to try a cake with artificial sweetening in place of the sugar, so that I could eat it too. I started with my basic recipe for a gorgeous almond torte known as torta de Santiago (that recipe is here ). I used all ground almonds, eliminating the flour, so the cake is also gluten-free. I used olive oil instead of butter. And I substituted white stevia powder for the sugar.

A tiny bit of (optional) honey with lemon juice gave the cake a slight glaze and helped slivered almonds adhere to the surface. I served the cake accompanied by unsweetened whipped cream and unsweetened berries. My guests thought it was terrific and I enjoyed a nice serving too. I never fessed up to leaving out the sugar.

Serve the torte with berries and cream, a lovely spring dessert.

Almond meal and olive oil make a moist cake.

So good with a dollop of cream and strawberries.

Almond Torte
Torta de Almendras

Serves 8.

7 eggs
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup stevia (white powder sweetener)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
4 cups ground almonds (unsweetened almond meal)

Glaze (optional)
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Oil a 9-inch springform pan.

Carefully separate the eggs. Place the whites in a medium bowl, the yolks in a large mixing bowl.

Beat the whites at high speed until stiff. Beat in 2 teaspoons of lemon juice. Beat the yolks until they are slightly thickened and increased in volume, 4 minutes. Beat in the oil, then the stevia. Add the grated zest.

Fold the whites gently into the yolk mixture. Fold in the ground almonds in 4 additions.  Pour the batter into the springform pan. Bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.

Cool the torte in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool on a rack.

For the glaze, combine the honey and lemon juice in a small bowl. Microwave on medium power for 30 seconds, or until the honey is fluid. Prick the surface of the cake with a toothpick. Brush the honey lemon glaze over the cake. Sprinkle with almonds.

Dense, moist and just sweet enough with sugar substitute.

Green almonds from the tree--promise of next year's crop.


  1. Love Torte de Santiago! My wife tried it with Splenda (artificial sweetener), and it came out OK.

    But when we have company, she always makes flan for dessert.

    1. David: With all those almonds, the torte just has to be delicious! Does she make flan with Splenda too? Pretty much need real sugar to make a caramel, no?

  2. Sorry, I kept on forgetting to ask my wife. She does her flan with Splenda in the custard part, but of course real sugar for the caramel. She says, "my recipe is a bit more like a cheesecake than a pure custard." It's delicious and no one has ever noticed the Splenda.