Saturday, June 1, 2019


I’m having a gluten-free month. No wheat bread, no pasta, no flour or crumbs to bread the cutlets or fish fillets. (No other grains and cereals either.) However will I survive?

Turns out, I’ve got a magic ingredient that fills the wheaten gap nicely (except for leavened bread). It’s ground almonds, almond meal, unsweetened almond flour. Crushed almonds are used in many Spanish dishes—think, ajo blanco, white gazpacho, and pepitoria, a saffron sauce thickened with ground almonds for chicken or meatballs.

Extrapolating, I’ve used almond flour for “breading” chicken breasts, sliced eggplant and fish fillets, dipping them first in beaten egg, then almonds before pan-frying, and for thickening “gravy.”

A cake made with almond flour, unsweetened cocoa and prunes for sweetness.

Now I’m making myself a really elegant dessert, a gluten-free, no-sugar chocolate cake. It’s delicious with strawberries or other fruit. Or, maybe, a dollop of whipped cream? Oh, wait, I’m having a dairy-free month too.

Ground almonds keep the cake moist; beaten egg whites make it light.

Because it's not too sweet, the cake goes well with fresh fruit.

Chocolate-Almond Cake
Tarta de Chocolate con Almendras

Prunes give sweetness to the cake but are not really discernible. Add additional sweetener, artificial or sugar, as you like. The ground almonds provide enough natural oil to keep the cake moist. Beaten egg whites make it light. Double the recipe to make two layers.

Bring eggs to room temperature before separating them—they will yield a larger volume of whites for whipping.

Ground almonds--a magic ingredient for gluten-free cooking and baking.

6-8 servings

5-6 pitted prunes
½ cup boiling water
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
3 eggs, separated
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon Sherry vinegar
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon liquid stevia or 2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1 ½ cups ground almonds (4 ½ ounces)

Put the prunes in a heat-proof bowl and pour over the boiling water. Let the prunes soak 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8-inch cake pan with baking parchment and oil the sides of the pan.

Place the prunes and water in a blender container with the cocoa and blend until smooth. Add the egg yolks, salt, vinegar, baking powder and stevia, if using. Blend.

Stir in almond flour.
Fold in egg whites.

Place the prune-chocolate mixture in a mixing bowl and add the ground almonds. Mix well.

Beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. 

Stir 3 spoonfuls of the whites into the cake batter, mixing well. Fold remaining whites into the batter. Scrape the batter into prepared cake pan.

Bake the cake until a tester comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Allow cake to cool on a rack before removing from the pan.

More gluten-free recipes with almonds:

More recipes with ground almonds (not gluten-free):


  1. Good luck with your gluten-free cooking! You can try potato flakes to create a nice crust on fish before pan frying... if you get tired of the almonds. Dip fish in slightly beaten egg white first.

    1. Andrea: Thanks for the tip about potato flakes--must try.