I thought I’d give up processed sugar for Lent.
I haven’t though. Instead, I’ve failed miserably.
So miserably in fact, that I gave up giving it up.
I might try blaming my gender and the various cravings we suffer on a monthly basis, but no. I don’t think that’s fair.
I might try blaming the fact that I’ve had an insane ear infection for the last 4 days and chocolate helps ease the pain. . . ?
I have fantastic intentions to weed white sugar and high fructose corn syrup out of my life, I truly still do.
And I will, eventually. Just not as long as I’m a woman with an ear infection. Or. . . a woman.
Whatever. I’m a fair weather natural sugar-er (or hopefully some day a NO sugar-er. (Lord, help me.)).
One day I will be a full-timer, just don’t rush me.
For now, I do things like this: Almond Bundt Cake made with real almonds and whole wheat flour, then sweetened with real maple syrup. And you know what? It works very well, indeed.
Not a single complaint from the kiddos. In fact, they were happily surprised at how tasty this cake turned out – and it leaned far enough into healthy territory that I didn’t feel one iota guilty packing it in lunches or passing out slices after school.
I toted several slices with me to our weekly art morning at the shelter, timid about what the reviews would be simply because the flavors are not the usual. Almond, pecan and coconut (in the “glaze”), faint maple, only mildly sweet, whole-wheaty, and decidedly NOT processed – all rare luxuries in a homeless persons’ diet simply because of affordability. I wasn’t sure they’d enjoy it because it would just be too weird.
Those girls proved me so very wrong. They loved it all the way gone.
It’s a fantastic segue into natural sugar territory – a (cake)bridge with delicate crumb and soft chew to get us where we’re eventually headed: Candy-free Land.
(Healthy) Almond Bundt Cake with Maple Pecan “Glaze”
This cake is mildly sweet and delightful without any glaze at all (think pound cake!). If you wish to sweeten it up though - the pecan maple topping is a great option. It has strong coconut tones to it - which is quite pleasing as long as you enjoy coconut. The glaze is not really a glaze but more of a spread. I found it more appealing to keep it in its own little jar and let people spread as they pleased. We had a split house - some preferred glaze, some did not. Either way - enjoy!
For the cake:
- butter - for coating the pan
- 1 cup all purpose white flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup almond meal, plus one tablespoon
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup full fat sour cream, plus 1 tablespoon
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
for the "glaze":
- 3/4 cup raw pecans
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 2-3 tablespoons solid coconut oil (divided)
- 1/4 cup water (or more)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- pinch of salt
For the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Coat the bundt pan well with butter, then dust with flour. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix white flour, whole wheat flour, almond meal, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the eggs, maple syrup, and sour cream. Slowly add in slightly cooled butter, mixing as your pour. Fold in extracts. Add the dry ingredients into the wet in three parts, incorporating well after each addition. Pour batter into bundt pan and bake at 375 degrees for 5 minutes, then turn the temp down to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes, until batter is set and golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out mostly clean. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
For the Glaze:
Add pecans, maple syrup, 2 tablespoons coconut oil, water, extracts, and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to blend, then puree until a smooth texture is achieved. Add more oil or water as needed. Can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Cake by Sara|Home is Where The Cookies Are, glaze minimally adapted from Detoxinista
all recipes copyright Home is Where the Cookies Are; www.wherethecookiesare.com