This cake came out of the need to find a low-sugar dessert for a birthday picnic. Talking through some recipes with a friend, I landed on my Berry Lemon Almond Tea Cakes, which I thought sounded like the perfect summer cake, and could easily be adapted to be low-sugar. This new version, is simply an adaptation of a previous recipe, but made with agave syrup instead of raw sugar.
Agave syrup is a naturally derived sweetener from the agave plant native to Mexico; it tastes comparable to honey, although not as sharp, and with major hits of toasted malt. But what makes agave syrup different (and fantastic) is that it has a significantly lower glycemic index compared to granulated sugar/raw sugar, etc., meaning that for those trying to watch their sugar/carb consumption because of diabetes or even just weight management, agave syrup offers a natural sweetener without spiking blood sugar. While it’s definitely not a “free” food, it can be viewed as a healthier alternative for those trying to watch their sugar intake, without resorting to chemical artificial sweeteners—which seriously shouldn’t be classified as “food”.
The take-away from my long-winded ramble above is that agave works perfectly as a good low-sugar option for baked goods, as long as you know the ratio, which is pretty simple. Just use 2/3 cup of agave syrup for every 1 cup of granulated sugar, reduce other liquids in whatever you’re baking by ¼ cup to account for the added liquid coming from the agave syrup, lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees and bake. This cake is proof that this substitution works well and the result of this birthday cake experiment is a gloriously light almond cake punctuated with intense bursts of sweet and tart raspberries. Dollop with some homemade unsweetened almond whipped cream (whip cream until you have soft peaks, add ¼ teaspoon of pure almond extract and stir to combine—dollop on top of cake).
Apologies over the absolutely terrible—and only—shot of the cake. It was, after all, meant for a birthday picnic, and this was the only shot I could get—paper plate and all.
- 4 medium eggs
- 1/3 cup agave syrup
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup almond flour/almond meal
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Almond whipped cream to serve
- Preheat the oven to 300F and grease, flour, and line your cake pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the eggs and agave syrup until the mixture is light and fluffy and has tripled in size (approx.10 minutes). Add the olive oil and vanilla and continue to whisk until it has been incorporated. Remove from stand mixer if using. Carefully fold the whole wheat flour and almond flour into the mixture with a rubber spatula, trying not to lose any of the air. Finally fold in the raspberries and lemon zest. Carefully pour cake batter into prepared pan and bake for approximately 35-45 minutes, until sides of cake begin to pull away from pan and toothpick comes out clean. Serve with almond whipped cream dolloped on top.