I developed this recipe specifically for Passover, think of it as a hot take on your classic fallen flourless cake. To be honest with you, I think this will be my go to summer dessert: it’s light, very well balanced, you won’t need a nap after eating two slices of this, the walnuts provide a good body for the cake and a high level of moisture. You can top this off with any fruits you prefer: berries, cooked rhubarb, citrus, make it your own.
GLUTEN FREE COCONUT ITALIAN SPONGE CAKE
- 4 eggs
- 12 tablespoons white sugar (3/4 cup)
- 3 tablespoons oil
- a pinch of salt
- 13 tablespoons dried desiccated coconut flakes (80 grams or 3/4 cup)
- 14 tablespoons whole walnuts (150 grams or 1 2/5 cup)
- I used a food processor to grind the walnuts into a fine powder, if you can find them already ground, just use the equivalent of the specified quantity
- 1 refrigerated can of full-fat coconut milk (425 ml can)
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- the juice of 1 small lemon
- 100-150 grams strawberries
- 3 passion fruits
- fresh mint leaves
- 50 grams white sugar (1/4 cup)
- 50 grams hot water (1/4 cup)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence or lemon juice
*If you are baking this cake for Passover, make sure your ingredients are certified kosher for Passover.
- Preheat the oven at 175 °C (350 °F).
- Line a 20 cm (8 inch) round cake pan with parchment paper on the bottom and around the sides.
- Separate the 4 eggs into two bowls, egg whites in one, egg yolks in the other one.
- Next, whip the egg whites until they reach the soft peak stage, throw in the remaining 4 tablespoons (1/3) of sugar and a pinch of salt. Continue to whip the egg whites until stiff peaks are starting to form.
- Add 8 tablespoons (2/3) of the sugar to the egg yolks and start whipping them for 5-6 minutes until they become light yellow and doubled in size. Next, slowly drizzle the oil while mixing the yolks to create an emulsion, just like when you’re making mayo.
- Next, grind the walnuts and coconut together in a food processor or blender.
Gently incorporate the walnut-coconut grounds into the egg yolks by folding everything with a spatula or with a spoon.
- Next, it’s time to fold in the egg whites into our batter. Again, gentle motions, try to preserve all that air that we’ve whipped into the eggs, it will be our only source of leavening.
Once everything has been fully incorporated, it is time to gently add the cake batter to the baking pan. Pop the baking pan into the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes.
As a suggestion, maybe don’t do what I did and line the margins of the baking pan with parchment paper. Simply grease the pan with more oil and sprinkle some more of the walnut crumbs or coconut on it. Once baked, scrape the cake with a knife to release itself from the baking pan.
- While the cake is baking, we’ll start working on our frosting: simply scoop out the hardened coconut cream from the refrigerated can into a bowl, avoiding the liquid bits from the bottom.
- Add the sugar, lemon juice, a pinch of salt to the bowl and start to whisk everything until well incorporated.
- Next, for the syrup, simply mix the water, vanilla and sugar together into a bowl, until the sugar has fully dissolved.
- Time to take the cake out of the oven. To make sure it’s ready to come out, pop a sharp kitchen utensil in the middle of it, if it comes out clean, the cake is ready, otherwise, let it bake for a few more minutes.
- Let the cake cool completely.
Spoiler alert, the cake will collapse a little bit, but that’s normal, do not worry about it. That is because we are not using any wheat flour to have any gluten to provide structure to support the weight of our cake.
- You can trim a really thin layer on the top of the cake to encourage the cake to soak up the simple syrup easier.
- Next, top the sponge cake with the coconut frosting.
- Cut the strawberries into quarters and lay them on top of the cake. Scoop out the passion fruit pulp and distribute it evenly on the coconut cream. The last thing, sprinkle some mint leaves on top of it all.