I have a serious sweet tooth. Growing up, most classically sweet treats like artificially-dyed fruit roll ups, sugary desserts, sodas, and even most cereals were strictly forbidden in our household. These items were reserved for special occasions, or more often, not at all. As kids, my siblings and I craved these items we couldn’t have, and every chance we had, we snuck the junk food and sugary treats that were off limits to us.
As I grew and learned about sugar’s affect on my health, giving into my cravings became less about satisfying my taste buds and more about how to manage and cultivate well being. I found creative ways to still satisfy my cravings without sugar or other unwanted additives and even gluten. Though my lifestyle and the way I view health and nutrition has changed drastically, my want for a sweet comforting flavor has never left.
But Flora ex Machina isn’t about sacrifice. In fact, having to choose between a delicious and flavorful dessert or nothing at all, is not an option in my opinion. It’s unfortunate that these commercial packaged goods, and heavily sugared desserts are what we have so conveniently available to us.
In reality, desserts made with gluten-free grains or grain-free flours, low glycemic sugars, and quality, dare I say, even healthy ingredients, are not hard to make, just hard to find.
In my opinion, desserts should be guiltless, delicious, and outrageously satisfyingly decadent at the same time. My mind goes to beautifully decorated tea cakes, flavored with floral essences, and topped with sugar flowers. Each bite is savored, the last bite lingering. Desserts are a special occasion in of themselves – a presentation fit for a queen.
My idea for a cake fit for royalty stemmed from my latest creation, Royal Ghee. My nutritive butter spread made from traditionally made grass-fed and organic ghee, local wildflower honey, medicinal immune-boosting mushrooms, adaptogenic herbs, and energy boosting and cleansing greens is a decadent, yet guiltless treat on its own, but can also be used in a number of ways, from adding it to coffee and teas, and even smoothies, for a creamy, buttery, nutritive boost, or spread on toasts and crackers for a quick breakfast or snack. But I’ve always thought it tasted like icing and wanted to pair it with a cake as special and rich and as it is.
Gluten free oat flour or fine almond flour, fluffy eggs, kumquat zest, and the complex flavor and aroma of saffron combine to create an airy and light yet moist sponge cake topped with a tangy sheep’s milk or coconut milk yogurt, complementing Royal Ghee’s rich and sweet umami taste.
This cake creation fits my expectations perfectly – a cake that is not only delicious, but beyond nutritious, and fit for royalty.
Grab the recipe below, and head to the shop to purchase Royal Ghee.
Gluten Free Saffron Sponge Cake with Sheep's Yogurt and Royal Ghee
Ingredients for the cake batter:
1 cup of gluten free oat flour or fine almond flour, sifted
6 eggs, separated
1/2 cup honey
1/4 tsp crushed saffron
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon lemon, orange, or kumquat zest
Ingredients for the icing and filling:
1 jar Royal Ghee
Sheep, goat's milk or coconut yogurt of choice
flowers of choice and kumquats
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 2 8 or 9 inch cake pans with ghee or butter.
Separate the egg whites from yolks in separate mixing bowls. Mix the flour and the salt together in a separate bowl.
Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Gradually add 1/2 the honey in and continue to beat for an additional 5 minutes. Beat in the lemon zest. The egg yolk batter should be thick and lighter in color.
Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until they hold soft peaks. Gradually add the remainder of the honey and continue to beat until the peaks become stiffer. With a spatula or clean hand, fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture.
Sift the flour mixture into the batter, a little at a time, making sure to gently and thoroughly fold in between additions.
Add batter to cake pans, or tube pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
Remove from oven and turn upside-down on a rack to cool completely, at least an hour.
Layer a generous portion of Royal Ghee as filling, and ice with yogurt. If you don't have Royal Ghee, frost entire cake and filling with yogurt. You may choose to whip yogurt for a touch of honey for added sweetness. Ice just before serving and garnish with flowers of choice and sliced kumquats. Savour to the last bite.