I have two great things for you today: an amazing (and healthy!) almond cake recipe along with a review of the cookbook, Vibrant Food by Kimberely Hasselbrink.
First, let’s talk about this almond cake: it’s a dense cake made with pure almond flour (so it’s gluten-free), lightly sweetened with honey, and made with olive oil. Thought it’s a dense cake, it’s far from heavy; this would still be considered a light dessert. I can assure you that this was an amazing cake because it was finished in my house before the end of breakfast – this only happens when true perfection has been created! Scroll down for the full recipe.
Onto the book review:
If you haven’t heard of Vibrant Food, it’s cookbook showcasing the various fruits and vegetables of each season. The book has four main sections, one for each season. Recipes coordinate with the vegetables and fruits that tend to grow during those seasons.
This book is truly great for the photography; every single recipe is complimented with a photo, leaving no room for guesses as to how the dish should be served and presented. Hasselbrink is a truly a talented artist as she herself writes the book, perfects the recipes, cooks, and takes every photo. Many great chefs have to hire a photographer to shoot their creations, but Hasselbrink beautifully does it all herself.
I love that each recipe has a unique and hearty feel to it, with combinations that are rarely seen but appear to match well. Many of the dishes appear very elegant as well, especially the desserts. Some of the recipes include Raspberry Compote with Cacao Nibs, Sweet Corn and Squash Fritters with Avocado Cream, Almond Honey Cake with Poached Quince… With over 70 recipes, there are plenty of options.
Even though the originality of many of the dishes in this book makes it amazing, it can also be a bit of a burden. How often do I have 12 squash blossoms on hand? How about Champagne vinegar? Which of my local grocery stores carry quince?
Some of the recipes are relatively simple, but for almost everything in the book I feel that I would have to make a grocery trip before I could even start the recipe. Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing; the book is called Vibrant Food. These foods are fresh, full of flavors. This isn’t your bland, ready-in-a-minute weekday cookbook. These recipes have a lot of thought put into their creation and will, subsequently, take a little more thought to prepare. When making something fruity and refreshing, or a crispy green salad, you can’t use the canned produce you store in your pantry; fresh is the best way to go.
Many of these recipes can easily be adapted depending on what you have at home: this almond cake recipe, for instance, called for poached quince, but since I had berries on hand, I used those instead.
- 2 cups ground almonds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp cardamon
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- zest of 1 orange
- powdered sugar, to top
- 1 cup mixed berries
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 325F and prepare a 9-inch springform pan with butter or oil.
- In a medium mixing bowl, sift the almonds, baking powder, baking soda, cardamon, cinnamon, and salt together. Add the eggs, honey, olive oil, and orange zest. Mix with a wooden spoon just until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- For the berry syrup: Place a small saucepan over medium heat. Place berries and sugar in the saucepan. Cook until berries are soft and mixture has begun to boil, about 10 minutes for fresh berries or 15-20 minutes for frozen berries.
- Once cake has cooled, sift powdered sugar on top. Serve with berry syrup.
Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books.