Flourless Damson Cake

  
  
As fall is officially upon us with no more warmth in sight, I have been looking forward to lots of baking. So, the other weekend I spent the afternoon at Grimsbury Community Farm in the Kingswood area, which is in the eastern part of Bristol.

 
I heard that there were still lots of blackberry bushes bearing fruit and some damson plum trees with lots of purple treats ready to fall off. 

  
There were also some sheep, goats, ducks, chickens, birds, guinea pigs, donkeys, a gorgeous horse, and  huge pig. 

  
  
As you can see, it was a gorgeous day, so we spent a few hours enjoying the warmth and walking the paths around the farm. Admission is free, so it’s a great day out for families and those who enjoy the outdoors. There are activities throughout the year such as apple pressing, carol singing, and a wassail event in January. If you happen to spend some time there, there’s a donation box which goes toward farm maintenance and animal care.

  
We came home with a nice bit of fruit and I was most interested in seeing what I could transform the damsons into. I had never seen or tasted a damson before coming to the UK. It is a small pitted plum, slightly larger than a big grape with a tangy flavor. The taste is intensified when cooked down into a jam or baked.

  
Since I was visiting a friend who isn’t too keen on wheat, I thought this would be a great challenge to make a wheat-free flourless bake. If you’ve been watching Bakeoff, you’ll recall how this is sometimes a difficult task. The first obstacle is to get it to rise. The second is to prevent it from being too dry, without adding too much moisture. I found a pretty good recipe and with a few changes, I think this may be a good bake. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 180 g ground almonds
  • 2/3 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 4 eggs, whisked
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond essence
  • 1 cup chopped damsons
  • damson jam for glazing

Heat your oven to 180 C / 350 F and grease or line a round baking dish. In a large bowl, combine the ground almonds, coconut, sugar, and salt. 

  
In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs.

  
 Then add the mashed banana, coconut milk, melted butter, vanilla, and almond essence. Once combined, add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients.

  

Using a whisk, mix the mixture until it is very smooth. Make sure that the eggs are thoroughly incorporated.

  
Set that aside, and chop up your damsons. This was very time consuming as the fruit and pits are very small. I would recommend doing this ahead of time if possible.

  
Once that is done, pour the batter into the baking dish, and evenly place the damson fruits on top.

  
Bake for 45-55 minutes depending on the heating efficiency of your oven. I baked mine for 40 minutes, then carried on for another 15. 

  
I forgot to take a photo of the cake as a whole, but you can still see how it turned out. I glazed it while warm with the rest of the Cornish Meadows Damson jam I picked up in Cornwall this summer. I was initially worried that the cake didn’t turn out well as I did not achieve a rise at all. However, the flavor was just lovely! It was also pleasantly moist, more like a pudding as opposed to a drier cake. We ate it with some vanilla ice cream, but custard would be just as delightful. I will definitely be making this again, but may try apple, pear, or pineapple for the top. Not bad for being wheat free! Keep your eyes out for the fall harvest and try to find some local produce to enjoy wherever you are. You’d be surprised on what you can make with just a few key ingredients and a quick Pinterest search. Stay warm Bristol, thanks for reading, and Happy Eating!

  

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