Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gluten-Free Italian Cornmeal Cake

Pin It This is my first gluten-free cake, and I have to tell you I had almost no faith it was going to turn out. I mean, this cake is like the platypus of cakes: cornmeal, ricotta cheese, ground almonds, orange juice. And no flour. I'd never seen such a crazy combination of ingredients (though it's true I don't get out much). I got this Whole Foods recipe from a friend who recently found out she has a gluten allergy; she said her sister makes it for her at family gatherings so she can have something sweet. I loved that it had the cornmeal, and I'd never used ground almonds, so I was excited to try it--even though I had a hard time believing it would come together.

But come together it did.

This cake was so good.

It was just sweet enough, had a delightful orange flavor, and had a great texture from both the cornmeal and the ground almonds. I served it with some lightly sweetened, softly whipped cream and it was darn-near perfect. I never missed the flour, and I had a very hard time leaving it alone. Yum. YUM.

Note: I could not find ground almonds, so I made my own. I bought a package of slivered almonds and pulsed them, in two batches, in my food processor. Apparently you're living on the edge when you make your own ground almonds because if you go too far you end up with almond butter. I like to live dangerously (not actually), so I pulsed the almonds a few times. A few more times. A few more times. And then I decided to not push my luck any more because I didn't want to go back to the store. If you want less texture you could try to find almond flour (sometimes called 'almond meal'), which is very finely ground almonds.

Gluten-Free Italian Cornmeal Cake (adapted from Whole Foods)
printable recipe

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup ground almonds
2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
zest from 1 orange (about 1 tablespoon)
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
lightly sweetened whipped cream for serving, if desired

1. Heat your oven to 375. Spray a 9-inch spring form pan with non-stick spray.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add ricotta, almonds, vanilla, orange juice, and zest; mix well. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix well.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until it's set and firm in the middle. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool completely before cutting. Serve with whipped cream.

Makes 8-10 servings.


  1. Looks like it is so delicious. I never been tasted like this before. And I was amazed when you tell that you just experiment this almond. WoWWw!!!!
    very brilliant idea you have.
    I will have to try this and I will tell to you if it is alright.

  2. @Italia, I'd love to hear about your cake :)

  3. Wow! I've bookmarked this! First, I love anything with cornmeal. Second, a flourless cake must have a great airy texture. It looks wonderful in your pictures! I've never seen almond flour here in Riga, so I would have to make my own too ;-)


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