Saturday, 7 April 2012

Grain Free Plain Sponge Cake SCD GF DF

We have eaten a lot of cake this week! I've never cooked a plain cake for the SCD before and I've always loved plain Victoria Sponge cake with some strawberry jam sandwiched in between the layers. So I set out to try and recreate the texture and taste.  The cake made with this recipe is not exactly the same BUT it comes pretty close, I think, if my memory serves me well.

Last week I made some cakes and I was pretty impressed by the taste and texture after the first attempt. The only thing which let them down a little was the fact that they dipped ever so slightly in the middle.

I'm no baking expert so I searched for some advice on the net. Too much liquid sweetener or too much flour or the temperature too low can apparently cause this problem. Since I've always baked almond flour muffins at 160° C, I thought it couldn't possibly be the temperature. So I baked more batches reducing the amount of almond flour but the texture wasn't nearly as good AND they still dipped in the middle. So today I turned up the heat and watched them carefully. It seems that 10° makes all the difference. So I'm happy. Then I thought, everyone's oven behaves differently so IF you decide to try this recipe you may need to experiment with the heat a little. My oven is an electric oven which has a fan, so 170° C in my oven may be 175° C in yours if you don't have a fan. I would start at the lower temperature and work up!

Plain Sponge Cake GF SCD 

250g Ground Almonds
3 large eggs
3 tblsps extra virgin olive oil
80ml acacia honey
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tblsp pure vanilla extract (alcohol, water and vanilla only)
pinch salt

Heat the oven to 170° C. Pour the honey, extra virgin olive oil and vanilla extract into the bowl of a food processor then break in the eggs.

Process until combined.

Measure out the ground almonds, bicarbonate of soda and salt into another bowl and whisk together with a fork or balloon whisk.

Add to the wet ingredients little by little. 

Process on a medium speed until all the dry ingredients have been mixed in.

Prepare a tin with some muffin cases and spoon the mixture in until about half full. This mixture makes 10 to 12 medium muffin case cakes. It's sometimes a good idea to use double liners to help prevent burning the cakes. Almond flour tends to brown quite quickly.

Bake in the bottom of the oven for about 20 minutes until springy to touch or a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Try to leave them the full 20 minutes. These ones took 22 minutes. Don't open the oven too soon or they will collapse. I slightly overfilled these cases!

When you cut into the cake, this is how it looks.

This recipe will also make a sandwich cake. I used two seven inch tins but six inch ones would probably give a deeper cake. Line the tins with baking parchment and share the batter between the tins.

Cook for 20 to 25 minutes in the bottom of the oven until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean and the top is springy to touch.

Let the cakes cool in the tins for at least fifteen minutes then carefully run a knife around the edge and gently tip out onto a cooling rack and remove the paper.

Sandwich together with jam, I like St Dalfour (but it's not SCD legal), or your favourite frosting. Over the weeks I will be posting cakes using this recipe. Today, I made some plain cakes and some lemon and pistachio ones.

Into half the mix, I grated some rind from a couple of washed and unwaxed lemons and topped with a few chopped pistachios.

 Simple! You could mix pistachios into the batter if you prefer.

I hope you enjoy these cakes, I haven't seen any recipes for plain sponge cake using ground almonds and I know this batter recipe will enable you to convert your old favourites. One thing I noticed, is that when I made the cakes in a straight sided muffin tin instead of one with sloping sides, they rose much better and right out of the cases!

Please come and say hello on Facebook and Twitter ! 

This recipe is linked to Sugar Free SundayMonday ManiaMelt in your Mouth MondayFat TuesdayHearth and Soul HopSlightly Indulgent TuesdayGluten-Free WednesdaysAllergy-Free WednesdaysReal Food WednesdayHealthy 2Day WednesdaysWhole Food WednesdayFull Plate ThursdaySimple Lives ThursdayFreaky FridayFriday Food FlicksFresh Bites FridayFight Back FridayGallery of FavoritesAllergy Friendly Lunchbox LoveFeed Your SoulAllergy Friendly SaturdayPotluck PartyGAPS Friendly FridaysHearth and Soul Blog HopFat TuesdayGluten-Free Wednesdays


  1. Oh vicky...this is just amazing. Thank you for providing us with this truly wonderful recipe. I have no words. this cake looks perfect, so soft and fluffy. And I love your little cupcakes. WOW!! I will be making this for SURE. Ethan's birthday is in a few weeks, then Sky's, then mine. How special to enjoy birthday cake!!

    Hope you're having a great weekend.

    Off to start dinner.


  2. Thanks Amber! I needed to develop this recipe because most recipes for plain cakes out there on the internet use coconut flour and I prefer almond flour to coconut flour.

    I haven't made a standard Birthday Cake in ages. I just like plain and simple!

  3. love the crumb of the cake.. cant believe that is just almonds! nice!

  4. Thanks Richa! I think the evoo makes all the difference. It's the easiest and healthiest fat for me to use to keep my baking dairy free.

    We ate the cake yesterday at a family gathering and everyone who tried it gave it the thumbs up :)

  5. I love the look of the overflowing cupcakes. It's like the goodness just can't be contained!

  6. Thanks Raj! I know! I can't believe how much they rise, I only filled the cases to about half full and there isn't too much soda in them! The texture is sooo light and fluffy yet still moist! I'm so proud of these beauties!

    The new baking tin I used for the plain ones is quite deep and the cases fit quite snuggly so I think that made the difference!

    Thank you for visiting :)

  7. Hello dear Vicky! I hope you had a beautiful Easter! I am so grateful for this yummy recipe! I have never been able to get my SCD muffins to rise like this. Thank you so much for the wonderful tips! Yours look so light and fluffy and look delicious!!! I wish I could have one and give you a big hug! Thank you for sharing your lovely photos too! I will have to try the evoo instead of butter. I do very little dairy as it is, but I have been using butter. I wonder if coconut oil would work well too? Like you, I only like to use almond flour, not coconut flour, so I am thrilled you came up with this fantastic recipe and the variations on it! Have a lovely day! xo~ Paula

  8. Thank you so much for you kind words Paula! I really appreciate them!

    Coconut oil is solid but you could try melting it and using the same amount and see what happens!

  9. Vicky, This cake looks wonderful. I'm imagining having it with some fresh sliced strawberries and some of my favourite soy ice cream. It looks like you have managed to create a lovely texture! Joann

  10. Thank you Joann! I can't wait for strawberry season!

  11. I think you have out done yourself with this recipe! The cupcakes are gorgeous and they look so light and fluffy. I love that they do not require any special ingredients - just pantry staples. Well done!

  12. Thank you so much Alea! I must admit that when I cut into them I was soooo pleased with myself! Though everyone is a little fed up (literally!)with plain sponge now lol!

    My next challenge is a simple vegan GF sponge cupcake recipe - that will probably take ages (if not years) to develop!

  13. You are welcome dear Vicky! Thank you, I will try that! xo~ Paula

  14. This looks fantastic! I can't believe that it is just almonds, no flour... and yet looks so soft and spongy!!

    Waiting for my toaster oven and then I'm going to try this recipe! Thanks for bringing it over to Sugar Free Sunday! :)

  15. This looks delicious! I Would love to have you link up to my 2 carnivals today.... (anything food related) and (deserts only). Hope to see you around!

  16. These look delicious! LOVE using almond flour. Thanks for sharing on Allergy-Free Wednesday! Hope you'll join us again this week with another great recipe!

  17. Thank you Janelle! They're so easy to make!

  18. Sonia - Thank you, let me know how they turn out!

  19. I recently started (self-taught) baking with almond flour for health reasons and have been looking for a plain sponge cake recipe. Your cakes look lovely!

    I made these today but failed to get a similar consistency for the batter. I could not use my food processor as it is not big enough to contain 250g of flour plus the wet ingredients so I used an electric mixer instead. I used three large eggs, same amount of oil, lessened the honey by 20ml, and halved the vanilla as all I had left was imitation. After mixing the wet ingredients into the dry, the batter turned out somewhat like a wet dough consistency but not thick and runny like yours. Could it be the lessening of the sweeteners? So I added one small egg and some milk till it became a smoother consistency but still not as smooth as yours. I baked the batter in a 8 x 8 inch pan for 22 minutes and used the remaining for cupcakes. I've let it cool for about 30 minutes and it looks fine. I'm still puzzled by the initial consistency and would love for some advice! Thank you for the recipe!


    1. Dawn - Did you measure out your almond flour or did you convert from cups?

      It is quite a thin smooth batter when it's made (a bit like yorkshire pudding batter or pancake batter) and I think the extra 20ml of honey is necessary. But it shouldn't have been dough like and there shouldn't be a problem using an electric hand mixer either.

      I made these loads of time so I'm quite surprised they didn't work out since 20ml of honey shouldn't make all that much difference.

      All I can say is try again. It sounds like you may have been using too much almond flour because 250 grams is only a smallish packet.

      Please email me if you have anymore problems.


  20. Thanks for sharing on GAPS Friendly Fridays! A note for the GAPSters - Sodium bicarbonate is one of those things that is to be avoided on GAPS, but not necessarily strictly. It is alkaline, which could be problematic for people who are too far out of balance in that direction.

  21. Hi Joy!

    Yes, I read about this but many people still seem to develop recipes with bicarbonate of soda so I decided to link it.

    Thanks for hosting the event!

  22. Hello,
    These look like heaven! Any chance you can convert the amounts of almond flour & honey into cups? (I'm not familiar with grams and millilters) Thanks!

    1. Hi! Thank you! If you look in the tab across the top of the page, I have put some conversions. However, depending on how you fill your cups it can make a big difference to the recipe. The batter should look a little like a pancake batter. Hope they work out OK for you.

    2. Hi,
      Yes, I did see that, but still couldn't figure it out. I guess I will have to get some help.

    3. Sorry you can't understand it. For the almond flour try 2 and a half cups but don't pack it in. Scoop it up and shake the cup to level it. For the honey use one third of a cup. When adding the almond flour add it little by little in case the cup size is too big. The batter should be like a pancake batter or a normal cake batter. Let me know how you go on! Good luck!

    4. Thanks so much! I will definitely be making this and report back. : )

  23. I have made this several times, and my family loves it, especially with warmed up frozen blueberries on it. The batter is always way thick for me too. There must be something lost in the conversions. Anyway, it still turns out great. Thanks!

    1. I find that a 240 ml (Canadian cup) is 95 grams of flour. Possibly the eggs may be too small - I use English large eggs which equate to US Extra Large eggs I believe. The honey is also quite runny, if you use a thick honey it may not have the same consistency. Next time I use ground almonds I will measure the weight of a 250 ml US cup and post it here.

      I'm so pleased you like this recipe, thank you for letting me know :)

  24. I'm so glad you shared this recipe with us at Hearth and Soul, Vicky! Your gluten free sponge cake looks so moist and delicious! Love the version with lemon and pistachios too. I've shared your post on my Facebook page :-)

    1. Thank you for sharing April! I'm so pleased you like the recipe.