A Little Bit Nutty
I was flipping through the Good Housekeeping “Best-Loved Desserts” cookbook and a recipe for Coconut-Pecan Frosting jumped out at me. Sure it had cream (can’t have), butter (can’t have), brown sugar (can’t have), and sweetened coconut (you got it – can’t have) but it got me thinking, what if? Could it work if I left out the cream, used honey instead of brown sugar and unsweetened coconut?
Yes! It took a bit of tweaking but the final result spread over a Butter Pecan Cake (it just sounded like a good pairing) was so good that my husband took one bite then came over to give me a big kiss.
The cake is a lighter recipe than I use for muffins, much more cake-like. While I suspect that any oil would work in the cake, I used grapeseed oil as I always do when I want a buttery taste with almond flour. If you can use butter, I think it would work well.
Butter Pecan Cake
2 cups almond flour (I used Honeyville)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 large eggs
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup applesauce
2 Tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/2 cup toasted pecans*, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9 inch round pan (I used grapeseed oil), line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper, then oil that.
In a large bowl, add the almond flour, baking soda and sea salt, then mix to combine and break up any lumps in the flour. (I used a stand mixer for this recipe.) Add the eggs, honey, vanilla, applesauce** and oil then mix slowly to combine then at medium speed for a couple of minutes. Stir in the pecans then pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 15-17 minutes or until it tests done in the center with a toothpick. Cool for about 10 minutes then run a knife around the edge and turn out onto a cake rack, peel of the paper and let cool. Carefully place the cake on a pretty plate then frost.
Coconut Pecan Frosting
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
2 egg yolks
heaping 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (I used Tropical Traditions)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
small pinch sea salt
In a medium saucepan, heat the coconut oil and honey on medium high until it barely begins to boil then remove from the heat.
In a bowl, whisk the two egg yolks, then, still whisking add a tablespoon at a time of the hot liquid until you’ve added about 1/2 cup. (This is to “temper” the eggs so they’re the same temperature as the hot mixture and won’t scramble.) Add this mixture to the saucepan, again whisking constantly. (If for some reason, you get a few bits of scrambled eggs, don’t panic. Just pour the mixture through a metal strainer, put it back in the pan and keep going.) Heat on medium about 10 minutes – yes, whisking constantly but not as quickly as before – until it changes from being a fairly clear liquid to a cloudier, whiter liquid, then bubbles and thickens. Remove from the heat and add the coconut, pecans, vanilla and pinch of salt. Let cool for 10-15 minutes then frost the top of the cake.
*If you’re starting with raw pecans, as I do, spread them on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for no more than 5 minutes. These were done in 4 1/2. If you burn them – and that’s easy to do if you walk away (ask me how I know) – they have to be thrown out. Toasted, they’re amazing. If you toast more than you need for the recipe, add them to a salad. Yum.
**Recipe for making a small amount of applesauce here.