6 Important Tips I Learned About Almond Flour Baking – Especially When You Goof.

June 23, 2022

June 25 is Strawberry Parfait Day, which gave me an idea. To celebrate this berry sweet day (see what I did there?), I decided to attempt a low-carb recipe for Strawberry Almond Coffee Cake instead of the traditional sugary dessert.

I haven't been baking much lately because the weather in Central Texas has been in the 100s, and I try to utilize the oven in the morning to not tax our AC. Y'all -- the hot weather started in May this year, which is unusual for us. These temps normally begin in July and runs through August. I don't mind hot, but this has become too hot even for me.

My recipe was selected because it used almond flour. Most recipes I have made with almond flour have turned out quite well since it is essential to follow these wheat-free recipes exactly. I cannot give credit to where this Strawberry Almond Coffee Cake recipe is from, and that is probably a good thing.

Here's why.

The recipe called for 2-1/2 cups of almond flour, about a cup more than I have used in other almond flour bakes. I followed the directions to the letter until I got to "combine all ingredients together and bake."

Bake? The batter was completely dry! The only liquids listed were ¼ cup of melted coconut oil and a tablespoon of maple syrup. I rechecked to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything. (See my hint below for how I guarantee all the ingredients make the mixing bowl.)  Because this was a scanned and not a handwritten copy of the recipe, I didn't forget to write something down. I hated to throw away this much almond flour!

Determined to succeed, I searched for the recipe title on Google, but it led to no similar results.


Can Two Almond Flour Recipes Be Combined?

Researching "low-carb coffee cake, I discovered another coffee cake that used almond flour and other similar ingredients. Now I would try to combine the recipes. Either way, the almond flour could end up in the trash.

Listen, I am not a baking genius. In my many years of baking, I have effortlessly followed recipes, maybe making some minor changes, but I have always gotten yummy results. My experimentation with baking doesn't go any farther since I lack the expert knowledge of baking science (along with courage) that food bloggers possess.


Today it was baking with Google.


SEE MY FINAL RECIPE BELOW!

With 2-1/2 cups of almond flour in the bowl and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda (from the first recipe) already added as the leavening agent, I added eggs, more stevia, and left out the xanthan gum required in the second recipe. Now the batter was smooth and creamy.  

My experimental batter complete, it was spooned into a greased 8" x 8" glass pan and into a 350-degree oven for 25 minutes, as directed in the first recipe.

The first check was after 25 minutes, and while looking acceptable, it was still jiggly and not quite brown in the middle. I lowered the temp to 325 degrees and baked for another 10 minutes. Googling while the cake baked, I learned (thanks to this food blogger) that overall, items with almond flour bake more quickly. Remembering a favorite muffin recipe of mine that required a different baking temperature part way through the baking process, I thought to try it with this cake.

The final result after 35 minutes was a golden brown cake. After my temperature adjustment, I was happy that it appeared to be cooked through the middle.  

Happy result of combining 2 almond flour recipes

I let my cake sit for 30 minutes before slicing since it is necessary to completely cool any almond flour baked goods. After cutting the cake into nine pieces, a good sign was when a corner piece effortlessly lifted from the pan. Once on the plate, I was pleased. To add a "parfait" twist, I added Sugar-Free Cool Whip.

Happy result of combining 2 almond flour recipes

Taste? It was . . . Success!

Not overly sweet (although most coffee cakes aren't, as they get their sweetness from the added fruit) or too dense, but I could have added more fruit.


Regardless, it was a nice treat with my iced coffee. (Iced coffee -- remember that it's 100 degrees here in Texas!) 

Because the cake's middle was cooked but more moist than the rest, next time I would adjust the baking time to 350 degrees for 20 minutes and 325 degrees for 15 minutes for more consistency. Would I make it again? I believe that I will, using apples and cinnamon with a crumble on top in place of strawberries.


6 Things I Learned About Baking with Almond Flour: 

  1. Know how to use almond flour and how it works differently from regular flour. There are also differences between almond flour and almond meal in baking.
  2. More of a leavening agent (like baking soda or eggs) is needed. Baking powder is not recommended.
  3. Almond flour has more fat, so adding oil or butter isn't necessary.
  4. While gluten-free recipes with almond flour use xanthan gum as a binder instead of gluten, my experiment worked well using eggs to create a sticky batter.  
  5. Mixing all dry ingredients first, then adding wet ingredients is essential, even for almond flour recipes. The batter will often be wetter and can tolerate overmixing.
  6. Adjust the baking temperature. Some bakers said that almond flour recipes cook quicker, and some said longer . . . but I think I found the happy medium. The consensus seems to be to cook 25 degrees lower than traditional flour baked goods.

A messed-up recipe doesn't have to fail even if you aren't a science whiz. Try combining two recipes to see what happens. You may be happily surprised at the results! 

More Helpful Tips for Almond Flour:

Blue Diamond Almond company website
King Arthur Flour company website
Food Blogger Sugar-Free Sprinkles

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(In the original recipe, it called for 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Since I had already added it, I had to leave it in, but it's doubtful it did anything to enhance the recipe.)

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BONUS: My Fool-Proof Kitchen Hint for Recipe Ingredients:

Baked goods are science projects with all ingredients necessary to make a successful bake. I developed a fool-proof system to ensure I don't forget to add what's needed for the recipe.

First, I take out every item listed in the recipe (including measuring cups and spoons), and place them together on the counter where I'm mixing. After adding each ingredient, I immediately put that item away in the cabinet. If the item is going to be used again (such as for a topping), I move it to another part of the counter by the second mixing bowl.

It is extra steps and motion, but I found this kitchen tip helps me from second-guessing myself! And when in menopause, every bit helps!

What are your experiences with almond flour? Do you have any tips or tricks that have helped you? What have your learned? Please share in the comments below; I'd love to know!

 

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