You know when I use my proper camera rather than just my iPhone to take photos for a blog post that I'm really proud of it. Honestly, I think this might be the most beautiful thing I've ever made, and it's bloody delicious too. I challenged myself to make a completely dairy, gluten and sugar-free cake which was equally scrumptious as all the rest - I think I've done it. But check out the recipe below and decide for yourself!
I've previously shared on my Instagram that I despise the taste of egg whites. So yes, I'm so pedantic that I honestly seperate my eggs every single morning and only eat the yolks. As a result, we have a lot of spare egg whites in our fridge - did I mention my mum does the same too? Anyway. This usually results in having to make a delicious pav or perhaps some cheeky macarons every now and then to use them up. But I was determined to find a recipe which uses a meringue WITHOUT sugar so that we had a way of using these egg whites up without resulting in a sugar-fest.
This cake was originally though-out to be made into cupcakes but, after some humming and haring, I came up with this instead.
Featuring a delicious Italian meringue style topping, this cake perfectly blends a lemon meringue pie with a beautiful lemony-coconut cake. It has flecks of poppyseeds too which I think adds a beautiful finishing touch.
Somehow, this cake is perfectly moist and sweet without that sickly 'sugar-free' taste. Oh and you won't find any artificial sweeteners or sugar replacements here, honey is the liquid sweetener of choice for both the cake and the topping. Which I think is just gorgeous with the lemon flavour.
In my opinion, this cake is perfect for a young child's birthday or an afternoon of cakes and tea in the backyard. I encourage you to give this recipe a try!
Please see the important notes below each section of the recipe for top tips and serving notes!
To begin, preheat your oven to 170c on the conventional/bake function. Line a cake tin (8" or 9") with baking paper on the bottom and brush the sides lightly with a little olivani or coconut oil.
In your stand mixer, using the paddle attachment (see note), combine all of your dry ingredients. Combine gently. Measure out your olivani. While the mixer is combining the dry ingredients on low, gradually add in small tablespoon sized chunks of olivani. Continue until all the olivani is in the bowl and a bread-crumb like texture has formed.
In a seperate bowl, combine all remaining ingredients (except poppyseeds and coconut oil). Whisk gently until combined. With the stand mixer on low, gradually combine two-thirds of your wet ingredient mixture in with the dry. Then add your melted coconut oil. And finally the remaining third of the wet ingredient mixture. The mixture should be pale in colour, and fluffy.
Finally, add your poppyseeds and mix until everything is evenly combined.
Pour your batter into your prepared cake tin. Spread the batter evenly in the tin and smooth off the top. Place in the oven for 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn cake out and leave to cool completely.
- for the gluten-free flour blend, I've shared a recipe for one here. However, when making this recipe I simply combined 75g of tapioca flour, and the remaining 125g was a half and half blend of white and brown rice flour (or 62.5g of each).
- while a stand mixer is best for this recipe, and pretty much essential for the topping, you could try this recipe with a normal electric beater however you run the risk of a floppy meringue topping and a slightly different texture!
Italian Honey Meringue - recipe inspired by A Life of Happenstance
2 large egg whites, ROOM TEMPERATURE (approx. 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
Prepare your stand mixer by attaching the whisk attachment. Place your 2 large egg whites into the stand mixer bowl. In a small saucepan, place your honey over low-medium heat. Insert your candy thermometer into the pan. Stir occasionally as you wait for the honey to reach 132c. When the honey reaches approx. 80c, turn the stand mixer on high and beat the egg whites until frothy. Then, add the squeeze of lemon and continue to beat until soft peaks are formed. Once your honey reaches 132c, remove immediately from the heat and slowly pour the honey syrup down the inside of the stand mixer bowl into the half-beaten egg whites. This prevents the honey from instantly cooking the eggs or splashing the hot syrup everywhere!
Continue to beat until the meringue forms stiff peaks. To test, hold the whisk attachment upside down (see the photo above). Once stiff, add in your vanilla extract to taste.
To pipe onto your cooled cake, I used a Wilton #2A piping tip (which you can purchase from most baking/kitchen stores) and a piping bag. I began piping around the edge and worked my way in towards the centre. However, you could just as easily spread this meringue topping over the cake for a more 'rustic' look if you don't have piping tools!
Decorate with fresh/dried flowers and lemon to serve!
PLEASE NOTE: this meringue is best served immediately. The cake seems to get even better the next day, however the meringue does not last and will settle into a foam. I recommend decorating the cake just before serving, or only a few hours prior. The meringue is delicious the next day, the flavour isn't affected. However it doesn't maintain the fluffiness which is so outstanding longer than a day.
This cake was such a pleasure to make, and I'm amazed at how delicious it is despite being gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free! It truly proves that cakes don't have to be full of sugar to be delicious, and similarly, gluten-free cakes don't have to lack the amazing texture and moisture of a typical cake.
I hope you enjoy getting creative with this recipe, for any questions or comment please use the comment section below - I would love to hear from you.
Otherwise, if you make this recipe please show us using the hashtag #livelivelynz or tag us @livelivelynz on Instagram or Facebook!
From our home to yours,
Hi there! Thanks for checking out the Live Lively blog. I am so excited to share my passion for productivity, personal growth and wellbeing!