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Lactose-Free French Almond Cake


In a cozy corner of the charming town of Gourmandise, there was a little bakery that was the talk of the town, known affectionately as “The Whisk & Spoon.” This wasn’t your ordinary bakery; it was a place where traditions were honored, but innovation was always on the menu. The Whisk & Spoon had a special mission: to create desserts that everyone could enjoy, regardless of dietary restrictions.

The story of their renowned “Lacto-Free Delight” began on a sunny spring morning when Mademoiselle Fleur, the bakery’s visionary pastry chef, overheard a heartfelt conversation. A young boy, with a crestfallen look, shared his longing for a creamy, decadent cake that his body could embrace just as warmly as his taste buds. You see, he, like some others, was unable to savor the rich, creamy cakes due to lactose intolerance.

Mademoiselle Fleur, whose heart was as soft as her chiffon cakes, decided right then and there to create a cake that could bring the joy of French patisserie to everyone. She called her creation the “Lacto-Free Delight,” a cake that promised indulgence without compromise.

She began with a sponge as light as air, whisking together the finest gluten-free flour and a secret blend of lactose-free ingredients. Each layer of the cake was moistened with a syrup infused with vanilla beans sourced from the faraway lands of Madagascar.

Next came the star of the show – a velvety, lactose-free crème pâtissière that Mademoiselle Fleur crafted with such precision that it rivaled the classic creams of the most renowned Parisian cafés. She folded in pureed strawberries for a touch of fruitiness, creating a mousse that was both rich and airy, a paradox of flavors in harmonious balance.

The cake was enrobed in a smooth glaze, colored like the summer sky at dawn, soft and inviting. It was adorned with a crown of fresh, succulent berries that sparkled like jewels, and a sprinkling of edible flowers, each petal a whisper of the fields they once danced in.

The unveiling of the “Lacto-Free Delight” was met with anticipation and wonder. Word spread quickly through Gourmandise, and soon, from all over town, people flocked to The Whisk & Spoon, eager for a taste of the cake that welcomed all.

The young boy, with a smile now bright as the morning sun, took a bite of the “Lacto-Free Delight” and found not only the flavors of his dreams but also the sweet taste of belonging.

And so, the “Lacto-Free Delight” became more than just a cake; it became a symbol of joy, inclusivity, and the art of patisserie without boundaries. It wasn’t just Mademoiselle Fleur’s creation that was celebrated, but the spirit of a bakery that baked with heart, serving slices of happiness to all who walked through its doors.

Lactose-Free French Almond Cake (Financier)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (113g) lactose-free butter (or a dairy-free butter alternative)
  • 1 cup (100g) almond flour
  • 1/2 cup (60g) all-purpose flour (gluten-free if desired)
  • 1 1/2 cups (180g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (ensure it’s lactose-free)
  • A pinch of salt
  • Optional: Zest of 1 lemon or orange for added flavor

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan or line it with parchment paper.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the lactose-free butter over medium heat until it becomes light brown and has a nutty aroma. This is called “beurre noisette.” Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the almond flour, all-purpose flour, powdered sugar, and a pinch of salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. You don’t need them to be too stiff.
  5. Gently fold the egg whites into the dry ingredients until just combined.
  6. Add the vanilla extract and citrus zest (if using) to the cooled melted butter, then fold this into the batter until everything is well incorporated.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  8. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Once cool, you can dust the cake with additional powdered sugar or top it with fresh fruit before serving.

Notes:

  • Be sure to check that all your ingredients are lactose-free, especially the vanilla extract.
  • Almond flour not only provides a fantastic flavor and texture but also keeps the cake moist.
  • The beurre noisette is a classic French technique that adds a rich, deep flavor to the cake, even when using lactose-free butter.

Creating a lactose-free version of a classic French cream can be achieved by substituting the dairy with lactose-free or plant-based alternatives. Here’s how to make a lactose-free pastry cream, which is versatile and can be used as a filling for éclairs, cream puffs, or tarts.

Lactose-Free French Pastry Cream (Crème Pâtissière)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (480 ml) lactose-free whole milk or a plant-based milk like almond, soy, or oat milk
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup (30g) cornstarch
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tbsp lactose-free or dairy-free butter (optional, for extra richness)

Instructions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the lactose-free milk over medium heat until it just begins to simmer.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch until it turns light and pale.
  3. Gradually pour about half of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to temper the eggs and prevent them from curdling.
  4. Return the egg and milk mixture back to the saucepan with the remaining milk, whisking constantly.
  5. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, until the mixture thickens and comes to a gentle boil. Keep stirring for another 2 minutes after it has boiled to ensure the cornstarch is fully cooked.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract or paste.
  7. If you’re using butter, add it now and stir until it’s completely melted and incorporated. This step is optional, but it adds a nice gloss and richness to the pastry cream.
  8. Pour the cream into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap touches the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming.
  9. Refrigerate until cool. This will thicken the pastry cream further.
  10. Once cooled, whisk the cream to smooth out any lumps before using it.

Notes:

  • If you prefer a lighter cream, you can fold in some lactose-free whipped cream to the cooled pastry cream to make a Crème Diplomate.
  • For a chocolate version, add 2-3 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the sugar and egg mixture.
  • Always ensure that the plant-based milk and butter you’re using are indeed lactose-free.

This lactose-free French pastry cream can be used as a delicious filling for many desserts, offering the same creamy texture and rich flavor without the lactose. Enjoy crafting your desserts!

Enjoy your lactose-free French almond cake!

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