Sometime last year I got inspired to try out rosemary & pine nuts together after seeing my friend Nissrine's delicious rosemary and lemon pine nut cookie. I never gave rosemary in sweets much thought up to that point, but it suddenly seemed delicious. I gave it a go and made a beautiful cake, but the photos and the overall feel of the cake screamed winter, snow, and a mug of hot chocolate in tow... So I decided to save this one to share with you until the blistery winter weather arrives, to have its sting relieved with a warm, sweet, nutty, festive, and fragrant baked cake...
Good forward thinking, right? Evidently not... Last week I discovered a had a folder full of photos of the cake, but no recipe! Somewhere amidst my travels, working on my book, and my generally disorganized computer files (project for the new year: tidy those folders up!), I lost the recipe... I found vague notes, but nothing more. So I set out to recreate it. 10 cakes later, no less, I finally have something most delicious to share with you -- completely different from the original, and about a thousand times better too. Definitely worth all the remake efforts.
I'm particularly excited about this cake because of its wonderful texture. You'd really never know this is a gluten-free or even grain-free cake at all. I bet your grandma wouldn't believe that no eggs were the cause of the fluffiness in here... And no "gums", binders, or oils in there either. Its very springy, stays moist for days, and has a most comforting soft and light texture and crumb, as a cake should.
Just blend, bake, and go! Oh, and there's some mandatory coconut milk "snowing" action not to be forgotten at the end...
The pine nuts are optional, but they add a nice seasonal wintery touch and a nice soft texture and beautiful accent flavor -- aim for fresh and fragrant ones for a most delicious treat. If you're interested in a nut-free version of this cake though, use the cake from this recipe as a base, and just work in some finely chopped fresh rosemary and pine into it as your add-ins.
Lastly, I made this in my 6 cup bundt pan (this is the one I use), so you'll either need to multiply by 1½ if you want a 9 cup standard cake, or just have a shorter 9 cup ring. Or bake this as a loaf or a layer cake, or in a square pan instead -- all good options. But there's something fun about a bundt and about smaller cakes :) . Note: if you're swapping out pans, just beware the cake rises quite a bit so leave room for that.
We're enjoying this cake right now. As I type the winds are howlin' outside. The fireplace is going. Cozy cups of drinks are at arms' reach. Ready for the evening's festivities. I'm glad I saved this cake for the occasion. It is most fitting of a warm and magical night like this.Print
Almond, Rosemary, & Pine Cake
A warm, sweet, nutty and fragrant gluten-free cake with excellent texture. Dairy-free.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 6 cup bundt cake
- Category: Cake
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Dessert
- ¾ cup agave (or liquid sweetener of choice)
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup water
- 6 tbsp almond butter
- 2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves (roughly 2 small sprigs)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 cup almond meal (or flour)
- ⅓ cup arrowroot
- ⅓ cup chickpea & fava bean flour (or all chickpea / besan will work)
- ⅓ cup coconut palm sugar
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 3-4 tablespoon pine nuts
- dairy-free coconut milk powder (optional for snowy look)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Oil a 6 cup non-stick bundt pan well. Set aside.
- Blend all wet mixture ingredients in a blender until smooth. Add all dry ingredients, except pine nuts, and blend until smooth once again. Add in pine nuts and pulse briefly to fold them in. (Note: I used my Vitamix for this step and used my tamper to help the blending process. If using another blender, you'll likely need to pause and scrape down the sides every so often). Immediately pour the batter into the prepared bundt.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven for 45-50 mins, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out dry. Cool on a wire rack for at least 10-15 mins, then carefully loosen the sides and flip the cake out of the pan and allow it to cool completely. Prior to serving, dust with coconut milk powder and enjoy!
Audrey: Quiero saber como hago la manteca de almendras. Gracias!!
Hi Marcela, it's quite simple, actually. To make almond butter you can dry roast (in the oven or on a pan) a whole bunch of almonds and let them cool off (about 2-4 cups, depending on how big your blender / processor bowl is). Then you need to blend them down into a butter in a food processor or a Vitamix blender with a tamper. In a food processor it takes longer -- you just need to keep going until it's the right consistency, in the Vitamix it's more quick because of the tamper and because it just blends things down more smoothly. Adding a bit of neutral oil initially helps to get things blending down better. If you're interested, I have some videos and tips on how to do this in both a processor or a blender in Unconventional Treats: https://www.unconventionalbaker.com/unconventional-treats-bundles/
To add to my earlier post.. I ate some of the cake today, a day after making it, and it was very sticky and gooey as I described in my other post. Do you think it was possible that the cake might have been undercooked even though I baked it for the full 50 minutes, and the skewer did come out clean?
I couldn't eat a whole slice of the cake because of the texture and sweetness, but I tried to salvage the cake by cutting it up into little cubes, formed balls out of them, then dipping them in melted dark chocolate and put in the freezer.
They came out pretty good, and the bite size pieces was just the perfect amount with some matcha. I still have half the cake left, so I'm thinking of grinding walnuts in the food processor then adding the rest of the cake. I'm hoping this will make the cake a little less sticky and help with the texture, then rolling into balls, dipping in chocolate and put in the freezer again.
I still would like some advise regarding my other post and also if you thought it might have been undercooked, but wanted to let you know how I tried to salvage my cake situation.
Well that definitely sounds like a tasty way to save the day with a failed cake! :) I'm sorry it didn't work out for you. I'm curious to know why too. The first thing I'm wondering is whether all the ingredients were exactly as in the recipe, or was anything substituted at all (even if in a minor way)? The second thing I'm wondering is how long the cake remained in the pan post baking, before being taken out of the pan? (Sometimes leaving a cake in a bundt pan too long can make it go soggy after a while; though that doesn't explain why stuff got stuck to the pan). The third thing I'm wondering is what was the texture of the mixture like going into the pan? Maybe we can figure it out yet :)
I've ordered the bundt pan you suggested and am going to try making this when it comes.
I have a question about the almond butter. I have a very runny sprouted almond butter that I have on hand, so much so that it can be poured, but wondered if a less runny one would be better for this recipe? Thank you!
Hi Joanne, runny almond butter should work great in this. Enjoy :)
Hi Audrey, Sorry about the duplicate post. Now I know it disappears when it's being moderated. One other question.. can this cake be frozen if baked ahead of time? How would you recommend storing leftovers, and for how long? Thanks!
Hi Joanne, no worries. I approve the comments manually to avoid having the site being overrun with spam.. I just deleted your duplicate comment as well.
The cake should freeze well. You might find the cake freezing tips here helpful: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/how-to-freeze-cakes/
Hi Audrey, I made the cake last night and even though I followed your instructions exactly and used the recommended pan, it didn't come out like yours.
I started out using a narrow, small Vitamix container, but thought it might overflow once I put the dry ingredients in, so switched to the wider bottomed container which worked well. The batter never required a tamper because it stayed very liquid throughout and never stiffened up.
Even though I oiled the pan well, the cake did not come out easily and I lost some of the top which stuck to the pan. The
cake was only about 2" high.. was yours taller? As it cooled, the bottom sunk into the pan, so it didn't have a flat bottom. It had the shape of a shallow trough.
My cake was not springy at all, and didn't have a soft and light texture and crumb, but it was more dense and compacted with a hard custard or mochi texture.
It was very sweet and at first all I could taste was the maple syrup, and I wondered if there might have been an error in the amount of syrup called for..? Or what would I need to adjust to make it less sweet?
I like how simple it is to make, but would like to figure it out so I can make it again. Do you have any ideas why the cake didn't come out like yours?
Hi Joanne, well that sounds very odd right from the get go in the blender. Somehow it sounds like maybe your mixture was too wet. May I ask if you made any substitutions to any of the ingredients at all?
Julie Rose says
Hi Audrey quick question can I substitute tapioca starch for the arrowroot powder? I want this to turn out the best so if you recommend arrowroot over tapioca, I will run out and buy it before I make this on Sunday.
Hi Julie. I've only ever made this cake with arrowroot, but I think it should work with tapioca as well. If you want to go the safest route, go with arrowroot as that's been tried and tested. Otherwise tapioca should be fine. Enjoy it :)
hi Audrey, instead of putting in the chopped rosemary leaves, if I make rosemary syrup (maybe with the liquid sweetener in the recipe), and then only blend in the syrup, do you think it will taste much difference? I want to make it as a birthday cake to a friend, yet she doesn't like pieces of leaves appear in a cake, haha.
Hi Adrienne, because the liquids in this recipe are blended in a high power blender there won't be any detectable pieces of leaves in there at all. I think the syrup could maybe work since the rosemary is in here for its flavor, though I haven't tried making a syrup like that so not sure how the rosemary flavor would be compared to the recipe. No harm trying it out though if that works better for any reason :)
Linda Corrias says
I would like to know if I could make the almond rosemary cake in a bundt 9" but I would like to know the ingredients for the 9" bundt cake please. I would like to make it for Christmas. Thank you.
Hi Linda, I left suggestions for other dish sizes right above the recipe. For a 9" bundt you'll need to multiply everything by 1.5. Enjoy!
Can I add coconut flour instead almond flour?
Unfortunately not in this recipe. Coconut flour works completely differently in baked goods and would not be a good substitute. You can try another nut flour if it's just almonds you're trying to avoid. Otherwise, you might want to check out the nut-free cake section on the recipes page. There are lots of recipes for treats with coconut flour there.
Kelly Gorog says
Do excited to try! Can you make a printable link for the recipe!
Hi Kelly. There already is one (close to the top of the recipe card). Let me know if you're still having issues with finding it (just want to make sure it's not a technical glitch of some kind, as I'm seeing it just fine right now). Enjoy! :)
The texture and crumb of this cake are truly astounding. I can't believe the GF flours in this recipe produced such a wonderful chewiness and rise. I made it last night with a few substitutions out of necessity (I didn't have almond butter or prepared applesauce, so I blended 6 heaping tbsp raw cashew pieces and 1/2 cup chopped apple into the liquid ingredients called for in the recipe). The cake turned out absolutely delicious. My husband and I shared it for dessert last night and again this morning (delicious dunked in espresso, by the way). I did have a problem with the outside of the cake cooking too quickly while the inside remained under baked, but I think it's because my bundt pan is evil and incapable of cooking the contents evenly (it is a dark, thick pan, which I think will be going straight into the bin for burning one too many cakes). I will make this cake again and again, in a regular pan! Thank you for yet another delicious recipe, Audrey!
Hi Lena. Thank you so much for sharing. So glad the cake turned out will and those substitutions sound great.
A bad bundt cake pan is always an issue.. :S I've experienced this as well. It's a shame because at least with a regular pan you can always line it with parchment and you're good to go, but bundts are a bit trickier. I'm glad the cake turned out ok after all.
Thank you so much for giving us so many fantastic recipes! And the photography is just gorgeous.
I particularly love this cake, the flavor is amazing.
Unfortunately, though, it tends to rise beautifully before it collapses into a fudge-like (but not in a nice way) substance. The batter is very (VERY) liquid when it goes in, and it tends to burn on the outside before it’s cooked through.
It’s possible, though, that the metric quantities I’ve worked out are way off (it's also dark brown, and very sweet - maybe the agave is the issue??). I’d like to put them out there – I don’t expect you to weigh your ingredients, but perhaps someone out there has been on the same train of thought as me and would like to compare notes. Here goes:
185g apple sauce
130g roast almond butter
2 tbsp lemon juice
180g ground almonds
65g tapioca starch
70g chickpea flour
75g brown sugar (I reduced this a bit from your recipe)
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
4 tbsp fresh rosemary
Sorry about the huge post...
All the best!
Hi Andrea, thank you so much for sharing your experience. As you probably know, I don’t bake in weights, so it’s a bit tough to figure out exactly what might have gone wrong, but just checking the first ingredient — agave — from what I can see online that conversion doesn’t seem to be right. 1 cup of agave apparently = 300 gr, so 3/4 cup should be 225 gr only (not 325 gr). 1 cup apple sauce apparently = 255 gr, so for this recipe the 1/2 cup should equal about 112 gr (not 185). I checked almond meal as an example as well as an example from the dry mix, and 1 cup almond meal = 100 grams (not 180 gr), etc. So the conversion definitely seems to be the culprit here. If you were’ multiplying by 1.5 for a 9″ pan, the amounts are still not quite right, as for example the agave would then need to be 336 gr (not 325), the apple sauce would need to be 168 gr (not 185), etc.
Rising and collapsing is often due to too tight a space in a pan (due to too much content), which makes sense based on your description of what’s been happening (i.e. a higher volume of ingredients than the recipe calls for). The altered ratios of ingredients can definitely cause issues like this as well.
Either way, sorry it didn’t work out as planned. I appreciate you sharing though, as I think it’s important to share what works and what doesn’t and can be helpful for others “to compare notes” with, as you say.
Eden Passante says
This looks amazing! What a great combination of flavors!
Thank you, Eden! :) It's nice and cozy for the cold weather days.
Delicious! Thanks. :)
You're welcome :)
What can be a " liquid sweetener of choice" that will make it too much or less sweet?
Brown rice syrup is a less sweet liquid sweetener. More sweet / same would be agave nectar or syrup, maple syrup, coconut nectar...
Brown sugar can work?...although it's not liquid?....
Hm... interesting question. I haven't tried it, so I can't guarantee, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. You'll need to add a bit more sugar (because agave is sweeter than sugar -- so I'd add another 3-4 tbsp extra sugar to be close to 1 cup), and a bit more liquid to the recipe -- I'd guess maybe 3-4 tbsp water or applesauce in that case. If you try that I'd love to hear how you go.
I made this cake yesterday for a family function and it was gone in about two minutes! There were plenty of other 'normal' cakes available so I was ecstatic that my vegan cake was deemed the best when everyone else was an omnivore. Although still super delicious, the only thing is that it didn't have the same rise and springy texture as yours. I substituted the rosemary for fresh ginger and the lemon juice and half the water for orange juice, and baked it in an 8 inch springform as I didn't have a bundt tin. Do you think this could have contributed? I plan on making it many, many more times in the future and was wondering if you have any advice for next time? Thanks xx
Gosh I'm so sorry I missed your comment somehow!! :S Eeek!
Thank you so much for the feedback. So happy the cake was enjoyed by everyone :) and I always love it when people choose these treats over the "normal" stuff. Makes my day :)
About the springiness.. I wonder if the orange juice substitute played a role. A lot of the rise in the cake happens because of the lemon juice & baking soda reaction (acid + base = bubbles and a springy taller cake). Orange juice can function as an acid as well, but the quantities matter though -- perhaps having that much orange juice overpowered that reaction process...
It still sounds delicious though -- I bet it was amazing with the orange in there.
Another thought is the pan size. I think the 8" springform has a larger capacity than the 6" bundt, so you're bound to end up with a flatter cake as a result (not a bad thing, just a different shape...). On that note though -- I'm glad to hear it worked in a springform. I was asked that by someone and wasn't sure how it would work out. Thanks for sharing!
You never fail to amaze me with your creations Audrey! So creative <3 I love rosemary in baked goods, and the burst of almond flavors sounds amazing as well.
Aw, thank you, Lucie! I'm super curious to try rosemary extract next, if I can ever find it..
Nadia's Healthy Kitchen says
The flavours sound so delicious, Audrey and the texture looks spot on! Yummy :D
Thanks Nadia! ♥♥♥
Harriet Emily says
This cake is beautiful Audrey, and I love the addition of pine nuts - they have such a great texture and flavour. This looks absolutely delicious <3
Thanks so much, Harriet! ♥ Happy New Year btw!
Hi there. I was thinking of replacing the rosemary with pine needles for a slightly different flavor profile. Do you think that would work?
Hi Pamela. I think that would be a really interesting flavor! You got me interested :) I might try it for next year. I've never actually baked with pine needles before, so don't have practical experience. The closest I've come to edible pine is pine cone syrup (delicious!). But from what I've seen around, they're usually steeped in liquid (could do that with the water in this recipe, for example) and then just the water is used in a recipe while the needles are discarded. Or they need to be chopped really small so the pieces aren't too big / tough (a bit like rosemary in that sense, actually). Anyways, interesting idea and I think it's def worth trying out. If you give it a go, let me know how it turned out! :)
Alison @Food by Mars says
Coconut milk powder?! This is going to rock my world as soon as it comes back in stock for me to order lol... this cake looks lovely and I love the ingredients. <3
Oh, yes -- coconut milk powder is DA BOMB! ♥
Kathryn @ The Scratch Artist says
You sound like me! I hate it when I forget how I made something and end up making countless recipes before I land on something usually entirely different but very delicious. If I don't write it down right away forget about it...I love the ingredients in this cake. I have been oddly in the mood for rosemary recently so it is perfect timing for me.
Do you also always think "this is easy... I'll remember it for sure"... Bahaha. I don't know how I keep falling for that one! You'd think one will learn :D
Natalie | Feasting on Fruit says
I love that you took the flavor inspiration from Nissrine's cookies and made cake, it's absolutely gorgeous Audrey! The photo of that one snow-capped piece on the plate is so endearing for some reason, I can't stop staring. I think it's the perfect spongy texture, makes me want to devour it and hug it all at once :) Bummer about losing the recipe, although ten cakes later I have a feeling this version is even better than the first!
I know what you mean :) I find myself a little hypnotized by that photo too ♥
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
Wow, this is stunning!!!! The texture and crumb does look so perfect and I love those savory-type flavors with it! The magic in that flour blend is the arrowroot and chickpea ;) Good good stuff! Hahaha!
Yes, I must say I've really been under-using chickpea flour -- must use it more. Worked so well here!
Nissrine @ Harmony a la Carte says
This is absolutely beautiful Audrey. I love the recipe and these gorgeous photos. So honoured that I could inspire such culinary genius. Merry christmas my friend.
Thank you so much, Nissrine! Both for the comment & the recipe inspiration! ♥
wow this sounds absolutely delicious! would love to try this, but I am on the low FODMAP diet... what would you consider a suitable replacement for the applesauce (I was thinking mashed banana?) and chickpea flour (buckwheat?)
Hi Rosie, yes, I think mashed banana or plantain would work well. As for the chickpea flour, can you do coconut flour? I tried it with that and it worked quite well. Buckwheat could work too, but I haven't tried, and my only hesitation is that both chickpea & coconut flours are VERY moisture absorbent, whereas buckwheat not as much, so if you go the buckwheat route maybe reduce the amount of water a little. Then again bananas blend a little thicker than applesauce so you may be good after all :) If you try it I'd love to hear how it goes.