This almond cake (Djamilah) is perfect for a holiday gift. It requires very little prep time. It’s refreshing and does not taste too sweet. It is gluten free and requires no leavening agent, yet the cake turns out so moist and crumbly.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C). Prepare three mini loaf pans (or a regular loaf pan, or a 9-inch squared baking pan) and spray a thin layer of oil into the pan. (*See Footnote 3)
Add almonds and 1/2 cup sugar into a blender. Pulse until fine.
Add dried dates (or dried plums). Blend until the dried fruit is grated into the flour. Add rice flour. Pulse a few times to mix well.
Combine egg yolks, vanilla, the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, butter, and orange juice (or brewed tea) in a big bowl. Stir to mix well.
Transfer the almond flour mixture into the bowl of egg yolk mixture. Stir a few times until the liquid is just mixed in.
Add egg whites to a separate bowl. Whisk with a hand mixer until the egg whites form stiff peaks. Transfer to the bowl with almond mixture. Fold with a spatula until the egg whites are just incorporated. Do not overdo it.
Pour batter into mini loaf pans, until the pans are eighty percent filled.
If you're making the date flavor, sprinkle cinnamon powder on top.
Bake until cooked through, about 35 minutes. If you use a normal loaf pan, you will need to extend baking time. If the surface of the cake already turns brown but the cake is not cooked through yet, cover the pan with aluminum foil to prevent from burning. Use a toothpick to poke the thickest part of the cake and it should come out clean.
Immediately transfer the cake onto a cooling rack and let cool completely.
You can wrap the cake loosely with baking sheet if serving on the day its cooked.
To serve the cake later, store in an air-tight container at room temperature up to 3 days, or in fridge up to a week.
Glutinous rice flour is gluten free. You can replace it with cornstarch or potato starch to make it a non-gluten-free cake too.
You can skip or reduce the amount of butter. There was one time I ran out of butter and cooked this cake without it. The cake turned out just as fluffy and moist. The crust was not as crispy, but I did like its light and crumbly texture.
If you cook half batch of this recipe, you can use two mini loaf pans to make shorter cakes. You should shorten the baking time, 25 to 30 minutes. If you use a big loaf pan, extend baking time, 50 to 60 minutes.