Incredibly aromatic Arabic cake made with only four ingredients, like ground almonds, tonka bean, eggs, and sugar. Yet the resulting cake is fantastic!
Arabic Cake with Ground Almonds
A simple Arabic cake with tonka bean and ground almonds, flourless and full of flavor, this is the perfect sweet treat with a cup of coffee.
Dense, moist and sweet crumb, the taste of almonds and the intense aroma of the tonka bean… this easy tonka cake will make you perfectly happy.
I made a Middle Eastern almond cake a few years ago and loved it. Unfortunately with so many other cakes waiting to be baked I kind of forgot about it. Every now and then, while searching in my notebook for something else, I stumbled upon the recipe, and I’ve always thought that I should bake it again soon.
Recently, it finally happened. I intended to bake a cake, but while searching for the ingredients I noticed that I was completely out of flour. Nothing there! I think that didn’t happen to me in years. Stores are closed on Sundays and I didn’t want to bother the neighbors.
Suddenly I remembered this Arabic cake and the fact that it contains no flour, just ground almonds. I had everything else, so in less than 15 minutes the tonka cake was in the oven.
- I used ground almonds that were ground with their skin on, no need for the more expensive blanched ground almonds.
- You can buy already ground almonds or grind the almonds in the food processor yourself. Just be careful not to overmix and turn them to almond butter.
- It was the first time that I used tonka beans. I had a few of them for quite a while in my spice cupboard but didn’t really know how to use them.
- The recipe actually called for cardamom and vanilla but I thought it was about time to use the tonka beans. And I am so glad I did.
- You will not believe the intense aroma of the tonka bean. I only grated half of a very small bean for the cake but the taste was so wonderfully intense, something like vanilla but stronger, like sweet flowers or some kind of heavy perfume, I cannot really describe it. You have to try it to really understand it.
- The fingers of my right hand which was holding the bean while grating it retained the scent for hours and hours after grating the bean, although I had washed my hands several times in between. The whole kitchen kept the scent for two whole days. Amazing!
- However, while researching for this post I found out that tonka beans are actually illegal in the US. Crazy! If you wish to read more about that read this article.
How to replace the tonka bean?
- You can replace it with a vanilla bean and a pinch of cardamom.
- It will still taste great but do try the tonka bean if you can, you will be amazed by its flavor.
More Middle Eastern recipes?
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus – A flavorsome roasted red pepper hummus recipe with tahini, chickpeas and white beans, this has become one of our favorite spreads or dips.
Tabbouleh – Or tabouleh or tabouli, probably the best-known Middle Eastern or Arabic salad recipe, made with lots and lots of parsley, mint, bulgur, tomatoes, and cucumbers
Persian Eggplant Dip – A very easy to make and delightful Iranian recipe for eggplant or aubergine and tomato dip with yogurt.
Chicken Shawarma Plate – How to make a chicken shawarma plate at home.
Mujammara Dip – An amazing Syrian or Middle Eastern recipe with roasted peppers, walnuts, and pomegranate molasses.
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- 200 g/ 7 oz/ 1 2/3 cup ground almonds
- 150 g / ¾ cup/ 5.3 oz granulated sugar
- 4 eggs (medium Germany, large US)
- ½ of a very small tonka bean (See note)
- icing sugar, optional
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the bottom of a springform (24 cm/9.4-inch diameter) with baking paper.
- Separate the eggs. Whisk the egg whites until stiff.
- In another bowl mix together the ground almonds, sugar, and egg yolks together.
- Grate the tonka bean over this mixture and mix thoroughly.
- Add about 1/3 of the egg whites and incorporate well with a spatula. Add the rest of the egg whites and fold in very gently.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
- Leave to cool completely and sprinkle with icing sugar before serving.
If you cannot get hold of tonka beans, you can replace that with the seeds of 1 vanilla bean and 1 pinch ground cardamom.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 207Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 128mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 2gSugar: 16gProtein: 7g