In our household, we tend to reserve wheat for special occasions where no substitute will do, such as bagels or croissants. But for a lot of baking that requires wheat — pizza bases, scones, muffins or cakes — I tend to favour spelt instead.
Spelt is an ancient type of wheat originally found in South East Asia and grown in the Middle East for more than 9000 years. Despite being a type of wheat, many people with allergies and intolerances to standard wheat can easily digest spelt without the usual side effects.
One major advantage of using spelt is how clean it is. Because it has an exceptionally thick husk surrounding the grain berry, it is heavily protected from pollutants and insects. There is no real need to spray with pesticides, which is great news for us!
So what are some of the health benefits of spelt?
- Naturally higher in protein.
- Contains soluble fibre which is needed for healthy bowels and may assist with regulating blood sugar levels.
- Minerals: magnesium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, selenium and copper.
- Vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B6, folate, vitamin E.
1/2 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
1 cup coconut sugar
3 free range eggs
1 1/2 cup greek yoghurt
2 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups spelt flour
1 cup ground almonds
2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of sea salt
Mix together olive oil and coconut sugar in a food processor or by hand. Beat eggs in one at a time before mixing in the yoghurt and vanilla extract.
In a second bowl mix together the spelt flour, ground almonds, baking powder and sea salt. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and fold through.
Preheat oven to 180˚C and line a 20cm spring form cake tin. Bake for 45 minutes or until cake springs back when touched.
It is delicious served warm or cold with freshly whipped cream and berries.
Note: The coconut sugar gives this cake a caramel flavour. If this is replaced by cane sugar it will taste strongly of vanilla instead. Alternatives to coconut sugar to keep the caramel flavour, are muscavado or rapadura.