Gluten Free Black Currant Cake

I love the color and texture of this cake. I was not sure how our fresh black currants would taste in it as our berries are a bit spicy. But the sugar and almond extract provided the needed balance. There are not many recipes that I have found to use up all of our black currants. Most people are used to them dried ( as small raisins) or in jam. Black currant is my favorite tea and of course is pairs well with this dessert.

Ingredients and Instructions

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and then line a 9 inch springform pan with a circle of parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl sift together

1 cup of brown rice flour

1/4 cup of finely ground almond or hazel nut flour

1/4 cup of tapioca four

1 teaspoon baking powder

Add to the bowl and mix well

1 tsp of almond extract

1/8 tsp of cardamon powder

In a small bowl use beaters to cream together

1/3 cup of your choice of butter, softened at room temperature

3/4 cup of coconut, coconut palm, sucanat, or brown sugar

After 4 minutes add in

2 large eggs

Mix your small bowl into the large bowl

Lightly fold in

2 cups of black currants , sorted and cleaned

Pour mixture into pan, level by tapping on counter and place into oven

Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, then move to a wire rack to fully cool. Serve with whipped cream.

Ribes nigrum

Currants are one of my favorite medicinal plants. I am a big fan of red currant jam and traditional English “black currant tea”. The fruit is high in the vitamins and anti-oxidants that our circulatory system loves. The berries have 4 times the amount of Vitamin C as oranges and 2 times more anti-aging properties than blueberries. The leaves are a strong astringent for use in external skin care. The variety I grow has a spicy taste similar to juniper berries, so it works better in savory dishes or simple syrups rather than dried, jam or in a dessert. Black currants are the main ingredient in creme de cassis.

You will find black currants as a rare cultivar in a few states in America. Importation of plants has been banned and growing illegal in the US as the plant can carry a fungus known to kill pine trees. The plant grows as a wide, untidy bush of long shoots, 4-6 feet high. The leaves are textured, alternate on the shoots, palmate, with 3-5 lobes and double serrate. Drooping racemes of yellow or white flowers appear in mid spring, a favorite of bumble bees. The berries are almost black, ripe when large, almost bursting their skins, and no longer hard. I know to pick mine when they start falling onto the ground or disappear when the animals start to eat them.

An infusion of black currant leaves stimulates the kidneys and historically has been used to treat gout, inflammation, liver issues and heart disease. The berries in can be used to treat kidney disease, high blood pressure, colic, glaucoma, eye strain, and rheumatism. The fruit and leaves can be consumed as tea or juice for bad coughs, sore throat, gum disease, and laryngitis. If you have diarrhea or organs that need toning a tea of black currant leaves might prove useful. The essential fatty acids in the oil from the seeds is thought to(internal use) prevent and repair damage to joints or (external use) relieve eczema and psoriasis.

Contraindications:clotting/bleeding disorders, surgery.

Published by blackbirdsbackyard

My backyard botanical pharmacy is located in Boulder Colorado. I began studying herbal medicinewhen I was 12 years old. In college I studied subjects like anthropology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, After graduation I decided to go to midwifery school. I attended births and had a small practice until I retired early in order to be a mother full time. I have always had an herb garden, gathered plants and made my own healing formulas with plants. Over the last 30 years there have been many teachers and I have attended dozens of workshops. I am one of those people who is always reading, studying and learning. In 2019 I was called to practice as an herbalist professionally, using "plant spirit medicine" and bio-energetic ( 5 element)healing techniques. I feel that there is a big need in the community for my skills and talents. I hope to inspire others to start their own backyard pharmacies as a solution to species extinction and the healthcare crisis in America. Healing has also become a spiritual practice and way for me to feel balanced and connected with nature. I consult with clients in person, teach classes (adults and kids), give tours of my garden and offer apprenticeships. Health, joy, meaning, and support are everyone's birthright.

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