So, how does this keto cake meet the stringent requirements of the keto diet? The answer lies in some key ingredient swaps.
The biggest factor that makes traditional cake recipes a major no-no on the keto diet is the high carb content, which would prevent you from entering ketosis. Normal cake batter is made with traditional wheat-based flour, which is chock-full of carbohydrates. One cup of all-purpose flour, for example, contains an average of 95 grams of carbohydrates. This keto cake, on the other hand, uses almond and coconut flour.
Almond flour is high in monounsaturated fats, which help promote overall health and reduce the risk of heart disease, along with antioxidant vitamin E, and the essential minerals magnesium and potassium. But something to keep in mind: While almond flour is closely related to almond meal, they aren’t exactly the same thing. The difference is that almond meal can be made with whole almonds, while almond flour is only made from ground blanched almonds. Almond flour will have a finer texture, and substituting almond meal for flour in the recipe could affect the texture and consistency of the finished cake.
Coconut flour is pretty great too, from a nutritional standpoint as well as its ability to give cake a lighter texture. Coconut flour contains lauric acid, a healthy saturated fat that plays a pivotal role in maintaining a healthy immune system. It’s also a great source of both protein and fiber, the latter of which contributes to healthy digestion and good gut health. In fact, a lack of fiber is a major reason many people notice a weight loss plateau on the keto diet, according to Dr. Pedre.
“Dietary fiber keeps you full longer and contains prebiotic nutrients that support a healthy gut flora, creating a win-win for weight loss,” he explains. “Getting insufficient dietary fiber (yes, I’m talking to you, all-meat carnivore or cave-man diet folks) adversely shifts your healthy gut flora, which will increase inflammation, insulin resistance, fat deposition around the middle, and weight gain. Leafy green and cruciferous vegetables, avocado, coconut, and berries make great fiber-rich, keto-friendly foods.”
A healthy serving of sour cream adds a nice dose of fat and ensures that this cake is perfectly moist—plus, its creamy-tart flavor is a perfect complement to the lemon zest in this recipe. Eggs are another key component, as they provide this dessert with its spongy texture—without them, you’d be left with an ultra-dense mess. As an added bonus, eggs are a rich source of protein and healthy fats and a good way to get more choline, biotin, selenium, vitamin A, and vitamin B12 in your diet, all of which, experts say, aids in overall health and balanced hormones.
Finally, for a kick of sweetness, this recipe swaps out granulated sugar for erythritol, a natural sugar alcohol that contains just 3 calories per gram and serves as a sugar alternative. “Along with stevia, these sugar alcohols are still decent options for people looking for natural sugar-free options,” William Cole, D.C., IFMCP, functional medicine expert, told mbg. Sugar alcohols are considered safer than artificial sweeteners like sucralose (Splenda), aspartame (Equal and NutraSweet), and saccharin (Sweet N’ Low), all of which may “actually change the bacterial makeup of your microbiome,” said Dr. Cole. “This can be a trigger for autoimmune problems, diabetes, and metabolic disorders.”
It’s important to note, however, that sugar alcohols aren’t a great option for everyone. They are known to have a laxative effect if consumed in high quantities and can cause major flare-ups of digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and SIBO. Since your body does not completely absorb sugar alcohols, they’re left to ferment in the large intestine, which can cause gas and bloating. The short version: If you suffer from one of these digestive conditions, you may want to avoid this (and most) keto dessert recipes.