Unlike you first might guess, Austrian Cinnamon Cake is a classic — even retro — Finnish cake known on the coffee tables all over the country. Obviously, the traditional version is sugary and wheaty, but to delight all gluten-free eaters and ketoers out there, I’ve created this delicious 5-ingredient keto version. It pleases the palate just like the real thing! Not only for holidays, this tasty, warm-spiced delicacy satisfies your sweet tooth and crowns your coffee table at any time of the year.
What is Austrian Cinnamon Cake
Austrian Cinnamon Cake is a classic Finnish cake that originates from the 1950s or 1960s. I tried to search for the origin of the cake, but there is not too much information available — only numerous recipes. You find the recipe also from several old Finnish cookbooks. By the way, the cake is called Itävaltalainen kanelikakku in Finnish.
As you can guess, the basic ingredients for the traditional version are eggs, sugar, and wheat flour. However, ingredients that are specific to this particular cake are apple sauce, cinnamon, and raisins. The cake is baked in a Bundt pan (tube pan).
It seems that everybody knows the cake — well, maybe not the newest generation — but there is no information available about the origins of the cake. Anyway, the Austrian Cinnamon Cake used to be my best-loved cake in my childhood. It used to be my mom’s favorite cake to bake as well. I remember there was almost always some Austrian Cinnamon Cake in our large refrigerator — or at least in the freezer.
How to make the Keto Austrian Cinnamon Cake
As you might expect of the recipes on my blog, also this recipe doesn’t need dozens of ingredients — just five. There is actually an optional sixth ingredient, too. The traditional (Finnish) Austrian Cinnamon Cake contains raisins that are not often used on a keto diet due to their high carb count.
However, if your carb quota allows, you can add 1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped raisins that is about 1 oz (30 g). In this 12-serving cake, that means additional 5 grams net carbs per serving. Without raisins, there is only 1.6 grams net carbs per serving — even with apple sauce that the recipe calls for. Usually, apples are not considered very keto, but unsweetened apple sauce doesn’t bring too many carbs to this keto cake after all. Apples indeed have less carbs than, for example, blueberries that are used on a keto diet more often. However, if you absolutely don’t want to use apple sauce, please check the tips for variations further below in this post.
Still a word about raisins: If you use raisins in this cake, I recommend to use chopped raisins. Like that, you feel there is an ample amount of raisins in this cake because the chopped raisins spread beautifully all over the cake, releasing delicious flavor in every bite. If you use whole raisins, the raisiny feeling is not that special because the amount is just 1/4 cup (60 ml), which means that you encounter raisins in your cake slice much more rarely than when using chopped raisins.
Instead of raisins, you can use “craisins,” i.e., dried cranberries that are sweetened with erythritol or stevia. Their carb count is much lower than that of raisins.
A word about baking: Be sure to bake the cake until done. A raw cake doesn’t release well from the cake pan (photo later in this post), but first of all, it doesn’t taste good. In my oven — actually, in my parents’ oven, where I baked my experiments — the ideal baking time was exactly one hour at 300 °F (150 °C).
In general, lower temperatures work better for keto baking, especially when using almond flour with delicate fats. And using lower oven temperature ensures the whole cake is baked rather than just the surface – which easily turns too brown at higher temperatures.
I recommend using a silicone Bundt pan (tube pan) for the cake to ensure an effortless release and faultless surface. You might want to grease the silicone pan anyway with olive oil, melted coconut oil, or melted butter, just to be on the safe side with removing the cake.
So, those were the main tips to ensure a perfect, delicious, and gorgeous cake. Let’s take a look at the ingredients and the preparation:
Take 6 (preferably organic and free-range) eggs. Separate 3 eggs.
Place the whites into a deep and narrow bowl and the yolks into a large mixing bowl.
Beat the egg whites…
…until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
Take the large bowl with the 3 yolks.
Add the remaining 3 whole eggs…
…1 1/2 cups (350 ml) almond flour…
…1/2 cup (120 ml) erythritol crystals or granules…
…1/3 cup (80 ml) unsweetened apple sauce…
…and 2 tablespoons Ceylon cinnamon. At this point, you can add the chopped raisins (1/4 cup = 60 ml) if your carb quota allows.
Mix with an electric mixer until well combined, about 2 minutes.
Fold in the beaten egg whites.
Mix with a spatula…
Pour into a silicone Bundt pan (tube pan).
Here we go.
Bake at 300 °F (150 °C) for about one hour…
…or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and let cool down completely before removing from the cake pan.
Serve, for example, dusted with powdered erythritol.
How I came up with this easy keto cake recipe
Ever since I’ve done keto (over 10 years), I’ve wanted to create a keto version of my favorite childhood cake, Austrian Cinnamon Cake. However, it took this many years to make a successful recipe. I tried some keto versions of the cake during the years but was never satisfied. Actually, I think the reason was that I tried to avoid using apple sauce and had no-carb ingredients to replace it, like malic acid. Moreover, my cakes never turned out fluffy but dry and hard.
One of my experiments two and half years ago included raisins, coconut flour, psyllium husk powder, baking powder, Ceylon cinnamon, baking soda, malic acid, tartaric acid, eggs, erythritol, vanilla extract, vanilla stevia, and light olive oil. — Quite many ingredients, so not a recipe for this blog!
In that experiment, I used malic acid and tartaric acid to mimic apple flavor. Well, it sort of worked, but after eating so many years of the real stuff, the taste wasn’t very natural but a bit chemical. Anyway, the texture of the cake was far away from what I had wished, so I gave up with my Austrian Cinnamon Cake experiments for a while.
However, a couple of months ago, after finding out how to easily make a really fluffy cake — even without leavening agents, I was sure that this method would also work for my keto version of the Austrian Cinnamon Cake. I thought I will develop the cake just in time for Christmas.
I pondered over apple sauce, whether it’s too carby for my cake or not, but after calculating the macros of my planned cake experiment, I was happily surprised by the low carb count per slice — even with apple sauce included. So, encouraged by this, I was ready to conduct my first experiments.
Actually, my first experiment turned out to be this final recipe here. However, I made a mistake and removed the cake too early from the oven, so when it was still raw. First of all, it didn’t release well from the cake pan, but most of it got stuck to the pan, and naturally, it tasted raw.
My next experiment with the same ingredients was a success as this time, I let the cake bake for 1 full hour. However, I got intrigued if there is a way to improve the recipe further. Instead of separating 3 eggs, I separated 2 eggs and beat 2 egg whites until stiff peaks formed. For the batter, I used 4 whole eggs and the beaten egg whites. The other ingredients were the same. Well, the result was good, but not as fluffy as the cake with 3 beaten egg whites.
I also wanted to try out a version with coconut flour. To replace the 1 1/2 cups (350 ml) of almond flour, I used 1/2 cup (120 ml) coconut flour and added 2 more eggs, using 8 eggs altogether since coconut flour absorbs huge amounts of liquid compared to almond flour. Again, for this experiment, I separated 3 eggs and beat the 3 egg whites until stiff peaks formed.
The coconut flour version was surprisingly good, too, though it didn’t rise that well like the cake with almond flour. Also, the texture was slightly denser and moister. But all in all, this cake with coconut flour was so much more successful than my over-complicated version two and a half years ago — and everything with just 5 ingredients!
Here is a photo of the experiments I made:
And here is the winner, a carefully tested recipe for you to enjoy:
- 6 organic free-range eggs
- 1 1/2 cups = 350 ml almond flour
- 1/2 cup = 120 ml erythritol crystals or granules
- 1/3 cup = 80 ml unsweetened apple sauce
- 2 tablespoons ground Ceylon cinnamon
- (Optional: 1/4 cup = 60 ml chopped raisins or craisins)
- Heat the oven to 300 °F (150 °C).
- Separate 3 eggs. Place the whites into a deep and narrow bowl and the yolks into a large mixing bowl.
- Beat the 3 egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside for a while.
- Take the large bowl with the 3 egg yolks. Add the remaining 3 whole eggs, almond flour, sweetener, apple sauce, and the cinnamon (and the raisins or craisins, if using).
- Beat with an electric mixer until well combined, about 2 minutes.
- Carefully fold in the beaten egg whites.
- Pour the mixture into a silicone Bundt pan (tube pan). Bake on the lowermost rack for about 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven, let cool completely (important!), and remove from the pan.
- Decorate, for example, with powdered erythritol and serve. The cake tastes best on the next day.
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|Per serving if 12 servings in total (without raisins)
Tips for variation
If you would like to keep this cake as authentic as possible, there is no room for variations seasoning-wise. And even with apple sauce, the carb count per slice is surprisingly low, under 2 grams net carbs per slice (naturally without raisins), so tips for reducing carbs do not come in that handy. Well, if you absolutely don’t want to use apple sauce and your aim is to further lower the carbs, you can replace the apple sauce with thick Greek yogurt or with pumpkin puree.
Suppose you are avoiding almond flour, for example, because of oxalates, or you are simply allergic to it. In that case, you can replace the almond flour with 1/2 cup (120 ml) coconut flour. In this case, use 8 eggs altogether. First, separate 3 eggs, beat the whites until stiff peaks form, add 5 whole eggs to the bowl with the 3 yolks, and proceed as instructed. The coconut version won’t rise that much (as you can see from the photo in the previous chapter), and it’s denser, but it still tastes good.
This week was particularly interesting — not only because I finalized our Ketokamu berry chocolate recipe:
— but also because my Finnish publisher house, Viisas elämä, recorded my video course about keto treats. Everything happened during one day in a beautiful, old building in Loviisa (Finland) at my graphic designer’s home. We recorded the course both in English and in Finnish. The Finnish version will be out in January, and the English one a bit later.
Everything went well, considering I haven’t done these types of cooking videos before. I guess it was also because I had prepared so well, and I’ve been preparing keto treats for over 10 years. For the session, I had ready versions of the recipes I cooked. In the videos, I made some more treats, which meant that we had a LOT of keto treats at the end of the day! We had a feast, and everybody left with their bags and boxes full of keto treats. It made me happy that the crew loved the treats!
Unfortunately, I didn’t remember to take any photos of the beautiful house or the stuff I cooked, but here’s a photo taken by my graphic designer, Bhakti Kulmala, who let us use her beautiful home for recording the course:
For the weekend, I visited my parents — or actually went to work in my parents’ house while they were in our summer house. I can work best when I have my own peace. The weather is beautifully snowy, a real winter wonderland!
Merry Christmas to you all who are celebrating!