This is the most amazing orange cake recipe…… EVER! It is incredibly moist, flourless, fatless, gluten free, dairy free and it tastes FANTASTIC!
Ok….. It’s not a new recipe……. it has been around for (probably) centuries. The secret ingredient? Whole oranges that have been boiled for 2 hours, cooled and then pureed, skins and all…..
There are a number of versions on the internet which are roughly equivalent to each other and with only slight variations in ratios of ingredients. Some suggest the cake is traditionally Spanish or North African in origin, and pretty much all add that its roots are firmly Jewish and that it was traditionally baked during the Spring festival of Passover. The version here is very slightly adapted from Claudia Roden’s recipe for Orange & Almond Cake from A New Book of Middle Eastern Food. I use one less egg and fractionally more baking powder, but the result is a perfectly balanced, perfectly textured bake.
Now I am sure that many of you foodies out there will have already tried this cake (it is a very old recipe after all), but for those of you who haven’t, I beg you to make it. This is THE cake which renders flour totally irrelevant and pointless and makes you wonder why you throw away orange skins…….. It is also a Coeliac’s heaven on a plate!
Apart from a bit of sugar, it is also amazingly healthy. The high almond content may not be cheap, but it makes for an unexpectedly nutritious bake which may even have some added health benefits including lowering your cholesterol levels! As cake goes, this one may be pretty good for you!
I jest not! A few years back my cholesterol levels were at the upper end of average. Going gluten free resulted in a massive increase in my almond intake (as I use so many ground almonds in baking). My combined cholesterol level dropped to an impressive 3.1, which I was told was one of the healthiest measured in a long time by my local nurse-practitioner. Apart from no longer eating wheat and other gluten products, the only other significant dietary difference was the amount of almond I was consuming (and yes I was consuming cakes full of butter by the dozen!). The likely correlation convinced me…… time to have my cake and eat it!
Although you can use any variety of oranges for this cake and even vary with an equivalent ‘weight’ of clementines or tangerines, I used Naval oranges. They were super sweet and beautifully juicy, giving it a deep, sun-sweet oranginess that was full of summer warmth. Rich and moist with the ground almonds, the cake has a pleasantly-dense nutty texture and flavour which gives it more substance. Yet it is not over-sweet. The slight bitterness which comes from the pulped orange skin offsets the sweetness of sugar, which in itself is well-balanced so that it compliments the natural fruit sugar and allows it still to shine through.
This cake needs no lavish frostings. Such additions would only smother the vibrance of colour and taste that come from the pure simplicity of the citrus within its core.
On the other hand, straight out of the oven, it is not the prettiest of cakes…… Sure you can dust with a layer of icing sugar and it looks okay…… But I wanted something more eye-catching………… decorated, but in keeping with its unadulterated naturalness……. A simple Honeyed Raspberry Coulis which would enhance its visual attraction and join in harmony with the flavours of the sponge……
The result? A blissfully wonderful cake which will not only turn heads, but will remain in the memory for a very long time!
I am sharing this delight with the following :
Love Cake with Ness at Jibber Jabber. This month’s theme is ‘Colour Me Pretty’. One of the things I so love about this cake is the amazing richness of natural colour that comes from the oranges and raspberries.
Free From Fridays with Emma at the Free From Farmhouse.
Flourless Orange Cake with Honeyed Raspberry Coulis (slightly adapted from Claudia Roden recipe)
- Cake : Bring a large pan of water to the boil.
- Wash the oranges and place whole into the boiling water. Boil for 2 hours until soft and then drain. Set aside to cool.
- Once the oranges have cooled to room temperature, remove the ‘stalky’ bit from the end and cut into quarters. Remove any obvious pips and then liquidise the orange (including the skin) in a food processor so that you have a smooth, even puree.
- Preheat the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas 3. Lightly oil and flour the inside of a 23 cm/9 inch springform round baking tin and then base-line with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the caster sugar until well combined.
- Add and stir in the orange puree, ground almonds and baking powder.
- Pour the batter into the cake tin and smooth the top. Lightly sprinkle a little extra caster sugar across the top.
- Bake for 1 to 1¼ hours until the cake is set, the top is golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool completely in the tin, before transferring directly from the tin to a serving plate.
- Raspberry Coulis : Place the raspberries and honey into a small saucepan and heat, crushing the raspberries against the wall of the pan. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook, stirring for a few minutes until the raspberries are nicely pulped.
- Remove from the heat and pass the coulis through a sieve to remove the pips and fibre so that you have a smooth sauce.
- Add a tablespoon of maple syrup and stir through.
- Drizzle over the cake and serve.