Orange and Almond Cake
Last weekend, our little multicultural food group met again for a potluck dinner. We’ve done this a number of times now- have a potluck at one of our houses, and each of us brings a dish that hopefully, the others have not tried before. Things we’ve had in the past include Korean red pepper noodles, red curry, Swedish meatballs, semla, kuih salad and ‘agoost’(?), a Swedish version of coeur à la crème. I usually make the dessert, of course, and it has to be gluten-free as K has a gluten allergy. So, I initially planned to make macarons, fresh out of Baroque’s masterclass, but I didn’t get a couple of ingredients in time. I racked my brains for a gluten-free dessert- crème caramel? sago pudding? Then I remembered a dessert I’ve always wanted to make- orange and almond cake! I remember coming across a recipe years ago, but I had always been deterred from making it because you have to stew a whole orange for 2 hours. This time, I had lots of time to prepare, and also had just bought some beautiful fresh navel oranges.
Navel oranges are now in season- they get their name from the little ‘navels’ at the bottom of the orange, and they are juicy and sweet! Excellent for making a moist cake.
So, the whole oranges are stewed in a pot for 2 hours. Essentially, you are steaming the whole orange so the juice is runny, and the skin softens. After cooling the cooked oranges, they are just processed with all the other ingredients in a food processor! Easy!
What makes the cake and gives it a bite while making it gluten-free is almond meal. I used an equal amount of almond and hazelnut meal just to give the cakes a little more nutty flavour. Served with some fresh cream and orange segments, this dessert is perfect for afternoon tea, or as a simple dessert for guests (I know we can never have enough of those tried and tested recipes). And the response from our dinner group was overwhelming! The cakes were full of orange flavour, were moist and also had a nutty texture that gave them a bit of bite. This is one recipe I’ll definitely be cracking out again for gluten-free friends.
Orange and Almond Cake
from Stephanie Alexander’s The Cook’s Companion: The Complete Book of Ingredients and Recipes for the Australian Kitchen
2 large oranges, washed
6 eggs, beaten
250g almond meal (I used equal amounts of almond and hazelnut meal for my cake)
250g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
Boil oranges in a pot with a little water for 2 hours over low to medium heat. Make sure you always have water in the pot, otherwise your oranges will burn.
Allow to cool, then cut open and remove pips. Chop roughly.
Preheat oven to moderate (I used 170°C fan forced). Blend oranges and remaining ingredients in a food processor until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Cool in tin before gently turning out.
Serve with fresh cream or vanilla ice-cream and some orange segments.