Roses are red, violets are blue, honey is sweet and so are you!
A Cake for All Reasons . . .
Moist, luscious, gluten-free, honey-sweetened Orange and Almond Cake is a great birthday cake, an excellent tea cake, a cake for Valentine’s Day and even a Sunday morning brunch cake. If you can make this cake at least a day in advance, it becomes even moister and more intensely orange flavored. Enjoy it as it is or simply sauced with vanilla yoghurt or dressed up with Raspberry Puree (recipe below) and fresh fruit.
. . . Though It Didn’t Start Out that Way
Looking for a cake for Paul’s New Year’s Day birthday, I found a gluten-free cake with rave reviews—an Orange and Almond cake from Claudia Roden’s 1968 classic A Book of Middle Eastern Food. I researched a few different versions, decided on the changes I would make such as replacing the refined white sugar with half as much honey and adding a bit of brown rice flour to balance the extra moistness from the honey. With a recipe in hand I started to bake.
My first cake was disastrous. What amazed me the most was that none of the recipes stated what size spring-form pan. As I had a 10-inch pan that’s what I used. Each of the recipes called for a 400 degree oven, so that was the temperature I used. I share my process with you for much to my dismay that first cake turned out much too thin and with a thick burnt crust on the top, bottom and sides. I would have given up right then if the unburned-center of the cake hadn’t been so delicious!
A Valentine’s Gift to You
I’ve now prepared 6 cakes, refining each one until I had a recipe ready to share: a recipe that specifies a 9-inch spring-form pan and an oven temperature that bakes the cake to a lovely golden brown.
Bright red Raspberry Puree adds a burst of color and most deliciously intensifies and complements the flavor of the oranges.
Here is a cake to serve to your sweetie, your family, your friends on Valentine’s Day or any time or occasion throughout the year.
Inspired by and adapted from Claudia Roden’s recipe from her 1968 classic,
A Book of Middle Eastern Food.
The use of almond flour adds a wonderful texture and a good bit of protein to this cake. Try the cake as is or served with Raspberry Puree, fresh fruit and/or vanilla yoghurt.
Makes 1 nine-inch round cake
2 large or 3 medium organic oranges
Scant 1½ cups (½ pound) blanched slivered almonds
½ cup honey
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
6 eggs, at room temperature
3 tablespoons brown rice flour
(An additional scant tablespoon of brown rice flour for preparing the cake pan)
Place the washed, whole oranges into a deep saucepan and cover with water. Place a weight on top of the oranges to keep them submerged. (I use a bowl with a can inside of it as my weight.) Bring the water to a boil and then lower the heat so that the water simmers. Cook the oranges for two hours, checking every half hour or so and adding additional water as necessary to keep the oranges submerged. Remove the oranges from the water to cool.
Meanwhile, place the nuts in a food processor and use the pulse button to grind them as finely as possible without making a paste. Remove them from the processor.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil and flour a 9-inch spring-form pan.
Blend in the honey, baking powder, vanilla and salt.
Separate the eggs, placing the whites in a medium-sized bowl and the yolks in with the oranges. Use the pulse button to stir the yolks into the oranges. Remove the orange mixture to a large bowl. Use a whisk to stir in the ground almonds and brown rice flour.
Whip the egg whites till they form soft peaks.
Stir 1/3 of the whites into the orange and almond mixture. Then gently fold in half of the remaining whites. When almost incorporated, gently fold in the other half. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan.
Place the pan on the middle shelf of the oven. After 20 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for an additional 30 minutes until the center of the cake no longer jiggles, the top bounces back when lightly touched, and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the cake pan before removing it. Let the cake cool completely before wrapping it in plastic wrap. For the best flavor let the cake sit 24 hours before serving.
Makes about 1 cup
1 12-ounce package frozen, unsweetened raspberries
Defrost the frozen raspberries and place them in a blender. Blend about 1 minute. Pour through a fine strainer, pressing out the liquid though not so hard as to press seeds through the strainer. Pour into a container, cover and refrigerate.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe without images