03 March 2007
Orange Almond Cake
When a recipe is praised and published in almost identical form by three well respected cookbook authors, you'd think that would be enough to convince you to make it? And when one of those cooks serves it at her own holiday table, well that should be good extra ammunition, right? But I'm afraid, consumate baker that I am, that this recipe lingered in the clippings pile for several years before I finally put it to use. Years, people. And what finally convinced me to make it? A bag of leftover ground almonds I had from making macarons. More frugality than inspiration I realize, but the good part is that this cake got made, and the accolades from all those experts resoundly verified.
The cake involves cooking whole oranges until they are completely soft and then pureeing them whole. The orange mixture is combined with almond meal, eggs, and sugar, and then baked, that's all there is to it. The orange adds a wonderful moistness to the cake and keeps the sweetness in check. I took this to a dinner party and was worried it might need a little whipped cream to liven it up, but the cake is actually quite moist and flavorful and held the show on its own. Because it's not to sweet, it ended up being the perfect compliment to a Chinese meal (may I add fabulously executed by a friend of my mother's). Certainly a keeper, though I suppose I should have known that.
Orange and Almond Cake
Because this is flourless, it's great for people with gluten allergies. From Claudia Roden, Nigella Lawson, Trish Deseine, and the Traveler's Lunchbox.
2 large oranges (or 4 clementines)
2 1/3 cups almond meal (ground almonds)
1 cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons
1 tsp baking powder
1. Place the oranges in a pot of water, bring to a boil, and then simmer for 2 hours, until they are completely tender. Remove the oranges and let cool (can be done 1 day ahead).
2. Preheat the oven to 375, grease an 8 inch round pan. Halve the oranges and remove any pips. Place the oranges in a food preocessor and process to a chunky pulp. Add the remaining ingredients and process to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes to one hour, until golden brown and set.