A Boiled Orange is the secret to this moist Italian Orange Almond Cake August 17, 2016

by Greer Eat

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Trust the Italians to take an ingredient and transform it so that it doesn’t just flavour the dish, it is the dish. This orange and almond cake doesn’t get an orangey flavour from a little zest. It actually uses a boiled orange to provide not only the essence of orange, but the moistness that makes this cake even better a few days after baking.

Boiling an orange for an hour might seem like a lot of work, but trust me when I tell you that the transformation is worth the effort. Give me your lumpy ugly oranges, your last-of-the-seasons, your huddled summer masses, and I promise you they will be become the most amazing sweet pulped base you could possibly imagine. After trying the results for the first time, I couldn’t believe the taste! Somehow, this is ‘orangier’ than, well, an orange. It’s almost difficult to imagine that this flavour is created without adding any extra sugar or adding anything artificial. But here it is. The perfect Italian answer to “What do we do with all these oranges?”. Best served with a piping hot espresso, naturally.

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Ingredients

  • 1 large orange weighing approximately 350 g (or 2 smaller ones)
  • 6 free range eggs
  • 250 g ground almonds
  • 250 g granulated sugar
  • 1 heaped tsp baking powder
  • butter and flour/breadcrumbs or matzo meal for the tin

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Method

Wash the orange(s), put it in a pan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for an hour and a half or until it is extremely soft when pricked with a fork. Remove the orange from the pan, let it cool, then cut it open and remove any pips. Turn the orange into a pulp by pressing it through a sieve or by using an immersion blender. If you try a spoonful at this stage, you can taste the change in state that the orange undergoes – it will be sweetened and perfectly moist.

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Prepare a cake tin – ideally with a loose base – by rubbing it with butter and then dusting it with flour. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C.

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Beat the eggs in a large bowl, add the pulped orange, beat again, then add the almonds, sugar and baking powder and beat again until you have a thick, even batter. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for between 40 – 60 minutes. Have a look at the cake after 40 minutes it should be golden and set firm. Try testing with a wooden skewer- it should come out almost clean, as opposed to very sticky with a clingy batter. If the cake does need another 10 mins, pop some aluminium foil over the top of it so it doesn’t get too brown.

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Let it cool in the tin before turning it onto a plate and dusting with a little icing sugar, if you like.

Serve with a dollop of double cream and espresso – Italian style!

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5 comments

Heidi says:

So this cake doesn’t consist any flour? Looks like it’s made of orange, almond, eggs and baking powder.
It’s more of a custard tart.

Greer says:

That’s right! The almond meal takes the place of flour in this recipe, much like a macaroon. It will still rise and have a crumb like a cake, but it’s totally gluten free. 🙂

Julie Ridgill says:

When you push the orange pressing it through a sieve do you press the whole orange even the outer peal, I only used the pulp, not the entire orange.

Greer says:

Hi Julie – that’s exactly right! You can discard the outer peel once you’ve strained it. 🙂

Julie says:

Do I use the whole orange or just the pulp pressing it through a sieve? I only used the pulp not the outer peal.

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