Orange Almond Cake. Brilliant orange flavor. Gluten free. Featuring orange puree and almond flour, this cake is moist, dense, and delicious.
Middle of January. A brisk 47 degrees this morning. Sunny and blue skies. A normal winter day in San Diego. I’m enjoying the cooler temperatures, but truth be told I’m already looking forward to putting away the sweaters. The first part of the year generally means less traffic in local restaurants. If you work in one, the slight reprieve is nice. During this slowdown comes San Diego Restaurant Week. Have my shortlist of establishments to check out on the cheap.
I have a couple Valentine’s day projects that are next on my baking calendar, and then I start working on desserts based on the spring fruit harvest and of course more chocolate, caramel and coffee. Later today, I’m off to specialty produce to gawk at gorgeous fruits and vegetables; and I hope to find some fresh cherries and maybe some peaches or nectarines for an upcoming tart. Neither are in season, but I must have them.
The citrus this time of year is always brilliant. Bright, vibrant, and juicy. I’ve been cooking, not just baking with a lot of citrus this winter, especially grapefruit and blood oranges. I’ve made candied citrus peel a dozen times. I seem to be putting zest into everything. The graveyard of half squeezed, half zested fruits always becomes the base for vinaigrettes.
This is a classic recipe created by someone else decades ago that I love to pull out of my recipe box every year. I don’t know who developed it or how they came upon the idea for creating it, but its excellent, and worth the time spent putting it together.
Whole oranges are scrubbed and boiled in water until soft. The softened oranges are pureed until smooth. The puree is added to a mix of sugar, almond flour, baking powder, and eggs. The cake batter is perfect for several small cakes or one large one. The cakes bake up moist, tender and flavorful. The cake is topped with an orange honey syrup for even more orange flavor and a sweet note from the honey.
Although I’m known to eat cake at any point during the day, and have several breakfast cakes in my repertoire, this is definitely a dessert cake. The flavor in the cake seems to intensify after a day or two, and the moisture keeps the cake tasting great for several days. It’s a cake that needs very little but can be embellished simply or lavishly. It has such a lively yellowish orange color; you don’t want to cover it up.
Perfect on its own, I like to pair this with a fresh berry compote or salsa. Think blueberries, peaches, or raspberries. Today I’ve gone with a simple syrup, sliced almonds and a dusting of powdered sugar. Candied orange peel is a nice touch. I have put an orange buttercream between two layers of small rounds in the form of a naked cake.
Cutting into the cake reveals the moist, dense texture that makes this cake so unique.
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Orange Almond Cake
Orange Almond Cake:
- 2 each large oranges
- 400 grams granulated sugar (2 cups), blended until fine
- 400 grams almond flour (3-1/4 cups)
- 8 grams baking powder (1-1/2 teaspoons)
- 500 grams egg (10 large)
Orange Honey Syrup:
- 18 grams fresh orange zest (3 tablespoons)
- 60 grams fresh orange juice (1/4 cup)
- 100 grams granulated sugar (1/2 cup), blended until fine
- 60 grams water (1/4 cup)
- 40 grams honey (2 tablespoons)
Orange Almond Cake:
- Add the oranges to a large stock pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer oranges for 60-90 minutes or until the skins have softened.
- Remove the oranges from the water and cool completely.
- Add the oranges to food processor and process until smooth. Strain through mesh strainer.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Butter bottom of 3 (6-inch) cake pans or 1 (9-inch) square pan. Line the bottom of pans with parchment paper.
- Add blended sugar, almond flour, baking powder and eggs to stand mixer. Beat on low until well combined. Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula, if necessary.
- Remove bowl from mixer. Fold in orange puree with spatula.
- Transfer cake batter to prepared pans. Bake for 70 to 80 minutes, or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean.
- Remove cake pans from oven and place on wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and cool completely.
Orange Honey Syrup:
- Add the blended sugar, water, fresh orange zest, and fresh orange juice to a small saucepan. Cook on low heat until sugar has dissolved. Simmer 5 to 10 additional minutes, or until syrup has thickened. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in honey.
- Brush tops of cakes with orange syrup. Garnish with almond slices, if desired.