Don’t you just love when an idea and a plan of attack come together at once? I was reading an article by Sam Worley on Epicurious about baking with citrus, and how to use the whole fruit for extra flavour. Worley recommends soaking or simmering slices of orange (rind and all!) in simple syrup… so I bookmarked the idea for investigating later.
And then… I found a totally different way of using the whole orange.
The good folks behind Chef Jason Roberts‘ new cookbook, Good Food — Fast! sent me a copy for review. And oh my word, I want to make so many of the recipes in this book. I love the use of whole ingredients, and the breakfast section makes me want to eat breakfast for every meal of the day. There’s even a gluten-free bread recipe that doesn’t use any scary ingredients… I can’t wait to try it!
But back to baking with whole oranges! I knew I had to try this Boiled Orange and Almond Cake when I saw that Chef Roberts used two whole oranges. He softens them up by simmering them for 2 hours, then blitzes them in a blender with the eggs in the recipe. And the result is a gorgeous orange cake, with that perfect hint of bitterness from the peel that lingers in your mouth for a long time after you’ve finished your bite.
This beautiful cookbook has a photo for every recipe (which I adore), and the photos are drool-inducingly gorgeous. Case in point:
Mr. KitchenOperas and I took this cake to a dinner party last night, and it was a hit. I replaced the oranges with blood oranges, and followed the rest of the recipe as written, sprinkling sugar on top to serve. Oh my word, I will DEFINITELY be making this cake again!
Boiled Orange and Almond Cake
Reprinted with Permission by Rowman & Littlefield, from Good Food — Fast!
I first saw this cake being made during my time as an apprentice at Ravesis in Bondi, Australia—and I was amazed at the idea of boiling oranges for 2 hours until they were soft! This cake and its ingredients have no resemblance to the cakes my mum or nana made (apart from the eggs and sugar). Over the years, this has become one of my favorite cakes for its simplicity, flavor, texture, and freedom from gluten. Surprisingly, I find this cake gets better with age because it starts drying out around the edges and gets a nice chewy-marzipan sort of texture. — Jason Roberts
SERVES 12: 1 (10-INCH) CAKE PAN OR 3 (6 X 3½-INCH) LOAF PANS
- 2 large oranges (organic, if possible)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1½ tablespoons plus 1 cup sugar, divided
- 5 eggs
- 2 ⁄3cups ground almond flour/almond meal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Freshly whipped cream
- Place the oranges in a saucepan and cover them with cold water. Take a piece of parchment paper and set it over the oranges, then put a plate (or a suitable weight) on top to keep the oranges from floating upward. Bring the water to a rolling boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 2 hours. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the oranges to cool.
- Once the oranges have cooled, split them into quarters, leaving the skin intact. Remove as many seeds as possible and roughly chop the oranges.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Butter a baking pan evenly with 1 tablespoon butter and then dust it with 1½ tablespoons sugar to create a nonstick coating.
- Place the oranges, including skin, and the eggs into a food processor or blender and purée until the mixture is smooth.
- In a separate bowl, mix the ground almonds, 1 cup sugar, and baking powder [and salt]. Whisk the orange and egg mixture into the almond mixture until it’s well incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, place it into the oven, and bake for approximately 70 minutes. The cooking time may vary as the cake being quite dense in texture; I find the best way to test for doneness is to push a skewer in—it should be relatively cake-free when you pull it out.
- Allow the cake to cool, then dust it with confectioners’ sugar and top it with a little freshly whipped cream before serving.