Wednesday 29 September 2010

Orange and Almond Cake

I have had great success with silicone baking pans but my faith in them received a serious blow on the weekend. While I strive to make my food look as good as possible on this blog, I hadn’t realised just how badly silicone had could let me down. The orange and almond cake tasted wonderful despite looking like a dog’s breakfast.

Initially I thought that I might wait till I bake it again before posting this recipe but it could be some time. So I present you a less than ideal picture of the cake. After all regular readers know I am not perfect. I have showed you my cake with uncooked centre and my tart baked with the plastic wrapping.

I made it on a day when things did not go right. The footy grand final was a draw, I broke one of my favourite green glasses, and finally, when Sylvia refused her baked beans, I decided to recycle them as cheesy beans tortillas but found that the best by date of the tortillas was February 2010. Surely I hadn’t bought the tortillas that long ago! I managed to recycle them as tortilla chips with chilli non carne thanks to inspiration from Lisa.

I am happy to report that even if it looks a mess, the cake tastes great. It also means that you don’t care if your toddler digs her hand into said cake. I had hoped that Sylvia would eat it because there are worse ways of bumping up your protein intake. She had a few tastes, which is as much as I can expect of her at the moment.

This recipe is not new. Both Nigella and Claudia Roden have made their versions famous. I chose Cakelaw’s version because I had never seen the method made easy by the microwave. I love shortcuts in the microwave (polenta, melted chocolate, dulce de leche). Instead of boiling the oranges for 2 hours, the recipe only requires 6 minutes of microwaving! It also is different to Nigella or Claudia’s version because it has no additional raising agent.

The cake is also notable for being gluten free and dairy free, having no butter or oil and far more eggs than I usually use. It is very moist and satisfying. I enjoyed it, despite having aversions to eggs and citrus. Oranges are my favourite citrus fruit but I think this works without other citrus fruit. Nigella uses clementines.

I enjoyed the dark crust of the cake. My food processor isn’t overly powerful and there were a few pleasingly chewy chunks of peel throughout the cake. I used blood oranges and was a little disappointed that the colour wasn’t more prominent. But not as disappointed as I was with the presentation. I hope one day I can do it more justice.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Roasted Beetroot Tofu Burgers
This time two years ago: Fridge Door Confessions

Orange and Almond Cake
From Cakelaw

  • 2 medium oranges
  • 200g almond meal
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 eggs

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Grease and line a 9 inch or 23 cm round cake tin. Do not use silicone unless you line it with baking paper.

Place the orange in a small bowl and pierce with a fork. Microwave each orange separately on high for 3 minutes. (I found it released a lot of juice, hence the necessity of the bowl.) Cut open and remove any pips. I used a knife and fork to roughly chop my orange because my food processor doesn't do a great job. Place oranges in food processor and blitz until smooth.

Beat eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl with electric beaters until thick and creamy. I beat mine for 3 minutes. I assumed the eggs needed a lot of air in them because the cake relies on them for raising. Gently stir in the almonds and pureed oranges.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin, and bake for 1 hour or until cooked through when tested with a skewer. Turn out onto a wire rack to cook. Cakelaw iced hers with an orange juice icing but I just ate it without icing. Keeps at least 5 days in an airtight container.

On the stereo:
Songs from the South: Greatest Hits: Paul Kelly


  1. If you say it tasted great, I believe you. Don't worry about the picture it happens to everyone.

  2. I would always use a circle of baking parchment at the bottom of my tin, even a silicon one.

    Is your "tin" pure silicon? Pinch it and if it changes colour it is not pure.

    I love that Nigella cake, despite the fact that I usually bake without eggs. I actually have some poached oranges in the freezer, but what a good idea to microwave them!

  3. Its such a long time ago, but I think I've made this clementine cake ages ago after seeing Nigella's version with the food processor. I am liking the sound of your blood orange replacement though.

    So despite your silicone mould letting you down, and the cake not looking as pretty, it ultimately is about the taste and you said it, it tastes great.

  4. I love orange and almond cake. Glad other people have 'issues' with their food. I have a less than perfect dish I made, and was deliberating last night about whether to post. So annoying when things just don't quite go right! I have to say cooking with silicone makes me a bit nervous, also it doesn't seem to conduct heat as well as metal containers.

  5. At first I thought you baked the cake in the microwave, which might account for the sticking to the pan, but then I saw it was baked in the oven. Sounds like what we'd call a sponge cake over here. And it actually looks delicious! You can even tell how light it is from the photo. Unlike Sylvia, I'm sure I wouldn't mind getting a bit of my protein that way. ;)

  6. I always think it's pleasantly humanising to have an honest disaster or ugly food post every now and then. :-D

    I've enjoyed the occasional orange and almond cake (often when there's a gluten-free eater around) but had no idea there were so few ingredients - amazing!

  7. You do know the real reason this cake stuck, right? Becaused it had orange in it, so the tin was simply trying to make sure no one had to eat it :D :D :D

    ANd now I'm off to investigate this dulce de leche microwave recipe you speak of, because I *can* get behidn that...

  8. This is one of my favourite cakes ever! It's so moist and delicious and unlike other cakes! :D

  9. Thanks Katerina - I much prefer substance over style anyway :-)

    Thanks Helen - do you substitute something for eggs - would be interested in an eggless version - have never heard of there being degrees of silicone in baking pans - usually mine are fine if I don't grease them but this was a disaster

    Thanks Mangocheeks - yes taste is king - or queen - or democratically elected ruler!

    Thanks Deb - I always find it reassuring to see that others have recipe disaster - not too often but just occasionally! I agree that silicone makes food a little less crisp but thought that would be good as I knew this recipe would bake quite dark on the outside

    Thanks Ricki - I think it is denser than a sponge due to the almonds but it is quite light and delicious - a great crowd pleaser

    Thanks Cindy - I agree - and I was surprised at how few ingredients were involved in the cake too - could possibly be my baking recipes with the least ingredients - and very simple to make!

    Thanks Hannah - good to have a scientific explanation :-) hope you enjoy the dulce de leche (well really just caramel but now that I am blogging I used fancy titles)

    Thanks Lorraine - I've been wanting to make this for some time because it does seem to be one of those cakes that people love and turns up again and again - I did think it might be my favourite if only there was so chocolate involved!

  10. Sounds delicious even if it did break up in the mould - sometimes the baking gods are just against us. I love how you can cook the oranges in the microwave, the 2hrs boiling its whats put me off baking this cake in the past. Sounds yummy

  11. OMG - my friend Craig would be stoked that you made this!!! I have had problems with silicon pans in the past - I am now firmly a fan of the old-fashioned variety. Thanks so much for linking to my recipe, and I am glad that you liked the taste of the cake, depsite the mishap.

  12. There's a few Claudia Roden versions - the one I use has no extra raising agent - in fact its originally a sephardic passover cake. I've found it hard to get the balance between burned on the bottom v soggy in the middle with this cake too though, so perhaps its not the silicon that's too blame.

  13. I can vouch for you Joanna. I've made a similar version of this + chocolate and it's divine. Shame about the silicone mould - perhaps the extra eggs make the batter more gluey?

  14. I love the dark crust of cakes too mmm. Interesting that the recipe only has 4 ingredients! I don't think I've seen a cake like this before, well except the flourless chocolate cake. I love that you share things that didn't go so well! I don't like silicon baking pans. Maybe for cakes they'd be good but I think metal pans make for nicer edges on muffins and loaves. I feel like when I use my silicon muffin pan, the muffins are sweating in there or something.


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