Sunday, May 15, 2005

LooK Ma, no FLoUr

I have been keen to try my hand in making the flourless orange cake since tasting it at Delicious by Ms. Read's cafes at 1 Utama and Bangsar Village. Flipping through my cookbooks, I noticed that Nigella Lawson has her version called a Clementine Cake from her How to Eat cookbook. Clementines are from the mandarin orange family and are quite similar to the smaller and sweeter honey mandarin oranges we get during Chinese New Year. In the UK, they are extremely popular during Christmas. In the absence of clementines, you can substitute with oranges or lemons.

The recipe was extremely simple with a short list of ingredients. As flour and butter has been omitted, ground almonds was used to bind all the wet ingredients together. The only downside is you need to boil the oranges in water for approximately two hours for it to soften so you can use the pulp. Besides the long time needed, the smell of the oranges boiling is horrible, kinda like boiled dirty socks. Other alternatives have been suggested on forums that discuss Nigella's recipes such as microwaving the oranges but I decided to stick to the conventional way. When you choose the oranges, make sure they are the thin skinned ones. For my cakes, I used the Sunkist ones as those were the thinnest skin I could source for currently.

Nigella's recipe, if any of you have seen the television show calls for you to process all the ingredients in a food processor. Since my food processor is too small to that, I did it the conventional way and beat it in a bowl with my hand mixer. The cake came out looking beautiful but when I cut a slice, it was too moist. It didn't have the nuttiness of the cake I had in Delicious so it was back to the drawing board.

Skimming through the internet, there are so many different versions of the cake. There was one with ginger from
Chocolate & Zucchini, one with poppyseeds and various others with slight variations to Nigella's recipe. I liked what Jill Dupleix did in her version, seperating the eggs and folding the egg whites in hence I borrowed her technique for the cake. I also took the advice from the forum members of Nigella's website and squeezed out the juice from the boiled oranges. At the suggestion of my mother, I switched to 6 medium eggs compared to the large ones I used in my first try.

The second cake was much better, the folding in of the egg whites made the batter lighter and it was less moist. The texture of the cake was exactly like the one served in Delicious minus the almond niblets. So here's my version of the cake which I hope you will enjoy:

Flourless Orange Almond Cake
2 oranges with a weight of 375grams
6 medium eggs
250 grams sugar
250 grams ground almond
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder

Put the oranges in a pan with some cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 2 hours. Make sure the oranges do not split as if they do, this will make your orange bitter as the taste will be from the orange peel. If you want to cut the time, you can boil the oranges in a pressure cooker for half an hour or prick the oranges and microwave them for approximately 4 to 5 minutes, turning them after 2 minutes. Make sure the oranges are soft before you blitz them. Drain and, when cool, cut each orange in half and remove the pips. Make sure you squeeze out the juice and excess water or your cake will be too moist. Dump the oranges - skins, pith, fruit and all - and give a quick blitz.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 5/190ºC. Butter and line a 21cm Springform tin. Seperate the eggs into two bowls. Beat the egg yolks with sugar in a large bowl until pale. Beat in the pulped oranges, the ground almonds and the baking powder. In a seperate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks. Fold gently and slowly into the mixture.

Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for an hour, when a skewer will come out clean; you'll probably have to cover with greaseproof paper or foil after about 40 minutes to stop the top burning. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, on a rack, but in the tin. When the cake's cold, you can take it out of the tin. If you want, you can add almond niblets or sift icing sugar on top of the cake as decoration.

Yummy cake to be enjoyed with a hot cup of tea or coffee.
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Krystle Chelsea said...

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Do you consider this as easy to bake? I would like to make one for my boyfriend!

sağlıklıyaşam said...


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