Every so often I find a gluten-free (and dairy free) dessert recipe that’s a traditional dish hailing from some other part of the world where they’ve simply never added wheat or any other kind of gluten to the recipe. When this happens, I’m grateful and I rejoice. These sweets often taste better than desserts where we’re trying to replicate something we can no longer eat.
This is an Armenian cake that will quickly become a new sweet staple for you and your family. It will become a tradition in your home if you give it a chance and I can tell you that those who can eat gluten will thank you for it. I have several friends who prefer this cake to the traditional kind. You can bring it to parties and people will rave about it. It’s moist and the citrus taste is light and refreshing. This is a healthy treat and your body will thank you for it.
The baking technique used might seem a bit unusual and different at first, but it’s a tried and true recipe. I can assure you that it all comes together in the end. The secret to the cake’s success is the stiff whipped egg whites.
Tips for making Orange & Almond Cake
- If your oven runs hot lower the temperature and cook for 10-15 minutes longer. (If the oven is hot the outside of the cake will crisp up quickly and the inside will remain gooey.)
- To save some time boil the oranges ahead of time. This cake takes a bit of extra planning but it’s worth it.
- Since the outside of the cake will be browned, dust lightly with some powdered sugar.
- If you’d like to top it with something, try a marmalade sauce. Combine 1/2 cup organic orange marmalade with 3/4 cup fresh organic orange juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir constantly. Remove from heat. Combine 3 Tablespoons of arrowroot powder with 3 Tablespoons of water in a small cup or container. Slowly pour into the citrus mixture. Return to heat and stir until thickened. (If you’d like it to be creamier, strain out the peel, cool, then mix in 3 Tablespoons heavy cream.)
- I recommend using a springform pan if you have one. If you chose to split the batter into two pans so that you can fill it, be sure to lower the temperature so that you don’t burn the outside. Just cook it low and slow—like a meringue.
- The cake can also be served with a side of crème fraîche and fresh berries too. Myself, I just like to eat it the way it is without anything fancy on it.
Orange & Almond Cake
- 2 large whole oranges (organic preferred, since the whole orange including skin will be used)
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 2 1/4 cups almond flour / almond meal (You can also grind your own from whole crispy almonds)
- 1 1/4 cups organic evaporated cane sugar or raw honey – coconut palm sugar works well (with raw honey reduce to 1 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon finely ground celtic sea salt
- butter / ghee or coconut oil for greasing the springform pan
- Place the oranges (whole and unpeeled) into a saucepan, cover with water and boil (covered with a lid) for 2 hours. (This can also be done in a pressure cooker in about 1/2 hour.)
- Remove oranges and let them cool. Slice and open oranges to remove seeds. (Cut off the ends of the oranges too). Reserve the orange liquid for other cooking projects, if desired.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch non-stick cake or springform pan. Cut a circle of parchment paper for the base of the pan. Grease with butter.
- In a food processor, blend oranges with egg yolks. (You can mash them together with a fork too if a food processor is not available.)
- Add the sugar and ground almonds to the orange and egg yolks mixture. Blend well. Transfer to a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Fold into orange mixture.
- Pour cake into prepared cake pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes. Use a skewer or toothpick to ensure the cake cooks all the way through in the middle.
- Remove and let cool.
- Run a knife gently around the edge of the cake before releasing from the pan. Turn out onto a plate or release from springform pan. Place the papered side of the cake up. Remove paper.
- Ice with frosting of your choice or marmalade sauce. Serve. (Can be served alone too.)