I made a selection of these cakes last week, star shaped, loaf cakes, muffins and even used the left over batter to make a flattish slice which can also double up as a base for a cheese cake. Needless to say that the combination of orange, almonds and chocolates makes an incredible flavour but what is also very special is the texture of this cake. It is very moist and dense but not heavy or rich.
Whole oranges are softened by boiling and simmering them for an hour and then processed with the rest of the ingredients. Apart from the hour that is needed to boil the oranges the preparation of this cake takes minutes.
This cake also appeals to a lot of special dietary requirements. It is gluten free and lactose free. For a more diabetic friendly recipe, use stevia.
Orange Almond and Chocolate Cakes [gluten free, lactose free]
Orange Almond Chocolate gluten free cakes
250g ground almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 tablespoon cornflour
1/2 cup stevia OR 1/2 cup soft brown sugar OR 250g dates
a pinch of salt
a pinch of mixed spice
cake tin of 23 cm, you can also use a loaf tin or muffin dish
For the dark chocolate topping
150g Dark Novibloc Chocolate
150g Novi Orange Dark Chocolate
1 tablespoon Olive OIl
Immerse the oranges in a large pot of water and bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for an hour. Drain and allow to cool completely.
Preheat oven to 170C.
When the oranges have cooled down completely, chop them ip roughly, place in a food processor or if you prefer use a hand held blender to puree [skin included] until you have a smooth paste.
Prepare the cake dish with baking spray.
Add the ground almonds, baking powder bicarbonate of soda, eggs, sugar OR stevia OR chopped dates, pinch of salt, vanilla to the pureed oranges and blend on high speed until the mixture is smooth.
Pour the orange and egg batter into the dry ingredients and use a large metal spoon to gently fold in. Mix gently.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake dish. Bake for 45 minutes for a whole cake or 25 minutes if you are using a muffin dish, making small cakes or the base of a cheesecake. Allow to cool completely before removing from the tin.
Adding the dark chocolate topping
Place a large pot 1/4 full of water on a burner and bring to boil.
Chop up the dark Noviblock and place it in a heatproof bowl. Stainless steel is great. Once the water has boiled in the pot, remove from the heat.
Place the heatproof bowl with the chopped dark Novibloc chocolate into the pot of water.
Let the chocolate sit until it is melted, then stir and add the olive oil. Dip the cakes one by one if they are small into the melted chocolate or pour it over the cake if the cake is larger. Top with chopped almonds if desired.
To intensify the orange flavour, grate the orange chocolate Novi chocolate and sprinkle it over the melted chocolate topping before it cools and sets.
This recipe is gluten free and lactose free.
This cake is moist and has a dense texture. It tastes even better the day after it is baked.
Store in the fridge after a couple of days or slice and freeze for up to 3 months.
‘We are now at the beginning of spring and although the skies still appear dull, summer and sunshine are just round the corner. This is the end of citrus season and and I will miss the bright unwaxed oranges in my kitchen fruit bowl. This is a lovely cake to make use of any surplus citrus and the recipe also works very well by replacing the oranges with lemons and using coconut instead of ground almonds.
Maltese and Gozitan oranges come in all shapes, flavours and sizes, blood oranges with bright red flesh that taste very faintly of raspberries, some with big navels and no seeds, bitter Seville oranges brought to the island during Arab rule and in the open rambling countryside, you can find fragrant bergamot oranges that look more like lemons. If you are lucky enough to have citrus trees in your garden, with more fruit than you can possibly eat, the best place to leave the fruit is on the tree until you need to use it.
The town of Lija known for its citrus trees
Nothing beats having oranges in your back garden
Novi Bloc Dark Chocolate, Novi Orange Chocolate and Pip & Nut Almond Butter are available at M & Z (Marketing) Ltd
Nuts, Vanilla and ground almonds delivered to my home by www.spices.com.mt
Kitchenware by Cake Boss and Pedrini from K&Co Telephone 79415384