Persian, Sicilian, Italian, Spanish, Turkish cake! Yes, all of them! That incredibly flavorful, decadent and unique cake, basically composed of four all natural ingredients: almond flour, whole boiled oranges, eggs and sugar, seems to be present in the cuisines of all those countries! The recipes I came across so far do not vary much from each other: some different proportions of ingredients, maybe addition of flour, semolina or orange syrup but the base and preparation is the same everywhere.
My small investigation into the origins of this cake led me to a simple conclusion, meaning a mix of Moorish-Arab-Persian influence, which introduced the farming and use and almonds, oranges and cane sugar in the cuisines of Sicily, Italy and Spain.
So if you’re dreaming of lighter and healthier Holiday dishes and desserts, you just found a perfect recipe that will undeniably surprise and absolutely please all your guests! The cake thanks to whole boiled oranges (yes with the skin! just buy organic, not waxed ones or scrub the regular ones in very hot water) is incredibly moist and flavorful, in a consistency similar to a more grainy cheesecakes, and most of all gluten free and with reduced amount of sugar. Simply perfect! Happy Holidays!
300 g (2 3/4 cup) almond flour or meal
200 g (1 cup) brown non refined sugar
4 large free range eggs
3 large organic, unwaxed oranges
or regular ones, scrubbed in very hot water
(+ 2h for boiling oranges)
Wash the oranges diligently and place them in a larger pot with enough water to cover them all. Simmer on a lower flame for around 2 hours until the oranges are very soft (including the skin) and will be easy to puree. Set the pot with all the contents aside to cool.
Cut the oranges to pieces (with the skin on!), get rid of the pits and blend (in a food processor or with a blender) to a smooth puree. You can also push them through the sift. Don’t worry about the bitterness of the puree, it will completely disappear in the next stage of preparation.
Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) and line the bottom of a round baking pan (22 cm) with a baking paper.
In a separate bowl whip the egg whites to a stiff foam. Place the egg yolks in a different bowl (larger one).
Transfer the puree to the bowl with egg yolks, add almond flour and stir everything diligently.
Start folding the whipped egg whites, very delicately and in batches, to the orange-almond mass, just util combined. Do not overmix!
Bake with the fan on for 40-45 minutes (depending on the oven), until the cake is set and the toothpick inserted in the middle comes our quite dry. Do not overbake!
That cake is very delicate so cool it completely in the pan. Only then you can open it and remove the rim. Smacznego!
Baker’s note: If you’re tempted by flourless cake recipes you may also want to try that absolutely wonderful Flourless Chocolate Pear Cake