Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake...Nigella Lawson Adaptation
When I first saw a flourless cake made with clementines on Megi's blog, I was thrilled. The idea of using whole clementines in the actual cake batter quite intrigued me. I mean the cake used the WHOLE citrus fruit...ok, minus the seeds. But you actually do end up using the peel, pith and flesh of the citrus fruit....amazingly, it can be done...without tasting bitter. Actually, there are numerous recipes online for cake recipes that use the whole citrus fruit... poached or not. I suppose I'm probably behind the times when it comes to this recipe:). Anyway, I always get intrigued with recipes that are unique...and this was one unique cake, that's for sure. I mean who would have thought...
Since I had a few clementines, but LOTS of oranges, I decided to make the chocolate version of the flour-less cake...which uses oranges instead of clementines. Now, because the cake is flour-less, lots of eggs are needed in order to give the cake some height. Leavening is used, but you still need those eggs:)...ok, I do LOVE eggs, but I really have a hard time using too many of them in my baking or cooking. So, I decided to see if I could manage to shave off one egg from the recipe... I was about to shave off 2, but didn't dare...though I am tempted to do just that next time:)... in any case, it worked with just 5 eggs.
Now, I process my own raw almonds, but you can use store-bought almond meal for this recipe if you prefer. I find it's necessary to process the almonds as fine as you can...in order to get a flour-ish consistency. This will help the cake rise a bit more than if you would be using roughly chopped nuts. But do be careful not to process the nuts to almond butter:).
The original recipe also has you use a bit more sugar...I found a cup of sugar was quite plenty(maybe it could be done with even less?...). And Nigella uses a heaping teaspoon of baking powder...I don't know about you, but my heaping teaspoon can vary from time to time...So I wanted something that would give me consistent results... I chose to use 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder. The measurement may or may not be the equivalent of a heaping teaspoon, but I wanted the cake to be...well, more of a cake... rather than a dense cake. I wanted a light and fluffy kind of cake. You know, the kind that could be layered with some frosting if need be:).
Nigella makes it really easy to make her cake... you basically mix everything in a bowl. I added an extra step or two in my adaptation. I ended up whipping the eggs and sugar till light and fluffy and then folded in the dry and wet ingredients at the end. I guess I was really looking for that cake-like consistency:). Oh, before I forget, I managed to sneak in a bit of coconut:)....I wanted a moist cake, but not too wet. This had just the right amount of moistness. Do feel free to check Nigella's original recipe...and make her version, if you like.
Ok, so we loved this cake...I'd say it is a fantastic cake! You'd never guess this cake to be gluten-free.....moist, chocolaty, nutty and fluffy. You will notice there is no butter or oil...I wish there was no sugar as well... and still taste just as good:). Nevertheless, it is a wonderful cake to have in the recipe file ...especially if you are gluten intolerant or if you have friends who are on a gluten-free diet and you want to make them a birthday cake:).
The cake needs no help from further decorations...though you could serve it with a scoop of ice cream, some whipped cream, creme fraiche, mascarpone, chocolate ganache... or even a fine dusting of powdered sugar. I was quite fine with it plain. By the way, this cake freezes beautifully. Hope you enjoy....
Note: If you would like to try the non-chocolate version using clementines...you can see Megi's version that inspired me so much... by going HERE.
By the way, Megi has some other wonderful healthy and gluten-free recipes that are worth checking out....you will also love the photography.
You will need: totally inspired by LindenTea's Clementine Cake... and adapted(quite a bit) from Nigella Lawson.
- Makes two (6 1/2 inch) cakes.... Nigella uses an 8 inch pan.
1 large thin-skinned* orange(or 2 small oranges) (14 oz. uncooked)...or 12 oz. cooked orange puree
~enough water to cover oranges~
5 ex-large eggs
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
1 TBS vanilla
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups(200 grams) finely ground almonds
1/2 cup(50 grams) unsweetened dark cocoa
1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut( finely grated)
* I couldn't find any thin-skinned oranges and used regular oranges. Also, I cooked 2 medium oranges and only ended up using 1 and 1/2 oranges... or 12 oz of cooked orange puree.
Make Orange Puree: 2 hours before baking or the day before.
1. Wash and scrub orange(s) well. Fill a pot of water and submerge oranges.
2. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 2 hours( after 1 hour just turn the oranges over so that it gets completely cooked all around and continue to simmer for an additional 1 hour)....yes, I know, this is quite a long time(I am tempted to do this in a pressure cooker next time).
Take oranges out of water and cool.
3. Cut soft orange(s) in pieces and remove any seeds. Place cut orange pieces(peel, pith and all) in a food processor and process till you get a rough puree. Cover and refrigerate or proceed with the recipe below.( I refrigerated mine overnight and warmed it a bit to remove the chill before I proceeded with the recipe). You might taste the puree and find it a bit bitter....but in the end when the cake cools down, the bitterness goes away.
Pre-heat oven to 350 deg F
1. Place eggs in warm water to take off chill. Butter 2 (6 1/2 inch) springform pans(I also lined the bottom of the pan with parchment paper...I suppose you can also use a large 8, 9 or even 10 inch springform pan...I prefer the smaller versions. This way I have 2 cakes:). You can freeze one of them for later.).
2. Process raw almonds in a food processor to a very fine consistency (or use store-bought almond meal).
3. Measure out 2 cups(or 2oo grams) of ground almonds and combine it with 1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut, cocoa and leavening.(I processed this mixture for a few seconds in the food processor so that it would be evenly combined).
4. In a mixer bowl, add eggs, sugar and vanilla... whisking on high till pale and mousse-like(3-4 minutes or so).
5. Mix in 1/2 orange puree( on low... or fold in gently) then add 1/2 ground almond mixture and repeat with the remaining puree and almond mixture till evenly combined.
7. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. You might need to cover the tops with aluminum paper to prevent the cakes from burning. Mine were done at 45 minutes...but do check the cakes at the 30 minute mark as all ovens behave differently.
8. Cool in pan. Remove and decorate/serve with orange slices, candied orange peel, whipped cream, ice cream ...I suppose you can also decorate the cake with a ganache frosting:), but a fine dusting of powdered sugar can suffice.