At this time of year I would usually be elbow deep in cinnamon roll dough with warm spice aromas coming from the oven and filling my apartment. But you may have noticed that 2020 is not like other years. There is the biggest worldwide crisis in a century happening affecting almost everything about day to day life. My heart goes out to all those who are suffering with illness and unemployment among all the other stresses right now.
I have been keeping a daily gratitude journal for years and have continued to do so in these crazy times. Some days I write three things and other days I write three pages. These days I am especially grateful for the little things that are easy to take for granted. If you are feeling stressed and anxious, I would recommend grabbing a notebook giving this a try. Even though this situation is scary with so many unknowns, shifting your brain into a feeling of gratitude for even a short time can really help.
There have been several weeks of grocery shortages and supply issues here in Australia, as I’m sure there have been all over the world. Toilet paper was the first to go, followed by pasta, cleaning products, canned and frozen food. It was crazy to see the grocery shelves stripped bare. I’ve managed to find everything I needed except flour for over a month, but I still wanted to bake something special.
Enter this delicious Flourless Orange and Almond Cake. This is a lovely cake for Easter, Mother’s Day, a birthday celebration or even just a weekend cooking project. I adapted the recipe from a Donna Hay recipe that I’ve been making for years. The original recipe does require a small amount of flour and I’ve made it this way many times with great success. But I wanted to see if it would work completely flourless too, and it turned out great. I will link to the original and share the changes I made in the recipe below.
When I first made the cake I was intrigued because whole oranges are cooked, deseeded and then pureed whole. Then the rest of the cake ingredients are added to the same food processor, so it’s ridiculously easy to make. If you are stuck indoors and new to baking, cakes rarely get simpler than this, so it’s perfect for newbie bakers. As I mentioned, I made this one totally flourless so it becomes gluten free. The almond meal gives the cake a beautiful crumb while keeping it nice and moist.
The original cake is served warm with a sweet orange syrup but I decided to go all out on decorating! Firstly I baked it in two layers, which I think it pretty but optional. Then I made a super easy whipped mascarpone icing and topped the cake with fresh figs, raspberries, pomegranate, chopped pistachios and rose petals to make it really special. I’m not that great at cake decorating but I truly love how this turned out.
If you want to experiment further you could try this with other citrus fruit or other nut meals. I think a combination of almond and pistachio would be really nice! You could also halve the recipe if you are isolating solo, or make this as individual mini cakes. You could try a chocolate ganache icing for a jaffa cake vibe or maybe an orange blossom buttercream. The options are endless!
Update – I did find flour last night, and practically did a happy dance in Coles. Maybe there will be cinnamon rolls afterall!
Related Post: Blueberry Crumble Cake
Flourless Orange and Almond Cake
This delicious Flourless Orange and Almond Cake is perfect for Easter, Mother's Day or birthday celebrations. It's also gluten free!
- 2 oranges, washed well
- 125 g butter
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 5 eggs
- 2 1/2 cups ground almonds, sifted
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 250 g mascarpone
- 1 cup icing sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
- 1/2 teaspoon rose water or orange blossom water (optional)
- Fresh figs, cut into quarters or eighths
- Fresh raspberries
- Pomegranate arils
- Finely chopped pistachios
- Edible dried rose petals
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Line the base of two 20cm cake tins with non-stick baking paper.
Place the oranges in a saucepan of water, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until soft. Remove from the water and chop roughly, removing any seeds.
Process the orange, butter, sugar, eggs, ground almonds, flour and baking powder in a food processor until smooth. I have a small food processor so I had to process the oranges first and transfer to a large bowl, and then process the remaining cake ingredients separately and mix them together.
Spoon the mixture evenly into the prepared cake tins and bake for 45 minutes-1 hour or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Set aside to cool in the tins for 20 minutes and then remove and cool completely.
To make the icing, beat the mascarpone, sifted icing sugar, vanilla and rose/orange blossom water if using until combined.
Place one cake upside down on a plate and spread 1/3 of the icing over the top with a flat spatula. Top with the second cake and then spread a thin layer of icing over the sides for a “naked cake” effect.
Spread the remaining icing over the top and then decorate with figs, raspberries, pomegranate, pistachios and rose petals.