The recipe for Sweet Orange and Almond Cake had been tempting me for some time. It is in a book on raising citrus trees, All About Citrus and Subtropical Fruits, by Ortho Books. Since we are the proud owners of seven organic, navel orange trees, I have been eying this recipe with anticipation. Finally the occasion presented itself — my birthday. I like to bake my own birthday cakes. That way I get exactly what I want, which is the way one’s birthday should be.
I made my usual changes: less sugar, and sifted whole wheat flour instead of white flour, plus grated ginger, since that is my current favorite flavor, and homemade marmalade instead of apricot preserves. Why apricot preserves in an orange cake, anyway? If we are doing orange, let’s do orange!
Orange Ginger Almond Cake
- 6 oz. sliced almonds
- 3 small organic oranges
- 1 organic lemon
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup sifted wholewheat flour (save the bran for bread or muffins)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 4 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
- 1 cup orange marmalade, strained to remove solids
- Additional marmalade to spoon over cake when served
- Butter or oil only the bottom of a 9″ springform pan. Leave the sides unoiled to help the cake climb up the sides as it bakes. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. (180 C.).
- Chop almonds in food processor until as fine as bread crumbs. Do not over-process, as they can become oily if ground too finely.
- In a small sauce pan, cover 2 oranges and the lemon with water and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain, discarding liquid. When fruit is cool, spoon pulp and seeds out of lemon and discard. Coarsely chop lemon rind and rind and pulp of oranges. Pulse in a food processor (or chop by hand) until rind is fine, but not a puree. You should have 1 and 1/2 cups of orange pulp and minced rind.
- Using an electric mixer (speed setting #6 on a KitchenAid), whisk eggs and salt until thick and foamy. Beat in sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Remove whisk and insert paddle beater. Mix flour, baking powder and almonds and stir into eggs until blended, using the lowest speed. Blend just until all is incorporated. Blend in citrus pulp and olive oil, again not over-blending.
- Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour, or until cake tests dry with a knife or wooden toothpick. Place cake pan on a rack to cool. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing sides of pan. To remove sides, run a thin, sharp knife along the inside of the pan.
- Melt marmalade in a small pan. Slice the remaining orange into very thin slices and simmer in the melted marmalade for 10 minutes. Remove slices to cool. Use this syrup to coat top of cake.
- Arrange orange slices decoratively on cake. Spoon remaining syrup and additional marmalade over cake and orange slices, and down sides of cake.
The wholeness of wholewheat flour is due to the presence of bran and wheatgerm, which have been removed from white flour. Bran is great for muffins, but not for a tender cake, so sift out the bran and save it for bread or muffin baking. Wheatgerm is high in oil, which easily becomes rancid. To avoid this, always refrigerate wholewheat flour. If your wholewheat flour tastes bitter, it is already rancid. Throw it out and buy fresh flour.
Organic citrus is preferable, since the peel is used in this recipe.
River Ranch, Mascota, Jalisco