Gluten Free Blood Orange and Almond Cake

I thought that with 5 different recipes for an orange and almond cake I have safely closed the chapter dedicated to orange cakes. And then, several days ago, I saw beautiful blood oranges and could not resist the temptation to try them in a cake.

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Blood oranges I had, were on a smaller side, compared to the size of regular oranges I usually buy. They also were cooked in less than an hour.

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They had thinner skin which was more difficult to puree. After food processor I had to use stick blender to make blood orange puree homogenous. Puree from blood oranges had different consistency, texture and taste. It was more grainy and contained less liquid. From 2 oranges I obtained only 385g of puree, which is 15g less than needed for 4 eggs 25cm round cake. I made puree in advance and kept it refrigerated overnight. It solidified even more, and I had to adjust the quantity of main ingredients accordingly to achieve the right consistency of cake batter. Usually whole orange puree tastes very bitter and it is hard to swallow. Blood orange puree did not have the bitterness I expected, it had a nice taste without any sugar added. That is why I also reduced sugar quantity in the recipe. I addressed less intensive taste of blood orange puree by adding almond essence, vanilla bean extract and fresh orange zest to cake’s recipe.

Ingredients:  for 25cm round cake

  • puree from 2 cooked blood oranges (385g)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 250g almond meal, sifted
  • 50g fine rice flour (I use McKenzie’s brand)
  • 250g sugar
  • zest of one regular orange
  • 1 tea spoon vanilla bean extract
  • 1/2 tea spoon almond essence
  • unsalted butter for the baking pan
  • 1 table spoon of roasted sliced almonds for decoration
  • icing sugar for dusting

Preparation:

  • wash blood oranges, place them in a deep sauce pan, cover with cold water
  • cook on medium heat for 45min
  • quarter cooked oranges and discard all seeds, let them cool

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  • generously butter 25 cm springform cake pan
  • use fine rice flour to dust the bottom of the pan
  • use part of granulated sugar from the recipe to dust sides of the baking pan

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  • keep baking pan in the fridge
  • make coarse orange puree using food processor or blender, try not to leave bigger pieces of skin
  • add orange zest and mix it with orange puree

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  • beat whole eggs with sugar until thick and pale using hand held mixer or benchtop mixer

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  • add blood orange puree and mix it in with a whisk

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  • add vanilla bean extract and almond essence
  • add sifted almond meal and rice flour and gently fold it in using spatula
  • pour cake batter into buttered and dusted stringform pan
  • shake the pan gently to level cake batter
  • sprinkle the surface of cake batter with roasted almonds

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  • put baking pan in a cold  fan-forced oven set to 170C
  • bake for 60 min, or until the cake is golden brown and the middle of the cake is firm
  • take the sides of the pan off and let the cake cool down on the bottom of the springform pan

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  • insert palette knife between the cake and the sprinform pan bottom, slide the cake to serving board or flat tart plate

I never had any problems with getting the cake out of baking pan, but if you prefer, use baking paper on the bottom of the springform pan to make it easier to transfer cake to a plate. I explained several times why I prefer cold start baking of batter cakes in fan-forced oven. You can read about it in detail here. Alternatively use your regular baking process in preheated to 160C fan-forced oven.

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The cake baked nicely, had a flat level top which did not sink. It has a typical texture of orange and almond cake, but the pink colour of blood orange puree did not come through, and it was not bright orange colour either. It also did not have the intense and vibrant taste of regular orange cake. For me personally, it was too mild. The taste was closer to a good tea cake, orange zest did not help to lift it up. As for vanilla bean taste it was not distinct, too. Was blood orange cake a complete disappointment? No. And my husband did not share my view, but agreed that blood orange cake had a more subtle orange taste. This cake would benefit from using orange marmalade glazing or an application of orange syrup when the cake is still warm. I used sliced almonds and icing sugar dusting simply to have authentic taste of blood orange puree in a cake. These oranges are very pretty, but their taste is lost in a cake.

I usually serve orange cakes on its own, they are moist, have an intense flavour and do not need any extras. Blood orange cake I decided to serve the with a tart quince sauce to lift the flavours up.

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Vanilla cream with added tart raspberry jam made with chia seeds also complimented the cake. And I got some pink colour on my plate.

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