Almond and Orange Cake (flourless)
This flourless almond and orange cake was inspired by a trip to the lovely island of Majorca where both oranges and almonds grow in abundance. The cake rises in the cooking and falls a little in the cooling to achieve a lovely consistency. The cake keeps really well and I think it is appropriate served as an afternoon tea cake or after dinner.
A little melted butter for preparing the cake tin
200g (7oz/scant 1 cup) caster sugar
200g (7oz) ground almonds
finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon orange extract
50g (2oz/1/2 stick) butter at room temperature, but not oily and greasy
110g (4oz) cream cheese chilled
180g (6 1/4oz/1 1/2 cup) icing sugar
zest of 1 orange
4 mint leaves
16 candied orange slices optional
Preheat the oven to 170°C / 325F / Gas Mark 3
Brush the sides and base of a 23cm (9 inch) cake tin with melted butter. Line the base of the tin with a disc of parchment paper.
Separate the eggs placing the whites in a spotlessly clean bowl and the yolks in another bowl. Add the caster sugar to the yolks and using an electric hand whisk, beat to a pale, light and creamy consistency. Fold in the almonds, orange zest and extract. At this point the mixture will appear a little heavy.
Whisk the egg whites to a soft yet firm peak. Mix a quarter of the egg whites into the yolks and then carefully but thoroughly, fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and gently smooth over the top.
Place in the pre-heated oven and cook for approximately 35-40 minutes. Test to ensure the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer into the cake. Retract the skewer and if clean, then the cake is cooked.
Place the cake still in the tin on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Gently run a table knife around the edge of the tin and turn the cake out and allow to cool completely on the wire rack before icing.
To make the icing.
Place the butter in a bowl and whisk to a creamy consistency. Add the cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk in the icing sugar until all is incorporated. Add the orange zest and stir briefly.
Spread the icing over the top of the cake. If using the candied orange slices, just stick them into the icing to create a random but lovely effect. Finally tear the mint leaves and sprinkle all over the cake.
Candied Orange Slices
Yields 30 slices approximately
2 brightly skinned oranges
200ml (7fl oz/scant 1 cup) elderflower cordial
Slice the oranges as thinly as possible into perfect slices. Place in a bowl with the cordial and allow to macerate for 2-4 hours. Line oven or dehydrator trays with parchment paper. Lift the orange slices out of the cordial one at a time and shake off excess cordial. Place the slices on the paper in neat rows. Place in a dehydrator or oven at 50°C / 122°F and dry for 36-48 hours until feeling crisp.
When dried, place on clean parchment in an airtight box to store.
Save the elderflower cordial for another use.