Let Them Eat: Flourless Orange-Saffron Cake
After baking for 15 years, I love it when I come across a cake that I've never made, nor tasted. And then I feel a little stupid (no, a lot) when I find that the said cake is not even a new idea. Such is the case with this delicious cake. I've always been a chocolate person, so I guess in my defense I probably glazed over recipes such as this, not being inspired to give it a shot. And just seeing it on the shelf in a cafe I would have probably passed it over, thinking it looked rather plain. All I can say is thank goodness someone decided to bring a version of this cake to a party.
At first I thought it looked like a cheesecake, and even as I ate it, I still thought that it was a type of ricotta cheesecake, which I've always adored. The texture was so incredibly moist, and the flavor was full of deep, bitter orange flavor. No, it wasn't a cheesecake at all, but a moist gluten-free cake of finely ground almonds, whole pureed oranges, sugar, and eggs.
I begged for this "special" recipe, but after checking it out online, I found that this cake has been around for ages. Who knew? Aside from the lack of flour, one of the things that makes this cake so moist are the whole pureed seedless oranges, which are cooked before being blended entirety into a paste. While the recipe I found called for an hour of simmering, I wondered if I could be more expedient. Nuking the oranges for about 8 minutes in the microwave softened them up nicely and was quick enough for me. I imagine that simmering them in water eliminates some of the bitterness from the rind, but I thought the microwave method tasted delicious.
This orange cake is just about dripping moist on its own, but a light brushing of the orange, saffron, and honey glaze seals in yet another layer of wonderful Mediterranean flavors. I've found a new keeper.
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About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Easy Artisan Bread. You can also watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. She presently lives in Singapore working on her new baking cookbook, and as a recipe developer for HungryGoWhere Singapore. Check out her blog: shophousecook.com . Follow Yvonne on Twitter.