I just had to share with you my go to cake for celebrations that I roll out each time we have a special occasion. What’s more it’s gluten free, dairy free and sugar free. But it’s sweeeeeeet and delicious. I have to thank two people for its inception. First off Nigella Lawson as the original recipe ‘Chocolate Orange Cake’, was found in her book Feast. And secondly my mother-in-law Hilda made a 5-tier beauty for our wedding cake. The compliments rolled in and so I’ve been baking it for friends ever since.
Since then I’ve tampered around with the recipe to make it sugar free too. Just over a year ago I went gluten free, dairy free and sugar free in an attempt to improve my health and energy (and boy has it worked!) that a year later I’m still clean off the white stuff. However even though I’ve cut out all sugars from my diet I still allow myself the indulgence of this delicious cake once in a while. I’ve substituted Xylitol and Maple Syrup instead of the traditional castor sugar. While maple syrup is a sugar it metabolises slower than the white stuff and has beneficial nutrients too. So while it’s off my sugar free list I do indulge in it for a special occasion. This recipe makes enough for a 20cm tin or 8 slices so multiply it up in order to satisfy all your guests. The cake shown in the picture is 3 times the following quantities.
2 small or 1 large thick skinned orange
6 organic free-range eggs
1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder
½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
200g ground almonds
50g raw cacao
200ml Maple syrup (or 275ml if you don’t have Xylitol)
Pop the whole oranges in a pan of cold water, whack up the heat and boil for 2 hours. I usually do double so I can put one of the cooked pulped oranges in the freezer if I want to take less time making the cake next time. Drain the water and leave the oranges to cool. Then pop the whole thing, peel pith and all, in the food processor and blitz to a pulp.
Preheat the oven to 180C or gas mark 4. Butter up and line a 20cm spring form tin.
Add the eggs, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, almonds, raw cacao, Xylitol and maple syrup to the oranges and blitz until you have a cake mix but don’t overdo it, its nice to keep some tiny flex of orange.
Pour the gloop into a tin and scrape out every delicious bit. Bake for an hour but it’s worth checking after 45 mins that the top isn’t scorching. If so just pop some foil over the top. I always check it around this time with a skewer to see if it’s cooked through. If you over bake this cake it will be a little dry.
After taking it out of the oven and satisfied that it’s cooked through, leave it to cool in the tin on a rack, then when it is cool you can take it out.
Then it comes to decorating. I don’t think this cake takes well to icing and fluffy stuff. In summer I love to decorate it with fresh berries or edible flowers. I buy mine on line from Greens of Devon and they deliver fresh next day- ideal for a special occasion like my Mums 70th birthday cake. I then serve it up with berries and fresh cream or Greek yogurt for a more healthy option.
I’m sure you’ll have great success as I’m no cook and I find this recipe so easy to follow. And it lasts a spookily long time in the fridge, as well as freezing well. But there’s rarely any left over to make it that far!
If you think someone might love my recipe please feel free to share