Oranges, lemons and limes you find them year round, but I love it when blood oranges come into season. There's something luxurious and decadent looking about their crimson, blood colored flesh. I always look forward to having a blood orange infused cocktail, indulging in some blood orange sorbet or spotting a few blood orange segments in my arugula salad. It's a refreshing change. The one thing I've never done though is bake with blood oranges...until this week. I had picked up a few at the farmers' market and decided to use them in a recipe I had for an orange-almond cake. The original recipe, in Claudia Roden's A New Book of Middle Eastern Food calls for 2 large oranges which I swapped out with 4 smaller-sized blood oranges. The nice thing about this recipe is that it utilizes ground almonds instead of flour, thus making it GF (gluten-free). You can either grind the almonds yourself or you can pick up a bag of almond meal at Trader Joe's relatively cheap. I asked my friend Cate, who's my GF-go-to-person, if she'd taste test the end result. Now, Cate said she liked the cake but for me, it probably won't be one I'd make again...at least not with blood oranges, maybe with regular oranges. Granted the cake was wonderfully fragrant (the cottage smelled delicious while it was baking), zesty and moist; however, the blood oranges were just a tad too bitter for me (you use the oranges, peel and all in this recipe). This definitely is a "grown-ups" dessert though...it would pair well with some afternoon tea or coffee.
Claudia Roden’s Middle Eastern Orange Cake
2 large oranges, washed (or 4 small blood oranges)
6 eggs, beaten
250g ground almonds
250g caster sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
- Boil whole, unpeeled oranges in a little water in a covered saucepan for 2 hours.
- Remove from water. Allow to cool, then cut open, remove pips (the seeds) and chop roughly (including the rind).
- Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius (375 F) and butter and flour (or line with baking paper) a springform tin.
- Blend oranges and remaining ingredients thoroughly in a food processor.
- Pour the batter into prepared tin.
- Bake for 1 hour. If the cake is still very wet, cook a little longer.
- Cool in tin before gently turning out.
- Optional: dust with powdered sugar or top with a dollop of clotted cream.