Friday, February 10, 2012

Mini Orange and Almond Cakes

I found this recipe on a blog I follow called Baking=Love  (she got it from the taste site), and have had it earmarked (or starred) to make. Dons is gluten free which means that on occasion I have to find something I think she may like to bake. Luckily for her and for me, she doesn't have an overly sweet tooth but I do like to whip something up every now and then that she can have with a cup of tea. I have seen quite a lot of recipes like this over the years and have wanted to try them but they are very pricey to make. First of all you need decent oranges, not the ones with the thick skins which could make the cakes bitter because of all the pith that goes with that thick skin. Then you need to take out a small mortgage to buy the ground almonds which are not cheap here by any stretch of the imagination. This recipe calls for 250g of them which at around $5 per 100g makes that part $12.50. Then there's the eggs. I only use free range so 5 of these babies..... Anyway I had some ground almonds lying around so I thought I would give these a go, give Dons something she could eat and take the rest to work with me tonight. 

On her blog Nessie says that these get better with time. I have no doubt she is right. When you look at them once they have baked, you do wonder if they will be any good. But even an hour after baking and cooling, they are yummy and you can tell that time will be kind to them. Not only that but they would be lovely with yoghurt, some cream or even mascarpone cheese for a dessert or a nice morning or afternoon tea with the girls.
I got 28 small cakes from this recipe but you could make one big cake if you wanted. They aren't totally guilt free with all those almonds in them, but they are dairy free and they have no oil in them either. Try won't be disappointed!

Mini Orange and Almond Cakes

2 large sweet navel oranges, washed 
1/4 cup white sugar
250g ground almonds
250g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
5 eggs
flaked/sliced almonds to decorate

In a medium saucepan, cover the oranges in water, add the 1/4 cup sugar and bring to the boil.  Simmer for 1 hour making sure the oranges stay covered.  Drain and allow to cool.  

Cut the oranges into quarters and remove any seeds.  Blend the orange into a puree (I did this in my food processor).

Preheat the oven to 170C. Spray two 12-cup muffin tins with baking spray or line with baking papers (much easier than worrying if they will come out. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy and tripled in volume.  

Combine the ground almonds and baking powder making sure you get rid of any big lumps.

Add a third of the ground almond mixture to the eggs and fold in gently.  Add half the orange puree and fold.  Add the second third of ground almonds, fold in, then fold in the rest of the orange puree, followed by the last of the ground almonds. 

Divide out evenly into the muffin tins, they don't rise that much so it's ok to fill the cups until they are pretty much full.  Sprinkle the sliced almonds on top of each mini cake.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden on top and a toothpick/skewer comes out clean when poked in the middle of the cake.  Leave to cool in the tins before turning out (I took mine out of the tins to cool on a wire rack after about 10 minutes or so)

These little cakes are best a day after they are made.  Store them in an air-tight container and serve just by themselves or with yoghurt, cream or mascarpone cheese.

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