I know there are traditional Easter desserts. Well, I am assuming there are. In my family we don’t really have food traditions. Except that we eat. Our holiday food traditions are to eat.Food. But what kind of food is always a surprise. Sometimes we have turkey, ham, stuffed peppers, filet, chicken. And for dessert pumpkin pie is on the Thanksgiving table. But that is really the only dessert that is consistent with a holiday. So for Easter there isn’t a particular dessert that we have been anticipating all year. A few years ago I made Banana Cream Cheesecake. Last year I made a Chocolate Heath Bar Oreo trifle. And this year, I think I am going to go with this cake…

Last night I taught a cooking class at my house and we made the Orange Almond Cake. I saw this cake on some food blogs and it sounded amazing and that’s when I decided I have to try it before I commit to making it for Easter. Perfect, cooking class students can be the guinea pigs. The theme of the class was ‘Easter Brunch.’ One of my friends is gluten free, and I wanted to make a dessert that uses seasonal produce and is gluten free but didn’t require a fancy flour (rice, soy, etc…). We can all find almonds in our grocery store which means anyone can make this cake by grinding up almonds in their food processor. I happen to be fortunate enough to live near 400 specialty grocery stores that carry almond flour so I don’t have to grind almonds, I just measure out the pre-ground almond flour. Anyway… The ‘students’ in the class went for it and made the cake. They whipped the egg yolks and threw the egg whites in the stand mixer and let it go to town creating the peaks on the whites. Then we just folded the mixtures together, poured it in the pan and plopped it in the oven. Easy. Seriously, it’s not complicated at all.

The step in this cake that really can’t be forgotten is the time for the cake to chill after it bakes. When the eggs bake they puff up a little and when you chill it is helps the eggs become dense and rich. The texture of the cake, after it chills for at least 8 hours, is almost like cheesecake. Not quite as dense because it doesn’t have the cream cheese, but similar. The orange is such a refreshing flavor. And the almond meal gives it a deep rich taste and texture. The chocolate ganache on top, well, that’s just delicious on top of anything.

I am happy to say that everyone in the class enjoyed the cake, even though it didn’t have time to chill before they dug in. And I am also excited for Easter, when this cake will be made again.

Ingredients:

3 medium oranges or 2 large naval oranges
6 large eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking powder
*optional spices: 2 tsp cardamom or 2 tsp cinnamon

Place the washed, whole and unpeeled fruit in water to cover, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1½ hours or until soft, adding more water when necessary. Drain the oranges, cut into quarters. Puree the entire orange (pulp and rind) in a food-processor, then cool to room temperature.

Heat the oven to 350F.

Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a large bowl until pale. Beat in the oranges, almonds, and baking powder.

Beat the egg whites until soft peak and fold gently into the mixture.

Pour into a 9″ spring form cake pan and bake for an hour, until firm to the touch (cover with foil if over-browning). Cool in the pan and chill overnight.
*The batter can be poured almost to the top of the pan, it doesn’t rise very much.

Pour chocolate ganache over the whole cake and put it in the fridge for 10 minutes to let the chocolate firm up a little..

Chocolate Ganache

8 oz bittersweet chocolate. chopped finely
1/2 cup heavy cream

Place ingredients in a metal bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Allow the chocolate to melt, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the double boiler when it is almost, but not quite, melted. Set the glaze aside to finish melting, stirring once or twice until perfectly smooth. When the glaze is smooth and shiny, pour it over the cake to cover it completely or partially. Chill the cake in the fridge for 10 minutes to set the glaze before removing it from the rack.


Laura commented on my blog abotu this cake.