I think every gluten intolerant or Coeliac person in Australia can agree on one thing. It can be hard heading out somewhere to eat. It might seem like a simple exercise really, grabbing coffee and cake with a friend or having lunch out. But it can be incredibly hard and stressful to find something that we are able to eat safely, well unless you want gluten free orange and almond cake that is!!
I swear, every. single. cafe. has a gluten free orange and almond cake on display in their cabinet. Oh and they must all get them from the same place, since they’re all exactly the same!! Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing inherently wrong with a good old slice of orange and almond cake, but damn if I’m not sick of eating it. You’re with me right?!
I remember when I was first diagnosed and went gluten free. I walked into Gloria Jeans, I think, and was so excited to be able to have something GF on offer! Naturally it was a slice of gluten free orange and almond cake and it was delicious. At that minute I actually thought this whole gluten free living thing was going to be a walk in the park. I mean if Gloria Jeans do something GF, then surely everyone else does, right?!
Ohhhhh how wrong I was!!
Several years on and I am now 100% sick of seeing that damn cake everywhere. Literally. Everywhere! But hey, in a pinch, when there’s absolutely NOTHING to eat (and I’ve forgotten my stash of muesli bars in my handbag) it will do. That’s why I decided to try and change it up a little. Surely the gluten free orange and almond cake can be resurrected! Of course I had no idea how or when I would attempt such a thing, but hey, pipe dreams people. We all have them!
It was after a relaxing jaunt through the Chittering Valley one weekend, here in WA that I decided to attempt to change it up. I was able to get my hands on a huge bag of locally grown and gorgeous looking oranges so I thought to myself, this is a sign. Plus it was a huge bag and surely I’d need at least half of them to make this work!!
Haha. Oh no. No I ended up using a grand total of two oranges. Yup, two. But hey, my cake turned out pretty damn awesome if I do say so myself. It took a little bit of thinking and tinkering to change up the original recipe, but I didn’t want to mess with it too much.
There is something deliciously simple about the gluten free orange and almond cake.
My first hurdle (strangely enough) wasn’t to focus on the texture and flavour, but rather to make it a little prettier. Silly right? But I think any kind of dessert should be just as visually appealing as it is tasty. Otherwise you’re just not going to want to taste it. I took inspiration from (of course, Pinterest!) and all of the 1000’s of naked cakes littering the pages. I wanted to take my gluten free orange and almond cake truly to the next level, so naturally I took things up!
This had it’s own challenges of course, I needed a dense enough, sturdy enough cake that would stack nicely. But it still needed the classic fluffiness of an orange and almond cake. I decided to change my recipe to include a standard gluten free plain flour blend to give it a bit more strength. The great thing is the basic White Wings Plain Gluten Free Flour blend works a treat, thanks to the tapioca starch adding it’s robustness. So no crazy flour blends needed here!
The next step was adding an icing that wouldn’t overwhelm the cake, but again provide a little bit of sturdiness. White chocolate ganache is the go to for naked cakes but I knew that just wasn’t going to work in this case. It’d be far too sweet I think. So I turned to my Year 9 Home Economics classes and whipped up a simple cream cheese frosting. Oh Mrs Phillips you would be so proud!! The simple flavours provided a nice backdrop to the orange and almond cake, but gave me the extra strength to tower my cake up to the heavens.
Easter saves the day!
Yup, I happened to be making this wonderful concoction around the same time I was working on my traditional gluten free hot cross buns recipe. (You can check out my Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns here!) Thus I was inspired to incorporate some of those same flavours to this cake. It was the unique spiciness of the Cardamom that caught my attention and I knew it would work beautifully along side oranges and almonds. The scent it wafted through the air whilst cooking with it was also a bit of an allure. I love a good smelling kitchen! Don’t you?
[clickToTweet tweet=”There is something intensely intimate about a gorgeous smelling kitchen! ” quote=”There is something intensely intimate about a gorgeous smelling kitchen! “]
And that’s how my Gluten Free Orange and Almond Cake was born! It truly is a delectable cake that can easily be used for any occasion. Hosting a morning or afternoon tea? Or just looking for a birthday cake that isn’t a sugary chocolate frosting fueled monstrosity. This gorgeous little morsel is light, fluffy and sweet with gorgeous notes of aromatic cardamom. Give it a try!
Go on! You know you want to give this Gluten Free Orange and Almond Cake another chance! What other Gluten Free classic dessert would you like to see reinvented, let me know in the comments below!!