On a recent weekend holiday to Pondicherry, the foodie group of us cousins headed out to Villa Shanthi, this beautifully done-up restaurant with high ceilings, wide verandahs, vintage lanterns and white walls reminiscent of uber chic Sri Lankan décor. After a sumptuous (and tad expensive) lunch, it was time for my favorite part of any meal, the dessert. The options: bla, sthing, bla bla, blablabla, Flourless Almond Orange cake with chocolate mousse, bla, something... beeep beeep beep, rewind to Flourless Almond Orange cake with chocolate mousse. Intrigued, i decided to try it, and it did not disappoint. It was a little dry, but the doors to flourless/butter less baking opened. Doors to pairing cake with other classic elements opened. I was hooked on how well Orange and almond can pair up. The crowning glory that is the ultra smooth chocolate mousse amplifies the flavors. I had to try it at home, and true to the season at hand, the cake is Christmassy enough with the refreshing orange flavor. I tried it with the Chocolate Chantilly, and greedy me was so impatient to taste, i did not even allow it to whip up to full volume!
So if you want an exceptionally moist and healthy cake that is so different, yet so wholesome, you should try it. and you know what the best part of the cake is? Leave it refrigerated for the flavors to mature overnight, and the taste just gets better! Do not be put off by the duration of boiling the oranges. That requires hardly any bother (except when you have to occasionally top up the water content).
I based this cake on a recipe i found online but i had not bookmarked it, and i can't find it now! So this is the closest i could come to finding the actual recipe i used, but please note i made quite a few changes:
-2 medium sized oranges
-250g almond meal
-1/2 light brown sugar
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- Wash the oranges thoroughly and put them in a saucepan filled with water. Let the water come to a boil, and boil for 15 minutes. Take off the flame, drain the hot water and rinse the oranges under regular tap water. Return it back to the saucepan, top it off with water, let it boil for 15 minutes, again, drain the hot water, and run the tap over the oranges. This process will help get rid of the bitterness of the orange peel. Do this process one more time, and then after that, return the oranges to the saucepan, top with water and let the water boil and then simmer for an hour or so. By the end of it, the oranges will have become soft. Rinse the oranges under regular water and cut them into segments, along with the peel. I did not take the thicker skin found over the top and bottom ends.
Purée the orange into a fine pulpy consistency. i added a couple of tablespoons of water and passed it through a sieve to make sure it had no bits of skin or pulp.
-Butter and line a 9 inch pan and pre-heat oven to 185 C. I used a bundt cake mould that i just buttered.
-Whisk together the eggs and sugar till the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is light. Add the vanilla extract and mix to incorporate. Add the orange pulp and blend. Fold in the almond meal and pour into the prepared tin.
-Bake till golden brown on top and the skewer comes relatively clean (There still will be crumbs as this is a super moist cake).
-Cool on rack and once cool, slice. I served my slices with dollops of this 5 minute Chocolate Chantilly which could have been quenelled out, but i was too greedy by then :)
Here's wishing the Season's cheer and baking bugs bite your homes as well! Cheers!