My friends and I have fallen in love with a dessert from Spain, Orange Almond Cake. It’s a moist gluten-free cake bursting with orange flavors, and a crunchy almond texture. I made it on request for a friend’s birthday last month, and since then several of us have experimented with different variations on this theme. So far we’ve loved all the versions that we have tried.
Variations on a Theme
My first version relied heavily on the Orange and Almond Cake recipe published by the James Beard Foundation. The final results were delicious, but the recipe’s recommendation of a 400 degree oven for one hour or more was too hot, and too long for my Dacor oven. Midway through the baking, my nose warned me that the oven was too hot, so I reduced the temperature first to 350 degrees and later on to 325.
The instruction to butter and flour the pan for ease of removal did not work well enough. Using the buttered pan method, my first cake required some discrete patching before we served it… We covered up the patchwork using thin slices of an orange displayed in an attractive pattern on top.
For my second baking experiment I lined the pan with buttered parchment paper. This allowed me to remove the cake from the pan without losing any pieces in the process. I also substituted lemon for some of the orange; instead of using two large oranges, I used one-and-a-half oranges and one full lemon. It was good but we preferred the all-orange recipe.
The second time I baked the cake, I separated the eggs and whipped both yokes and egg whites quite a lot. This made for a higher, fluffier cake that was still plenty moist. My husband and I thought this handling of the eggs was much better than the original James Beard recipe.
For my second attempt I used a springform pan lined with parchment paper. No pieces were broken when I removed the cake from the pan.
For our Super Bowl party my girlfriend made this cake, using my variations. She was the birthday girl for whom I made the cake last month. She loved it so much that she decided to make it for her next party…
Her creative contribution was a glaze made of marmalade and Cointreau that replaced the whipped cream. Scrumptious!