This is an ideal cake for orange lovers! It is unbelievably light with a velvety texture, which makes it a highly refined cake that you may even want to offer as dessert. What’s more is that it’s one of those magical recipes. No flour, no fat, not even any baking powder! Well yes it does contain some sugar but I think we would have no cake at all if we omitted the sugar as well?! Sugar helps to build volume with the eggs and give the cake its structure so we kind of need it in this recipe. The original recipe includes a teaspoon of rhum, which you can totally omit or replace with orange liqueur or any other spirit to your preference. It’s up to you. Oh and I put a twist on this recipe by covering it with streaks of bitter chocolate ganache, which transforms it into a heavenly symphony of orange-almond and chocolate – for those who love that combination!
There is a little anecdote to this recipe as well. It’s from a lovely lady of Italian origin residing in Canada, whom my my mom became friends with during their 4-year stay in Ottawa, way back in the 90s… My mom first tasted this cake when her friend Marcella made it for her on some occasion and she immediately asked for the recipe! So Marcella was kind enough to promptly provide my Mom with a precise recipe. Then quite some years ago my Mom passed it on to me and ever since then it has become one of my all time favorite staple cake recipes! Exquisite and unique and on top of that also gluten-free! What else could one expect from a cake?

Ingredients

  • 1 large orange
  • 2 cups water (500 ml)
  • 1 tbsp butter (to grease cake tin)
  • 5 eggs, separated (use medium or large eggs)
  • 1 cup sugar (this is 240 gr but I use about 170 gr)
  • 1 teaspoon rhum (or orange liqueur, cognac etc)
  • 1 ½ cups (165 gr) blanched and finely ground almonds (almond meal)

Step by step method

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  1. In saucepan on medium heat combine whole orange with water. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low and cook till ½ cup syrup liquid remains (about 1 hour). Remove from heat.
  2. When cool, remove orange, cut in half and discard seeds and remove the pith found in the middle part. Put orange halves with peels and ¼ cup of syrup in blender. Process till smooth.
  3. Heat oven to 175 C. Butter a springform pan. And line bottom and sides with baking paper. Butter the baking paper. Set aside.
  4. In bowl beat egg yolks and sugar with electric mixer until the mixture turns pale.  Add rum, orange purée, almonds and mix well.

  5. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. Stir ¼ of whites into yolk mixture, then fold remaining whites until no white streaks remain. Make sure to use silicone or wooden spoon or spatula for this folding process. Pour into pan. Bake approximately 1 hour on lower rack. Cover with a large piece of baking paper if top of cake seems to turn too dark a color.

  6. Leave to cool before taking out of springform pan. Sprinkle cake with confectioner’s sugar.
  7. To make your cake look a little more festive, melt some bitter chocolate with a little bit of cream and butter then pour this ganache in thin lines or whatever design you wish on top of your cooled cake. To make ganache, use ca.100gr bitter or bittersweet chocolate, 1 tbsp of butter and ca 100 ml of fresh cream. Heat cream and butter, pour on top of finely chopped chocolate, let stand a couple of minutes, then mix well. Pour mixture into a ziplock freezer bag, make a small cut on one corner of bag and drizzle on top of cake, going back and forth to obtain thin lines.

To keep your plate or base clean, cut rectangular pieces of baking paper and place between the base or plate and the cake before drizzling the ganache. Then wait until ganache sets, gently pull the pieces of paper and discard.