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Tangerine Cake

La Petite Maison Verte: Tangerine Cake

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tangerine Cake

As promised, I wanted to share with you a recipe I made using my epic haul of citrus fruits over the weekend (check out my story of how it came to be, if you haven't read it yet).  This one has been bookmarked for ages and despite the bizarre instructions to boil the fruit whole and then puree it whole: skins, pith and all (!) I had a feeling it would turn out well.  I suppose I just completely trust Nigella Lawson, though God knows why.  Anyone that gorgeous shouldn't be capable of cooking their way out of a paper bag, but every recipe of hers that I've attempted has turned out to be lovely, decadent and worthy of every single one of the adjectives she uses to describe them.

This cake was no exception.  Despite it's unusual method, it's lack of flour and butter (or oil) and my artistic liberties, exchanging tangerines for the clementines called-for, it turned out beautifully.  Incredibly moist and light, yet with satisfying body, this cake made a beautiful dessert, but would be equally as nice served with a cup of tea or to accompany a brunch buffet.  And did I mention, it's Gluten-Free.

Not usually a raw batter-eater, I couldn't resist it this time.  From my little taste I had some serious concerns that it was going to taste bitter when cooked.  And perhaps the aftertaste was just slightly sharp, at first.  Not unpleasant though, in fact we delighted in every crumb:  it's texture, it's pleasant citrus aroma and unmistakable tangerine-ness

But then something happened.  I can't describe it and I don't know how exactly, but somehow the second day after baking, the cake became even more delicious.  It lost the sharp aftertaste, it mellowed, if you will...

Even if you don't find yourself with a mountain of citrus fruits, this is a beautiful dessert that showcases the best of the Winter produce.  You could even substitute oranges or lemons instead of tangerines or clementines (make sure to up the sugar, per Nigella's recommendations if you use lemons).

Tangerine Cake
adapted from Nigella Lawson
makes one 9-inch cake

3-4 tangerines (375 grams total weight)
6 eggs
225 grams sugar (about 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
250 grams ground almonds (2 1/3 cups; I used Bob's Red Mill Almond meal/flour)
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder

powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Place the tangerines in a pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 2 hours.  Drain and allow to cool, then slice each tangerine in half horizontally and remove any seeds.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Transfer cooked tangerines and all accumulated juices into the food processor (yep, you're putting them in whole - skins, pith, fruit and all) and blitz until pureed.

Spray a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick baking spray and line with a round of parchment paper, then spray that.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs.  Then add the sugar, almonds and baking powder and mix well.  Add the pureed fruit and stir to combine.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes, checking after 20 minutes to see if the top is browning.  If the top of your cake starts to turn dark brown or burn, cover the cake with foil for the remaining time.  The cake is done when a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out dry.  Remove cake from oven and set on a wire rack to cool, allow the cake to cool completely before removing it from the pan.

Serve cake at room temperature, dusted lightly with the powdered sugar.  

Question of the Day

What's your favorite citrus fruit?  What is your preferred way to eat it?

I adore grapefruits!  My favorite way to eat them is simply sliced in half and eaten with a spoon, although lately we've been coming up with creative ways to incorporate them into ev-ery-thing:  sliced on top of salads, pureed into smoothies and juiced for salad vinaigrette.


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