Id love to hear your opinions on this cake. As I made it, pretty straight from the recipe (with one cup of hazelnut flour instead of all almond, as they suggested), these cakes were spectacular. Moist and dense, they danced on the tongue with citrus-goodness toes. After a day of sitting out, they were even better. They won rave reviews from two-year-olds and forty-year-olds alike.
But part of me wonders if they wouldnt be better if I cut one of the cups of almond flour with a cup of gluten-free flour (probably a sorghum/white rice/tapioca combination). After all, they were so moist and dense that few people could eat more than a slice. I could have waited to test this new idea before I showed this to you. But Im wondering if someone else wants to try it and let me know.
You have a variety of choices here for baking pans. At first, I used four small loaf pans (not the mini ones, which I found later). This worked well, but they still took a long time to bake. You could also use a cake pan, but apparently the cake is a little too delicate to make a large, whole cake. This recipe works best with a number of small cakes. I stumbled on my favorite variation a small Pyrex bowl from the 1970s, which I found at Goodwill the week before. This little round cake turned out the firmest, with a lovely moist crumb. If you have a few small bowls that can go in the oven, I suggest using those for this recipe. Again, experiment and let us know what you think.
2 navel oranges
1 lemon, large
2 ¼ cups bakers sugar (this is an especially fine sugar, made specifically for baking)
4 ½ cups almonds, ground fine and sifted through a fine-mesh sieve
1 cup hazelnuts, ground fine and sifted through a fine-mesh sieve
1 teaspoon baking powder
unsalted butter and rice flour for greasing the pans
1. Preparing the oranges and lemon: Wash the oranges and lemon well. Put them in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a small simmer. Allow them to simmer for one hour. When the oranges and lemon have become soft and easy to pierce with a knife, take them out of the simmering water. Transfer them to a food processor and pulse them until they have become a purée. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour the pan(s) you have chosen to use.
3. For the batter, beat the eggs and sugar together until they are just combined. (This is easier in your KitchenAid, but make sure you do not over-cream them if you are using a machine.) Fold in the orange and lemon purée and combine together.
4. Combine the almond meal, hazelnut meal, and the baking powder. Fold one-third of that mixture, slowly, into the rest of the dough. If you are doing this by hand, it will take awhile to incorporate the nut flours into the liquid mixture. Repeat this with the rest of the nut flours, slowly.
5. Pour the liquid into the prepared loaf pans (or whatever other pans you have chosen). Slide them into the oven. Bake for about 35 minutes, and then check the cakes. You might have to go longer, if your oven is actually emitting less heat than you imagine. Check one of the cakes with a toothpick inserted into the middle. When it comes out clean, and the tops of the cakes feel firm, pull the cakes from the oven.
6. Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for at least 15 minutes before you attempt to move them. Carefully, transfer them to a wire rack. Allow the cakes to cool completely before you slice them with a serrated knife.
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