These are the easiest thing to make when you have a couple of Oranges at hand. The whole Orange is used in this recipe, YES! the skin too. This can be made in steps so even if you have a busy schedule, it is still possible to whip his up without much hassle.
The best part of these dainty cakes in the syrup. Orange syrup helps keep the cake moist and enhances the flavor greatly. You can infuse the syrup with different flavors. I threw in a few springs of lemon thyme. You can spike the syrup with rum or Orange liqueur too. To enhance the Orange flavor, throw in an Orange peel. It’s your chance to be creative here!
These cakes are naturally gluten free, and the rising agent is the beaten eggs, just like in sponge cakes or sponge fingers. We beat the eggs and sugar to ribbon stage and then fold in rest of the ingredients. It is easy as that. But there are a few crucial steps, that you have to follow correctly, in order to get the perfect cake. I will highlight those steps with pictures below.
First up, the Orange/oranges need to be boiled for at least an hour or until it becomes soft. Submerge the orange in water when boiling, to remove bitterness. Discard the water and cut the Orange in to pieces, removing any pits and the top bit(where the stem used to be). Place in a food processor/ blender and grind into a pulp.
This is how the Orange pulp or puree would look like. Place this in a bowl and move on to the next step. This pulp can be refrigerated in a closed container for a few days.
This step is to guarantee the easy removal of the cakes from the pan. Apply a thin layer of butter in the cases. Place teaspoon of flour (rice flour or all purpose flour) in each case and turn and tap the tray so that the inside of the mold is evenly coated with a thin layer of flour. Discard the remaining flour. Set aside.
It is a good time to pre-heat the oven to 160 C (convention/without fan) at this stage.
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Sieve almond meal and baking soda to remove lumps. The little amount of baking soda is used as a guarantee for the rise, but is not necessary. The sifting will also contribute towards a airy texture of the cakes.
Place the room temperature eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on medium high, until the mixture becomes pale and thick. You will start to see the streaks as it thickens up.
Check the mixture for the consistency. I call this the ribbon stage. You can draw a ribbon with the batter and it will stay for a second before disappearing. This is a crucial step. The air that we incorporate at this stage is what gives the body to the cake.
Carefully fold in the Orange puree to the beaten egg and sugar mixture. Be gentle and try not to knock out a lot of air out. Follow with the almond meal and once again, fold gently. If you mix vigorously, the batter will lose the air and deflate, resulting in flat, dense cakes. The final batter should have a considerable volume and should feel light and airy.
This mixture can be refrigerated for a day or tow, so it is such a good make ahead dessert.
Pure the batter carefully into the molds of the prepared pan. I like to use a piping bag to ensure clean edges and even, controlled distribution of the batter. Once done, smooth out the tops with a wet finger. You can fill close to the brim, as they will not rise. When ready, place in the oven.
While the cakes are baking, make the orange Syrup. Place Orange juice and 1/2 cup sugar in a saucepan and bring to boil. Simmer for a about 5 minutes until Syrup start to thicken and remove from heat. It is a good idea to pure the syrup in to a pouring jug and have it ready to use.
You can infuse the syrup with different things. Lemon thyme, lemon rind, rum or orange liqueur and some of the suggestions
They should be done in 30 minutes. Check for doneness by using a cake tester/skewer. If the tester or skewer comes out clean, they are done. You will notice the golden tops too. They will shrink a bit and release from the sides too. Remove from the oven and set aside for a couple of minutes.
prick a few wholes on the cakes while you wait. This will help absorb the syrup later.
Use a knife or a offset spatula to release the cakes. They should pop out effortlessly. Place on a wire rack and place a tray underneath to catch any dripping syrup. Heat the syrup if it has gone cold. then pure a generous amount onto each cake. let the syrup seep in and go for a second round. make sure the edges are covered too. Any remaining syrup can be poured when serving.
Decorate however you like and serve with extra syrup
If you prep your Orange puree and the syrup before hand, this recipe would only take about 10 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to bake. The baked cakes stays fresh for longer due to the syrup.
I keep them in a air tight container, in the fridge for about 4 days. You can keep them even longer, but they honestly don’t last that long. You can even freeze these. If you plan to freeze, do not use the syrup. Instead, let the cakes, cool completely and place on a tray. Place the tray in a freezer for a bout an hour, place the frozen cakes in a zip lock bag or a freezer safe container and freeze for several days. I haven’t frozen beyond a month, so I cannot guarantee that.
To serve frozen cakes, bring them to room temperature, warm up in the oven or microwave and pour the hot syrup over. They will be as good as new.