Flourless Orange and Cacao Cake with Spiced Orange Syrup (with Hippy Vic)

clseupIt’s just passed three o’clock on Sunday afternoon. I’ve been up for approximately four hours, mostly spent in a sleepy daze whilst sitting in the dappled sun from our balcony window. Ice cubes clink in my water glass, dancing merrily in transparent liquid. Cheerios crunch against my teeth. I’m still a little dazed from the fullness of the Saturday-that-was.

‘Fullness’ is a good descriptive actually, in every sense of the word. We spent twelve hours of our Saturday between three beautiful houses, eating, drinking, laughing and cooking with wonderful friends. Yes. Twelve hours. That’s three meals with a little exercise and driving in-between (emphasis on ‘a little’ as to be honest; we mostly just ate).

beeThis massive day of food was the brainchild of my gorgeous friend Hippy Vic, who was first introduced to you in my Curing Olives post two months ago. Vic has spent the past month organizing a progressive, roving menu between her home and two mutual friends’ houses, all of whom live about 20 minutes north east of the Perth city centre.

wineRegrettably, Aaron and I spent most of the day eating and not taking photographs. However, I can provide the full day’s menu, as follows:

Breakfast by Floss and Simon: Soft-poached eggs with crispy bacon, herbed tomatoes, marinated mushrooms, hash browns and sourdough toast / tea and coffee / fresh orange juice

Lunch by Alex and Merryl: Hot Turkish bread with artichoke dip, extra virgin oil and dukkah / grilled chicken, vegetable and crisp-fried haloumi stacks with lemony crème fraîche foam / homemade vanilla bean ice cream, salted caramel apples, Cointreau, fresh strawberries and sweet hazelnut dukkah / fresh apple, triple sec and Hendrick’s gin cocktail / coffee

Dinner by Vicky and Laura: Slow-roasted lamb shoulder / mint pesto / lemon pistachio tabbouleh /  baba ghannouj with lemon oil / cucumber and cumin yoghurt with smoked sea salt / marinated eggplant with chilli and garlic / pomegranate salad with micro-greens, avocado, pistachio and soft-curd feta / Persian flatbread / flourless orange and cacao cake with spiced orange syrup (recipe to follow) / Grant Burge Cameron Vale Cabernet Sauvignon (2009)

Twelve hours of absolute food indulgence. Both Aaron and I left Vicky and Mark’s house in a state of slightly sleepy, full-bellied bliss.

candlechocNow, without further ado, let me introduce you to Hippy Vic‘s recipe for Flourless Orange and Cacao Cake.

Vicky and I made the cake at around 6:00pm last night. She states that the original recipe was transcribed from her friend Melissa’s recipe book (Mel originally found it in a recipe guide for the Thermomix appliance) but ingredients and quantities have been swapped around in reckless abandon, eventually creating an entirely different version of the original cake.

In flurry of nut meal and cacao, I snapped urgent photos of the cooking process as the last of the afternoon sunlight faded into blackness.

choccinnamonThe cake was eventually served at around 8:30pm, with the last minute addition of a fragrant spiced orange syrup (due to concerns about dreaded cake ‘dryness’ from Vicky… though she needn’t have worried).

I sliced up some home-grown Valencia oranges and threw them into a saucepan with a cinnamon quill, star anise, some raw sugar and fresh orange juice. After the simmering liquid reduced to a syrup consistency, it was poured over the rustic, warm cake and topped with spiced slices of chewy orange rind. It was perfect addition to the dense, dark cake… the rind contrasted beautifully against the chewy, chocolatey crumb.

*I must apologise for some of the poor quality, 60’s-magazine style photographs in this post. The finished cake was shot entirely in artificial light and has a resultant yellowish tinge (oh, it hurts).

straightoutovenFlourless Orange and Cacao Cake

  • 200g finely ground nut meal (we used 160g almond meal, 40g hazelnut meal)
  • 2 whole, unwaxed oranges
  • 2 cinnamon quills
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 6 large, free-range eggs
  • 200g raw caster sugar
  • 40g organic cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100g good-quality dark eating chocolate (at least 70% cocoa), coarsely chopped
  • Optional: 2 tbsp Cointreau or other good-quality Triple Sec

Half-fill a large saucepan with water, then add your oranges. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 60-90 minutes or until a knife easily pierces through each fruit (if your water boils down too much, add more as required). Drain fruit and discard cinnamon quills. Leave for 10-15 minutes or until cool enough to handle.

blendmontWhen adequately cooled, slice each orange into pieces and add them into the bowl of a food processor.

Process the fruit until smooth, then tip the blended oranges into a large mixing bowl. Add the ground cinnamon, cacao powder, nut meal, caster sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate, chopped dark chocolate and Cointreau (if using). Mix well.

eggchocPreheat your oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees f). Grease and line a 22cm round springform cake tin (or just shove baking paper in and force it to conform, if you’re Vic!), then set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat your (happy) eggs to soft peaks. Gently fold them into your orange mixture, then pour the lot into the lined cake tin.

stircacaoBake for 30-45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake emerges with only a few moist crumbs attached. Serve as it is, with cream and/or ice cream, or topped with the spiced orange syrup (to follow).

cakesideSpiced Orange Syrup

Makes about 1/4 cup syrup

  • 2 (small) whole, unwaxed oranges
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup raw caster sugar (to taste, we only used about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 1 star anise

Slice your whole oranges into 0.3cm slices, then place into a medium saucepan with the other ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce temperature to a gentle simmer. Simmer for around 20 minutes, or until the orange peels have softened and the liquid has reduced to a syrupy consistency.

orangesRemove your orange slices from the syrup, then set aside. Discard star anise and cinnamon quill. Whilst still in the tin, pierce holes all over the top of your cake with a thin skewer, then pour over the spiced orange syrup. Allow to soak for about 5-10 minutes before removing from the tin and transferring to a serving platter.

Top your cake with the orange slices in a circular pattern. Dust with icing sugar to serve, if desired.

cakechocmontNote: If you’d like a good read, the beautiful Hippy Vic has a couple more posts up on her own site, including her latest post which includes a recipe for Mauritian Goat Curry (from fellow bloggers Alex and Priya, aka Boy Meets Girl Meets Food. Also worth visiting for fantastic recipes and travel posts)

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123 responses

  1. Oh my gosh, this cake looks amazing. I can’t eat nuts unfortunately, but I could use another flour. I know it wouldn’t be the same, but I love the orange syrup dripping into all the chocolate lushness. And your meal sounds absolutely fantastic.

    • Oh no! Are you allergic to nuts? Hm, yes I do imagine that this cake would work with another type of flour (eg. wheat flour or coconut flour) but I haven’t tried it. I’d probably substitute a similar ratio of coconut flour for a similar density, however another egg might be necessary due to the ‘thirstiness’ of coconut flour (plus you’d get the coconut flavour too… not sure how that would work with the other ingredients). Thanks for the lovely words Susan! xx

  2. How much fun does your day sound???! Driving round and eating yummy food. Yes pplleeeeaassee :)
    And now you’re eating Cheerios at 3 in the afternoon …. did you just get up really late, or are you a cereal fetishist (I’m plumping for the former, but I KNOW I might be a bit of the latter …).
    What a super cake, and the syrup sounds like the perfect topping. And darn those artificially lighted photos – it happens to me when I spend so long MAKING the thing that it’s night time when I take the final shots. You’ll just have to make the cake again and take more photos (and send me a piece, or a half ;) )!

    • Haha, yes you’ve pinned me down. I’m a cereal lover at any time of the day! Sometimes when I’m home on my own I’ll have cereal for breakfast and then another bowl when I get hungry again a few hours later. Possibly not the most nutritiously balanced meal but it’s easy. And crunchy. And milky. Mmmm :)
      Yes, I’d love to send you a chunk of the cake! Or even better, come and eat some with me? I’ll make tea! xx

    • Cass!! Do it. Definitely. Make sure you have plenty of exercise in between though. Aaron and I felt like blimps by the end of the day! (P.S Aaron can’t say his name without sounding like a dork either. People think he says ‘Harry’, though the misinterpretation baffles me! A bit random but I just remembered your comment on the ‘about’ page!). xx

  3. Hi Laura,
    I finally got time to read you post. You should have become a writer not a baker. It was a wonderful narration. I kept on wondering what the transparent liquid might be, it could have been anything but i guess it was plain old water. That progressive dinner sounds like something I would love to try and the menu was something to remember. Seriously, did you arrange those eggs to form a happy face or it was just by fluke? they do seem to have a very happy face. The cake sounds delicious and full of orange flavour, and the addition of the valencia orange syrup with cinnamon and star anise, must have added a very unique and moist flavour worth trying and tasting. Thanks so much for sharing. You have wonderful recipes and I have to bake from this blog one of these fine days..the coconut flour cake being my first target. Enjoy the rest of your week!

    • Aw Liz, thank you so much for the lovely note. You are way too kind, I appreciate the beautiful and thoughtful words. Yes, it was just plain old water I was drinking – nothing more interesting than that (though I do love a good gin and tonic in the evenings at times!). And the eggs just happened to crack into the bowl in a happy fashion… nothing pre-planned, but I had to snap a photograph as soon as I saw it! I do hope that you try one of the recipes one day. This one has fast become one of my favourites, as the combination of orange and bitter cacao is both rich and complex, offset by the mild sweetness of the spiced syrup. Thanks again. You’re lovely and I appreciate having you as a beautiful blogging friend! xx

  4. Oooh, I’ve always wanted to try flourless orange cake! I just love the concept, especially that you’ve combined it with chocolate. The two are such complex flavours when combined.
    Sounds like a lovely 12 hours indeed :)

  5. Hi Laura,
    Thanks for visiting and leaving me a lovely comment! I love the look of your blog and your brilliant pictures. When I saw this post, I thought I’d stop and leave you a comment! This is a cake I’ve been dreaming of making for some time now. Will do now- with your directions :)
    R

    • Thank you so much Radhika! You’re lovely. I appreciate the kind words so much. Definitely take some time out to try this cake, it’s one of my all-time favourites. It’s pretty easy when you’ve got all of the ingredients on hand. Good luck! xx

  6. Pingback: Fresh Egg Noodles with Coriander, Chilli and Toasted Peanuts (with Hippy Vic) « Laura's Mess

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