Sunday, April 26, 2015

Paleo Starbucks Orange Cake - plus an extra benefit

Decades ago a friend of mine came back from Barbados with a delectable recipe for a tangerine cake which involved boiling the tangerines.  It was a great cake and I enjoyed making it many times, but over the years I somehow managed to misplace the recipe.

I was thrilled to see that Elana from Elana's pantry makes a similar cake, and since it's grain free it's actually Paleo friendly as well.  She uses oranges instead of tangerines, but the idea is basically the same.

It was also news to me that Starbuck's carried a similar cake.  Since I've been going there for years I don't know how I missed it, but since it likely was not grain or sugar free it's probably a good thing.

My version is both grain and sugar free.  Elana uses agave nectar or honey in her cake.  I prefer to use Xylitol which is my sweetener of choice these days. I'm sure it would also work well with coconut sugar.

There are only 6 ingredients in this cake, and other than the boiling, it will only take a few minutes for you to whip it up in your food processor. It makes 6 to 8 servings - depending on how much you want to indulge!

This is a very easy cake to make, however there is one very important rule - you can ONLY use ORGANIC oranges !!!

Organic oranges are grown without any chemicals and the skin is fine to eat.  Non organic oranges however are a completely different thing.  They are sprayed with lots of different chemicals - a veritable chemical soup in fact. A lot of these chemicals stay in the skin, which is why you are relatively safe to eat the fruit once you've removed it, but in this recipe you are using the skin as well as the fruit so the oranges HAVE to be organically grown.

Ingredients :

2 organic oranges
4 large eggs
3/4 cup Xylitol, coconut sugar, or your sweetener of choice
2 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Directions :
  • Wash the oranges very well with soap and water, rinse well, then place them into a saucepan with water to cover.
  • Boil them, covered, (peel and all) on a low boil for 1 1/2 hours, or until they are very soft.
  • Preheat your oven to 375'F.
  • Prepare a 9" cake pan by greasing it, placing a parchment paper disc on the bottom, and then greasing this as well. (This will help you get the cake out very easily.)
  • Once the oranges are soft, take them out of the water.  Don't throw this water away, just set it aside. (More on this later.)
  • Place the whole boiled oranges (again, peel and all) into your food processor.  You will probably find you will need to cut them in half to fit.
  • Now blend until you have a smooth puree.  There should be no bits of peel visible.
  • Add the eggs and sugar and process until blended.
  • Add the almond flour, salt and baking soda and again process until well blended.
  • Immediately pour the batter into your prepared cake tin and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the top springs back when you lightly touch it with your finger.
  • I don't mind the brown top on the cake, but if you would prefer it to be more golden, just cover the cake pan with foil for the last 15 minutes of baking time.
  • Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely before slicing.
  • This is a lovely, light but rich tasting cake, and doesn't require any icing, but if you want to serve something with it, a scoop of ice cream or a spoon full of whipped cream makes a nice accompaniment. 

So now here is the extra benefit....

You know the water from the orange pan that I asked you to set aside?  

Don't waste it. Pour this into a glass bottle or jar and set it in your fridge to cool.  This is a lovely clear water, heavily scented with orange peel, and perfect for use as a flavouring or scent for many things.

If you love the scent of oranges as much as I do you will find many uses for it.  I use it as a linen spray and spray it on my pillow cases before I dry them in the dryer.  In the winter, when the air in my home is very dry from the constant heating, I put it into my steamer and use it to perfume the air .... and dream of sunny orange groves !

I also sometimes add a cup to my hot epsum salt and baking soda bath that I take each evening.  This not only soothes my muscles but also soothes my mind and makes it easier to fall asleep. By the way, this bath is also a great aid for weight loss and detoxing, allowing you to more easily get rid of impurities through your skin. 

But my favourite use for this orange water is as a water flavouring.  We all know we need to drink more water, but sometimes it just doesn't taste all that great.  You can add all kinds of things to it like fruit and cucumber slices, but then you have to deal with the mushy mess afterwards.  

When you add this water you don't have to deal with any of that.  I just pour about a half inch into my glass then fill with either filtered or sparkling water and enjoy.  It not only tastes great but smells good too. 

If you drink this I'd keep it in the fridge, but for other uses it's okay to just keep it in a cupboard.

So that's my money saving dessert recipe for today. Oh, and did I mention?  Your home will smell amazing while you're making this. All in all, I think it's a great way to get lots of value from just two oranges!

 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw

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