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orange

Baking

Sublime Flourless Chocolate Orange Almond Cake

Chocolate Orange Almond Cake

Happy Mother’s Day! This Chocolate Orange Almond Cake is so perfect for Mother’s Day because nothing rounds out a Mother’s Day meal better than cake, but who wants to spend the day baking…not me!!

This cake is perfect for Mother’s Day because it is super easy to make. Because it only has 9 ingredients, it whips together in a jiffy and it only takes 30 minutes to bake. With a simple sprinkle of icing sugar on top, it’s ready to serve. This cake is perfect to make for your Mom, your mother-in-law or for yourself and your family. You could also get your children to help you in the kitchen.

This cake is special because it is made without flour. I love flourless chocolate cake. They are dense and dark and chocolatey. And this cake has the added aroma of orange reminiscent of chocolate oranges at Christmas. The texture from the ground almonds is very appealing as their nuttiness pairs well with the fudgy chocolate. If you’re looking for something to serve this year for Mother’s Day, this cake checks all the boxes: pretty, chocolate, not too sweet and quick to make.

You could serve this cake plain or bring it up a notch and have a dollop of sweetened whip cream on top. Yum!

To make this Chocolate Orange Almond Cake,  you melt the butter and chocolate together (I love this technique – don’t you? No whipping, or trying to get the butter just the right temperature). I grated the orange zest right into the bowl of melted chocolate. The orange-chocolate aroma is so enticing, I had to use all my will-power not to eat cake batter right out of the bowl. Please try to refrain. Your dinner guests will thank you (even when it’s only your family, as is the case everywhere right now).

Some flourless cakes, such as Torta Capresa, don’t add extra leavening, but I have added a small amount of baking powder to this cake. It adds just a bit of lift that I like. And gives the cake a lovely presentation. Enjoy!

slice of Chocolate Orange Almond Cake

Flourless Sublime Orange Chocolate Almond Cake

Print Recipe
Serves: 8-10 Cooking Time: 30

Ingredients

  • 200 grams dark chocolate
  • 140 grams butter
  • 150 grams sugar
  • Grated zest from one orange
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp orange liqueur (such as Cointreau)
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • icing sugar to decorate

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2

Grease 8” springform pan.

3

Cover bottom of pan with a circle of parchment paper.

4

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a microwave or a medium pot on the stove.

5

Separate the eggs.

6

Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

7

Beat egg yokes.

8

Add grated zest to melted chocolate and butter.

9

Add sugar, almond meal, and cocoa powder.

10

Once the mixture has cooled to a tepid temperature beforehand, add egg yolks, and orange liqueur.

11

Mix everything together, gently.

12

Fold in egg whites, in two separate batches.

13

Pour cake batter into prepared pan.

14

Bake about 30-35 minutes. Cake will have risen nicely. And the scent of chocolate and oranges will fill the kitchen. A cake tester inserted in the middle should still have a few crumbs on it.

15

Try not to over bake, as the cake will be drier if overbaked.

16

Cool on a rack until quite cool.

17

Remove from cake pan.

18

Let cake cool some more, until cold.

19

Sprinkle with icing sugar just before serving.

Baking

Tantalizing Brown Butter Orange Hazelnut Madeleines

brown butter orange hazelnut madeleines in the shape of an inukshuk

I made these Orange Hazelnut Madeleines for Easter this year. Madeleines are a delicate and lightly sweet mini cake (often called cookies) baked in a scallop shaped metal tray. They are ubiquitous to France and eaten almost every day: hot off the press with coffee during a morning visit to the market or later for an afternoon snack. They are so perfect when you’re craving something sweet, but only want two or three bites. I don’t know about you, but that’s me pretty well every day. I dipped my madeleines with an orange glaze, but you can eat them plain. They’re nice both ways.

Madeleines: tricky or easy?

This is the first time I have ever made madeleines. My husband bought me a madeleine mold several years ago but I had actually never used it until now. I read many madeleine recipes over the years but the thought of making homemade madeleines always sounded so tricky. So, I put off baking any for ages!! Well, that was all for nought. Sure, madeleines have specific instructions but if you follow them step-by-step they’ll work out beautifully. Promise!

I made mine with browned butter. The instructions and photos for browned butter are in the recipe for Brown Butter Finnish Cookies. The flavour of browned butter goes well with these Orange Hazelnut Madeleines.

raw dough of brown butter orange hazelnut madeleine in the madeleine tray

Refrigerator cold Madeleine batter in frozen tray, all ready to go in the oven.

brown butter orange hazelnut madeleines in madeleine tray

Soft, delicate and set madeleines just baked. The scent is divine!

brown butter orange hazelnut madeleines

Madeleines have a lovely soft crumb. Here they are dipped in orange glaze and ready to serve.

Easter Desserts

As I mentioned last year in my post on Easter Mini Simnel Cakes, my family has no favourite Easter dessert. Anything goes really, as our family has never had a traditional Easter sweet. I was thinking about what to make this year – something Scandinavian with cardamom? or Italian Pastiera di Grano? Just before Easter, our family was keeping up on the news about the fire at Notre Dame and reading about it’s lengthy history. I have very vivid memories of visiting Paris and Notre Dame Cathedral many years ago. It was hard not to reminisce about France. I don’t know about you, but a lot of my travel memories focus on food, so with France in our thoughts, I decided to bake french Orange Hazelnut Madeleines.

brown butter orange hazelnut madeleines

History of Madeleines

Madeleines have been a popular cookie/cake in France since the 17th century and are synonymous with France, much like the Notre Dame Cathedral.  There are many versions on the creation of madeleines. One popular story is that a young girl named Madeleine baked some cakes using her grandmother’s recipe, for the deposed and exiled King of Poland, Stanislas Leszczynska when he was living in Lorraine, France. He named them Madeleines and gave some to his daughter, Marie, who was married to Louis XV. She introduced them to the French court and before you knew it, everyone wanted them. There are other legends as well, but I like that one best.

Regardless of who invented the original recipe, there is one person that made them popular for eternity: Marcel Proust. He wrote in his autobiographical novel ‘La Recherche du Temps Perdu” about eating a madeleine dipped in tea and the strong memories of his childhood that it evoked.

Here is the passage describing that event. Being a real foodie, I just love it.

She sent for one of those squat plump little cakes called “petites madeleines”, which look as though they had been molded in the fluted valve of a scallop shell...I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure invaded my senses…

And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray…when I went  to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my Aunt Leonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane…and the whole of Combray and its surroundings, taking shape and solidity, sprang into being, town and garden alike, from my cup of tea.

brown butter orange hazelnut madeleines on a teal ceramic plate

Enjoying a madeleine with a hot cup of coffee is perfect for rekindling cherished memories.

If you have been to France, maybe these petit madeleines will evoke a special memory of your visit. If you haven’t visited, I hope they will inspire you to go.

Brown Butter Orange Hazelnut Madeleines

Print Recipe
Serves: 24 Cooking Time: 9-10 minutes

Ingredients

  • For the batter:
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 130 grams white sugar
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 175 grams flour
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 120 grams browned butter (see above for link to instructions)
  • 2 Tbsp hazelnut almond butter
  • Glaze
  • 150 grams powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tbsp water

Instructions

1

Brush the madeleine molds with melted butter, then dust with flour. Place tray molds in freezer until ready to bake.

2

In a stand mixer, mix eggs, sugar and salt for about 7-8 minutes until frothy and thickened. Don't stop too early, this mixing will assist with the rising.

3

Sift flour into mixture while folding in with spatula.

4

Warm nut butter in microwave (30 seconds or so on high).

5

Add warmed nut butter and orange zest to browned butter, stir to incorporate.

6

Slowly pour the butter mixture into the batter and fold in gently. You don't want to deflate the batter.

7

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1-3 hours. I did 3 hours, but I have also read to refrigerate overnight. Three hours worked fine for me.

8

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

9

Put about 1 dessert spoon of batter into each indentation of the madeleine mold. It should fill it about 3/4 full. But don't spread it. Just scrape it in off the spoon.

10

Bake for about 9-10 minutes. You don't want to over cook them. They should feel just set, not too dry or too firm.

11

To make the glaze, mix together orange juice, sugar and water.

12

Take the cakes out of the oven and place the tray on a rack. As soon as they are cool enough to touch, slide them out onto a rack.

13

When the madeleines are still warm, but not hot, dip each side in the glaze. If you have too much, scrap off the extra glaze and then place on a rack scalloped side up. I think you could also brush the glaze on with a brush.

14

Most recipes say that they taste best the day they are made. I kept some on my counter for a few days, and they were still tasty. But they won't last longer than that. They're too good.

adapted from the Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz