Saturday, July 19, 2008

Flourless Orange Ginger Cake Edged in Chocolate

For some reason this Flourless Orange Ginger Cake recipe jumped out at me this week; I was just scanning the dessert recipes on my favorite food blog, and remembered how it once appealed to me at a time when I did not have 2 hours to boil oranges. I've enjoyed baking other flourless cakes this year, including a chocolate almond cake that was marvelous with raspberries and crème fraîche, so I was eager to see how this would go.

Unlike some flourless chocolate cakes whose content is mostly eggs, this (and the previously mentioned chocolate almond cake) is built with ground almonds. A friend pointed out to me that this makes for an expensive cake, but I will point out that is also makes a fabulous cake texture in the right recipe. Trader Joe's ground almond packages are probably the most affordable and easily accessible option for this; I stock up whenever I can, since sometimes the stores are out of them. Some recipes that call for almond meal or ground almonds need a fairly fine grind, so TJ's ground almonds would need to be passed through a food processor prior to using them in those recipes, but for these cakes the rougher grind has been fine. On the same note of pricey-ness, these cakes also tend to be denser and richer than traditional American cakes, so a smaller amount can serve more people since you will want to cut smaller pieces to serve.

After finding an occasion that would serve as an excuse for baking, I followed Chocolate and Zucchini's recipe pretty closely (but not perfectly, of course!). When it came to the icing, I didn't have a whole lemon, nor pearl sugar. I did have some frozen lemon juice, so I stirred some raw sugar into the defrosted juice and spooned it over the finished cake while it was still warm. I added some extra orange zest on top, which was in big enough pieces to add a bit of texture to the top surface. The last change I made was add dark chocolate edging to the cake; to be completely truthful, I was afraid the edge of the cake was a little too browned, so I cut the browned edge off all the way around and then painted the open edge with chocolate. Since I had already planned on pairing chocolate in some way with the cake, this worked out well! This was a good proportion of chocolate to orange, so that the orange/ginger was not overwhelmed by chocolate.

The result received very good reviews from the tasters, and I myself very much enjoyed eating the cake. It was incredibly moist due to the whole puréed cooked oranges that were mixed in, the fresh and candied ginger bits were a great compliment to the orange, and the chocolate was wonderful with the things I added to it (see below). It also traveled quite well - another benefit of smaller cakes without damage-able icing. It should be stored in the refrigerator wrapped tightly in plastic to preserve the moistness.

Chocolate Edging
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, broken into bits if bar chocolate
2 tsp. orange zest
1 T butter
optional: 1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger

Microwave on high for 30 seconds in a bowl; stir well, and return to microwave for another 30 seconds if necessary to melt completely. Spoon mixture onto the edge of the cake and let solidify either at room temperature or in the refrigerator if in a hurry. May also be used to decorate the top surface of the cake.

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