It's a beautiful thing when you find a cake recipe that is already naturally gluten-free. What's even more beautiful is when it's also naturally delicious.
A fellow blogger, Leah, told me about this recipe, which is from The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden. You can find the original post about the recipe on the Jewesses with Attitude blog. It sounded good, and hey, if it's a gluten-free dessert, chances are that I'll try it.
I am so glad I did. Despite a rather long baking time, these cupcakes end up being ridiculously moist, and the flavor is amazing. The orange shines through, and the almond flour rounds out the taste in a lovely, balanced way. Don't worry about an icing or a glaze - these won't need it. I suppose an orange drizzle would probably taste good, but seriously, these are so good on their own that no one will miss it.
Although boiling oranges for 1.5 hours is admittedly a bit of a pain, this is a breeze to throw together once that step is done. You could do what I did and boil the oranges a day ahead of time, puree them, and stick them in the fridge (in an airtight container) until you're ready to use them. Trust me, it will be worth the effort - these got rave reviews. And no one will miss the flour because, well, it wasn't even there in the first place.
Flourless Orange Almond Cupcakes (Adapted slightly from this recipe)
Makes 18 cupcakes
2 large oranges
6 large eggs
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. gluten-free baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. orange extract (McCormick's is gluten-free!)
1 1/2 cups almond flour
Wash the oranges and boil them for 1.5 hours or until very soft. Remove and cool. Peel them gently (the peel will come off very easily, and I used a butter knife to slice most of it off). Make sure there are no seeds left in the oranges and place them in a food processor. Puree until very smooth.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two cupcake/muffin tins with paper liners or spray with cooking spray (although I did not try it with just cooking spray - just a disclaimer!).
Beat the eggs and sugar together with an electric mixer on high speed until the color changes to a light yellow and it starts to get frothy. In a small bowl, combine the almond flour with the baking soda and add it to the mixture. Add the orange extract and pureed orange and continue to beat until very well mixed.
Distribute evenly among all of the cupcake tins. They won't rise all that much, so you can fill them almost to the top. (It might make a few more than 18 cupcakes depending on how big your tins are, but if you only use half of tne tray, be sure to use the middle tins, and not the ones on the outside!) Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until they bounce back a little when you press on them gently. They should be nicely browned on top.
Remove from oven and let sit in the cupcake tin for about 5 more minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool. Either serve immediately or cool completely and then store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
**Note: If you'd rather make this into a cake, you can do so by pouring the batter into a greased and floured 9 inch springform pan and baking it for an hour or until it is nicely browned on top and has completely set.