Orange Almond Cake (Gluten-Free) w/ Earl Grey Tea
Homemade gluten-free orange almond cake, topped with unsweetened whipped cream. This is a perfect summer dessert to have with afternoon tea (my favorite is Earl Grey tea).
The amount of sugar for the cake sponge is less than half of the most similar American recipes, but it has just the right touch of sweetness. I used 1 tsp of orange oil instead of grated zest of 3 oranges, and poured 2 tablespoons of the mixture of freshly squeezed orange juice, lemon juice and sugar on top after taking the cake out of the oven. I also added 1 tsp of vanilla extract in the sponge batter (which was not written in the original recipe). Even though this cake contains no butter or oil, the cake is surprisingly soft and moist and flavorful.
The bright yellow color of the cake simply came from the organic eggs from Murray's (on Bleecker Street, NYC). I tried eggs from various places in NYC (including some famous organic farms at Union Square Greenmarket), but the ones from Murray's are the best both in taste, quality and freshness.
Recipe was adapted from Susannah Blake's book 'Afternoon Tea'.
MODIFIED RECIPE (8-inch cake)
* Ingredients for the cake is: 3 large eggs, 1+1/4 cup (110 g) ground almonds, 1/2 cup (130 g) granulated sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp orange oil (or grated zest of 3 unwaxed oranges).
* Ingredients for orange syrup is: 1/2 freshly squeezed orange juice, 1 tsp lemon juice, 2 tsp granulated sugar.
I baked it at 350F for 25 minute (5 minutes longer than the original recipe).
Another (and crucial) modification I added was to wrap the warm cake in a plastic wrap soon after taking it out of the oven, instead of cooling the cake completely on the wire rack like most American cake recipes suggest. Cooling it on the wire rack will make the cake too dry, so it is important to keep it moist by covering the warm cake in Saran wrap or cake pan until it cools down completely. (This is a common technique used in Japanese cake recipes to keep it moist.) Then wrap the cake in double Saran wraps and rest it in a fridge for several hours to overnight to bring out the best taste. The leftover cake can be stored in the freezer for 3 months, individually double wrapped and put in a freezer (in a Zip Lock bag).