Yes, this is minimal, and seasonal too! It’s made with just 5 ingredients, one of which is a luscious puree of whole tangerines, and tangerines are just as seasonal as pumpkins and cranberries! I know it’s counter intuitive, but the citrus trees are drooping with lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines, clementines, and grapefruits at this time of year. While you can of course buy oranges year round, tangerines are only available seasonally. This cake makes the absolute most of them.
I think we sometimes forget that holiday cooking is about more than just the one or two blockbuster meals… this beautiful cake would be perfect for all the less formal gatherings of friends and family, little celebrations at work or school, and all those times when you need something special to bring and share.
This cake is really very easy, and you can cook the tangerines the night before while you’re watching tv. The next day it will be a quick one bowl deal. The intense citrus flavor and brilliant color you get by pureeing the whole fruit is unique.
This cake has an Italian heritage, and versions of it are sometimes called Sicilian orange cake. The Sicilians are known for their citrus desserts, ever since the Arabs occupied the region many centuries ago, bringing with them citrus fruits of all kinds. It makes a fabulous sunny breakfast on a cold fall morning.
- 3 large tangerines (to make about a cup of puree)
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 cups almond meal or almond flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- confectioner's sugar for dusting
- Set oven to 350F
- Step one is the only time consuming part of this cake. Wash your tangerines and put them in a saucepan covered with cold water. Boil for 15 minutes. Drain the pan, refill with cold water, and boil again for 15 minutes. This boiling removes the bitterness in the citrus skin.
- Rough chop the tangerines and remove any seeds, do this on a plate so you don't lose any juice. Put it all in a food processor and process until completely smooth. You'll have to stop and scrape down the sides a few times. The color and smell will be amazing. My finished puree weighed 11 1/2 oz, and was about a cup.
- Set aside, or refrigerate until the next day if you're doing this in 2 stages.
- The rest is a one bowl deal: Beat the eggs and sugar until light and creamy. Fold in the almond meal, orange pulp, and baking powder, mixing until combined.
- Pour into a buttered 9" spring form pan.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes, until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan to finish cooling.
- Dust with confectioner's sugar. Decorate with some citrus zest if you like.
Note: This cake isn't overly sweet, I think it would also be good with a little sweetened and/or flavored (Amaretto? Grand Marnier? ) whipped cream. Recipe adapted from taste.com.au
The texture of this cake is moist and dense, but not heavy. You’ll enjoy the fresh aroma of tangerine from the moment you puree the fruit, through the baking when it scents the whole kitchen, and then again when you slice into the finished cake and take your first bite. It’s glorious.
All I can think of is trying a Meyer lemon version of this cake. Yum!