These mini cakes were inspired by my Orange and Almond Cake recipe in my 1st cookbook, "The JOYful Table". They are light, moist, not overly sweet and get their delicious orange flavour from a whole fresh orange. They can be served as is, topped with almond flakes or dusted with coconut flour (to look like icing sugar), or with a dollop of dairy-free cream.
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Wash the orange and place unpeeled into a saucepan of hot water. Simmer the orange for 20 minutes then drain off the water and replace with fresh boiling water (boiling twice stops the bitter flavour that can come from oranges into your cake). Continue simmering the orange for a further 20 minutes until the skin is soft but don't allow it to split. Remove and allow the orange to cool (I often cook it the night before).
Preheat your oven to 160c (fan-forced). I use a good quality large hole silicon muffin tray, as it's easy to remove the little cakes or use a very well-greased muffin tin.
Cut the cooled orange into quarters (with skin intact but no seeds) and add to a food processor with the eggs, coconut sugar, honey and vanilla. Blend for 20 seconds to chop and combine the orange into the wet ingredients. Scrape down the lid and sides of the bowl.
Add the almond meal, arrowroot, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and blend for 10 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the processor bowl and blend for a further 10 seconds.
Place your silicon muffin tray on a baking sheet to keep it level. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tray, filling each hole 1/2 of the way up, approximately 1/4 cup of mixture (you don't want them as high as a muffin). Sprinkle with almond flakes or leave plain. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until just firm. Allow to cool in the muffin tray.
To remove, run a blunt knife around the sides to loosen the cakes, then press your fingers under the base lifting the mini cakes up and out gently. If you chose plain cakes, you might like to add a little coconut flour in a small sieve to sprinkle onto the mini cakes, resembling icing sugar. They are also delicious served with dairy-free cream or vanilla coconut yoghurt.
Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days or longer in the fridge. Suitable to freeze.
The orange is a fruit from the citrus family. The most common varieties are - Valencia, Navel and Blood oranges. Oranges are commonly peeled and eaten fresh or squeezed for juice. Oranges are full of nutrients, they promote clear healthy skin and have a whopping 170 different phytochemicals and more than 60 flavonoids - giving anti-inflammatory properties and strong antioxidant effects.
I have used large free range or organic eggs from a 700g carton in my recipes. Eggs are one of the few foods considered to be a complete protein because they contain all 9 essential amino acids, also studies have shown that lutein (yellow colour) in egg yolks protects against the progress of early heart disease.
Coconut sugar is produced from the sap of the flower bud of the coconut palm tree and is a natural food sweetener. I use it when a dry sweetener is required. It has the benefit of a low glycemic index (low GI 35 compared to sugar at 68) and nutritional content. Use in baked goods as an occasional treat but don't overindulge. For a finer texture, add your coconut sugar to the small bowl of a food processor or blender and blend for 8 seconds or until it reaches a fine powder. The colour will lighten once ground.
Use unrefined or raw honey. It is the most common natural sweetener in my recipes. It's best to buy local unprocessed honey as it has wonderful health benefits and can help with allergies. Generally honey sold in supermarkets has been processed. Honey possesses antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
Use an organic vanilla extract (not an essence) or vanilla powder. Vanilla makes a big difference to the flavour of a recipe, I recommend keeping to the quantities I have stated in a recipe. I prefer Madagascar pure vanilla extract manufactured by ‘Simply Organic’ and for powder, Vanillamax 100% pure, finely ground Madagascar vanilla beans produced by Bulletproof.
The most favoured gluten/grain free flour substitute in my kitchen is almond meal. It is finely ground blanched almonds and is also known as almond flour. It has a slightly sweet flavour so you don’t have to add as much sweetener when baking with it. Almond meal/flour is rich in manganese which helps the body heal after injuries and also helps the body break down carbohydrates. Almond flour is also rich in magnesium, which can help control your blood sugar levels. It's rich in vitamin E and other antioxidants, which may help reduce the risk of serious health conditions like cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Almonds are also a good source of calcium.
All kinds of nuts can be ground down to make a meal and are excellent for raw cheesecake or pie bases. Nut meals/flours are best stored in airtight containers in the fridge or freezer to prevent them going rancid.
Arrowroot is a herb, the roots are cultivated for its starch properties. It is used in my recipes as a thickener and I also like combining it with almond meal to produce a much lighter texture, more like a gluten flour. I find the starch helps to bind the ingredients together. You can substitute tapioca flour, which is made from the dried roots of the cassava plant. Tapioca can be used in baking, it has a slightly sweet flavour. However, I do not recommend thickening with tapioca, as it has a stretchy, gummy texture. Supermarkets only sell in very small containers, which is not cost effective. Purchase from baking specialty stores, health food stores or online. ( When substituting for cornflour in recipes, 2 teaspoons arrowroot = 1 tablespoon cornflour/starch).
Baking Powder is a rising agent for baked goods. If substituting for baking soda you will need 4 times the quantity. Ensure you purchase a gluten free, no aluminum brand. Alternatively, you can make your own baking powder; 1 teaspoon of baking powder is equal to 1⁄4 teaspoon of baking soda and 1⁄2 teaspoon of cream of tartar. Note, that they should only be combined when preparing your recipe.
I am sure you will notice as you read my recipes that cinnamon appears quite frequently. It lends itself to savoury and sweet dishes. I have used ground cinnamon in my recipes if not stated otherwise. The best cinnamon to use is Ceylon (Verum). It has huge health benefits in regulating blood sugar levels. Cinnamon has antifungal properties and candida (yeast overgrowth) cannot live in a cinnamon environment. Added to food it inhibits bacterial growth, making it a natural food preservative and these are just a few of the benefits.
Organic unbleached, unrefined organic Celtic sea salt or pink Himalayan salt is my salt of choice as these contain healthy minerals and trace elements that our body needs. Regular table salt has been bleached, refined and processed leaving minimal health benefits. If you choose to use regular table salt in my recipes you will need to reduce the quantity or the end result will be to salty.
Almond flakes are thinly sliced blanched almonds. They are also good to resemble oats in recipes.