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Gluten free Abroad - Spanish Edition

Gluten free Spanish orange cake

Spain evokes feelings of scorching hot days and long walks on the beach with a slice of watermelon in each hand. The European Orange County had to be a part of our Gluten Free Abroad Edit as it is a nation full of variation. The culture in Spain differs throughout the country which is why I was so interested in seeing how they were embracing the gluten free wave that’s sweeping the globe. The north is often referred to as a warmer England, with its green landscapes covered in planes of trees and grass which are worlds away from the sandy tones that bring to mind when you think of the south of Spain.

There are many traditional cakes that the Spanish make for various events and religious celebrations. They also don’t limit themselves to just cakes, I can never resist churros, especially dripped in chocolate ganache and the traditional fairy-cake-like dessert the Spanish make to have with their morning coffee- Magdalenas. After delving into the culinary world of Spain, it became obvious to me that the Spanish like almonds an awful lot. They are the third largest exporter of almonds in the world which is a pretty big deal when you’re competing against much bigger continents.

Choosing the orange almond cake was not a tough decision. I love both of these ingredients and it was also great to see that many of their traditional cakes consisted of solely ground almonds. Bake well tarts may spring to mind but I assure you this is an exotic variation worth trying.

This cake is refreshingly fragrant with an almost marzipan like flavour from the almonds. They give a unique texture to the sponge and ensure it is a moist and succulent experience for your taste buds. There are several ways to decorate an orange cake, so I did a technique that I’m sure my grandmother will be proud of, I went all ‘upside-down’ on it.  I arranged the orange slices on the bottom of the pan, on top of the baking parchment lined tin and drizzled some honey on top of them, dolloped the cake mix on top of this to give a delicate and effective finished once it has cooked, cooled and been turned out.  It’s an effective, delicious and summery cake that shows how easy it is to have a slice of the Spanish life style without the gluten.


2 medium sized oranges;

-One orange’s juice = ½ cup and rind

-One orange for decoration

3 eggs (separated)

180g caster sugar

150g ground almonds

30g self raising GF flour

2 table spoons flaked almonds

Line an 8’’ tin with baking parchment, and drizzle honey on top of this. Butter the sides of the pan and cut 1 orange into slices and arrange on the bottom of the pan in a pattern that pleases you.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF, gas mark 4).

Put the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk until they form stiff peaks. Gradually whisk in half the caster sugar, then whisk for 1 minute.

Using the same whisk, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining caster sugar in another bowl for 2–3 minutes or until pale and quite thick then carefully fold in the ground almonds, sieved self raising flour, vanilla, orange juice and orange rind .

Stir in 3 spoonfuls of the whisked egg white to loosen the mixture then gently fold in the remaining whites with a large metal spoon until fully combined. Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and level the top.

Bake for around 30 minutes or until the cake is golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Check the cake after 20 minutes and again at 10 minutes, press on the top of it to see if it springs back. This is another way of telling if a cake has finished baking.

Leave the cake to cool in the tin, then turn it out, peel away the lining paper and sprinkle flaked almonds on top to add a bit of crunch. Dust with icing or granulated sugar for a final finish.



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