This is an amazing but simple cake recipe, lovely, soft and moist. It also just so happens to be gluten-free and dairy-free (though if you make the ganache topping, make sure your white chocolate is gluten-free). We make these as individual cupcakes.
This is based on a recipe in one of my favourite books, The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden. It’s well worth looking up. I’ve read it like a novel, as it’s not only full of wonderful recipes, but also the history and stories behind those recipes.
Makes 12 Individual Cakes
– 2 oranges
– 1 lemon
– 360g caster sugar
– 130g coconut flour (or desiccated coconut blitzed to a fine powder)
– 100g fine polenta
– 85g ground almonds
– 50g desiccated coconut
– 5 eggs, whisked well
– 2 tsp orange blossom water (optional)
– 1 tsp baking powder (gluten-free if you want the recipe to be gluten-free)
– Sunflower oil, for greasing
– Greek yogurt or crème fraîche, to serve
White Chocolate and Coconut Ganache
– 200ml coconut milk
– 200g white chocolate, roughly chopped
– toasted coconut flakes, to decorate
1. First you need to boil your oranges and lemon, so put them in a pot, cover them with water and pop a lid on.
2. Bring to the boil and simmer for 40–60 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure they remain just covered with water.
3. Once they are completely soft, drain off the water and leave to cool.
4. Once they are cool enough to handle, cut the tips off each piece of fruit, then cut in half and remove the seeds. They should be a soft, pulpy mess inside.
5. Place the fruit pulp and skins in a bowl and purée in a food processor or using a stick blender. You should have a fairly smooth purée. If doing by hand, put into a saucepan and go hell for leather with a potato masher – don’t worry if it isn’t a perfectly smooth purée, as a little chunkiness is no harm.
6. At this stage, preheat your oven to 180°C. Put the purée in a big mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.
7. Add all of the other ingredients and mix until everything is fully combined. If using a silicone cupcake mould, brush each individual cup with a little sunflower oil. If using a metal tin, do the same or use paper cases.
8. Spoon the batter into each cup until it’s just shy of the top by about 5mm.
9. Pop in the oven, then immediately turn it down to 170°C and bake for 40 minutes. The cupcakes are done when you stick a clean skewer, cocktail stick or knife in the centre and it comes out clean, without any batter stuck to it.
10. If they’re not yet at that point, pop them back into the oven and check again after 5–8 minutes. Leave to cool.
11. While the cakes are baking, you can make the white chocolate and coconut ganache.
12. Heat the coconut milk in a small saucepan. When it’s near the boiling point, remove the pan from the heat and add the roughly chopped white chocolate.
13. Stir well until the chocolate is fully melted, then leave to cool.
14. Spoon the cooled ganache over the top of the cooled cupcakes, decorate with toasted coconut flakes and serve with a little Greek yogurt or bcrème fraîche.
15. Stored at room temperature in an airtight container or tin, these will remain absolutely perfect for 4–5 days. In fact, the flavours come out even better after a day.
– The orange blossom water isn’t absolutely necessary, but it does give it that extra fragrant orangey kick.
– You could use a chocolate ganache (melt 50g dark chocolate with 50ml cream in a pot set over a medium heat) instead of the white chocolate and coconut ganache and decorate with the cakes with some toasted chopped almonds.
– Here’s a great idea to make life easier down the line: boil multiple quantities of the fruit in a bigger pot, weigh once drained and blend to a purée, then divide the total weight by the number of multiples of the fruit for the recipe that you’ve cooked and freeze in batches. The next time you want to make this cake, just defrost a batch.
Garrett Fitzgerald left his office-based career to follow his dream: to immerse himself in the creative adventures to be enjoyed with food. That journey started off with three wonderful months in Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery School. Next, he and his partner James travelled the world, exploring the flavours of local food throughout. Bringing that experience back home on a wing and a prayer, Brother Hubbard opened on Dublin’s Capel Street in 2012. Leaning towards aspects of Middle Eastern and Southern Mediterranean food, The Brother Hubbard Cookbook is packed with nutritious, wholesome, often deceptively vegetarian dishes that emphasise flavour, colour and texture.
The Brother Hubbard Cookbook is published by Gill Books, and is available to buy on www.gillbooks.ie.