Gluten-Free Orange Almond Tea Cake; A Tea Party and a Cause

Happy Spring! My daffodils decided to get in on the celebration by blooming yesterday. Today is an auspicious day, not only because spring is finally here, but it is also the one-year anniversary of my blog! What better way to celebrate a blog anniversary than with a party? And, since we’re in the party spirit, why not have a tea-party for an awesome cause?

Foodbuzz in conjunction with Kelly Confidential is hosting an online tea part to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. By simply clicking over to the Kelly Confidential site, you can help raise even more money for Ovarian Cancer Research.  And, this Friday, Foodbuzz will take over the daily Top 9 to feature only tea party posts (oooh maybe you’ll see me!).  Foodbuzz will also donate $50 to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund for every tea party recipe created by a Featured Publisher before March 23rd!  That’s worth getting out my great-great-grandmother’s china! This fancy antique china has been passed down to the women in my family since the 1800’s! And now, you can enjoy it too- with a lovely gluten-free orange almond tea cake.

Having tea forces us to stop, slow down, and breathe. I think it helps us remember the truly important things in life- food and relationships. The girls and I will often stop for tea mid-morning, or mid-afternoon- basically at those times when our brains are too filled with facts to think anymore. And the conversations that always develop out of those breaks are little gifts.

While many snacks go well with tea, I like tea cakes because they’re sweet, but not too sweet. They satisfy my need to nosh, without giving me a sugar high or overfilling my tummy and spoiling the next meal. The orange and almond in this cake make a lovely combination, and the sponginess of the cake is achieved by incorporating whipped egg whites. This is a great technique to use to get good volume and texture in gluten-free baked goods. If you don’t have oranges on hand, lemons would be good too- just substitute vanilla extract for almond extract. This batter is light enough, you could also put it in a greased madeleine pan and make little madeleines. Then they’d be the perfect finger food!

Do you have a favorite tea experience? When I was in college my grandparents took me to high tea at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, Canada. That was an experience! Our celebratory tea party was a little more reserved, but just as fun. Wherever you are this week, why not take time out for a little tea and conversation? There’s always something to celebrate!

My heartfelt hanks to everyone who has stopped by my site in the past year, left a comment, or a note of encouragement. I have grown so much as a chef, writer, photographer (still LOTS to learn there!), kitchen control freak, and parent! I look forward to another year of adventure in the kitchen and in life!

Gluten Free Orange Almond Tea Cakes

Makes 12-14

Ingredients

4 eggs, separated

2/3 cup + 1 tbs sugar

zest of one orange

juice from one orange, about 1/3 cup

4 oz salted butter, melted and allowed to cool (one stick)

¾ cup almond flour (also called almond meal)

¼ cup tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour)

¼ cup sorghum flour

¼ tsp cream of tartar

¼ tsp almond extract

Directions

 

Preheat oven to 350. Separate eggs and set the whites aside. Sift the tapioca and sorghum together and set aside. Melt the butter and set aside. Using a stand mixer (or a large bowl if using a hand mixer) beat the egg yolks and sugar on high speed for several minutes until mixture is pale yellow, and forms ‘the ribbon’

The ribbon is a baking term used to describe batter that when scooped up and allowed to run back into the bowl forms a ribbon as it sits on the surface of the batter before being re-absorbed.

Add the orange juice, zest, and almond extract,  and continue beating another moment. Add the almond flour and continue to beat until it’s incorporated. Add the sorghum/tapioca mixture and set aside.

Next, add the cream of tartar to the egg whites. Using clean beaters, whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Sprinkle on the remaining tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat into stiff peaks.

Pour the melted butter into the orange/almond mixture, leaving the milky bits that have sunk to the bottom of the pan or bowl. This is the milk protein and isn’t needed for this recipe- you will have about 2 tbs of ‘butter’ still left in your container, but it will be milky looking.

Using a spatula, fold the butter into the batter. When it’s fully incorporated, stir in ¼ of the egg whites. When the egg whites have been fully mixed, gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins and bake in the lower third of the oven for 20 minutes.

Allow to cool briefly in the muffin tins, and then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.