This is the first time someone has asked me to write a Guest Blog and so I started this piece in many different ways, before settling down on this being the best way to start!
Over the last few years, I have often wondered if “healthy” baking is an oxymoron .
Most traditional and classic bakers would have you believe that baking is always synonymous with ingredients like all-purpose flour, sugar, butter and so on, which for an average adult are unhealthy when consumed in large or even at times moderate quantities.
But I love the old-fashioned home baked goods – because of the link they have to what defines home or what defines family. But then why follow the beaten path always? Sometimes it helps to ask questions and re-create new rules. My approach to healthy baking was not discovered in a life-changing moment. It came to me slowly, but surely.
You read, you learn. You try, you learn. You push boundaries, you learn. So that’s all that I did – I read, I tried and I pushed my boundaries. I think people believe that you discover your passion in a sudden burst of enlightening. Nothing so dramatic for me – because I believe that it comes to you in small and quiet moments of trials and triumphs; like when you face challenges in finding what your child might love eating or when you discover your husband has a sweet tooth but you want to keep it healthy as well for both.
Or when you know your mom’s medical treatment drops her immunity levels and so she needs a not-so-boring form of nutritious snack. These kind of instances make you read, try and push your boundaries.
So healthy baking to me is an extension of my own life experiences and how stories that I hear each day – from my family, my friends and clients help me to keep exploring new horizons even if only to realize that all experiments do not work. My only advice when it comes to healthy baking is pretty much what applies to life – keep an open mind, a welcoming house, simple yet delicious bakes and a warm oven !
So the recipe that I am sharing here is one that I baked in the initial stages of exploring the healthy baking route and am baking it again for this post- The Gluten-free Spanish Orange and Almond Cake ( Butter-free) Inspired from the Recipe from a Baking book of Readers Digest
Large oranges, chopped with the skin 2
Eggs( separated) 4
Finely ground white sugar 200 grams
Ground almonds 250 grams
Baking powder 1 tsps
Dried chopped apricots and sliced almonds to garnish the cake
Put the chopped oranges without the seeds but with the skin into a pan with 2-3 tbsp of water and cook it covered, for 20-25 minutes. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius and use a springform cake tin lined with parchment paper. Beat the egg whites with half the sugar till stiff peaks are formed. Beat the yolks with the rest of the sugar. Grind the softened oranges into a thick paste ( with some chunks, not too fine) Fold it into the yolk-sugar mix. Fold the ground almonds into the above mix. Slowly transfer and fold in the beaten egg whites into this mix. Transfer this into the springform cake tin. Bake for 50-55 minutes. Take it out of the springform tin after it cools off completely Garnish with dried apricots and sliced almonds. The cooking of the oranges with the peel is what adds to the overall flavour intensity !