A few months ago some of our friends came over for an evening of fun, dance moves and of course… Moroccan food! I was so excited about this dinner, I literally wanted to cook all of my favourites dishes until I remembered that one of my friends is on a special gluten and dairy free diet.
After a quick brainstorming, I easily found alternatives for the starters and the mains, but since the majority of Moroccan desserts require flour and dairy I struggled to find the perfect final course for our little gathering.
Once I realised that I could substitute flour with ground nuts and butter with almost any type of oil, I decided to bake a cake from scratch using some classic Mediterranean ingredients: pistachios, almonds, orange and olive oil. These can’t possibly go wrong together, right?
The final result wasn’t good, it was seriously amazing!
The cake was surprisingly tender and moist on the inside, crusty on the outside and had a perfectly balanced flavour of pistachio and orange.
We loved the cake so much that it became one of my “classics” and I’ve baked it so many times since that day.
Pistachio and orange cake - gluten and dairy free
200 gr ground unsalted shelled pistachios
100 gr ground almonds
Zest of a large orange
150 gr caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
50ml olive oil and more fore greasing
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 egg whites
• Preheat oven to 180 C (355 F).
• Grease a 20 cm (8 inch) cake tin and line the bottom with baking paper.
• In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients (almonds, pistachios, orange zest, sugar and salt).
• In a medium bowl mix the eggs, vanilla extract and olive oil until smooth.
• In a another large bowl, use an electric whisk to beat the egg whites until stiff and set aside for a few minutes.
• Pour the smooth eggs, vanilla and olive oil mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix well. Make sure that all the dry ingredients are now wet.
• Using a large metal spoon, gently and slowly insert the stiffed egg whites into the cake mixture.
• Spread the cake mixture into the greased cake tin and bake for 35 to 40 min, until the cake is golden and feels spongy to the fingertips. When inserted in the middle of the cake, a skewer should come out a little bit moist.
• Decorate with shelled pistachios and (dried) orange slices.
• If you would like your cake to be more shiny and moist, as soon as it comes out of the oven, brush the cake with orange juice syrup. Orange juice syrup recipe: in a small deep skillet, pour 1 tablespoon caster sugar and 2 tablespoons orange juice over medium heat. Bring to the boil for 3 to 4 minutes and leave to cool. (The usual sugar/liquid syrup ratio is 1:1, I deliberately added more liquid to this one in order to have a more liquid syrup, otherwise the cake would be to sweet.)