Sunday, March 16, 2014

Orange and almond cake, and orange chocolate truffle balls

I am picturing the horror that this post title will send through orange haters, and can only apologise even as I smile at the thought of your reaction. For those of you who think oranges are best served whole, and never paired with chocolate, feel free to look away. For the rest of you? Settle in and enjoy.

Whole oranges, pureed

Early March brings more family birthdays, including my mother-in-law's. Last year, you may remember, I made an orange cake that was lovely but which did not taste of oranges. This year, the request was for an orange and almond cake. A quintessential gluten-free option, I knew I had to nail the orange component this time around!

Orange and almond cake

I followed a highly reviewed recipe from Taste.com.au, and as I made no changes other than shaping the cake as a circle instead of a heart, I won't re-post it here. I was intrigued, though, by the method used with the oranges: boiling them whole until tender, and then processing them rind and all until pureed. Being gluten-free, the cake also called for 5 eggs, and I wasn't confident enough to mess with egg replacer in a 5-egg cake. Thus, it wasn't vegan.



The cake was well received by 6 of the 8 people who tried it (the youngest child and Mr Bite found it too zesty), and I enjoyed decorating it with crushed biscuits.

To complement the cake, I made orange chocolate truffle balls following another recipe on Taste.com.au. I made a few adaptations to make these vegan, so am posting my version below. They were decadent, semi-sweet, and provided just the right amount of orange.

Orange chocolate truffle balls

Before getting to the dessert items, we had a picnic in Perth's Kings Park for the main component of dinner. This outing met with a number of unexpected challenges, starting with a concert blocking access to the main car park and our intended picnic location, and progressing through various family members being separated from our main group. 

My sister-in-law and her three children ventured to walk from their parking location to where the rest of us were picnicking, which took them longer than expected and meant it was dark by the time they arrived. King's Park is a vast place to be walking when it is dark! Moreover, the father of that family set out to drive their car to our picnic location, but never made it. It turns out he couldn't find where we were, and not having his mobile phone with him, he drove all the way home again in order to ring us from there. 

By the time we had worked out where my brother-in-law had got to, it was very dark and we decided to eat without him. That's just as well, because when driving back to the park, my brother-in-law mistakenly turned into the entrance ramp for Perth's east-west tunnel. You know that feeling when you get on (or off) a freeway without meaning to? There is no recovering, and in this case, my brother-in-law had to drive through the tunnel and circle back through Perth to reach us. I think he may be able to claim the longest ever journey from one side of King's Park to the other.

While waiting, we played with the glow-sticks pictured in my last post, which proved entertaining for children and adults alike. They are fun for photography too!


By the time everyone was located and we had returned to my mother-in-law's house for cake, we were well and truly ready for dessert. The cake and truffle balls did an excellent job of providing the sugar kick we needed!


Orange chocolate truffle balls
These rum-free balls are a twist on traditional rum balls
Vegan
Makes about 24 small truffle balls
Food processor required



Ingredients
50g pitted prunes, roughly chopped
Scant 1/4 cup water
100g dark chocolate (I used Lindt 70% cocoa), broken into pieces
60g non-dairy spread (I used Nuttelex)
125g Nice biscuits (Australians) or Graham crackers (Americans), or other vegan-friendly plain biscuits
40g raw hazelnuts
Zest of 1 orange

1 tsp rum extract, optional

Cocoa and desiccated coconut, for coating the truffle balls

Method
Place the prunes and water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring regularly. Remove from heat and set aside.

Combine the chocolate and non-dairy spread in a heat-proof bowl, and melt over a saucepan filled with water or on low power in the microwave.

Process the biscuits, hazelnuts and prunes in a food processor until well chopped. Add the orange zest and melted chocolate mixture and process until just combined.

Refrigerate the mixture for at least 15 minutes. When firm, use a teaspoon to scoop small truffle balls and roll them between your hands to shape. Coat in cocoa or desiccated coconut, and allow to chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.


Have you lost anyone on outings recently?!

20 comments:

  1. I am all for orange desserts - and would be even happier with them if I had been playing hide and seek in Kings Park - (sorry to hear about your frustrating time) I particularly like the look of the truffles as a nice twist on the traditional ones I grew up on.

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    1. The hide and seek was quite fun for those of us not lost ;) The truffles really appealed to me - they have that richness associated with traditional rum balls but the flavours were nicely varied.

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  2. Since I love terry's chocolate oranges I'm going to assume that I would love these truffles as well...I may have to give them a go :)

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    1. I love Terry's chocolate oranges too :) I think you would definitely like the truffles given we share that taste!

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  3. I love chocolate and orange...well I love chocolate and anything really but chocolate orange is a particular favourite. The orange-almond cake (very similar recipe I think) is a family favourite. I don't eat it anymore obviously and I think it would be hard to veganize with all those eggs unfortunately.
    Losing your brother-in-law sounds a bit of a nightmare!

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    1. I'm with you - it is the chocolate in chocolate-orange that wins me over ;)

      Reading Sandy's comment below, there may be hope for veganising these high-egg cakes! I'll have to try it out as it would be nice to experience the flavours again.

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  4. I'm a big choc-orange fan!
    Your cake looks so pretty!
    I find in most recipes replacing eggs doesn't matter how many it is, it still works out especially in baked goods like cakes :-)

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    1. You've obviously been more courageous than me in trying it out! Thanks for that - the most I have replaced is 3 eggs, and given this was going to more people than just me and my husband, I really wasn't confident to try egg replacer for 5. I'll have to make it again to test it out though :)

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  5. I don't really like eating oranges as is, but I absolutely love their flavour- especially in sweet applications like with chocolate! So tasty!! My favourite chocolate bar ever was this dark chocolate orange and almond one by Butler's. I miss having access to that bar, oh man...

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    1. Dark chocolate orange is the sort of chocolate my husband and I tend to buy for joint consumption - he loves orange chocolate and can tolerate darker blocks when orange is in the mix :)

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  6. I've cooked an orange and almond cake before that involved using the entire orange, skin and all. Some people loved it, others found the orange flavour too overpowering! xx

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    1. Mr Bite and my 5-year-old nephew were in the too overpowering camp! It is an interesting approach - and a good way to avoid waste!

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  7. All I can say is "yum!" I love flourless orange cake, and choc orange is a great flavour combination.

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  8. Yum! I love any dessert with orange in it, and orange and These look so good :)

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  9. I didn't realise that there are people out there that dislike the chocolate orange combo. I think they work amazingly well together! Both your treats look amazing!
    All my attempts to replace the eggs in GF recipes have been complete disasters :( I've found that omitting them really affects the texture :/

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    1. Your comment makes me think my doubts were founded - I have always thought gluten free products relied on eggs more so are harder to veganise. Bother! At least I didn't risk it though!

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  10. These truffle balls look delicious, as does your cake! I don't use prunes much in sweets, so I'd like to try these :)

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    1. Prunes in sweets are fairly novel for me too - but they worked very well!

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