“Celebrate what you want to see more of”
Thomas J. Peters

Orange Almond Cake {gluten free} Orange Almond Cake {gluten free} … wafts of sweet almond with citrusy notes of orange float through the kitchen, virtually transporting you to the Mediterranean. One bite and you will find it hard to believe that the cake is flourless with no added fat. It is delightfully moist and orange flavoured.  Almond meal adds interesting texture, and pairs beautifully with the choice of fruit.

Orange Almond Cake {gluten free} It’s the peak of winters here, cold as cold can be. Day before was the coldest at 2.6C, the lowest temperature recorded in December in the past so many years. The statistics don’t leave you, neither does the deep chill. It gets into your very bones. This is North Indian winter for you. In the background the TV plays endlessly; CNN telling you about the latest aviation disaster. Dreadful news at the end of the year. I’m ready for a new year. Bye bye 2014!

Fresh & local produce, mood photographyIt’s easier to immerse yourself in what comforts you most. I click. Loads. Moody shots mainly. Sometimes you crave good news. Sometimes you wish you could turn the clock back to simple living. For times like this, I head for the kitchen, get embraced by the warmth, lose myself in the aromas that warm the cockles of your heart!Orange Almond Cake {gluten free} 5

Orange Almond Cake {gluten free} Speaking to Cookaroo a couple of days ago, she mentioned she was off to make an Orange Almond Cake. Snapped me out of my somnambulent frozen state. I had an Orange Almond Cake sitting here in my drafts, one I had done for Travel & Leisure Asia a few months ago. I’ve remade it recently since oranges and back in season.

Orange Almond Cake {gluten free} With the market flooded with ripe, orange juicy fruit, it’s a great time to bake this cake. I’ve baked this a couple of times, both with oranges and with kumquats too. Always good. Made a couple of trifles as well. Orange Almond Cake, whipped cream with Grand Marnier, and some almond praline made the layers. Divine!Orange Almond Cake Trifles {gluten free}The recipe is inspired from passover cakes that find root in cuisine of the Sephardic Jews who originate from the countries of the Middle East. The cake is ‘leavened wheat free’ which is the diet that defines the passover holiday. Interestingly, ancient Greeks also savoured the combination of fruit, nuts and honey. Sugar only appeared later during the Ottoman times. The recipe first appeared in Travel & Leisure, Asia May 2014.

Bidding adieu to 2014…
Have a warm and wonderful 2015. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

A Fit Foodie recipe

[print_this]Recipe: Orange Almond Cake {gluten free}
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Summary: The Orange Almond Cake also doubles up as a great gluten free dessert if topped with mascarpone, creme patisserie or lightly whipped cream. Serve seasonal fruit like a balsamic orange vanilla strawberry reduction spooned over the top, or on the side.

Serves 6-8
 Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

  • 2 whole oranges
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 25g castor sugar
  • 250g almond meal
  • 175g honey
  • 40g yogurt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean powder
  • Zest of 1 orange {or ½ tsp orange extract}


  1. Place the whole oranges in a pan, cover completely with water and simmer covered for 30-45 minutes until soft. Drain and cool. {You can do this a day before and bring to room temperature before using}. Halve the cooked oranges, remove the pits and puree skin and all. Reserve.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170C. Line the bottom and sides of a 7″ round baking tin with parchment.
  3. Place the egg whites and 25g castor sugar in a  large bowl and beat to stiff peaks. Reserve.
  4. Place the egg yolks in a large bowl and beat until light and mousse like, about 5 minutes.
  5. Beat in whole orange puree and honey, followed by the vanilla bean powder, yogurt and baking soda until just mixed.
  6. Fold in the almond meal.
  7. Fold in 2 tbsp of the beaten egg whites to loosen the batter, then fold in half the remaining egg whites. Fold gently so that the beaten air is not released. {This will help give rise and volume to the cake}. Fold in the remaining egg whites gently, and transfer batter to prepared tin.
  8. Place tin on baking tray and bake for approx 1 hour 15 minutes / until a tester comes out clean. {Place the tin on a tray since honey tends to cook and get dark faster than sugar.}
  9. Cool in tin for 30 minutes, then cool on rack.
  10. Sift over with icing sugar and top with fresh orange wedges. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.
  11. Another nice dessert idea is to use some for trifles layered with liqueur spiced low fat cream, crunchy almond praline and cubes of almond orange cake.


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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

“The only way cheese is dessert is when it’s followed by the word cake.”
Michele Gorman

Kumquat Quark Cheesecake 1Kumquat Quark Cheesecake with a Date Almond Kumquat Base... a cheesecake that happened because I had a good batch of homemade quark even though I had Quark Mousse with Balsamic Roasted Strawberries in mind. Also because I still had the large bag of sweet moist dates that I had brought back from a recent trip to Mumbai. They needed to go somewhere, preferably someplace exciting.

KumquatsKumquatsDid I need any more reasons? Well no, but inspiration leaps out of the most colourful places! So the not so heavily laden anymore kumquat shrub had a last few kumquats that were turning a brilliant orange and had got Coco’s glad eye! How could I not play spoil sport?

Kumquats and CocoThe base of the cheesecake is inspired from one of my favourite hang outs, The Kitchn, that had shared a beautiful and ever so simple kumquat tart a while ago. Interestingly the base was made up of almonds, dates and oats.

Kumquat Quark Cheesecake 3I’ve been on a whole grain oaty sort of a drive of late, so the idea held instant appeal. The base is super simple as promised … so I had to veer off course! That is inherently me! I decided to flavour the base with some part kumquat and threw in 2 deseeded whole orange babies!

Kumquat Quark CheesecakeThen ‘the panic of the kids‘ kicked in, them who might reject any overpowering taste of dates in the cheesecake base. It was some good quality cocoa powder, a precious stash of delightful Russian cocoa that a good friend once brought, that would add taste!

Kumquats and CocoNot one to leave good enough alone, my obsession worked. I loved the way the base came together in seconds. Cheesecake filling is always fun. Now always quark, full fat home made quark, and never cream cheese. I love the way it works in cheesecake.

Kumquat Quark Cheesecake You need to plan in advance if you want to bake the cheesecake {and a few days more if you want to make quark}. Let the cake chill in the fridge overnight, slowly  and happily! The flavours mature, the texture becomes smooth and beautiful. Of course you are rewarded with a dessert the minute you open the fridge.

Kumquat Quark Cheesecake This in turns leaves enough time and inspiration for topping it in a fun and colourful way. I opted for a candied kumquat vanilla with a bitter orange thai red chili marmalade. You can always skip the marmalade and use a berry conserve. Alternatively, make a plain vanilla cheesecake and top it with a berry glaze or compote.

Kumquat Quark Cheesecake Endless possibilities. Strawberries and pistachios. Salted butter caramel. Honeyed figs should be fun too! Maybe a Nutella topping with a smattering of hazelnuts? Or flavour the cheesecake with coffee and a coffee liqueur and drizzle a bittersweet runny ganache over it. Even better, an Irish cream sauce! Think out of the box and inside your pantry; amaze yourself! 

fruit of the seasonThat’s what I love about desserts like this. So versatile and such fun to make. I usually stick to fruit in season as they inspire me and often put me in panic mode since they’re going to be gone soon. The burst of colour adds to appeal. I love this version because I played around with ingredients and unintentionally ended up with a gluten free cheesecake.

Kumquat Quark Cheesecake in jarsSee I told you, endless possibilities! I did a few sans the base in little jam jars too. Topped them with Nutella, bitter kumquat marmalade and fresh quartered strawberries. They were polished clean within minutes amidst great praise. The daughter added strawberries to her cheesecake slice later as well!

Kumquat Quark Cheesecake The base isn’t your everyday light as air buttery biscuit base. This one is dense, flavourful and slightly chewy. The good thing is that it keeps the dessert gluten free. You could always use your favourite base instead!


Recipe: Bitter Orange Quark Cheesecake with a Date Almond Orange Base 
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Summary: Kumquat Quark Cheesecake with a Date Almond Kumquat Base … quite a mouthful, and quite indulgent. A lighter, gluten free cheesecake with a fat free nut base!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes plus chilling time

  • Date, almond & kumquat base
  • 60g whole almonds
  • 25g oats
  • 2 kumquats, halved, deseeded
  • 120g dates
  • 15g good quality cocoa
  • Filling
  • 420g quark cheese (homemade full fat quark recipe}
  • 3 small eggs, separated
  • 20g oats ground
  • 130g (40g+90g) raw sugar {bura} or Castor sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 200ml low fat cream, room temperature
  • 50g bitter kumquat marmalade {recipe here}
  • 15 ml Cointreau {optional}
  • Topping
  • 7-8 kumquats, sliced, seeds removed
  • 50g sugar
  • 10ml water
  • Vanilla bean skins from above
  • 15ml bitter orange marmalade
  • Juice of 1/2 lime


  1. Date, almond & kumquat base
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line the base of a 7″ loose bottomed baking tin with parchment.
  3. Place the almonds and oats in food processor and grind to fine meal. Add the cocoa, kumquats and dates and process again.
  4. Turn into the base of the prepared tin, and push into place to form a base.
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes, until firm to touch. Leave to cool on rack.
  6. Quark filling
  7. Separate the egg yolks and whites.
  8. Beat the whites with 40g raw sugar to stiff peaks. Reserve.
  9. Place the quark, egg yolks, ground oats, remaining sugar, scraped vanilla bean, cream, marmalade and Cointreau {if using} into a large bowl. Blend with an electric beater or balloon whisk until smooth. 
  10. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites. Pour over the baked biscuit base.
  11. Bake at 180C for 40-45 minutes / until the centre is set when tested with the tip of a knife. Turn off the oven and leave to cool completely. 
  12. Cover with foil or cling wrap and chill overnight.
  13. Gently transfer to serving platter and spread the kumquat topping uniformly.
  14. Note: Use a sharp heavy knife to slice as the base is a little dense and sticky due to the dates.
  15. Topping
  16. Place all ingredients in a heavy bottom sauce pan and simmer gently until the kumquat turns translucent. Take off heat and stir in juice of 1/2 lime. Cool completely and discard vanilla bean skin before use.
  17. {Note: Do make sure your oats are labelled gluten free if you are making this for someone with gluten allergies}


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“There are only three things in life that matter – good friends, good chocolate and…
… oh dear, what was that other one?”

Chocolate Orange Yogurt Eggless CheesecakeDark Chocolate Orange Yogurt Eggless Cheesecake … does sound like quite a mouthful, but believe me it is A M A Z I N G! Orange and chocolate were made to walk hand in hand, side by side. Baked into a cheesecake, they are even happier! Yesterday I thought of the white, orange and green in my pictures … time to post this special cheesecake!

Dark Chocolate Orange Yogurt Eggless CheesecakeI was thrilled with the earlier success of the Cherry Yogurt Tart I blogged about not so long ago. Surprisingly enough, it turned out in colours that fitted into the 4th of July, the day I baked it. So, it was posted then. Then a few days later I ventured out in the same direction, now a little more confident.

Dark Chocolate Orange Yogurt Eggless Cheesecake I added flavours to the recipe, changing it to make it better. A dash of this, a layer of that. Yesterday I noticed that the Dark Chocolate Orange Yogurt Eggless Cheesecake has colours of the Indian flag! So this is for our Independence Day, August 15th, that is today!!

Dark Chocolate Orange Yogurt Eggless Cheesecake 7

Dark Chocolate Orange Yogurt Eggless Cheesecake 6I was quite pleased with how it turned out {… out of the pan too, so cleanly}. It was for the hosts at a party to see off the dear friend who is finally leaving town. The ifs and buts have been going on forever, and now suddenly the time is here. It’s been one goodbye after another. Somewhere deep down we hope we can hang on to the wings of time!Dark Chocolate Orange Yogurt Eggless Cheesecake Possible that is obviously not …and farewell day looms larger than life. It’s just round the corner. To cut a long story short, I took the cheesecake for the wonderful hosts that night. I was happy they loved it, and thought it was ‘exquisite‘. It’s nice when you bake something for someone and they appreciate it.Dark Chocolate Orange Yogurt Eggless Cheesecake 4This is one recipe that just keeps getting better and better. Immense possibilities, and infinite combinations. I was tempted into ‘orange‘ thanks to a few last kumquats hanging on my tree shrub. They are difficult to ignore, the one bright spot of fruit & foliage in the hot summer. It wasn’t long before I was stirring a TINY batch of marmalade.

Dark Chocolate Orange Yogurt Eggless Cheesecake Dark Chocolate Orange Yogurt Eggless Cheesecake So many jars of bitter kumquat marmalade later, you just know that if you throw in this and that, you will end up with marmalade. From a few precious kumquats to kilos of them, I have endlessly enjoyed this tart citrus fruit. You would find several recipes with them on PAB.

KumquatsCandied kumquatsThat ten minutes of baking two ingredients can result in something like this, is quite amazing. This time around I added a layer of dark chocolate ganache between the biscuit crust and yogurt filling. I remember from last time that the yogurt had made the base slightly moist. I baked the base minimally too. It worked quite well.
Dark Chocolate Orange Yogurt Eggless Cheesecake Ten minutes into the oven, cooled and then chilled, these are great make ahead desserts. Whether you like eggs, or you don’t, this is a wonderful fast track and economical cheesecake. Tastes scrumptious too. Flavour it as you like. Or don’t. Doesn’t matter. The heart is good and full of flavour. A little ‘sugar high’ thanks to the condensed milk, but then thats happiness!
Dark Chocolate Orange Yogurt Eggless Cheesecake I made one large cheesecake and a few small ones for home {for a taste check}. Left us H A P P Y! Some things are so worth it … these Dark Chocolate Orange Yogurt Eggless Cheesecakes were just that! Hope you enjoy the recipe. I’ll be working another version sometime soon. Have a Happy Independence Day India!


Recipe: Dark Chocolate Orange Yogurt Eggless Cheesecake
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Summary: This is one recipe that just keeps getting better and better. Immense possibilities, and infinite combinations. Ten minutes into the oven, cooled and then chilled, these are great make ahead desserts. The Dark Chocolate Orange Yogurt Eggless Cheesecake is a wonderful fast track and economical cheesecake. Scrumptious too. 

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes {plus chilling}

  • Biscuit base
  • 200g orange marie biscuits, crushed
  • 100g melted butter
  • Chocolate ganache layer
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 100g low fat cream
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • Yogurt filling
  • 350g hung yogurt, thick
  • 150g regular yogurt
  • 1 tin condensed milk
  • 2-3 tbsp Grand Marnier or any orange liqueur {optional}
  • Topping
  • 2tbsp bitter orange marmalade, melted
  • Kumquat, white and dark chocolate shavings for garnish


  1. Biscuit Base
  2. Mix the melted butter and the crushed biscuits. Turn into the bottom of the prepared tin and press to form base. Chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a rectangular 4″ X 14″loose bottomed tart tin {or a 9″ round loose bottomed tart tin}
  4. Choc ganache
  5. Place chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Stir well until smooth. Stir in honey and 1 tbsp liqueur {optional}. Leave to cool.
  6. Yogurt filling
  7. Place both yogurts, liqueur and condensed milk in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. 
  8. Assembling
  9. Spread the ganache over the biscuit base.
  10. Pour the yogurt filling over the ganache and bake in the oven at 180C for 10 minutes only.
  11. Take out of the oven, allow to cool. Then chill in the fridge for a couple of hours, or overnight.
  12. Top with marmalade, chocolate shavings etc.


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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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