Baking | Orange Almond Cake {gluten free} … light, healthy, delicious and glutenfree {I’m ready for the new year}

“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

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Baking |Kumquat Quark Cheesecake with a Date Almond Kumquat Base … gluten free, healthy and delicious

“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!

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Baking | Dark Chocolate Orange Yogurt Eggless Cheesecake …Happy Independence Day India!

“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!

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