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I’ve struggled a lot with health issues lately, from fatigue to low blood sugar. I’ve had to change my diet to repair my still-fragile postpartum body. Because of that, I’m not supposed to have flour or sugar for a while…which takes quite a bit of the joy out of my traditional baking.
I thought about stepping away from the oven for a time to focus on my health. But while that’s healthier for my waistline, that wouldn’t be very healthy for my sanity. Baking makes me happy and much more relaxed. Plus, baking shows make me happy and watching them makes me want to be in the kitchen! So I had to start looking for “healthy” bakes. Healthy and tasty bakes are not exactly the easiest thing to come by. But I started looking nevertheless.
What I Found
As far as sweets go, it’s hard to find recipes that aren’t drowning in sugar, even if alternative flour is being used. However, this flourless chocolate orange cake has very little sugar, is gluten free, has no dairy (except from the chocolate), and yet still satisfies my sweet tooth!
The crust is crispy but the inside is light and fudgy. Your fork will glide effortlessly through each bite. There is a slight hint of bitterness from the chocolate and cocoa, but the lightness from the orange makes it so delightful.
If you want a little less bitterness I would recommend using my favorite Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Melting Wafers, which I use in practically everything chocolate (like my Dark Chocolate Mini Bundts). But in this recipe I just used good ole semi-sweet morsels.
Honestly, I’ve always wondered why on earth people would eat a flourless chocolate cake unless they had to for health reasons. And why is it featured on the dessert menus of so many upscale restaurants? I’ve seen them on baking shows and continued to be puzzled.
But then I finally made and tried one for myself. And, with some additional garnishes, this flourless chocolate orange cake turns into a very sophisticated dessert. Sprinkle on some powdered sugar, top with a dollop of whipped cream, and place some fresh berries on the side and you’ve got something that looks and tastes superbly decadent.
The Most Important Ingredient
The egg whites give this cake the structure that it would otherwise get from flour. It’s extremely important that you beat the eggs enough to get them stiff. I usually test it by taking my whisk attachment and dabbing it in the egg whites to see if they stay in place.
I have not mastered folding in egg whites or meringue to batters. I worry about over folding, which removes all the air (just ask an unfortunate batch of lady fingers!). I usually have a few spots of egg whites that peek through. I really need to try it more often so I can do it properly!
You can probably see in some of my pictures that there are white dots on the top of the cake. Those are the egg whites. While it’s not aesthetically pleasing, it doesn’t mess with the flavor or texture unless they are large spots. It just means you have to get better at folding it in! Like me! Practice makes perfect!
This is a super easy, quick, and tasty bake. Give it a try and let me know whether you liked it as much as I did! And if you have any other “healthy” bakes, send them my way!
Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake
- 6 large eggs
- ½ cup coconut oil organic preferred
- 12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips about 2 ½ cups
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 1/6 medium orange, juiced
- ½ medium orange, zested
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 10-inch spring form pan with butter or shortening (you can also carefully use coconut oil) and then flour with cocoa powder.
- Separate egg whites and yolks into two different bowls.
- In a medium saucepan, melt coconut oil over medium-low heat. Once melted, whisk in chocolate chips, vanilla, and cocoa powder until smooth.
- Remove chocolate from stove top, then whisk in orange juice and zest.
- Whisk in egg yolks, stirring constantly until incorporated. Pour mixture into a large bowl and set aside to cool.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer add the egg whites. Using the whisk attachment, begin beating on medium speed.
- After about a minute, slowly pour the sugar in. Allow eggs to whip until they form very stiff peaks.
- Using a rubber scraper, fold in half of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture. Once incorporated, fold in the other half.
- Pour mixture into spring form pan and use a spatula to spread it evenly.
- Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool for at least 20 minutes before removing the sides of the pan. Serve warm or allow the cake to completely cool on the cake pan bottom.