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Inspired by Sicilian whole citrus cakes, this cake is made with oranges and lemons that have been cooked and blended into a coarse paste instead of butter or oil. The blended fruit not only keeps the cake moist for days, it also lends a full-bodied citrus flavor and just a hint of pleasing bitterness. A combination of all-purpose (or, Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour) and almond flour gives the cake a dense, pound cake-like crumb. Hariyali fennel is used twice in this cake — some is ground and added to the batter, complementing the citrus, and some seeds are left whole and sprinkled over the cake with turbinado sugar for a sparkly crunch.
While this cake is wonderful as a snacking cake alongside an afternoon cup of chai, it truly shines when paired with whatever fruit is in season and a very generous dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream. My trick for a truly balanced dessert? The tiniest pinch of salt in the whipped cream.
Baker's note: This cake is its best self the day after baking — it needs ample time to fully cool and settle, so it is a great make-ahead dessert. Then, all you need to do day of is slice some seasonal fruit, toss it with a little sugar, and whip some cream.