Orange and almond upside down cake

Orange and almond upside down cake | Me & the Moose. Cara cara oranges, clementines, and kumquats baked in a light syrup really shine in this simple, lightly sweet, and naturally gluten-free upside down cake. #meandthemoose #citruscake #citrusrecipes #healthybaking #oranges #almonds #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfree #upsidedowncake

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Upside down cakes, specifically citrus upside down cakes, are a dime a dozen this time of year. And I get it! Citrus is where it’s at in the winter and what else do you do with the giant bag of oranges or lemons that you find in your fridge?

Also, WTF do you do with kumquats? I always want to buy them because I’m a sucker for anything miniature, but they freak me out. And I’ll be honest: I’ve read online that you can eat them raw, skins and all. STRONG DISAGREE. The ones I’ve had are entirely too bitter to eat without any cooking. But this cake is the magical trick!

Orange and almond upside down cake | Me & the Moose. Cara cara oranges, clementines, and kumquats baked in a light syrup really shine in this simple, lightly sweet, and naturally gluten-free upside down cake. #meandthemoose #citruscake #citrusrecipes #healthybaking #oranges #almonds #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfree #upsidedowncake

I love this cake for many reasons, but primarily because it’s less sweet and naturally gluten-free. It bakes in under 30 minutes, you only need one bowl, AND it’s fancy enough for company, but simple enough for a weeknight.*

* (Don’t you love when people say that? Who has time for dessert on a weeknight?? But if you did, this would be the cake to make.)

Orange and almond upside down cake | Me & the Moose. Cara cara oranges, clementines, and kumquats baked in a light syrup really shine in this simple, lightly sweet, and naturally gluten-free upside down cake. #meandthemoose #citruscake #citrusrecipes #healthybaking #oranges #almonds #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfree #upsidedowncake

A couple of notes:

  • To make this cake dairy-free, just sub in some non-dairy yogurt and use clarified butter or coconut oil for the syrup.

  • When prepping your pan, butter JUST the sides of the pan, not the bottom. The butter/sugar syrup won’t spread out properly, which means, you’ll have pockets with syrup and pockets without.

Orange and almond upside down cake | Me & the Moose. Cara cara oranges, clementines, and kumquats baked in a light syrup really shine in this simple, lightly sweet, and naturally gluten-free upside down cake. #meandthemoose #citruscake #citrusrecipes #healthybaking #oranges #almonds #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfree #upsidedowncake
Orange and almond upside down cake | Me & the Moose. Cara cara oranges, clementines, and kumquats baked in a light syrup really shine in this simple, lightly sweet, and naturally gluten-free upside down cake. #meandthemoose #citruscake #citrusrecipes #healthybaking #oranges #almonds #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfree #upsidedowncake
Orange and almond upside down cake | Me & the Moose. Cara cara oranges, clementines, and kumquats baked in a light syrup really shine in this simple, lightly sweet, and naturally gluten-free upside down cake. #meandthemoose #citruscake #citrusrecipes #healthybaking #oranges #almonds #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfree #upsidedowncake

Orange almond upside down cake

4 cara cara oranges, 4 clementines, and a pint of kumquats
½ cup plain yogurt
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
¾ cup + 2 Tbsp finely ground corn meal or polenta
2 cups almond meal
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp kosher salt
2 tsp orange zest 
½ tsp almond extract

For the syrup:
2 tsp butter
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp water

Preheat the oven to 350.

Butter ONLY the sides of a 9-inch baking pan and set aside. *See notes above

Peel the oranges and clementines, removing the outer pith. Slice the oranges into 1/8-inch thick slices (you should get about 7 slices per medium orange) and remove the seeds. Set aside.

Slice the kumquats and set aside. (No need to peel these, but I do remove the seeds for ease of slicing. When you hit a seed, just pop it out with your knife or give the slice a gentle squeeze and the seeds will pop out.)

In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, brown sugar, and eggs.

Stir in the corn meal, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to combine.

Add the orange zest and almond extract and stir again to combine. Set aside.

To make the sauce: In a small saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, and water. Heat over a medium low flame and stir frequently, just until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce thickens slightly, about 3-4 minutes.

Pour the hot syrup into your prepared baking pan and swirl to cover the bottom of the pan. Place the orange, clementine, and kumquat slices in any pattern you like, nestling them into the syrup. It’s okay if there are some open spots.

Top with the cake batter and smooth out gently so you don’t move the citrus.

Bake for 23-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool for 5 minutes. Run a small knife around the sides of the cake. Place your cake plate upside down over the cake and, using oven mitts or a towel to protect your hands, carefully invert the cake and place the cake stand right side up. Carefully lift off the baking pan, being careful of any steam that might escape.

Yield: 8-12 slice

Orange and almond upside down cake | Me & the Moose. Cara cara oranges, clementines, and kumquats baked in a light syrup really shine in this simple, lightly sweet, and naturally gluten-free upside down cake. #meandthemoose #citruscake #citrusrecipes #healthybaking #oranges #almonds #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfree #upsidedowncake
Orange and almond upside down cake | Me & the Moose. Cara cara oranges, clementines, and kumquats baked in a light syrup really shine in this simple, lightly sweet, and naturally gluten-free upside down cake. #meandthemoose #citruscake #citrusrecipes #healthybaking #oranges #almonds #glutenfreerecipes #glutenfree #upsidedowncake

Almond cookies

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Easter and Passover fall during the same weekend this year, so why not bake a dessert that fits the bill for both? They're a little like a French Macaron, but with a lot less work. They're also a little merengue-y, but much less tricky and far quicker to bake.

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I first made these Chewy Almond Cookies for the holidays a few years ago. My mom loves a Linzer torte and my father-in-law loves anything with marzipan, but I needed something a bit simpler to add to the cookie tray. The original version called for store-bought almond paste, but it's expensive and sometimes hard to find, so these cookies sub in almond flour (NOT almond meal) and powdered sugar.

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Skipping the almond paste also makes these kosher for Passover because the paste uses some kind of gluten-derived syrup as a sweetener.

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I've fiddled with the technique a bit as well. Adding the egg whites to the food processor first and whizzing them until they're thick and white makes the cookies lighter, airier, and more chewy. You don't need to go for stiff peaks or even soft peaks, but just a frothy milky mixture.

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The only tricky part of this recipe is getting the texture of the batter right. Too thick, and it's hard to pipe, but too thin and the cookies spread out and get too crunchy. You want to be able to run a finger through the batter and the indentation stays put. (See the photo below.)

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The original recipe also calls for raspberry jam, which is delicious. But I used lemon curd here because it felt more springy. Also, it seemed like an apt use of the leftover egg yolks. However, I confess that I've never actually made my own lemon curd before and my first try was...not great. The taste was delicious, but it was entirely too runny. So, I bought some at the grocery store and called it a day. No shame.

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Almond Cookies

2 large eggs, white and yolk separated
1 cup almond meal
¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp almond extract
½ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cardamom
¼ tsp salt
2 cups sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make 9 small piles of almonds roughly the size of a quarter. Set aside.

Add the egg whites to a food processor. Whiz on high speed until the whites look frothy and milky, about 1-2 minutes.

Add the rest of the ingredients and whiz to combine. The batter will likely form a ball. Keep processing until the ball smoothes back out. If the batter is too thick (stays in a ball after another minute of processing), separate another egg white and yolk and add ½ of the egg white to the batter and process again.

Add the batter to a large zip lock bag or a piping bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 day.

Once chilled, pipe about 2 Tbsp of batter in a circle over each pile of almonds. The batter will be thick, so feel free to use your fingers to help it out of the bag.  Don’t worry if the batter looks a little wonky because the cookies spread out while baking.

Top with more sliced almonds.

Bake for 5 minutes and rotate the pan. Bake for 5 minutes more. Be careful not to overbake these cookies. They’re done even when they look slightly raw in the middle. You want just a hint of color around the edges. Let cool for 5 minutes on the pan and move to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 18-20 cookies

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Gluten-free turkey and spinach meatloaf

Gluten-free Turkey and Spinach Meatloaf | Me & The Moose. This simple meatloaf is an easy way to get lean protein and veggies into your kiddos without sacrificing flavor or health. #meatloaf #dinner #turkey #spinach #whole30

What a week. I've definitely sought comfort in salt, sugar, and fat and am feeling worse for wear. This meatloaf is adapted from a Real Simple recipe and it lives up to its heritage; it's REALLY simple. But so much more than that, too: Warm, comforting, easy, and nourishing. We served it with a side of barley and squash faux risotto (recipe next week!) and it hit all the right notes on a cold night when we didn't want to feel any grosser.

I started tinkering during our first Whole 30 and this version is consistently delicious and a great finger-food vehicle for veggies and protein. I always hesitate for a minute before I pop it into the oven thinking, "Is this the time almond meal lets me down and I get a meatbrick instead of meatloaf?" But it always seems to work. The recipe has a lot of veggies and I think the steam they create during baking might make the texture less dense. I don't know. I'm not Alton Brown. For the topping, we still use a natural sugar ketchup that we switched to during Whole 30, but you can use whatever variety haunts your fridge.

Gluten-free Turkey and Spinach Meatloaf | Me & The Moose. This simple meatloaf is an easy way to get lean protein and veggies into your kiddos without sacrificing flavor or health. #meatloaf #dinner #turkey #spinach #whole30

Give everything a rough chop, toss it into a bowl, mix with a spatula or your hands, transfer to one or more loaf pans, cover with ketchup, and pop into the oven. Easy peasy. 

Gluten-free Turkey and Spinach Meatloaf | Me & The Moose. Top this healthy and filling meatloaf with tomato paste instead of ketchup to hold in moisture without adding sugar. #meatloaf #dinner #turkey #spinach #whole30

Turkey and spinach meatloaf

1 lb ground turkey
1.5-2 cups chopped greens (spinach, kale, chard, etc)
½ red onion             
½ cup almond meal
1 egg
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
¼ cup ketchup (on top)

Preheat the oven to 400 and prepare your loaf pan(s) by spraying or wiping lightly with olive oil. Chop the onions and roughly chop the spinach. Combine ingredients in a large bowl and work together with hands or spatula until just combined. Transfer to one large loaf pan or three mini loaf pans (if using anything larger than an 8x4 ish loaf pan, I would use 1.5x or double the recipe and freeze some because the mixture gets a little too thin for my liking). Cover with ketchup. You may need slightly more if using several small pans. Bake for 40-45 minutes (add another 5-10 if you increase the recipe, but check regularly) until a meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of 165. Cover with tin foil for a few minutes straight out of the oven to let the liquid reabsorb.

Yield: 1 medium meatloaf (about six servings)

Gluten-free Turkey and Spinach Meatloaf | Me & The Moose. This simple meatloaf is an easy way to get lean protein and veggies into your kiddos without sacrificing flavor or health. #meatloaf #dinner #turkey #spinach #whole30