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Nigella Lawson Image from 'Nigella Feasts'

Nigella Lawson Image from ‘Nigella Feasts’
(Image sourced from here)*

I don’t believe in low-fat cooking. (Nigella Lawson

So, for those of you who didn’t know, last week I was up at the Gwynganna Health Retreat on a gluten-free, dairy-free, red meat-free, sugar-free, caffeine-free, alcohol-free 7-day detox programme. Sound a little grim? It wasn’t. It was fantastic and I loved almost all of it**. Truly.

Don’t panic – I’m not planning on boring you with all the details. The thing is though – when you do a detox like that, you come back energised and determined to be healthy and stay in this semi zen-like state you worked so hard to achieve. For me, that’s just a little harder than it sounds.

Case in point – Wednesday was LM’s birthday. Tomorrow we have a few of our nearest and dearest coming over for a celebratory spot of afternoon tea. Being the wannabe domestic goddess that I am, I can’t let the occasion pass without creating a wee tasty something for my chocoholic birthday boy, can I?

So, I went a-googling. I wanted a gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate cake. Guess what I found? Trusty Nigella, the queen of over-indulgence, almost the last person I would have expected to help me, has the most positively commented upon version of the cake I sought. As it so happens, despite having three of Nigella’s cookbooks gracing my cookbook shelf, I do not own the one from whence the recipe came…

Nigella Lawson 'Feast'

Nigella Lawson ‘Feast’
(Image from here)

Now, I know Nigella has her detractors. My Mum is not a fan. But – damn-it, Janet! – her recipes work. I’ve never had a dud. She’s up there with Nigel (Nigel Slater) and Delia (Delia Smith) for me as never-fail recipe providers. I just never expected her to give me a gluten AND dairy free cake recipe.

I eat healthily. It`s just that I eat enough for five healthy people. (Nigella Lawson)

So as I write this, I’m boiling oranges in preparation for making Nigella Lawson’s Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake tomorrow. Here’s the recipe, if you’d like it:

Nigella Lawson’s Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake

2 navel oranges (approx 375g in total)
6 eggs
200g almond meal
250g caster sugar
50g cocoa
1/2 tsp bicarb
1 tsp fleur d’oranger (orange flower water), optional
1 tsp baking powder
Orange peel for decoration

1. Put the whole orange or oranges in a pan with some cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 2 hours or until soft.

2. Drain, and when cool, cut the oranges in half and remove any big pips.

3. Pulp everything – pith, peel and all – in a food processor.

4. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C Butter and line a 20cm springform tin.

5. Add the eggs, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, almonds, sugar and cocoa to the orange in the food processor. Run the motor until you have a cohesive cake mixture, but slightly knobbly with the flecks of puréed orange.

6. Pour and scrape into the cake tin and bake for an hour, by which time a cake tester should come out pretty well clean. Check after 45 minutes because you may have to cover with foil to prevent the cake burning before it is cooked through, or indeed it may need a little less than an hour; it all depends on your oven.

7. Leave the cake to get cool in the tin, on a cooling rack. When the cake is cold you can take it out of the tin. Decorate with strips of orange peel or coarsely grated zest if you so wish, but it is darkly beautiful in its plain, unadorned state.

Chocolate Orange Cake

Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake
(Image sourced from here)

I’ll let you know how it turns out! If anyone has a fab’ gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate cake recipe that they’d like to share – I’m ALL ears!

*Can anyone tell me how Nigella gets her coloured cardigans to nip in at the waist like that? It may just keep me awake wondering! Hollywood tape?

**There were leeches