Orange Chia Seed Cake
I never used to like dairy free cakes – you know the ones made with oil. Well, the truth is I’d never actually tasted one, because I imagined that they’d taste all oily and have a really odd in-mouth feel. But when I gave up dairy for an elimination diet I did, I needed to put aside my perceived prejudices and turn my hand to dairy free cakes. And I gotta say… they are really, really nice. Light and delightfully moist. A winner really and preferable at times to butter based cakes. At Birdseed we bake a number of cakes that are dairy free, and I reckon that we could possibly, well maybe, convert any cake to dairy free! Plus, because there’s no creaming of the butter and sugar, dairy free cakes are super easy to make. This particular cake is a take on the ol’ Orange and Poppy Seed Cake. The chia seeds give the cake a nice nutritional edge. That’s not to say that poppy seeds are without health benefits. Oh no, they’re great little opioids, but chia seeds do have super food status. So the choice was a heady high or something to tweet and to nourish. Ain’t too much of a question, really. So get out your food processor, or a bowl and spoon and let’s giddy up!
For the Orange (or Citrus) Chia Seed Cake, this is what you’ll need:
Dry ingredients: Plain flour, baking powder & a pinch salt (all sifted). Sugar. Chia seeds.
Of course, I use my Birdseed Cake flour which is a combination of freshly ground gluten free grains and starches. You may need to alter the amount of flour depending upon the liquid content of citrus fruit and the flour type.
You’ll need some sugar – coconut, rapadura, brown or white or a combination – it’s all good. If your citrus aren’t too sour, you can cut back on the sugar. The best way is to taste your cooked citrus to determine the level of sourness and your batter once it’s mixed. You can always add more sugar.
I like to use black chia seeds, as you can see them in the cake once baked. You’ll just as much health benefits from white chia seeds, but the cake won’t look as puritee!
Wet ingredients: Oil, eggs, citrus fruit, citrus zest or orange essence
I use olive oil, but you can go with your fav, ie., avocado, coconut, macadamia, etc. I guess from a health point of view, I’d avoid the oils that require a lot of processing to produce – canola, rice bran, etc. They’re not the best for many a’reason).
Some large eggs are needed (ones from little chickees running free in the fields are best 😉
You’ll also need some citrus. (I used 3 oranges and 1 sweet lemon. A combination of an orange and sweet kumquats is divine. Select citrus that are have thin skins and are nice and soft).
So let’s get started – grab your citrus and chop them into smallish pieces. Pop them into the microwave to soften or in a pot on the stove. Cook them until the skins are soft.
Pop them into a blender or your food processor and whizz them until they’re all chopped up into little bits. Set them aside in a bowl and add your chia seeds in for a soak. Chia seeds are amazing and will absorb up to 10 times their volume. Outstanding! They help to keep baked goods moist, as well as provide all those health benefits!
While the citrus and chia seeds are getting acquainted, put the oil, sugar and zest or essence into the food processor/bowl. Whizz until it’s well combined. Oh, whizz for around a minute or so.
Break your eggs is to a bowl and give ’em a quick whisk. I always break my eggs into a bowl before adding them to a mixture, and there are good reasons why. 1. You can do the sniff test to make sure your eggs are fresh. 2. If you get any shell when you crack the eggs, it’s easier to see them in a bowl and pull them out before you make the cake. There’s nothing yummy about crunching down on a bit of egg shell.
Pour your eggs into the mixture while your processor is whizzing. Add them in a steady stream – this will help the mixture and eggs emulsify. You want to create a strong emulsion between the eggs and the oil/sugar mix – it’ll result in a nicer cake. Using a food processor usually means that this isn’t a problem.
Add the sifted flour mix (Birdseed all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt) in and whizz the mixture until it combines. It’s worth dragging a spatula around the outside and bottom of the mixer at this stage to make sure all the components are mixing as they outta. Whizz again if you have too, but don’t over do it. Little mini-whizzes are the way to go.
Add the citrus pulp and chia seed mix in and mini-whizz again for a few more times. You want a thickish mixture. One that slides off the spatula without too much speed . You don’t want a really sloppy mix. If your mix feels a bit thin, add some more flour in until you get a thicker mixture. You want something that is similar to a waffle or pikelet mixture.
Pour the mix into a lined baking tray or into little mini-baking cups. Theses are great, especially if you want the kids to take the cake to school as a little recess tweet.
Cook until golden brown and the skewer comes out of the cake cleanly. Give the tops a little press, and if the cake bounces back up, then they’re done!
If you’d like to glaze the cakes with a dairy free icing then squeeze a couple of oranges (you can use the ones that you removed the zest from). Pour the juice into a saucepan and reduce until it forms and thick syrup. Add some icing sugar and mix well. Keep adding icing sugar to make a thick icing that you can either spread or pipe onto the cakes.
Once cakes are cool, cover with the orange syrup icing and munchie-munchie!
The cakes will keep well when stored in an air-tight container for a week or so.
So there you have it – Orange Chia Seed Cake. Perfect for this time of year with oranges in season. You could easily add other tweets into the mix such as walnuts, sultanas, raisins, some almond meal, pineapple, carrots. You’ll just need to adjust the flour level to ensure that you have a thick mixture if you start adding more liquidy ingredients in. But to be honest, this is the basic recipe for so many cakes which can be adjusted to suit your tastes and dietary needs. Easy to make! Easy to eat!
We’d love it if you could post your photos of your creations onto Birdseed Tweet’s FB page or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org Tweety baking!
Birdseed Orange Chia Seed Cake Recipe
(Dairy free & Gluten free)
- 4 citrus fruits – cooked to soft and pulped in food processor
(Citrus fruit combinations might include: 3 x oranges & 1 x lemon. OR 2 x lge mandarins & 2 x oranges. Or 3 x limes, 1 x orange, 1 x lemon. Or 4 x oranges. Select fruit that has a thin skin and is soft and ripe.)
- 250g olive oil (or macadamia, peanut, avocado, coconut oil)
- 300g sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 350g Birdseed All-purpose Flour – (or any other flour you prefer to use)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- pinch salt
- 5 tbsp chia seeds
- 3 tbsp citrus zest or 1 tsp orange essence
1. Heat your oven to 170oC (fan-forced) or 180oC. Grease and line tin(s) of your choosing. Lots of little cakes are great, as they can be frozen and pulled out to take to a friend’s place or popped into lunchboxes.
2. Chop up the citrus fruit and cook gently until soft. Put into the food processor and pulp
3. Put pulped fruit into a bowl and add chia seeds. Mix together and set aside. (By doing this, you are allowing the chia seeds will absorb the moisture they require)
4. Put oil, sugar and zest into the processor and whiz until well combined and smooth.
5. Break eggs into a bowl and beat a little to combine.
6. Add in three lots to the oil and sugar mix and whiz to smooth.
7. Add the flour in two lots. Whiz until combined – but don’t over mix (your cake might be a bit tough if you over mix)
8. Add pulped citrus and chia seed mix and again, mix until combined, but don’t over mix.
9. Pour into prepared tin(s)
10. Cook larger cakes for 35 – 50 mins and mini-cakes for 25 – 30 mins. Until skewer is clean or cake springs back.
11. Leave in tin for around 30 mins and then turn out.
12. Cakes can be successfully frozen or stored in an air-tight container/tin for 7 + days (depending upon ambient temperature. In hot weather, cakes will spoil quicker and would do better frozen or kept in the fridge)
Citrus Syrup Icing:
1. Add citrus juice to a pan and gently reduce until it is thick and syrupy.
2. Add some icing sugar to make a syrup icing and spread over cake(s)