At the end of every season it happens. Suddenly, it dawns on me that I have casually overlooked an ingredient, a special fleeting something that, in a few weeks time, will be no more - until next year. This quarterly epiphany causes an inexplicable sense of panic, and I end up purchasing mass quantities of some ingredient.
This past winter it was the kumquat that sent me into a buying frenzy. When it finally occurred to me that eight weeks had passed without a single bite of those sweet, tart, orange jewels, I purchased pounds. Pounds! And then spent weeks candying, slicing and dicing kumquats.
This gluten-free cake was one of my favorite recipes that resulted from weeks of experimenting with kumquats. It was inspired by a somewhat heavier orange and lemon cake in the wonderful Rose Bakery cookbook, Breakfast, Lunch, Tea. I tweaked and reworked until I found something that worked for me and my final pound of kumquats. Once you see that the recipe excludes flour, butter and oil, some of you may be skeptical. But I assure you - this cake is moist and incredibly delicious!
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Butter a 6x3” paper loaf pan and set aside.*
*Because this a gluten-free cake, the crumb is incredibly delicate and moist; the cake tends to stick to the pan and can fall apart easily (this is also why it needs to cool completely before cutting). Therefore, I opt for a small loaf pan made of paper; if you want to use a glass or metal pan, make sure to butter the pan, line it with parchment, and butter it again. (PS - Paper loaf pans are perfect for holding homemade gifts!)
Place kumquats in a medium saucepan with enough cold water to cover by 2-inches. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook kumquats for 35 minutes, or until tender. Drain kumquats and allow to cool to room temperature. Cut each kumquat in half and remove any seeds with the tip of a paring knife. Add seeded fruit (flesh and rind) to the bowl of a food processor; puree mixture until a rough paste forms.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs until combined. In a small bowl, whisk together the almond flour, sugar, baking powder, and a pinch of sea salt; add almond mixture to the eggs and stir with a spatula until combined.
Add the pureed kumquats to the batter and mix well. Pour batter until buttered pan and bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow cake to cool completely before cutting and serving.
Michelle McKenzie is the author of Dandelion & Quince: Exploring the Wide World of Unusual Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs. Her second cookbook, The Modern Larder, is due to arrive in fall 2018 and will introduce home-cooks to a raft of new, flavor-packed pantry staples - e.g. shiso, ndjua, Job's Tears, and dozens of others - and incorporate them into over 200 wholesome recipes.