I am sure that by now you must be thinking that I have a true sweet tooth (which I do!) and that I bake cakes all day long (which I really do not). Actually savory is more my forte in the kitchen. But somehow, lately, weddings and birthdays have been providing me with the perfect excuse to dust off old sweet recipes and try some new ones...
So here is Meskouta (or Maskouta), a traditional orange and almond cake that has orange as a key ingredient. It was my friend Lotty whom told me about this incredible Moroccan cake she made last summer (that passed the test of her baking queen Finnish, very critical mother-in-law). She encouraged me to try it since, she said, first of all it was a 'no brainer' and second, it would fit my health bill.
So I did. And indeed, it is fresh, simple and fool proof.

You need
•parchment paper
•a round 8 inch (20 cm) spring form pan
•hand mixer

•2 well cleaned oranges
•2,5 cups (250 g) almond meal
•6 eggs
•1 tsp baking powder
•1/2 cup (120 ml) of agave nectar
•1 ounce (28 g) slivered almonds

Baking the cake
•boil the (whole) oranges in water for two hours. Then allow them cool down completely. This might take quite a while. Preferably, let them sit in the empty pan overnight after boiling and disposing of the water.
•preheat the oven to 356F (180C)
•grease the pan and line bottom and sides with parchment paper (cut a round circle for the bottom and then a strip to cover the side. The grease will make the paper stick to the pan).
•whisk the eggs and once they are fluffy start pouring the agave into the mix, while you keep the blender running
•add the oranges and puree them with a minipimer till they have become one with the egg/orange mixture
•add the baking powder to the almond meal
•add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and blend well
•pour into the spring form
•sprinkle the slivered almonds on top
•bake for approximately 45 min (or until you insert a toothpick in the middle and it comes out clean)
•take it out of the oven and allow it to cool down for about 15 min. Then take it out of the spring form, put it on a wire rack and allow it to cool completely

Tips & remarks
•I bake in an electric oven where the heat spreads very evenly. I have baked in a gas oven before and notice that for some reason, there is some 'heat loss'. So I have had to increase the heat in a gas oven by 5C/41F
•if you find that the almonds on the top get too dark too quickly, lower the heat a little bit by 41F (5C).
•I have read that Meskouta may vary depending on the family traditions. Some people will add nuts to it or some vanilla to the mixture...