Filled with citrus goodness from two whole oranges (peel and all!), this moist and tender Flourless Orange Cake is made to satisfy health-conscious and flavour-discerning palates. It is gluten-free and dairy-free, making it the perfect allergy-friendly dessert that everyone will love. It is so simple that almost everyone can do it, even the most novice bakers!
Easy and Healthy Flourless Orange Cake Recipe
I can say this enough- this orange cake is ridiculously easy! After boiling the oranges, all you need to do is chuck them in a food processor with the remaining ingredients, blitz until combined, and bake. Boiling the oranges in sugar and water also leaves you with a delicious orange syrup that is perfect for serving the cake with.
Derived from the original orange cake recipe, this flourless orange cake version is made for celiac or lactose-intolerant people to enjoy. I used almond meal instead of wheat flour which gives the cake a tasty and tender crumb. Plus, using whole oranges, sans the seeds, results in a cake with an intense citrus flavor. So next time you need a quick and yummy dessert fit for everyone, you know what to make. And if you have some more oranges to spare., try my Orange Poppy Seed Muffins and Hazelnut Cake with Candied Oranges too!
What do I need?
- Oranges: thinly sliced, seeds removed, and peels intact. You can use any type of orange you like for this recipe. Orange varieties suitable for eating (instead of juicing) are best, like Navel and Seville.
- What if I have small oranges? Can I still make this? You absolutely can. Just use more to make sure that you get to the perfect citrus balance.
- Water: to boil the oranges with.
- Caster sugar / superfine sugar: You will use this to make both the orange syrup and the batter. Caster sugar dissolves easily, which makes it ideal for most baking recipes.
- Can I use granulated sugar? Yes, you can. Use the measurement stated in the recipe. The only difference is you will have to wait longer for the sugar to dissolve due to its coarser texture.
- Eggs: will give the cake structure and hold the ingredients together.
- Can I use an egg alternative? I only recommend using a store bought egg powder substitute. Applesauce or flax eggs will not provide the structure that this cake needs.
- Vanilla essence OR vanilla extract: what can be more delicious than fresh oranges mixed with fragrant vanilla? Together, they will bring forth a flavor combination that is delicate yet absolutely addicting.
- Almond meal: The secret to making a flourless cake is by finding a tasty and healthy flour substitute, and this ingredient exactly fits the bill. It is low in carbs yet high in healthy fiber, letting you indulge in this succulent recipe with a bit less guilt on your shoulders.
- Can I use almond flour instead? Yes, replace the meal with 2 cups of almond flour if needed. Using almond meal is ideal since it provides more texture, but almond flour should suffice if you're in a pinch since they're basically the same.
- Baking powder: will help make the batter rise as it cooks. Most brands of baking powder are gluten-free. Make sure to double-check the brand you're using if you need to make the cake entirely gluten-free.
How to Make Flourless Orange Cake
- Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F).
- Grease a 20 cm (8 inches) round cake tin, then line with baking paper.
- Slice the oranges thinly and remove the seeds.
- In a saucepan, mix water and sugar on medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add oranges and let it simmer. Cook uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until oranges are soft and translucent. Remove the slices from the pan and set them aside. Keep the syrup.
- Process oranges slices in a food processor until smooth. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and process until even.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. Bake until golden, approximately 45-55 minutes. Let the cake rest in the cake tin for 10 minutes before placing the cake on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Transfer cake to a serving plate, then prick 10-15 holes on the top with a skewer or toothpick. Pour over the syrup until covered evenly.
This simple Flourless Orange Cake is delicious as it is and is perfect for everyday snacking or to satisfy your midnight sweet cravings. However, don't limit your creativity with this recipe. Turn it into a celebration cake for birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasions by adding whipped cream, icing, or ice cream on top. You can also embellish it with sliced fresh fruits, nuts, and sprinkles to make it more fancy and festive. If you want a more intricately designed cake, you can also make it in a bundt pan.
Tips When Making Flourless Orange Cake
- Wash the oranges really well before placing them on the saucepan for boiling. Some oranges are covered with wax that can be removed by running them in warm water then scrubbing them with a dry, coarse cloth.
- Make sure to remove the seeds of the oranges as they are bitter and might affect the flavor of the cake.
- Slicing the oranges thinly allows for more juice to be released and makes them easier to process later on.
- Insert a toothpick or skewer in the center to check if the cake is baked through. It should come out clean and batter-free.
- Letting the cake cool in the tin first is very important. This will allow it to set properly, so it does not fall apart on the cooling rack later on.
- If you want the cake less sweet, you can forgo the orange syrup. It would still be delicious!
- Why is my cake bitter? It can be due to the pith, those string-like parts attached to the orange flesh. Remove them if you can, or select ones that have thin pith.
- Are flourless cakes different to those with flour? Flourless cakes will always be denser than regular flour-based cakes, but also very moist. Also, note that flour substitutes might be more expensive or harder to find, depending on your location.
- Why did my flourless cake deflate? It can be because it was beaten too fast in the food processor, which created many air bubbles. To prevent this, pulse moderately until combined. Also check that your baking powder is within its expiration date.
How to store
Orange cake stores well in an airtight container for three days if refrigerated. You may also freeze it for up to six months. Cool it completely, then wrap with cling wrap and foil before freezing. Don't put the syrup on the cake in both storage options. To thaw, defrost at room temperature for 6 hours or overnight.
Flourless Orange Cake
This easy flourless orange cake is soft, moist and absolutely bursting with orange flavour. Almond meal gives the cake a tender crumb and makes this the perfect gluten-free and dairy-free dessert. A sweet orange syrup is the finishing touch to this wonderful cake.
- 2 oranges, thinly sliced and seeds removed (keep the peel on)
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups caster sugar, divided
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 2 cups almond meal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 160°C / 320°F (fan-forced/convection) or 180°C / 355°F (standard). Grease and line a 20 cm (8 inch) round cake tin with baking paper.
- Combine water and 1 cup of caster sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Add the sliced oranges and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes or until oranges are soft and translucent. Using a slotted spoon, remove orange slices from the saucepan set aside. Reserve the syrup.
- Place the orange slices into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Add remaining 1 cup of caster sugar, eggs, vanilla essence, almond meal and baking powder. Process until well combined.
- Pour batter into prepared tin. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To serve: transfer cake to a serving plate. Using a skewer or toothpick, prick 10-15 holes all over the surface of the cake. Spoon over enough of the reserved syrup to evenly cover the cake. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.
- You can keep the cake refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. It is best to add syrup just before serving.
- To freeze the cooked cake, allow to cool completely (don't use syrup) then wrap tightly in clingwrap and then in foil. Keep for up to 6 months frozen. To thaw, allow to defrost at room temperature for 6 hours or overnight.
Substitutions & Tips
- Most brands of baking powder are gluten-free. Make sure to double check the brand you're using if you need to make the cake entirely gluten free.
- You can replace 2 cups of almond meal with 2 cups of almond flour.
- Orange varieties suitable for eating (instead of juicing) are best.
Nutrition Information:Serving Size: 1/10th of Cake with Syrup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 327Total Fat: 13.2gSaturated Fat: 1.4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 85.8mgCarbohydrates: 47.2gFiber: 3gSugar: 42.5gProtein: 7.4g
Sheri Witthoft says
This cake was amazing. The recipe is easy to follow and our whole family loved it. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you so much Sheri, I'm so glad to hear it 🙂 It's my pleasure. Enjoy!
Tailyn Quezada says
If I have clementines rather than oranges could I make the substitution? If so, how many clementines should I use?
Hi Tailyn, unfortunately I haven't tried using clementines instead of oranges before. If you were to try, I would suggest using four clementines! Let me know how it goes if you do end up making the recipe 🙂
Is this made with the skin on the oranges?
Hi Ange, yes that's correct. The oranges are cooked with the skin on!
This turned out great, so yummy! Thank you for the recipe!
It's my pleasure, Monique! So so glad you enjoyed 🙂
Do you think I could use honey instead of sugar?
Hi Jenna, unfortunately sugar is essential to the structure of this cake and I don't believe honey would work. If you did want to use honey, I would only replace 1/3 of the sugar with honey.
Sue Ramli says
Hi, can I know the quantity of apple sauce to replace 4 eggs. Thank you.
Hi Sue, unfortunately the eggs cannot be substituted with applesauce. This was an error in the original post which I have now updated! I only recommend using store bought powdered egg replacement otherwise the cake will not have the correct structure. Hope you enjoy 🙂
Narelle Betts says
hi Chloe can you confirm if oven temperature is 160fan forced oven or 140 fan please.
Hi Narelle, thank you for bringing this to my attention! It is supposed to be 160c (fan-forced) or 180c (standard). I'll update the recipe now 🙂 hope you enjoy!
Adrienne Judes says
Hi Chloe, is it possible to replace the sugar with sweetener? For health reasons I'm not allowed sugar or ordinary flour.
Many thanks, Adrienne.
Hi Adrienne, you can definitely substitute the sugar 1:1 with a baking sweetener. Make sure it is a sweetener designed specifically for baking that is meant to be used in equal parts with sugar i.e. Splenda Original Granulated Sweetener. Hope you enjoy ?
This looks so yummy, but can I substitute the sugar with an artificial sweetener? We have dietry requirements in the family that may not allow that much sugar.
Hi, you can definitely substitute the sugar 1:1 with a baking sweetener. Make sure it is a sweetener designed specifically for baking that is meant to be used in equal parts with sugar i.e. Splenda Original Granulated Sweetener. Hope you enjoy ?
Bobbi Larson says
What is Vanilla essence and what is castor sugar?
Hi Bobbi, vanilla essence is similar to vanilla extract except thinner. Castor sugar is referred to as superfine sugar outside of Australia. I hope that helps.
I made this recipe it was super easy and wonderfully delicious, I t,ook it to work and it disappeared really fast, I will definitely make it again my coworkers are all asking about the recipe thanks again.
Margarita María Vásquez Correa says
Hola, creo que hay un error en relación a la harina de almendras cuando dice que se puede sustituir las 2 tazas de harina de almendras por 2 tazas de harina de almendras...
Cuál es la sustitución posible?
Gracias por responder
Hola, esta receta utiliza "almendras molidas" que se pueden reemplazar por una cantidad igual de "harina de almendras". Puede ser un error de traducción. Espero que esto ayude.
Wonderful recipe!! Do you think it’d be possible to use a little less sugar in the cake batter?
Hi Amanda, I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe 🙂 you should be able to reduce the sugar in the actual cake down from 1 cup to 3/4 cup without changing anything else. If you wish to reduce the sugar further, I would suggest substituting equal parts baking sweetener with sugar (e.g. baking stevia, baking natvia), otherwise it will affect the texture of the cake. Hope that helps!