Gluten Free Orange and Almond Cake

Orange and almond cake was the first ever gluten free cake I made 14 years ago. During these years I tried different recipes of this cake and came to enjoy several of them. The review article about this cake with 5 different recipes and general remarks about this cake is published as a separate page.

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Out of all 5 varieties of orange and almond cake this is my favourite one. It has intense orange flavour and wonderful moist texture, that does not dry out even in 3 days at room temperatures. It is however, not dense and heavy as sometimes commercially baked orange and almond cakes could be. In years, I have tried plenty of commercial ones with my coffee. They could be too wet, excessively sweet and sometimes so dense, it was hard to swallow. When developing my own recipes for this cake I always kept in mind the issue of extra moisture effecting the final texture of the cake.

This recipe never let me down, even in times when I did not measure ingredients properly and never weighed orange puree or almond meal. The main difference in this recipe is added small quantity of fine rice flour. This serves as a precaution to avoid excessive moisture in the cake, coming from either too runny orange puree, or too much of this puree from big oranges used. Another reason for extra liquid in orange puree can be the type of used oranges, juicy and with very thin skin. They also make runny orange puree. Almond meal does not have great absorption power, and as a single dry ingredient, is not able to accommodate these variations in quantity and consistency of orange puree. The cake with too much moisture can get too dense, too wet and sink in the middle, when cooled down after nice rise in the oven. I bake this cake in different shapes and sizes. Recipe below is for one small 19cm round cake, 3 mini fluted cakes or 6 mini loaves.

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Ingredients: 

for 19cm round cake, 3  mini fluted cakes (10cm), 6 mini loaf cakes (7cm x 12cm)

double ingredient quantities for 25cm round cake

  • 200g cooked orange puree (1 medium orange)
  • 25g fine rice flour (2 table spoons)
  • 150g almond meal, sifted
  • 150g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • unsalted butter for baking pan
  • icing sugar for dusting
  • orange marmalade or glaze for decoration
  • candied orange peel for decoration

extra ingredients – optional (not used in the cake displayed)

  • sliced almonds for decoration, sprinkled on a cake before baking
  • 1/2 tea spoon almond essence
  • dark chocolate ganache icing
  • 1/2 spoon gluten free baking powder

Preparation:

  • wash medium to large size orange
  • place orange in cold water and cook on medium heat for 1 hour after water reaches boiling point; sometimes fresh and thin-skinned oranges need less time cooking and their skin can get split
  • cut orange in quarters, remove all pips
  • puree cooked orange pieces in food processor or blender
  • prepare dry ingredients – mix almond meal with rice flour, sift the mix
  • butter and dust springform baking pan or individual baking tins (I use butter and regular granulated sugar to dust the sides, and rice flour to dust the bottom of the pan. I use sugar for dusting the whole surface of a pan if baking mini cakes or loaves)
  • use orange puree at room temperature (it can be prepared the day before baking and stored refrigerated or even frozen for longer periods of time)
  • beat whole eggs with sugar using hand held or benchtop mixer until pale and at least double in volume
  • add orange puree and mix it in on low speed until combined
  • add dry ingredients to wet ingredients
  • mix of fold them into wet  ingredients by hand
  • pour the batter into baking pan
  • bake at preheated to 160-165 degrees fan forced oven for 35-40 min. (I begin baking my orange and almond cakes in cold oven set to 170 degrees for 50-55 min. This mode of baking provides even raising of the batter and makes level cake with nice flat top. I bake only muffins in the preheated oven)
  • cake is ready when golden brown and the middle of the cake feels firm to touch

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  • apply marmalade or glaze on the hot cake
  • dust icing sugar when the cake cools down

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Orange and almond cake can be served still warm or cold. It is nice just on its own, but is even better with vanilla  ice-cream, whipped vanilla cream or clotted cream.

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Many years ago, when I started to bake this cake, I used Golden Circle orange marmalade with perfect consistency for cake glazing. I suspect it is not manufactured anymore. Now I use my own orange marmalade and candied orange peel. I keep the liquid from making candied orange peel for glazing. At times I add used empty vanilla bean when I make orange peel to enhance the flavour of glazing syrup. Mini fluted cake shape is perfect for extra glazing to be used.

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Other recipes of orange and almond cakes with poppy seeds, polenta and cottage cheese , as well as in depth recommendations applicable to all orange and almond cakes, can be found here.

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6 thoughts on “Gluten Free Orange and Almond Cake

  1. Great tips in this post! I made a version on this cake recently but put a whole orange in the microwave for 3-4 minutes. It didn’t seem to affect the end cake and was much quicker. I’ll try it with rice flour next time! 🙂

    1. Thanks for an excellent idea! Microwave cooking can be used to the existing runny orange puree, or any other fruit or vegetable puree used to replace flours in gluten free baking to get thicker consistency. I cook apples in microwave instead of baking, for the thick apple puree as a base for marshmallows. They were my favourites sweets when I was growing up. There are 4 only ingredients: sugar, apple puree, agar-agar and egg white.
      Thanks again for the tip.

    1. Thank you Liza,
      I am glad that now I can actually answer your question. I have used flax egg to replace egg in buckwheat bread recipe and it worked very well, so in general, I think it can be used, but I have never tried it in orange and almond cake recipe. The batter as the result, as I suspect, would not be as airy and in order for the cake to rise it might be necessary to use baking powder or baking soda. And the colour of the cake will change with flax egg. Please let me know about the results in case you bake the cake.

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