Whole Orange Cake (Gluten & Dairy Free)

This classic Passover dessert draws on the Sephardic traditions of the Mediterranean, Morocco and the Middle East. In this recipe whole oranges are boiled for two hours and then pureed skin and all making it quite an unusual but simple recipe. Not only is it incredibly moreish and moist, it is also gluten and dairy-free making it the perfect all-rounder and it will also make your whole kitchen smell of oranges. With a few tweaks can be made into many different varieties; for example this version was made with 50% ground pistachios and 50% ground Almonds (almond flour) but I generally make it with 100% almond flour as pistachios are pricey.  I actually prefer the colour when I make it just with 100% ground almonds or almond flour as it because a truly orange colour as opposed this mixture of green and orange. I also wouldn’t use macadamia flour as its got a higher fat content and could make the cake too dense and oily.

You can also add different spices and rich cocoa powder to make it a chocolaty orange cake which is just crazy good, spices like cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cardamom would work best. I LOVE the fact that it also has the WHOLE orange in it which adds such a delightful orange flavour and moistness making it the perfect tea time and pudding treat.

You could also make it with honey and even less sugar – but you do need some sweetness to counter the bitterness of the orange. Its really such a simple cake to make – but you do need a food processor or blender as the orange pulp needs to be smooth in my opinion – although I do see some versions claim that the chunky bits of orange are nice!

Ingredients – Serves 10-12

2 oranges, washed

150 g unrefined sugar – I love Natura Demerera sugar

6 eggs (55g each – otherwise reduce the amount of eggs)

250 g almond meal/flour (OR 50% Pistachio flour and 50% Almond flour as in the pic directly above)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground Cardamom (completely optional)

Handful flaked almonds to sprinkle on top – or dried slices of orange (optional)

Icing glaze:

100g icing sugar

1/2 tsp rosewater

1/2 tsp lemon juice

In the pic above I used pistachio flour and almond flour


Bring a large pot of water to the boil.

Add the oranges whole and boil covered for about 1 1/2 hours. Drain, allow to cool to room temperature, then puree in a food processor. You could do this the day before if you like and keep the puree in the fridge.

When you are ready to make the cake preheat the oven to 160°C (140 fan oven) Grease and line a 22 cm spring form cake tin with baking paper.

Beat the eggs and sugar until well combined with an electric whisk until it’s light and pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes.

Stir in the orange puree followed by the almond meal or nut flour combo, spices and baking powder.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and if you like dust the top with flaked almonds or orange slices

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 mins, until the top is golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean, however check halfway and if it starts to go too brown on top too soon cover with foil. If you are using a bundt cake it might be ready in as little as 45 minutes.

Allow to cool in the tin and serve on its own or with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream with a dash of orange blossom water or even with a rosewater glaze.

Rosewater glaze: Combine icing sugar with the rosewater & lemon juice. Slowly stir in enough water to make it a drizzle consistency – proceed with caution as the sugar continues to dissolve and you don’t want it too runny. You can always add more icing sugar if its too runny.

When you think about how simplistic this cake is – and yet how much flavour and nutrition is packed in – you will be sure to make it on a regular basis!