Friday, 12 April 2013

Orange Cake 3 Ways ...........

Oranges….... sweet, sharp and succulent. They make deliciously grown up cakes which always seem perfect for a celebration.  You can make them extra ‘tart’ with a bit of zesty decoration, decadent with chocolate and cream, or boozy with a splash of Cointreau. Delicious as a large cake for sharing or individual small cupcakes, dressed to impress.

We have had a bunch of birthdays recently, so I have made a lot of cakes ……. but the orange variety has been one of my favourites. These ones are truly gluten free, and are moistened with some ground almonds. Apart from adding an extra bite, the almonds seem to improve the texture of the cake over a couple of days, - perfect if you are strapped for time and need to make your sponge in advance for a celebration.

Gluten Free Orange Sponge (makes 2 x 9 inch sponges; 2 x 8 inch sponges + 4-6 cupcakes; or a whole load of cupcakes)


300g Alchemist gluten free flour mix (A) from this post, or commercial plain GF flour blend
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
175g ground almonds
350ml milk
1 ½ tablespoons white wine vinegar
150g unsalted butter (room temperature)
430g caster sugar
3 large eggs (room temperature)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
Zest of one orange (finely grated)


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C / (350 F) / Gas 4. Base-line two 9” non-stick cake tins (2“ deep) (or prepare your cupcake cases).
  2. In a medium sized bowl, weigh, sift and mix the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, xanthan gum, salt and 50g of the ground almonds (reserve the remaining 125g for use later) and set aside.
  3. Combine and stir the milk and vinegar in a jug and leave to stand.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric whisk until light and fluffy.
  5. Beat in the eggs one at a time, ensuring they are well mixed. 
  6. Add and beat in the vanilla extract and orange extract.
  7. Using a large spoon or spatula, gently fold in the remaining ground almonds (125g) and orange zest ensuring they are fully mixed.
  8. Gently fold in the flour mix alternately with the milk-vinegar mix, about a third at a time, ensuring all ingredients are JUST combined. It is important not to over mix.
  9. Spoon the batter evenly into the 2 cake tins and bake for 30-40 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean and the top springs back to the touch. 
  10. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before sandwiching together with your chosen filling and decorating.

One - An Orange Cake for Tea

............filled with everyday butter icing and can be kept in the cake tin…… Add a delicious orange curd dimension to the filling for extra texture, tang and yumminess.

Orange Butter Icing (for filling and topping)

400g icing sugar (approx.)

120g unsalted butter (room temperature)

pinch of salt

½ teaspoon orange extract

Juice of 1 orange

+ orange curd to layer the cake  


  1. Beat the butter until smooth.   
  2. Gradually add and beat in the icing sugar, salt and orange extract until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the orange juice a little at a time to achieve desired flavour and consistency.
  4. If the icing appears too stiff, add a little extra juice to achieve the desired spreading consistency, or beat in a little extra icing sugar if too soft.
  5. Spread a layer of butter icing on the bottom sponge and a layer of orange curd (now available in Tesco stores or from local farm shops) on the inner side of the other sponge. Turn over the curd sponge to assemble the cake. It is important to use the butter icing underneath the curd layer as this is less ‘slippy’ and helps prevent the curd from soaking into the sponge.
  6. Use the remaining icing to decorate the top layer of the cake and add sprinkles, chocolate buttons or zested orange peel for decoration.

Two - An Orange-Chocolate Celebration Cake

........add a filling of decadent fresh orange cream and top with a rich chocolate ganache…… delicious!

Whipped Orange Cream (boozy or not)

300ml double cream (very cold)
3 tablespoons orange curd
1 tablespoon Cointreau (optional)


  1. Beat the double cream with an electric whisk in a medium sized bowl (which has preferably been cooled in the fridge before use).
  2. When the cream just begins to thicken, add the orange curd (and Cointreau if using) and continue to beat until soft peaks form but the cream is stiff enough to hold its shape.
  3. Spread onto the base layer of the cake and sandwich together with the top layer.
  4. Top with rich chocolate ganache (recipe below) and decorate with orange zest, sprinkles or any other way you choose.

Rich Chocolate Ganache (adapted from Artisanal Gluten-Free Cupcakes (Kelli & Peter Bronski (2011) - p164 : 'Spread Chocolate Ganache') 

120g good quality dark chocolate
95 ml double cream


  1. Break the chocolate into small pieces in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Heat the cream in a saucepan until it is just simmering.
  3. Remove the cream from the heat and pour over the chocolate.
  4. Let the mixture sit for a minute and then stir the chocolate and cream together until the chocolate is fully melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy.
  5. Leave the ganache to cool at room temperature, stirring vigorously from time to time to ensure it remains smooth.
  6. When the ganache has cooled and thickened enough to spread on the cake, spread smoothly and evenly over the top.
  7. Decorate as you wish.

Three - Little Orange Cupcakes

Mini bites of moist orange deliciousness to decorate as you choose. I topped mine with rich chocolate ganache as above and orange zest.

Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013 unless otherwise indicated.

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