Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Flourless Orange Cake with Honeyed Raspberry Coulis (gluten free & dairy free)

This is the most amazing orange cake recipe...... EVER! It is incredibly moist, flourless, fatless, gluten free, dairy free and it tastes FANTASTIC!

Ok..... It's not a new recipe....... it has been around for (probably) centuries. The secret ingredient? Whole oranges that have been boiled for 2 hours, cooled and then pureed, skins and all.....

There are a number of versions on the internet which are roughly equivalent to each other and with only slight variations in ratios of ingredients. Some suggest the cake is traditionally Spanish or North African in origin, and pretty much all add that its roots are firmly Jewish and that it was traditionally baked during the Spring festival of Passover. The version here is very slightly adapted from Claudia Roden's recipe for Orange & Almond Cake from A New Book of Middle Eastern Food. I use one less egg and fractionally more baking powder, but the result is a perfectly balanced, perfectly textured bake.

Now I am sure that many of you foodies out there will have already tried this cake (it is a very old recipe after all), but for those of you who haven't, I beg you to make it. This is THE cake which renders flour totally irrelevant and pointless and makes you wonder why you throw away orange skins........ It is also a Coeliac's heaven on a plate!

Apart from a bit of sugar, it is also amazingly healthy. The high almond content may not be cheap, but it makes for an unexpectedly nutritious bake which may even have some added health benefits including lowering your cholesterol levels! As cake goes, this one may be pretty good for you!

I jest not! A few years back my cholesterol levels were at the upper end of average. Going gluten free resulted in a massive increase in my almond intake (as I use so many ground almonds in baking). My combined cholesterol level dropped to an impressive 3.1, which I was told was one of the healthiest measured in a long time by my local nurse-practitioner. Apart from no longer eating wheat and other gluten products, the only other significant dietary difference was the amount of almond I was consuming (and yes I was consuming cakes full of butter by the dozen!). The likely correlation convinced me...... time to have my cake and eat it!

Although you can use any variety of oranges for this cake and even vary with an equivalent 'weight' of clementines or tangerines, I used Naval oranges. They were super sweet and beautifully juicy, giving it a deep, sun-sweet oranginess that was full of summer warmth.  Rich and moist with the ground almonds, the cake has a pleasantly-dense nutty texture and flavour which gives it more substance. Yet it is not over-sweet. The slight bitterness which comes from the pulped orange skin offsets the sweetness of sugar, which in itself is well-balanced so that it compliments the natural fruit sugar and allows it still to shine through.

This cake needs no lavish frostings. Such additions would only smother the vibrance of colour and taste that come from the pure simplicity of the citrus within its core.

On the other hand, straight out of the oven, it is not the prettiest of cakes...... Sure you can dust with a layer of icing sugar and it looks okay...... But I wanted something more eye-catching............ decorated, but in keeping with its unadulterated naturalness....... A simple Honeyed Raspberry Coulis which would enhance its visual attraction and join in harmony with the flavours of the sponge......

The result? A blissfully wonderful cake which will not only turn heads, but will remain in the memory for a very long time!

I am sharing this delight with the following :

Cook Blog Share with Lucy at Supergolden Bakes

Recipe of the Week with Emily at A Mummy Too

Bake of the Week with Casa Costello

Love Cake with Ness at Jibber Jabber. This month's theme is 'Colour Me Pretty'. One of the things I so love about this cake is the amazing richness of natural colour that comes from the oranges and raspberries.

Free From Fridays with Emma at the Free From Farmhouse.

Flourless Orange Cake with Honeyed Raspberry Coulis (slightly adapted from Claudia Roden recipe)


Cake :
2 oranges (I used naval)
5 large eggs
250g golden caster sugar
250g ground almonds 
1¼ teaspoons GF baking powder
A little extra sugar for sprinkling 

Honeyed Raspberry Coulis :
120g fresh raspberries
50g runny honey
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Extra raspberries for decoration (optional)


  1. Cake : Bring a large pan of water to the boil.
  2. Wash the oranges and place whole into the boiling water. Boil for 2 hours until soft and then drain. Set aside to cool.
  3. Once the oranges have cooled to room temperature, remove the 'stalky' bit from the end and cut into quarters. Remove any obvious pips and then liquidise the orange (including the skin) in a food processor so that you have a smooth, even puree.
  4. Preheat the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas 3. Lightly oil and flour the inside of a 23 cm/9 inch springform round baking tin and then base-line with baking paper.
  5. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the caster sugar until well combined.
  6. Add and stir in the orange puree, ground almonds and baking powder.
  7. Pour the batter into the cake tin and smooth the top. Lightly sprinkle a little extra caster sugar across the top.
  8. Bake for 1 to 1¼ hours until the cake is set, the top is golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
  9. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool completely in the tin, before transferring directly from the tin to a serving plate.
  10. Raspberry Coulis : Place the raspberries and honey into a small saucepan and heat, crushing the raspberries against the wall of the pan. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook, stirring for a few minutes until the raspberries are nicely pulped.
  11. Remove from the heat and pass the coulis through a sieve to remove the pips and fibre so that you have a smooth sauce. 
  12. Add a tablespoon of maple syrup and stir through.
  13. Drizzle over the cake and serve. 
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  1. This is one of my favourites cakes. I make it every few months, its so moist and fresh. I've also made it chocolate orange by adding 50g cocoa in place of some of ground almonds. I most recently made it with ground cardamom too which was delicious with the orange. I need to bake and blog about that one again as it was eaten too fast.

    1. It's fab isn't it? I would have been very surprised if it wasn't a regular in your oven! I love the sound of an orange-cardamom version...... Delicious!

  2. You are seriously driving me crazy with your delicious recipes and gorgeous photos!!! I want to eat it!!!!! I do love a whole orange are right, nothing beats it!

    1. Sorry Vicki! It must be so hard for you right now.... Stick with your diet.... I'm sure you will feel so much better for it!
      And thank you for your kind comments. It always helps to know that what I am doing is well received!

  3. You are seriously driving me crazy with your delicious recipes and gorgeous photos!!! I want to eat it!!!!! I do love a whole orange are right, nothing beats it!

  4. Wow this looks amazing! I love the flavours and the photos are gorgeous.

    1. Thank you Kat. It is amazing how vibrant natural-coloured bakes can be. And there are certain colours which always do the photos justice!

  5. this is absolutely one of my favourite cakes ever. I make it with mandarins and also sometimes a whole citrus medley... it's a very christmas cake as I think the whole house smells so festive when those oranges are boiling... yours looks stunning!

    1. Thanks Dom. It's interesting to hear you have tried it with other citrus....I wondered whether it would work with limes added.... There is something amazing about the combination of orange and lime..... Maybe I will have to give it a try!

  6. Oh wow this cake looks amazing! I so want this right now.

  7. Oh I definitely believe you, this looks sooo good! I love your photography too!

    1. Thank you Alida. Some food is definitely more photogenic!

  8. Utterly beautiful - I bet this was so tasty. Fascinated by what you say about cholesterol and almonds/healthy eating. I think I'm going to have to work a little harder on reducing mine. Thanks so much for joining in with #Bakeoftheweek new roundup open now x

    1. Thank you Helen. I have to say I was pretty surprised about the cholesterol reducing properties of almonds..... but hey.... if it works!!!

  9. That looks amazing – I do love this flourless cake, one of the very first recipes on my blog that I must update. Yours is so beautiful, I love the addition of raspberries on top (and there's my favourite Sainsbury's platter too) - thanks for linking to #CookBlogShare

    1. Thank you Lucy. I think the raspberries are such a beautiful contrast to the orange!
      The platter is fab isn't it? The perfect size and flatness..... with a lovely simple pattern too!

  10. I've tried this cake many times at Cake Club but I've never made it myself. I love the fact that all the ingredients are very simple without any special or hard to find ingredients involved. I always have ground almonds in the cupboards. I find the budget supermarkets are much cheaper for them than the 'big four'!

    1. It really is amazingly simple isn't it? I buy my almonds in bulk (2 kg at a time), which helps to bring the cost down! I haven't checked out the budget supermarkets...... I will have to look to see how they compare!

  11. Ooh and another stunner cake. I love these sorts of almond cakes and those raspberries have turned it into something quite spectacular - or perhaps it was you that did that ;-)


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