Whole Orange Cake – rind and all!

I love this Orange Cake for the nutty flavor, damp and sticky texture, the beautiful orange flavor, and the unique method by which it’s made: blitzing whole oranges, rind and all, with almond meal, sugar, eggs and baking powder. No oil, no butter, no whisking!

This is a wonderful moist cake that’s bursting with orange flavor in a way that you can only achieve using whole oranges – rind and all! Boiling the oranges removes the bitterness from the pith (white part). You still get the worst whiff of bitterness in the finshed cake – but it’s actually pleasant and reminds you that you’re eating real oranges!
It’s a terrific and easy cake that’s perfect to take to any gatherings since it’s also gluten-free and everyone can eat it. The nutty almond flavor is wonderful, and keeps it ultra-moist.
Makes 1 x 23cm 9″ cake 4 cm / 1.6″ high, or 2 x 20cm/8″ cakes 3cm / 1.2″ high.

▢2 medium oranges, fresh whole with rind on – any type (600g/1.4 lb total weight, ~300g / 10 oz each orange, ~8cm/3″ diameter, Note 1)
▢6g baking powder
▢6 large eggs , at room temp (Note 2)
▢250g white sugar
▢250 g almond meal / ground almonds (Note 3)

Boil 10 minutes: Place oranges in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over medium high heat. Boil for 10 minutes and drain.
Repeat x 2: Put oranges back in the pot, cover with cold water and boil again for 10 minutes. Drain, then repeat once more (ie. boil oranges 3 x 10 minutes). Shortcut: Boil 40 minutes without draining, keeping an eye on water level. (Note 4)
Chop: Rinse oranges, then cool slightly so you can handle them. Slice into 1cm / 1/4″ slices then dice, removing any seeds. Cool completely.

Preheat oven: Preheat oven to 160°C/320°F (140°C fan). Grease and line a 23cm/9″ cake pan with baking/parchment paper. (Note 5)
Blitz oranges: Place chopped oranges in a food processor (Note 6). Blitz on high for 4 x 10 second bursts, scraping down the sides in between, until it’s pureed into a marmalade consistency with only a few visible bits of rind remaining. It does not need to be completely smooth.
Blitz in remaining ingredients: Add almond meal, eggs, baking powder and sugar. Blitz for 5 – 10 seconds on high until combined.
Bake 60 minutes: Pour into prepared cake pans. Bake 60 minutes until the surface is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool: Cool fully in cake pan. Unless using loose base pan, cover surface with baking paper to help you turn it out (cake is sticky so may stick to your hand and tear surface otherwise.)
Serve: Decorate as desired – I used slices of fresh oranges, rind strips and sprigs of flowers. A dusting of icing sugar / powdered sugar is also lovely. Cut, then serve! See Note 7 for suggestions.

Recipe Notes:

Be sure to use gluten-free baking powder if making this for GF purposes!
Sweetness – average sweetness, definitely not overly sweet. Sugar can be cut to as little as 1/2 cup but personally, I don’t think that’s sweet enough.

  1. Oranges – the cake is fine with smaller or larger oranges, but aim for around 600g/1.2lb in total. If they are much larger, then the cake will just be more moist. Obviously if yours are tiny, then use more than 2 so they total 600g/1.2lb!

Does it work with lemons? Unfortunately not! Tried, and it was too bitter because the ratio of pith to flesh is higher. But it had a gorgeous lemon flavour. Working on it! Will update when I figure it out.

  1. Large eggs – industry standard, labeled as such on egg cartons. 55 – 60g / 2oz each.
  2. Almond meal / ground almonds (same thing) – this is finely blitzed raw, whole almonds in powder form, used in place of flour to add a beautifully nutty flavor to cakes, makes them ultra moist and also gluten-free. Find it in the dried fruit and nut section or health food section of grocery stores. Making your own: 250g/9oz whole, raw unsalted almonds, blitzed until powdered.
    Almond flour is slightly different but can be used. Cake texture will be slightly lighter (almond flour is made with blanched peeled almonds).
  3. Changing water makes the cake flavor a bit cleaner because you’re discarding the bitter flavor in the water. But it’s only marginal – I’ve often done a 40 minute straight boil.
  4. Cake pans – also great in 2 x 20cm/8″ pans, 50 minutes in oven. I like using 1 x 23cm / 9″ pan because it’s slightly taller.
  5. Food processor is best for ease of use. You can also use a blender (it’s just more annoying to scrape out all batter) or a NutriBullet (too small for full batter, so blitz oranges first, transfer to bowl, blitz everything else and then mix).
  6. I’ve also made this by hand when camping: I finely chopped boiled oranges by knife, then used a fork to mash as best I could (mortar and pestle would also work.) To cook, I used a large pot, with a cake Pan elevated over simmering water using a few rocks, lid on, about 1 hour. Worked 100% perfectly – and came out even more moist from the steam!
  7. Serving: Delicious plain because it’s so moist and flavorful, but a dollop of Greek or plain yogurt, or creme fraiche is also wonderful. Otherwise, slightly warmed with vanilla ice cream!
    Decorations – see in post for suggestions.
  8. Source – This recipe was given to me by a Sydney based professional pastry chef, a recipe she’s used at establishments she’s previously worked at.
  9. Storage – keeps 5 days in an airtight container in the pantry, though if it’s hot where you are, then it’s recommended to keep in the fridge. Stays 100% perfectly moist! It can also be frozen up to 3 months.
    Make ahead: Oranges can be boiled and chopped the day before, and refrigerated. Bring to room temp then use per recipe.
  10. Nutrition per serving assuming 12 servings.

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