Gluten Free Orange Cake

By Jeanne Fratello  

An orange olive oil cake made with whole oranges that's also gluten-free, dairy-free, and without refined sugar. It looks like an upside-down cake but it’s actually topped with oranges that have been lightly sauteed in olive oil. Then you just add a teeny drizzle of honey on top, and it’s complete!

Italians, especially Sicilians, are famous for their whole orange cakes. It stands to reason: If you have beautiful fresh oranges, why not make use of all of the parts? You get so much flavor from the rind, you don’t want to miss out.

Don’t be afraid to use olive oil in sweet dishes: it definitely gives baked goods a fuller, fruitier taste. We enjoy extra virgin olive oil most in citrus fruit-based cakes. And of course we used our very favorite artisan olive oil, crafted in Tuscany – Olio Piro.

"Olio Piro is like a “magic wand” that makes everything taste better. The flavor is so bold and fresh, with just the perfect peppery finish - even with hints of cinnamon. I like to use it in this cake because it works in tandem with the flavor and gives it a true “Wow!“ factor."



 For the cake

  • 1 pound oranges (approximately 2 large or 4-5 small), quartered and seeded if necessary.
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp orange liqueur such as Triple Sec
  • 2 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the topping

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 to 4 small oranges, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 tbsp honey


For the cake

Make sure that the seeds are removed from your oranges, then place them in the food processor and puree until evenly smooth.
Place the orange puree in a medium mixing bowl and whisk in the eggs, extra virgin olive oil, honey, and orange liqueur until fully combined. Set aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the orange puree mixture to the almond flour mixture and stir until just combined (do not overmix).

Pour the batter into a very well greased 9" round baking pan. (We used olive oil to grease it, but you can use shortening, or even butter, if you are not concerned about keeping it dairy-free.) Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes, or until the cake is light brown around the edges and firm in the center.

Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Then carefully invert the cake onto a cake plate.

For the topping

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Place the orange slices in the saucepan and cook gently, approximately 3-4 minutes on each side.

Carefully remove the oranges from the pan and place them in a circular pattern on top of the cake. Drizzle the cake with honey. Serve warm or at room temperature.





Jeanne Fratello is a writer, reporter, and food enthusiast who is on a mission to write great stories about food and where your food comes from.

She is the founder and editor of Jolly Tomato, a wonderful resource for healthy foods that are fun to cook and eat. Follow Jeanne at  @jollytomato 


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