Orange Almond Cake With Basil Cream

This classic flourless orange almond cake with toasted almonds and basil cream is one of my favourite desserts. Made with whole oranges (including the rind!) and almond meal, this cake is gluten-free and grain-free and can be made with sugar or sugar-free sweetener (which is how I usually make it).


Whole Orange almond cake - gluten-free, paleo, low-carb
Please note that this is an updated recipe (originally published in 2013)! I’ve redone the images and updated a few bits and pieces since then. New recipe pics by Lindsay Fordham.

Whole Orange Almond Cake

This orange cake is made with two whole oranges, which are first cooked for an hour to soften the rind. They are pureed and mixed into a batter with the almond meal as the main flour component. When baked, this cake is moist and has a lovely texture with a big citrus flavour. I love it!

You can keep it simple after baking or decorate it with toasted almonds and some icing sugar. The flaked nuts add contrasting texture which I really like here. I also love topping it with a dollop of regular or basil-infused cream, yoghurt or ice cream if I am feeling decadent.

This particular recipe for the almond orange cake is gluten-free, grain-free, paleo-friendly and low-carb. I use sugar-free sweetener but you can also use regular sugar if you want.

Orange Almond Cake Recipe (with whole oranges)

How To Make Orange Almond Cake

You will find the recipe card with all ingredients, instructions and a nutritional breakdown below. Here are step-by-step photos to guide you along.

Ideally, make this cake in a 22-23cm (8-9 inch cake pan but could also be made as a loaf or square cake)

Preparing Oranges

  • Step 1. Wash the oranges but don’t peel them. Place whole oranges in a pot and cover them with cold water (they should be completely covered). Bring to a boil and cook for 1 hour. 
  • Step 2. Strain and rinse the cooked oranges, then cool slightly so you can handle them. 
  • About now, preheat the oven to 160 C / 320 F (140 C fan). Grease and line a cake pan with baking paper. 
  • Step 3. Puree the oranges. Cut into 1-2 cm cubes and remove any seeds. Leave the rind on. Place the orange pieces into a food processor or use a stick blender or a blender. Blitz on high 3-4 times, scraping down the sides in between until it’s pureed. It should be pretty smooth but it’s okay if you can see a few little bits of the rind. Set aside.

Making The Cake

Step 4. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sweetener until pale and frothy (about 2 minutes on high). Add the orange puree and stir through. Add the almond meal and baking powder and stir through.

Step 5. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 60 minutes at 160 C / 320 F (140 C fan) or until a skewer comes out clean.

Finishing Cake

Step 6. In the meantime, add the almond flakes to a small frying pan and cook over medium heat until toasted to a golden brown. Start by stirring every 30 seconds to a minute and then stir more frequently as they start to change colour. Set aside to cool. 

Step 7. Remove the cake from the oven and cool it in the tin completely before removing it. To finish the cake, spread the honey or marmalade on top of the cake into a very thin layer and sprinkle with toasted almonds (they should stick to the top better with the sticky honey). You can sprinkle it with a little icing sugar but optional.

Basil Cream

  • Step 8. While the cake is cooling, make the basil cream. Whip the cream until thick and fluffy, then add the chopped basil leaves and whip them together for 10 seconds or so. Add vanilla and yoghurt and stir in or whisk in. Set aside (keep in the fridge if needed).
  • Serve the basil cream on the side or you can put a dollop on top of the cake.

Handy Tips

Make-ahead puree – You can make the orange puree ahead of time and store it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Sometimes, I might make a double batch of the puree and store half in the freezer for up to 2 months (allow to defrost before using). This saves me time next time I want to make this cake.

Serving suggestions – orange and almond cake is best served at room temperature or warmed up slightly. It’s great as is or you can add a scoop of ice cream, a dollop of cream or greek yoghurt, custard or my recommended basil cream. It’s also nice with fresh berries or drizzled with chocolate for a special twist.

Storage Tips

This orange almond cake is best stored at room temperature (up to 4 days) as it doesn’t dry out as quickly. Cover it loosely with some foil To extend the life of your cake, store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

To freeze, cut the cake into slices and wrap them well. It will retain its flavour for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge or on the counter.

Almond and orange cake

More Healthy Cake Recipes


Full Recipe

Find the full list of ingredients, instructions and extra cooking notes below. If you have questions or cook this recipe, please let me know in the comments and make sure to rate this recipe so it’s easy for others to find.

Whole Orange almond cake - gluten-free, paleo, low-carb

Whole Orange Almond Cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Author: Irena Macri
Servings: 10
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Print Pin Save
5 from 5 votes
Calories: 362kcal
Fall in love with the classic flourless orange almond cake with toasted almonds and basil cream – one of my favourite desserts. Made with whole oranges (including the rind!) and almond meal, this cake is gluten-free and grain-free and can be made with sugar or sugar-free sweetener (which is how I often make it).

Ingredients 

  • 2 large navel oranges
  • 6 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar-free sweetener or 200 g of caster sugar
  • 2.75 cups almond meal about 300 g ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder heaped

To finish the cake:

  • 2 tablespoons honey or orange marmalade
  • 50 g almonds flaked (2 oz.)
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar for sprinkling
  • Optional: extra orange for garnish

For basil cream:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 basil leaves finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup Greek yoghurt or plain yoghurt
  • Extra basil leaves for styling

Instructions

  • Ideally, make this cake in a 22-23cm (8-9 inch cake pan but could also be made as a loaf or square cake) 
  • Prepare the oranges.
    Wash the oranges but don’t peel them. Place whole oranges in a pot and cover them with cold water (they should be completely covered). Bring to a boil and cook for 1 hour. 
  • Strain and rinse the cooked oranges, then cool slightly so you can handle them. 
  • Preheat oven.
    About now, preheat the oven to 160 C / 320 F (140 C fan). Grease and line a cake pan with baking paper. 
  • Purée the oranges.
    Cut into 1-2 cm cubes and remove any seeds. Leave the rind on. Place the orange pieces into a food processor or use a stick blender or a blender. Blitz on high 3-4 times, scraping down the sides in between until it’s pureed. It should be pretty smooth, but it’s okay if you can see a few little bits of the rind. Set aside.
  • Make the batter.
    In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sweetener until pale and frothy (about 2 minutes on high). Add the orange purée and stir through. Add the almond meal and baking powder and stir through. 
  • Bake cake.
    Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. 
  • Toast almonds.
    In the meantime, add the almond flakes to a small frying pan and cook over medium heat until toasted to a golden brown. Start by stirring every 30 seconds to a minute and then stir more frequently as they start to change colour. Set aside to cool. 
  • Decorate cake.
    Remove the cake from the oven and cool it in the tin completely before removing it. To finish the cake, spread the honey or marmalade on top of the cake into a very thin layer and sprinkle with toasted almonds (they should stick to the top better with the sticky honey). You can sprinkle it with a little icing sugar but optional. 
  • Make basil cream.
    While the cake is cooling, make the basil cream. Whip the cream until thick and fluffy, then add the chopped basil leaves and whip them together for 10 seconds or so. Add vanilla and yoghurt and stir in or whisk in. Set aside (keep in the fridge if needed).
  • Serve the basil cream on the side or you can put a dollop on top of the cake. 

Notes

The nutrition label below is for cake with basil cream and sugar-free sweetener. Here are the macros for 1 slice of cake (based on 8 slices) with no cream: 339 calories, 12.8 g fat, 18.3 g total carbs, 2.8 g fibre, 11.5 g protein.

Nutrition

Calories: 362kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 139mg | Sodium: 52mg | Potassium: 151mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 597IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 130mg | Iron: 2mg
Keywords: Almond Cake, Almond Flour, Flourless Cake, Gluten-Free Cake, gluten-free recipes, Grain-free Cake, Orange Cake, Oranges, paleo cake, paleo cakes, Whole Orange Cake
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookedandloved or tag #cookedandloved
Orange Cake With Almond Meal
Irena Macri
By Irena Macri

About the author: Hi, I’m Irena Macri. I share delicious recipes that I have cooked and loved. I am a published cookbook author, have been food blogging for over 10 years and have a Diploma in Nutrition. You will find many healthy recipes as well as my favourite comfort food. More about me here | Subscribe to my newsletter and freebies

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Comments

14 Comments
  1. What a beautiful colorful festive cake this is. My naturopathic doctor had me come off eggs recently for health issues. Any substitute for them that you are aware of that would work Irey?

    1. Oh no, not the eggs! Nature’s superfood. Well, I have never tried this without eggs and there are 3 of them so it’s one of the key ingredients. What you could try is use more banana to bring in thickness and fluffiness and maybe some coconut cream. Other people soak chia seeds, which they use instead of eggs. They turn into thick, jello like mixture and I assume act as emulsifiers/binder. You’d have to test it.

  2. I loved the actual cake- it was fluffy and spongy (like a regular cake made with butter, sugar, dairy and artificial horrible stuff) i found the icing very bitter, i added the honey but perhaps the oranges are out of season in South Australia, i may have to try when they come back in and have a much sweeter flavour. Thank you for a wonderful recipe, i find so much joy and happiness when looking at your website, i love the look of everything xo

  3. I love this recipe!
    I made it first for a Christmas cake, and did it 2 times again, I still love it, and that’s my preferred recipe!
    I will do it again tonight, to bring for a dinner

    Thank you!

    1. Yes, you can make it a day ahead. If you store the sauce in the fridge, you might have to reheat it as it might thicken when cold.

  4. 5 stars
    This was so tasty. My grandmother used to make a cake just like this and I have been looking for a recipe just like hers and this is just like it.

  5. 5 stars
    Such a nice and super flavorful cake. The family enjoyed it after dinner and I will enjoy it again in the morning with my coffee.

  6. 5 stars
    Enjoyed this for dessert last night and it did not disappoint! Turned out perfectly light, fluffy and delicious; my whole family loved it!

  7. Just realized I’m running low on almond flour! 😫😖. Do you think gluten free flour or a combo of the two would work?

    1. Hi Lauren, I have only made this particular cake this way but I imagine it would still work. Almond meal is quite moist so if you’re using half gluten-free flour, maybe add a little more fat like melted butter or coconut oil. Say another 2 tablespoons.

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