Orange and Almond Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Such a flavorful cake, full of oranges and almonds. Serve each 8-inch cake individually as a gluten-free, dairy free cake with just a dusting of powdered sugar on top. Or, dress it up as a layer cake with frosting and sugared almonds. Either way is delicious.

I used one of my favorite frostings, Flour Buttercream. Please Note: this frosting recipe is not gluten-free or dairy-free. To keep the entire cake gluten free use Swiss Meringue Orange Buttercream instead. I recommend making the sugared almonds one or several days beforehand and putting in a covered container until ready to use.
Recipe type: Dessert | Flourless Cake | Gluten Free Cake | Dairy Free Cake
Serves: 8 to 10 Servings
  • Parchment paper and small amount of vegetable shortening for preparing pans.
  • 3 oranges, with unwaxed and unblemished skin as the whole fruit is used.
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • 1¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 4¼ cups finely ground almonds (use either blanched or unblanched almonds)
Sugar Garnish (optional):
  • About 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar (powered sugar) for unfrosted cake
Orange Flour Buttercream (optional and not gluten-free or dairy-free):
  • (Makes about 6 cups)
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest (about 1 orange)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or Triple Sec
Sugared Almonds Garnish (optional):
  • 1 large egg white
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  1. Oranges: Scrub the oranges well and leave them whole. Place the oranges in a large pot with enough water to cover them. Bring water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover pan and cook oranges 1 hour. Occasionally use a wooden spoon or other utensil to turn the oranges in the water to cook evenly. Drain the oranges and let sit until oranges have cooled to room temperature.
  2. Cut each orange into quarters; remove the stem end of the rind along with the core and seeds. Puree the orange quarters in a blender or food processor. Measure out 2 cups (16 ounces) of puree and discard any remaining puree.
  3. Pans: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8-inch round layer cake pans. Lightly grease the pans and line with parchment paper; Line the sides of the pans with a collar of parchment paper that extends 2 inches above the top of the pan, and then place a parchment round in the bottom. Lightly grease the top of the parchment paper. Tip: Wrap the outside of the pans with a cake strip to help ensure the cake rises evenly. Make a cake strip with a length of aluminum foil long enough to encircle the pan with a little overlap. Fold the strip lengthwise until it is about 2 inches wide. Wrap the strip around the outside of the pan and secure it with a metal paper clip or tape.
  4. Cake: In a large bowl of an electric mixer, add the eggs and beat on low speed about 1 minute or until blended, and then increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat 2 to 3 minutes or until the eggs become thick and lemon colored. Add the baking powder, and salt and beat until mixed. Gradually add the sugar and beat another 2 to 3 minutes or until thick and almost tripled in volume. When beating, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly.
  5. Reduce the speed to low and add the 2 cups of orange puree, and then add the ground almonds, mixing until thoroughly incorporated.
  6. Bake: Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with the back of a large spoon or small offset spatula. Bake 60 to 70 minutes or until a long toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place pans on a wire cooling rack to cool completely in the pans.
  7. When cooled remove cake from the pans and remove parchment paper.
  8. Sugar Garnish (optional): Serve each 8-inch cake individually as a gluten-free, dairy free cake with just a dusting of powdered sugar on top.
Orange Flour Buttercream (optional): Instead of dusting the cake tops with powdered sugar, layer the cakes with frosting and garnish with sugared almonds. I used one of my favorite frostings, Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. Please Note: this frosting recipe is not gluten-free. To keep gluten free use Swiss Meringue Orange Buttercream instead.
  1. In a medium heavy saucepan, add the flour, and using a wire whisk, slowly whisk in the milk, whisking until the sauce is smooth and free of lumps. Place the pan over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens, 5 to 10 minutes. Boil and whisk for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool to room temperature, or a tepid temperature. While cooling, whisk frequently to keep the sauce smooth. Tip: If the sauce is too warm when added to the creamed butter mixture it will melt the butter. If the sauce is too cold it will not blend smoothly.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the butter and sugar when the sauce is almost cooled to the right temperature, in a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, orange zest, and sugar until light and fluffy. Tip: To cream, start by placing the butter and orange zest in the bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed begin by beating the butter and orange zest about 1 minute until it is smooth and light in color.
  3. With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the sugar to the butter, either one tablespoon at a time, or in a very slow steady stream, taking about 3 minutes to add all of the sugar, and beating until the butter and sugar are fully incorporated and the mixture is a light, or pale yellow color, with a fluffy texture. While adding the sugar, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly.
  4. Gradually add the cooled sauce, adding 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time, beating about 20 seconds between each addition. Add the vanilla and orange liqueur and continue to beat for another 1 to 2 minutes to thoroughly blend and the frosting is somewhat fluffy.
  5. The frosting should be used immediately, or refrigerate until needed.
  6. Assembly: Using a long kitchen knife, split each cake into 2 horizontal layers.
  7. Place one of the layers on a cake plate. Using an offset spatula spread frosting on the layer. Repeat with the second and third layers. Place the last cake layer on top. Cover the sides and top of the cake with frosting. (You may have some frosting left over; refrigerate and save for another use.)
  8. Garnish with some of the sugared almonds around the side of the cake if desired and sprinkle the remaining almonds around the top edge of the cake.
  9. Cover cake and refrigerate until ready to serve. Refrigerate leftovers.
Sugared Almonds:
  1. Tip: I recommend making the sugared almonds one or several days beforehand and putting in a covered container until ready to use.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a large baking pan or jelly roll pan with a non-stick baking mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. In a medium size bowl, beat the egg whites with a wire whisk until foamy. Add the sugar and whisk to mix. Add the almonds and stir until the almonds are completely coated.
  4. Bake: Spread the almonds evenly in the prepared pan and bake, stirring occasionally, 20 to 30 minutes or until the almonds are golden brown. Remove from oven and stir or break them up with your hands. Let cool completely then place in a covered bowl until ready to use. Tip: the almonds will seem very wet at first because the ratio of egg whites to almonds is high. As they bake they will begin to dry out and then turn golden brown.
Adapted From: Cutler, Paris, Planet Cake, Metro Books, 2009
Recipe Notes
Pan: Two 8" Round Layers Pan Prep: Greased and Parchment Lined Oven Temp: 350° Storage: Covered, Room Temperature or refrigerate if frosting used

Help: Cake Hints and Tips, Blanching Almonds

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