Gluten Free Almond Orange Cake Recipe
Considering my (maiden) last name is O’Neal, you can probably surmise that I am a tad more familiar with a gluten-free Easter than a gluten-free Passover. In fact this year I am invited to my very first Passover. I am thrilled as there is no better way to learn about cultures and customs than to sit down at a dinner table and experience a traditional meal.
I am also experiencing a bit of anxiety. I was asked to bring dessert and I know there are dietary restrictions for Passover but a survey of my Jewish friends did not prove fruitful; everyone gave me different answers about what was OK and not OK, and every conversation ended with, “just Google it.” Google helped a little but I was still confused. Is dairy OK or not? A lot of the desserts contained no dairy in the way of butter or cream but had chocolate, however there was no warning to make sure the chocolate was dairy-free. Is this something one is just supposed to know? One thing everyone said was that Matzo is traditional and yet Matzo is made from wheat so it is not gluten-free. Added to my dilemma are dietary restrictions of the guests, gluten for some, grain for others and corn for another. Oy vey!
Google did tell me that nuts, fruit, eggs and sugar are allowable for Passover so I decided to play it really safe and create a gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free cake made with almond flour and brightened with orange.
I wanted to make the cake pretty so I frosted it with a dairy-free (and vegan) orange butter cream made with coconut oil and Wholesome! Organic Powdered Sugar – for over a year now, Wholesome! has not used cornstarch in their powdered sugar, so I have covered all my bases of no gluten, dairy, grain, and corn. And because I know my hostess is trying to cut back on refined sugar I sweetened the cake with Wholesome! Organic Sucanat which is nothing but 100% Certified Organic Sugar Cane made by simply crushing freshly cut sugar cane, extracting the juice and heating it in a large vat. Nothing is added and nothing is taken out and it just happens to taste amazing with almonds. Whew!
I got a little worried that maybe I should not have frosted the cake and told my husband I had never seen a frosted Passover cake, to which he replied, “You’ve never seen a Passover Cake, period.” Good point.
I hope this Gluten Free Almond Orange Cake recipe is appropriate for Passover and if I didn’t get it right I apologize in advance and just in case I am also taking some Mocha Macaroons and a recipe for chocolate almond pie I saw in Bon Appetite. Obsessive? Maybe, but better to be safe than sorry!
BTW – want to try some Wholesome! Products? Enter this great $100.00 Giveaway !
- 3 cups finely ground blanched almond flour
- 1 cup Sucanat - use divided
- Zest of 4 large oranges - finely grated (about 5 teaspoons packed)
- 8 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup coconut oil - (in solid form)
- 1 pound Organic Powdered Sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch kosher salt
- 4-6 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- ¾ cup sliced almonds
- Sugared orange zest - (recipe follows)
- 1½ cups organic sugar - use divided
- 1 cup water
- Zest of 1 orange taken off the orange in thin strips with a zester
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously spray 2 – 9 inch round cake pans with gluten-free, non-stick cooking spray. Cut circles out of parchment paper and line the bottom of the cake pans with the parchment and lightly spray it with some more cooking spray.
In a food processor fitted with a steel blade combine the almond flour, ½ cup Sucanat and orange zest and process for 30 seconds to combine and grind a little. If you do not have a food processor, you can skip this step and just whisk it all together but if you use the food processor the cake will have a finer texture.
Separate the egg yolks and whites into two large mixing bowls. Beat the egg whites until they form stiff, glossy peaks. In the mixing bowl with the egg yolks add the remaining half cup of Sucanat and salt and beat on high speed until thick and almost doubled in size - about 2 minutes. Stir in the almond mixture. Take a large spoonful of the beaten egg whites and mix into the yolk mixture and then gently fold in the remaining whites until the mixture is no longer streaky and is well combined. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling. While the cake is cooling, make the frosting.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, preferably fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the coconut oil for 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar and the vanilla and turn the mixer on low. Add the orange juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture reaches the consistency of butter cream frosting - creamy and spread-able but not too thin. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium-high and continue to beat for 5 minutes.
To assemble the cake, place one layer of fully cooled cake, top-side down, on a cake stand or platter. Tuck a few small strips of waxed paper under the edges to keep the platter clean while frosting. Spread some frosting on top of the cake then top with the remaining cake layer, bottom side down. Frost the sides and the top of the cake. Gently press the sliced almonds into the frosting around the sides of the cake. Chill the cake for about 30 minutes then remove the strips of waxed paper. Garnish the top of the cake with sugared orange zest if desired.
Combine 1 cup water with 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then add the orange zest. Let boil gently for 15 – 20 minutes or until the zest is tender. Place the remaining ½ cup of sugar on a plate. Carefully remove the zest from the liquid and drop into the sugar, tossing to coat. Let the zest dry in the sugar and the remove. Can be made several days ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Do not throw out the sugar water the zest was cooked in, it is terrific stirred into iced tea.
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