It’s that time of year when citrus is plentiful and you NEED to make this Orange Olive Oil Cake. This cake is a little different than some cakes in that it uses whole oranges that are pureed, peel and all. But what better way to make use of all of the flavorful parts of the orange?
This irresistibly delicious cake also happens to be gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar free. How does it manage to do all of those things? It uses almond flour rather than wheat flour, rich and fruity extra virgin olive oil instead of butter for the “fat,” and honey instead of refined sugar. It’s very moist, and it’s just as tasty for breakfast (yes, we went there) as it is for dessert.
Orange Olive Oil Cake Recipe
Orange Olive Oil Cake
An orange olive oil cake made with whole oranges - It's also gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar free.
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.
What Makes this Orange Olive Oil Cake Special?
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?
We love this simple, flavorful style of cake and we wanted to do our best to try to replicate one. When we decided to cook one for a friend who stays gluten-free, we were inspired to make it with almond flour only. Taking out the dairy and refined sugar was an easy choice as well. That left the orange and the olive oil to shine through.
This cake is also different because 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.
Can You Use Whole Oranges in a Cake?
Can you use whole oranges in a cake? Absolutely!
You get so much flavor from the rind, you don’t want to miss out. Our top suggestion is to cut the orange into quarters first, and take any seeds out first. (If it has no seeds, that’s even better.) Chop off any ends that have remnants of a tough stem. Then pulse the orange quarters in a food processor until you have a thick orange puree.
Can You Put Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a Cake?
Can you put extra virgin olive oil in a cake? Again, Absolutely!
In fact, in just about any baking recipe, you can sub in olive oil with a 1:1 swap for vegetable oil. Some people are afraid to use olive oil in sweet dishes, but 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.
P.S. Looking for another way to enjoy oranges and olive oil? Try this Rainbow Sandwich with Ojai Pixie Tangerines (and Romesco sauce made with fruity olive oil.)