Outstanding Orange Cake: Gluten and Dairy free

I love simplicity in ingredients. Those recipes you look at and they immediately give comfort and warmth by the ease of making and the delicious outcomes. This is one of those cakes. What makes it better is that it’s the perfect gluten and dairy free “event” cake that you can stack. I make it for all sorts of reasons: A friend’s 70th birthday where a GF Celebration cake was needed – Double layered and slathered in ganache with a fancy cake topper (as pictured) – outstanding; a meeting where GF food is needed; and the reason for today’s incarnation, a childhood friend’s funeral. Her mother tasted this cake at a meeting I made it for, promptly asked for the recipe and has made it 3 times since. One of those times she shared it with her daughter whose funeral is tomorrow. Today I made it in honour of both of them, the daughter for memories of being able to enjoy good food, the mother in hope that this “soul food” which she enjoys might be something she feels like eating on what must be one of the worst days of her life. It looks a lot less fancy today, cut up on a paper plate ready for the morning-tea… but I trust it will do the job.

Flourless Orange Cake

From Cooking Under the Influence: Food to Drink to  by Ben Canaider and Greg Duncan Powell


  • 2 Oranges
  • 250gr Almond Meal
  • 250gr Castor Sugar
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder


  1. Simmer the oranges for 1.5 hours until they’re soft (this can be done in advance)
  2. Heat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  3. Beat the sugar and eggs together until they’re pale and thick
  4. In a food processor blend the almond meal, cooked oranges (remove pips and cut in half) and baking powder
  5. Fold the almond and orange mix into the egg and sugar mixture
  6. pour into a 23cm cake tin (lined in making paper/greased) and cook for an hour.


  • To make this really special you could drizzle an orange syrup over it
  • I personally, if not making it for someone who’s dairy free, love to ice it in a dark chocolate ganache.




Vanilla butter cake with berries

photoI love it when you have the ingredients in your cupboard to make a cake (and a darn good one at that) to take around to a friend’s place in the evening, or when you’re asked to bring a dessert. My friend had an attempted break-in yesterday, so while her hubby is away this evening we’re going to have a girl’s night… and that means cake! It also means a cake that ignores my usual preference for eating low-sugar foods. My stock standard cake is based on Maggie Beer’s Fresh Raspberry Cake with Sangiovese Verjuice Syrup. I made her version once before and ever since have left out some of the more expensive ingredients, like the fresh raspberries and the Sangiovese Verjuice syrup – the cake is good enough without it, and as what is now baking in my oven proves, a versatile base to either leave without the addition of fruit or to add whatever’s on hand.


  • 2 2/3 cup plain flour
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1/2 tspn sea salt
  • 1/4 tspn baking soda
  • 250 grams unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tspn pure vanilla extract (this is a key ingredient and a good paste will make the cake – I do splurge on this ingredient and have a jar of Heilala Vanilla Paste in my cupboard – it’s always been worth it) 
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (unless you have buttermilk in the fridge, don’t worry about buying this specially, just mix up 1/2 cup of milk with 1/2 tbs of lemon juice and let it sit for 5 minutes to get the same result as buttermilk)
  • 2 cups frozen/fresh fruit of choice – blueberries/raspberries/strawberries/mixed etc. 


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease the sides of a 20cm cake tin with butter and line the bottom with baking paper.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Put the butter and the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract. Beat in the eggs one at a time, incorporating each egg completely before adding the next.
  4. Incorporate the dry ingredients and the buttermilk/milk and lemon mixture, alternating between each, in two additions. Fold in the frozen fruit (or leave it out entirely) and pour into the prepared cake pan and bake for 40 minutes at 180 degrees and a further 20 at 140 degrees… I know that’s a little odd but that’s how I’ve got it to work!

This cake is delicious with double cream and a cup of tea! Then again, what isn’t 😉