Decadent and rich, this gluten-free chocolate orange cake is easy to make and will leave your house smelling amazing!
If you love orange and chocolate flavours together and are looking for a gluten-free cake, this cake is for you. It uses a whole orange and no fancy ingredients.
Next time you need a cake that feels satisfying to share with others that have dietary requirements, this cake will certainly be a crowd-pleaser. It’s dense, yet fluffy, with the perfect amount of crumb. It’s a wonderful cake to serve during the holiday season.
The inspiration behind this vegan choc orange cake
It’s winter here in Australia and since moving to Tasmania in 2020, I’ve struggled to get organic or chemical-free citrus, in particular oranges.
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To my surprise, last week when I walked into my local store they had the full range. Oranges, grapefruits, mandarins, lemons, limes.
I was like a kid in a candy store and got very excited, so naturally bought an abundance of everything.
I came home and started thinking about how I can use all this delicious citrus. I wanted to utilise oranges and my first thought was my Persian Love Cake recipe and how it uses a whole orange, skin and all.
So from there, I wanted to experiment with making it gluten-free, even taking it a step further and not using a gluten-free flour blend. I came across this orange cake recipe and started the journey of experimentation.
I love orange cake, but I wanted to marry another flavour with it and knew that chocolate was the perfect combination. If you’re an Aussie, you’ll be reminded of those jaffa biscuits that you can buy (they certainly aren’t vegan or gluten-free).
What are the gluten-free ingredients that make up this cake?
The reason I went with the mix of almond flour and maize meal is that I wanted a slightly heartier texture with approachable ingredients that will result in a really nice cake every time.
With gluten-free flour blends or other speciality ingredients, the accessibility and the blends will vary from brand to brand, making the results very hit and miss.
I haven’t made a cake with maize meal before so this was a fun little experiment. You want to use maize meal, the texture is in between normal polenta and corn flour. It’s also not corn starch which is a fine white powder that makes a squeaking noise when rubbed between your fingers.
The terminology can get a little confusing, so if all else fails, go by look rather than the name.
Almond flour adds both fat and moisture to the cake and a beautiful subtle flavour. It can be dense but fluffy if used in the right way. I love baking with almond flour. Here are a few other recipes you might like using it:
- Easy Vegan Paleo Pancakes (Grain-Free)
- Vegan Chocolate Brownies (Candida Diet Friendly)
- Easy Vegan Apple Almond Cake
- Vegan Pear and Almond Crumble (Gluten-Free)
- Vegan Apple Crumble (Gluten-Free)
- No-Bake Ginger Slice (GF and Vegan)
Tips for making this vegan chocolate orange cake
- Use a thin-skinned orange as we’re utilising the whole orange, not just the zest and juice. With a thinner-skinned orange, it will be less bitter and juicier.
- Remove the seeds after it’s been cooked (if it has any). This will also help with bitterness and texture, so you don’t have any possible seeds in your cake.
- As we’re using the whole orange, try and source an organic or chemical-free one.
- It’ll keep for 4 days at room temperature in a well-sealed container. If it’s warm, you can place it in the fridge.
- If you want a less sweet cake, use darker chocolate for the glaze. Mine was 55% cocoa, so swap it out for 70-85% instead. I wouldn’t reduce the amount of sugar in the cake itself as that will impact the texture and structure.
- Let the cake cool completely before removing it from the baking tin. It will separate on the sides easier and it helps to set it.
- You can buy apple puree from the baby aisle in your local supermarket. I find that the apple sauce that’s dedicated to cooking and baking normally comes in bigger jars and I just don’t get through all of it in time before it goes mouldy. Less waste and much cheaper!
- If you use corn flour, your cake will be denser. I have experimented with it and it doesn’t come out as well in texture for this recipe. It will still hold very well and taste great, but the texture will be different.
- Please use scales for this recipe to get the best results.
This cake is a hybrid between a Sicilian orange cake and a chocolate flourless cake. It has the perfect amount of crumb, balance between chocolate and orange flavours, and is easy to eat!
Other recipes you’ll love:
- No-Bake Choc Coconut Slice (Vegan)
- Vegan Tufahije Recipe (Bosnian Walnut Stuffed Poached Apples)
- Classic Vegan Chocolate Cake
- Vegan Banana Cake with a Chocolate Ganache
- Easy Vegan Carrot Cake