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Gluten-free Boiled Orange Cake

January 15, 2017




When I start a new blog page the template asks for an engaging title, not convinced that Gluten-free Boiled Orange Cake quite fits the bill.  It does not sound very appetising does it?  But if I say it has very little added sugar, (actually I've only added honey, does that count?) and the only fat in it comes from the nuts and that there is no oil or butter added I think it begins to sound more attractive. Well I hope so anyway.


It's mid January and I am still playing about with healthier cake recipes. Most recipes for boiled orange cake have about 200 - 250g of refined sugar in them, I have removed all that and I really hope you like it.   


This cake tastes  like marmalade but not too much, the strength of the flavour really depends on the oranges you use.  I had some tangerines in the fruit bowl and used some of those as I had run out of large oranges, they had quite a bitter skin and consequently the mix tasted a bit too strong for my son who is not a marmalade fan.  Having said that, if I get the balance of the flavours right he does like this cake and took one back to university with him, it ticks a lot of boxes for him as it is pretty healthy. 


For me the trick to get the level of bitterness right is to whizz up the orange, banana and honey and then taste it.  If it very bitter then add some good low calorie sweetener, I use powdered stevia, just a tablespoon or two, it doesn't taste artificial but adds a good level of  sweetness. 


Once baked I topped the whole thing off with a drizzle, you can leave this off if you would prefer but I felt it just needed a little extra something.  I kept it healthy, reducing down fruit juice with a little honey.



I  made a chocolate version too,  replacing half of the gluten free flour with unsweetened cocoa powder.  This worked pretty well.  I took it to a friend who has a very sweet tooth and she loved it, commenting that it could do for dessert with some low fat creme fraiche and stewed fruits.


If you have one use a 22cm ring tin or bundt, I think it always makes a cake look a little special.  This time I didn't choose it just for the look  but because some of these gluten free recipes have a tendency to sink a bit in the middle the ring seems to stop that sinking and anyway the cake doesn't have a middle to sink!  


You need to grease the tin very well, I find the cake release sprays excellent for these tins.  If you don't have a ring tin, don't worry the cake will still taste good, base line with baking parchment and leave out the sliced orange decoration.  It may take a little longer to bake and you can always cover up any sinking middles with fruit and dust with icing sugar.


This cake couldn't be simpler, the trick is to boil up the oranges in advance, then it just takes 5 minutes to put the whole thing together and get it in the oven.  


I hope you enjoy!


Jane x




NEXT TIME:  A impressive bread couronne that is simple and not too messy to make, none of that cutting down the middle and twisting, don't know about you but I get the fillings everywhere!




Gluten-free  Boiled Orange Cake




Serves 8


Active time (including boiling oranges and cooling) 2- 2 ½  hours

Total time 3 hours






2          Large oranges

1          Ripe banana - mashed

3tbs     Runny honey

2tbs     Stevia sweetener (to taste)

6          Large eggs

250g    Ground almonds

150g    Gluten-free self-raising flour

1tsp     Almond extract

2 tsp    Gluten free baking powder

1 tsp    Bicarbonate of soda


NOTE:  If making the chocolate version use 75g of gluten-free self-raising flour and 75g unsweetened cocoa powder




1          Orange thinly sliced

300ml  Orange and mango juice or apple juice

3 tbs    Runny Honey


22cm ring tin or bundt tin, well greased.  I use a cake release spray




Preheat oven to 160C (Fan) 180C (Conventional)

  • Place the oranges in a pan of water and cover.  Bring to the boil and simmer for approx. one and a quarter hours.  Remove oranges from the pan and leave to cool.  You can do this ahead of time. 

  • Place oranges, banana and honey in the bowl of a food processor and whizz up until completely blitzed.

  • Taste the mix, if too bitter add some sweetener.

  • Add the rest of the ingredients and process to combine, scraping down if necessary.

  • Arrange the thinly sliced orange in the base of the ring tin and carefully pour the mix into the tin.  Smooth down the top.

  • Place in preheated oven for 40 – 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.  If in doubt leave for an extra 5 minutes.  This is such a moist cake that it won’t hurt for a little extra baking.  If you remove too early it may sink.

  • Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack, leave cake to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin.  Tip upside down on rack placed over a baking tray.

  • Brush all over with the drizzle and leave to cool.


Make the drizzle while the cake is baking

  • Place juice in saucepan and bring to the boil.  Simmer until juice reduced by almost a half.

  • Stir in the honey.

  • Use while still warm, it penetrates the cake better






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