Sugar-free orange cake

29 Sep

Sugar-free orange-almond cake

When the Great British Bake-off contestants were tasked with making a sugar-free cake, I immediately thought of Claudia Roden’s orange cake.

This Judeo-Spanish cake relies on puréed whole oranges for much of its sweetness, which I thought would make it relatively easy to adapt. And because it calls for ground almonds instead of flour, it’s gluten-free as well, which seemed in the spirit of the challenge.

As this was my first attempt at baking with agave nectar, I did some reading first. The recommendations are to cut the quantity of sugar by about quarter, reduce the liquid in the recipe and lower the oven temperature – all of which I did.

The resulting cake was very nice, with a fresh orangey taste and a moist crumb. Roden herself says that this cake should be “moist like a pudding”, but with the agave nectar it is even moister (if that’s even a word).

Were I to make the agave version again, I would increase the quantity of ground almonds by half a cup. I’d also bake it for longer, covering the top loosely with tin foil part way through to prevent it from getting too dark.

I whipped together some mascarpone with a splash of Cointreau and some lime zest to dollop on top. Not strictly sugar-free, but very tasty…;-)

Sugar-free orange cake

  • 2 juicing oranges
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water (optional)
  • 2 cups ground almonds
  1. Wash the oranges well, then boil them whole for 1 1/2 hours, or until they are very soft. Leave to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (170°C). Grease and line a 8″ (20cm) springform tin.
  3. Cut open the oranges and carefully remove the seeds before puréeing them – peel, pith and all – in a food processor until smooth.
  4. Add the eggs, agave nectar, salt, baking powder, and orange blossom water (if using) to the food processor and blend to combine.
  5. Fold the ground almonds into the batter and pour into the prepared tin.
  6. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the cake is firm to the touch. Allow it to cool in the tin before serving.

2 Responses to “Sugar-free orange cake”

  1. Nandini September 29, 2015 at 6:03 pm #

    My antenna’s were up when it said sugar-free and with an addition of oranges it sounds so yummy!

    • Andrea September 30, 2015 at 10:46 am #

      Sugar-free cake — what’s not to like? 🙂

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