11.12.09 This Cake is the M Word

Cake 790 xxx
When my husband finally realized he was gluten-intolerant (after many years of horrible heartburn and at-times-comical flatulence), I had to abandon many of my special-occasion desserts. Of course there are great alternative flours from Bob's Red Mill (his all-purpose is a mix of garbanzo, fava, tapioca and sorghum) but it was also interesting to pursue baking without any flour at all. This particular cake recipe is based on ground almonds. It would also come in handy for Passover as it uses no leavening. I'm not really sure where it originated. Martha has a version with a schmancy topping. The New Yorker once featured Claudia Roden's. Of course I like mine quite a bit, even though I can't bear to use the word that best describes it:
MOIST. (Yech!) There, I said it. I heard on NPR the other day that I am not alone in despising that hideous word. Apparently it crosses gender lines to rank as one of the most hated words ever. I hear there's even a Facebook club devoted to its loathing. But I'm hard-pressed to find another word to describe this cake, which is delicious, and definitely not gross. It's unbelievably easy to make and is beloved by many, even those tolerant of gluten and the M word. The demerara sugar creates a nice, slightly crunchy surface.

Flourless Orange-Almond Cake

This gluten-free confection has a rich, pudding-like consistency.
  • — 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • — 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • — 3/4 cup agave nectar (or honey or combination)
  • — 1 heaping tablespoon olive oil
  • — 4 eggs
  • — 2 oranges
  • — 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • demerara sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line the bottom of a springform pan with parchment paper and lightly grease; grease sides as well.

Boil the oranges whole in a pot of water until they are soft (about 1 1/2 hrs). Place them in the food processor and blend until smooth.

Add remaining ingredients and blend well.

Pour into lined pan and sprinkle a layer of demerara sugar over the entire top. Bake at 375 degrees until toothpick stuck in center comes out clean (about 45 min).

Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche.

Download recipe  Download Recipe


brilliant! I've been wondering what I could use that springform pan for besides cheeeeesecake. Can't wait to try this!
alberta on December 26, 2009 at 6:29 am —
yum. Where do you acquire blanched almond flavor???
Miranda on November 17, 2011 at 3:27 pm —
Um, that's a typo. I've amended it to say "blanched almond flour," which is available at most good markets. Thanks for catching that!
laura on November 17, 2011 at 5:01 pm —
I'd like to substitute applesauce for the orange. What's an estimate of the volume of purée from the 2 oranges? Thanks.
Caroline on November 1, 2014 at 12:24 pm —
I'd say it's about 2.5 cups, Caroline, but I'm not sure that the applesauce will give you the same result. Let me know how it turns out!
laura on November 1, 2014 at 12:40 pm —