Welcome Virtual Vegan Potluck visitors! I am thrilled to be participating in this potluck with 85(!) other bloggers, just in time for some holiday cooking & baking inspiration! I hope you enjoy this recipe; not only is vegan, but also gluten-free. You can navigate the potluck and go to the recipe before or after mine using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Enjoy!
This cake may not look like much, but don’t let it’s mild mannered appearance fool you; it is packed with enough orange flavor to knock your socks off. There are literally two whole oranges in this cake. With only 5 ingredients in the cake and 5 ingredients in the frosting, it is also unbelievabley easy to make. This cake is about simple elegance and goes perfect with a cup of tea or makes a great light dessert. The freshness of the orange flavor really sets this cake apart from any other orange cake, and combined with the orange zest enhanced frosting, it is lick your fingers amazing. If you’re not a fan of cream cheese frostings, or prefer something even lighter, I’ve also served this with a dollop of coconut whipped cream and it was just as heavenly.
A couple of notes before we begin though. I hope you don’t have as much trouble finding almond meal as I did. If you live in the States near a Trader Joe’s, you can get it there pretty inexpensively. This is what I used to do. But a few months ago I moved to a Trader Joe’s-less world and so I found myself on a search for almond meal.
The only other kind I could find was Bob’s Red Mill, and then I found the price, and then I laughed outloud, to myself, in the middle of the store. The local natural foods store was selling it for $13.85. No way. And then I thought about another place I might try. Again, if you happen to be in the States, this is an odd place to go searching but they always have a full selection of Bob’s Red Mill for whatever reason, it’s Ocean State Job Lots. OSJL is a discount store, so I figured it had to be less expensive there. Sure enough it was, but it was still $8.99 for the bag. I did end up buying it since I’d never used the Bob’s Red Mill almond meal before and thought it would be good to see how it works in the cake (quite well, I’m happy to report).
The truth of the matter, though, and where I should have started from the beginning, is that almond meal is really easy to make on your own. Seriously, I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before, except that I could always get it cheap at TJ so why bother making my own. All you need are raw almonds & a food processor. It has to be a food processor; a blender will make you almond butter. Good, but not what you want. I made this cake a second time with the homemade almond meal and it was great. So far, if you’re keeping track, this cake has been made with three different ‘varieties’ of almond meal, all with good results!
One other note, is that in the pictures you will see I used a regular cake pan. I would HIGHLY recommend you use a springform pan. This cake is very moist and getting it out of a regular cake pan in one piece is virtually impossible. The removable springform sides are ideal, and I absolutely would have used mine, if I could have found the bottom piece somewhere in my many boxes of recently moved baking stuff. I have no idea where it is…:-/
Flourless Italian Orange Cake
- 2 whole oranges
- 3 tablespoons ground flax seed
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 1/4 cups almond meal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 oz vegan cream cheese, at room temperature (I used Tofutti)
- 1/2 cup vegan butter or margarine, at room temperature (I used earth balance)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- In a medium saucepan, cover the whole oranges with water, bring to simmer and let simmer for an hour. Drain the oranges and let them cool for 30+ minutes before handling.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a springform pan with parchment paper or spray very lightly with baking spray and dust with almond meal.
- Cut the oranges into segments, removing any seeds, and process in the food processor until it is very well blended and there are no large chunks. Measure your chopped orange. You need two cups; add as much water as needed to equal two cups (I usually only have to add 1/4 cup at the very most)
- In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, sugar, flax seed and baking powder.
- Add the orange mixture to the almond meal and fold all the ingredients together.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Smooth over the top of the batter with wetted fingeres before putting it in the oven. Bake for 50 minutes, or until cake is set.
- Let cool completely before frosting or serving.
- To Make Orange Cream Cheese Frosting, cream butter and cream cheese together. Add the powdered sugar, orange juice & orange zest and mix until all combined and smooth.