Chocolate Orange Cake – Gluten Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free

Did any of you grow up eating those orange flavored chocolates shaped like an orange that you had to whack on a counter top so they’d split into segments? They were definitely a childhood favorite, yet somewhere along the way I must have forgotten about them. Luckily for me, this cake tastes just like it! Every bite brings me back to attempting the perfect whack to get the chocolate to fall apart just so.

This cake version of the candy bar is much better for you. Made with almond flour instead of wheat flour, it’s gluten free and grain free, sweetened with brown rice syrup and a whole orange, with no butter or dairy in sight. The longest part of the process is boiling the orange. Yes, you boil a whole orange in water until it’s soft enough to cut through. For my smallish/medium sized orange, that took about 35 minutes.

The results are a rich, chocolately, soft yet slightly dense cake. The almond flour makes the cake surprisingly filling that I don’t need more than one slice to feel satisfied. One more serving and it puts me over the edge (ask me how I know). It is seriously so good that I am always so tempted to go in for another piece. I don’t believe in labeling desserts “guilt free” because those types of feelings shouldn’t be associated with food, but I don’t feel the slightest bit bad for indulging in something made with such wholesome ingredients.

I garnished my cake with a pouring of chocolate ganache and maldon flaked salt, but a dusting of cocoa powder would also be beautiful and delicious!

Chocolate Orange Cake - Gluten Free, Grain Free, Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 1 medium orange
  • 2 tbsp oil (such as coconut, walnut, avocado, sunflower)
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp brown rice syrup
  • ¾ cup almond meal
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  1. Boil orange in water until soft, about 35-45 minutes, depending on size. Remove from water and let cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 325° F and grease 6" round cake pan.
  3. Using a blender or food processor, puree entire boiled orange until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and continue to blend until smooth. Batter will be thick.
  4. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  5. Let cool in pan, then remove and garnish with cocoa powder or ganache.


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer Wilson February 4, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Is it possible to sub honey instead of brown rice syrup?


Sara / Matchbox Kitchen February 5, 2014 at 11:15 am

Definitely, though depending on the honey it might add another dimension of flavor.


Jennifer Wilson February 5, 2014 at 11:48 am

Thank you! I’ve always wanted to try one of these cakes where the whole orange is used…


Karla @ Foodologie February 5, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Just need to let you know, I spent a good while oogling your cakes last night. I love that you’re posting recipes now. I’m thinking of giving this one a try this weekend, but I might use maple syrup instead of brown rice syrup. I hope that works.


Jennifer February 5, 2014 at 5:09 pm

umm yes so going to try this!


Barry Friedman February 5, 2014 at 10:36 pm

Have you ever used date paste (soak dates in warm water for an hour and then food processor) instead of syrup or honey? I’m going to try this, and recommend it to people in my program. I really like the sound of this but we stay away from all types of processed/refined sugars. Thinking this one will rock with the date paste :) Thank you!


melody February 9, 2014 at 9:23 am

Do you mean to boil the orange with peel or without?


Sara / Matchbox Kitchen February 10, 2014 at 10:17 pm

With! Just make sure it’s thoroughly washed ;)


Jenny @ BAKE February 19, 2014 at 6:04 am

Chocolate oranges are still a Christmas essential in my house, I am going to have to whip this cake out next holiday season as a treat! It looks beautiful!


Anne May 12, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Not only do I not own a 6″ cake pan, I’ve never heard of one that small! I may try to double this and bake it in a 9″ spring form pan.


Anne May 14, 2014 at 8:44 am

So I doubled the recipe and baked it in a 9″ spring form pan. Everyone LOVED it! I have to admit I don’t own brown rice syrup or almond meal so I replaced them with maple syrup and gluten free flour respectively. Also, my food processor is small so I had to make the batter in 2 batches. It still worked. As Sara said, it is dense and one piece is sufficient. I used a chocolate ganache for the topping.


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