Gluten-free whole mandarin and orange cake

Create a cake that everyone can enjoy with this gluten-free whole mandarin and orange cake.



Note: (+ cooling time)

1h 30m


  • 2 mandarins, unpeeled
  • 1 orange, unpeeled
  • 6 Coles Brand Australian Free Range Eggs
  • 1 cup caster sugar 220g
  • 250g almond meal
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • Crème fraîche, to serve light sour cream
  • Sliced orange, extra, to serve
  • Mandarin syrup
  • ½ cup caster sugar 110g
  • ½ cup mandarin juice 125 ml
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbs mandarin zest



Place the whole mandarins and orange in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over high heat. Drain well. Repeat.


Return mandarins and orange to the saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 mins or until mandarins and orange are very tender. Drain well. Set aside to cool.


Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line the base and side of a 20cm round cake pan.


Coarsely chop the mandarins and orange, discarding any pips or seeds. Process, with the peel, in a food processor until smooth.


Use an electric mixer to whisk the eggs and sugar until mixture doubles in size and a ribbon gently falls when the beater is lifted. Add the orange mixture, almond meal and baking powder. Use a metal spoon to gently fold until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside in the pan to cool completely.


Meanwhile, to make the syrup, combine sugar, mandarin juice, cinnamon stick and ½ cup (125ml) water in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 mins or until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Cook, without stirring, for 3 mins or until syrup thickens slightly. Set aside to cool. Stir in mandarin zest.


Remove cake from pan. Drizzle with the syrup and top with crème fraîche or light sour cream and sliced orange.

Dietary Information


Orange cake recipe

There are a lot of different ways to make an orange cake, but the classic orange almond cake recipe is an all-time favourite. This Middle Eastern inspired cake has a lot going for it – it uses the whole orange so there’s no waste and the orange flavour goes all the way through the cake. It’s made with almond meal, so there’s no need to add flour and, because it’s a flourless orange cake, it’s easy to make it gluten-free if you use gluten-free baking powder. The combination of whole orange, almond meal and eggs makes this a super moist orange cake recipe. It’s a perfect cake for celebrations, for dessert or for a treat at any time of day.

What makes this orange and almond cake recipe extra special

This is a whole orange cake recipe, so you use the whole orange, peel and all. There are other kinds of orange cake that just use the juice and the orange rind or zest to create the citrus flavour, because the white pith underneath the rind can be quite bitter. We’ve used a combination of orange and mandarin in this orange cake recipe, but you can make it with 2 oranges instead, or make a whole mandarin cake using 4 mandarins and no orange if you like. The key to using the whole fruit is to boil it first – not only does this soften the texture so it blends easily, but it also draws out bitterness to avoid a bitter flavour in the finished cake. To reduce the bitterness as much as possible, after bringing the water to the boil, drain off the water and start again. Repeat this process, then continue boiling until the fruit is very tender.

This moist orange cake uses more eggs than you would use for a butter cake – you’ll need 6 large eggs. It also uses caster sugar, which is important to give the cake the right texture and balance the bitterness in the fruit.

Put your food processor to work for this whole orange cake recipe

Once your fruit is very tender, you’ll need to turn it into a puree. The best way to do this is with a food processor or blender. Chop the fruit into pieces first, making sure you remove any seeds but keep all the peel as it has the most flavour. Then process until a smooth puree forms. 

For a light textured cake, use an electric mixer to beat the eggs and sugar well – you’ll know you’ve beaten enough air into the mixture when it doubles in volume and each time the beaters are lifted they leave a ribbon trail of mixture on the surface. Fold in the remaining ingredients lightly with a large metal spoon – this means you won’t knock all of that air out of the cake batter.

The secret to the best orange cake recipe

Orange cakes like this one taste amazing just as they are, but there’s one simple way you can take it to the next level. While the cake is in the oven, whip up a citrus syrup using equal parts juice and sugar, adding a whole cinnamon stick or quill for a touch of spice. When the syrup is cool, stir in citrus zest. We’ve used mandarin juice and zest in the syrup, but orange zest and juice works equally well. This easy syrup is perfect for drizzling over the cake just before serving. Decorate the cake with slices of orange and spoon over tangy crème fraiche or light sour cream to cut through the sweetness. Thick Greek-style yoghurt is also delicious with this cake if you’re looking for a lighter treat.

Now get cooking

Keep this flourless orange cake recipe up your sleeve as a dessert for entertaining and make it your go-to gluten-free cake recipe. This waste-wise recipe is ideal for making the most of oranges and mandarins when they’re in season. Looking for more citrus cake ideas? For a moist orange butter cake recipe, try our orange and ricotta loaf cake. Love orange and poppy seed cake? Try our stylish citrus poppy seed cupcakes with blackberry frosting. Or, if you’re after a carrot and orange cake recipe, check out our Middle Eastern inspired carrot cake, decorated with orange zest. Want more gluten-free cake ideas? Our pistachio and rhubarb cake is also flavoured with orange rind, or try our flourless chocolate and almond cake – why not add orange rind for a choc-orange twist. Plus, browse our gluten free recipes and dessert recipes for more easy ideas.

Nutrition Information

Per Serve

Energy: 1300kJ/312 Cals

Protein: 9g 

Fat: 15g fat 

Sat fat: 2g

Carb: 34g

Fibre: 4g 



  • How to store orange cake?
    Store leftover cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2-3 days, or in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

  • Can I freeze orange cake?
    Wrap the cake or place in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

  • Can I make mini orange cakes?
    For mini orange and mandarin cakes, line a muffin pan with paper cases and divide the mixture evenly among the cases. Bake at 180°C for 20-25 mins or until a skewer inserted in the centres comes out clean. Drizzle syrup over the cakes and decorate with orange pieces.

  • Can I use my slow cooker for this orange cake recipe?
    Use a slow cooker to cook the fruit instead of boiling on the stovetop. Place in the slow cooker and cover with hot water, then cover and cook on high for 2 hours.

Check ingredient labels to make sure they meet your specific dietary requirements and always consult a health professional before changing your diet. View dietary information here.