Italian Orange Olive Oil Cake with Whole Oranges (Grain Free)
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Editor’s Note: Since I opened a keto home bakery last July, I have made improvements to this recipe and am reposting. This is the most amazing orange cake you will ever eat and the improvements will guarantee your success.
Italian Orange Almond Cake made with whole oranges and olive oil is everything it promises. Depth and soul, sweetness and fragrance.
Made with whole oranges, this cake spans many cultures, including middle eastern, which is where I first came in contact with one of my most memorable bites of the year. A cake like this was served at a favorite new modern middle eastern restaurant in Nashville, Lyra.
I ate the cake even when I didn’t need dessert, savoring each moist, citrusy bite. They told me it was made with whole oranges and I knew I was going to make it.
Baking Process and Nutrition for Orange Olive Oil Cake
I used navel oranges, extra virgin olive oil, eggs, almond flour and Swerve as my sweetener, making this sugar free and naturally gluten free.
You can either use a light glaze or a heavier glaze like below.
There are many versions of this cake, some with almond flour (as Lyra makes) and some with regular flour. This is an almond flour version using olive oil and whole oranges.
If you use cara cara oranges, you’ll get an even deeper orange color as the picture below, but I don’t recommend blood oranges unless you really up the sweetener as they can be bitter.
The Sicilians have been making orange cake forever and I remember eating something very similar in Tuscany. While I might love looking at layer cakes slathered with frosting, single- layer cakes with a smattering of glaze call my name much more.
Orange Olive Oil Cake Tested Six Times
This year I made this I had a word of the year. Diligence. This cake has proven that to be true because in trying to get this right, I made it six times in two weeks It’s moist, but not too moist and all you taste is orange.
How to Test the Batter and Adjust Sweetener
Now that I have a home bakery and have baked over 1500 small cakes, I am certain of the amount of sweetener, which is one cup per one layer of cake or 12 small cakes.
The best way to test the batter is to microwave a tablespoon of cake for 30 to 60 seconds. This will help you make adjustments for flavor.
Glaze for Olive Oil Orange Cake
The glaze is super easy to make. I used Swerve Confectioner’s Sugar (powdered erythritol). You have to decide how thick you want a glaze. I like it thick sometimes, thinner other times. Start with 2 tablespoons of orange juice and add sweetener (up to a cup) until you get the viscosity desired. I reserve some of that pulverized orange to add in to the glaze. Then immediately apply the zest. I suggest waiting until the cake is completely cool first, or the glaze will run.
NEW: Orange Butter Glaze Option
This orange cake is very popular in my keto home bakery and has gone through even more improvements (after baking almost 1500 small cakes). You can look at the notes in the recipe to see what those changes are. Most recently, I’ve been adding a butter glaze using some of the pulverized orange mixture with butter and some of the Swerve Confectioner’s sweetener. It’s less sweet than the glaze mentioned above.
This has been met with rave reviews, making the orange cake the favorite in the bakery!
Baking with Olive Oil
I love baking with olive oil. It’s a healthy oil, and rises higher than a butter cake. You can use half olive oil and half avocado oil, which is what I do for the bakery.
Sweeteners for Sugar Free Olive Oil Orange Cake
I use two different sweeteners, Swerve granulated, Swerve Confectioner’s Sugar. You can make the confectioner’s by placing the granular into a Vitamix until it gets that confectioner’s texture.
I highly recommend this powdered erythritol as it causes no spike in blood sugar, has no carbs or calories and is not GMO. Read about why I use this sweetener here.
You can Make this into a Orange Bundt Cake
Only recently have I been making orange bundt cake, mainly to share with friends. Their rave reviews cannot be stated enough.
You can make a small bundt cake with 12 servings with this recipe. You can also multiply the recipe by 1.5 to make a larger bundt cake, which serves 16. If you do this, please use the bundt cake tips at this post for white chocolate raspberry bundt cake.
Sicilian Orange Olive Oil Cake is the Anytime Cake
This is a breakfast cake, a dinner cake and lunch box cake. It’s not messy, and doesn’t make many crumbs. When my mother fed this cake to the neighbor children who visit her (that’s a story), they went bananas over this cake and I’ve promised to make them one.
More Grain Free Cakes from Spinach Tiger
Keto Raspberry White Chocolate Bundt Cake
Keto Strawberry Cake with Roasted Strawberries
Triple Layer Keto Coconut Cake
Italian Orange Almond Cake Made with Whole Oranges (Gluten Free)
- 1 1/2 large navel orange Or 1 extra large orange
- 2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour 260 grams
- 4 tablespoons coconut flour
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum see notes
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup olive oil see notes
- 1 cup granulated swerve
- 6 large eggs
- Baking spray or oil for baking pan I used this baking spray.
Orange Glaze for One Layer Cake
- 2 tablespoons orange juice from the other half of orange
- 1/2 cup Confectioners Sugar I use sugar free Swerve
- zest of the half orange
- Kitchen Equipment
- 9 inch cake pan
- baking spray
- parchment paper
- tin foil
Optional Butter Glaze
- 2 tablespoons orange mixture (that is used for the cake)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup Swerve Confectioner's Sweetener
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees f. (180 C).
- Prepare a 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper. Use baking spray, or oil.
- Cut oranges into quarters, Place in pot to boil, adding just enough cold water to cover by 2 inches.
- Boil for 30 minutes. Drain. Cool. Drain. Place in Vitamix and mix until oranges look like a mush. You don't want big pieces of peel.
- Mix almond flour, coconut flour, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder together.
- Whisk until well incorporated. Set Aside.
- Mix olive oil with Swerve in the mixing bowl you will be making the cake.
- Add eggs one at a time on medium high speed.
- Add vanilla extract.
- Add 1 cup of orange mixture. Mix. (make sure to reserve 2 tablespoons for butter glaze). Mix thoroughly.
- Add flour mixture and mix just until incorporated on medium low.
- Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. putting foil over cake loosely once it golden. (around 20 to 30 minutes). Inside middle should get to 205 degrees F. when tested with a meat. thermometer.
- Mix orange juice and confectioner’s sugar together.
- Cool cake completely before adding glaze, unless serving warm and you want a transparent glaze.
- If you want thicker glaze add more confectioner’s sugar.
- Garnish immediately with orange zest.
Optional Butter Glaze
- Put all ingredients in small saucepan at one. Heat until mixed together, stirring.
- Pour over cake while still warm.
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If you love this recipe, please give it five stars. It means a lot. xoxo
Hi there… I followed the instructions on the recipe to a T. It’s baking now so can’t comment on taste, texture, etc.
My question is I still have what is probably equal to 2 1/2 cups of the orange mixture left after using one cup plus my 2 tablespoons for the cake and icing.
I had rather large size navel oranges. I used one and a half, and then put in the peel from the other half of the orange that I eat (to finish it up) I added water as the recipe stated… i’m just surprised at how much of the orange pulp mixture I have left.
Hopefully I didn’t miss something…
Assuming I can simply freeze this leftover pulp to use for another cake?
Your thoughts… please and thank you!
Did you drain the oranges BEFORE putting in Vitamix. I’ve made this recipe at least 40 times as I sell it and one orange makes approximately one cup of orange mixture. Also I would not recommend adding in extra orange peel, as that can cause bitterness in the cake.
I cut 14 pieces of@about 84 gams. It was outstanding. I used 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 avocado oil as suggested in her notes. My oven took 45 min to reach the suggested internal temp 207. Really a winner!
That makes me happy.
I need to retract my earlier comment about net carbs. After spending about an hour in my app it miscounted the Swerve. After corrections it is only slightly higher, but within my acceptable numbers. I am making now and apologize for my error.
Hello and thank you, I love the sound of this cake. I’ve made orange cake before and put the whole orange into a food processor. Will your recipe work if I don’t boil it first? I usually like to try a recipe as presented but I want to check with you about this one thing. Thank you and Happy New Year.
I would follow the directions. The boiling of the orange breaks it down.
Hello, Can I use guar gum in place of xanthum gum?
Yes. That will work.
Hi! Thanks for the recipe. Heads up I think the baking powder and salt amounts are out. Perhaps one or the other was missed in the editing process. There is WAY too much of both. I can imagine it would be delicious otherwise but I can’t eat it like this. Suggest an edit.
Corrie, this is the most requested and reordered cake in my bakery in form of cupcake or bundt cake. You can always reduce the baking powder if you want to or leave out or reduce salt. The reviews I have received from this cake have been all positive.
You mentioned in the comment here that this orange cake recipe is the most requested and reordered cake in your bakery in form of cupcake as well… May I know what is the baking time you use for the cupcake format?
Your best bet for accuracy is to use a food thermometer and make sure the middle is 207 F. Otherwise hard to gage.
This recipe is simply amazing! I didn’t have oranges so I made it with tangerines and it came out AMAZING. One of my favorite keto recipes for sure. I did the butter glazing. Thank you for sharing this recipe!
I think tangerines would be amazing, Just be sure no seeds!
Just read thru all these wonderful comments. What a fabulous cake! Daughter & I are planning to do it in a fancy Bundt cake pan for Memorial Day holiday. May or may not add a bit of cardamom to batter.🤔Wish us luck! 🤞🏼🤞🏼🤞🏼 Pulverizing whole oranges is such a brilliant idea for achieving superior, yet natural, orange flavor. 👩🏻🍳🧠💡🍊
I made this for Mother’s Day. Only change I made was I used high quality grapeseed oil for a neutral flavor as my olive oil is a strong flavor. There is some confusion on the ingredient list and your notes. I did use both Almond Flour and Coconut Flour. They are both on the ingredient list even tho you stated in one of the replies that you took it off. Also the vanilla extract called for in the directions is not on the ingredient list. I added 1 teaspoon to the batter. I made the butter glaze using all the orange mush I had left which was about 1/2 cup I poured the glaze over the cake while it was still hot in the pan. Let it cool then in fridge overnight. Pulled it out of the pan with the sling of parchment paper. I used a 9″ round pan but my cake came out deeper than the one shown. I will say it was delicious and beautiful!! The entire family loved it, Keto or not Keto eaters all wanted more. My daughter asked for it again in June for her 40th Birthday!
At one point I had taken out the coconut flour. After six months of owning a bakery and using a base with the coconut flour, I changed the recipe. I probably would not put the cake in the fridge, but it doesn’t hurt it. I’m glad you liked it.
So, do you use the coconut flower now or no?
I’m not sure what your question means.
She’s asking i believe and I want to know too — coconut flour now or no?
Also, i was making another version once but stopped at the oranges. ( The famed original Spanis version and Claudia Rankines’s recipe— because I couldn’t stand the bitterness from the pith with the pulverized or oranges). I want to try again but wondered if thin skinned oranges might be best?
Yes keep it in. Regarding the bitterness, we don’t experience that. But I would say this, If you really thick pith, they you might slice some of that off. I try to buy navel oranges that don’t have too thick of a pith. It does boil down. That’s the key.
Yes I keep the coconut flour in.
Angela, thank you so much for sharing your recipe with us— it came out perfect (albeit not as beautiful as yours)! It’s unlike any cake I’ve ever eaten. I was concerned the orange rind would make it bitter, but it did not. I don’t have a Vitamix or food processor, but my Nutribullet worked. 😀 First time I’ve ever baked a gluten free cake that held together so nicely and was so luxuriously moist! I followed the recipe except used all avocado oil and added 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (because normally cakes need nuts but really, this one doesn’t need it). YES on the “optional” butter glaze!!! My husband and I LOVED ❤️ this cake and can see why it’s so popular at your bakery!
Can one use any other sweetner such as date sugar or coconut sugar?
Yes, you can replace the sweetener with any other sweetener you like.
Cannot say enuf how good this is!!! I am NOT AN ORANGE FAN, but this was awesome!!! I used minneolas, cara car as, and navels (don’t ask, used oranges family got, then didn’t want….) I quatered, removed any seeds/stems, then boiled. I cooled down, then used ninja to blend! OMG, the house smelled so good!!! I made 1.5 recipe so I could make a large bundt cake. Baked for 55 min at 335°. It is beautiful, but, I made the butter glaze, and it is PERFECT. As I said, not an orange FAN, but I licked the pan from glaze, lol.
Only changes, I added in 4 tbls coconut flour to tighten it up, figure the orange puree was a lol loose…cake is TALL for a Keto, light, great crumb, and soooooo good!!! Thank you so much!!!
Meyer lemons can be used whole………………….
I have all the ingredients except xanthum gum, and am in the middle of making this cake, can I use tapioca or coconut flour instead and how much should I use? Thank you
I’m thinking just skip the xanthan gum.
This cake looks delicious! I am planning to try it this weekend but I would like to make cupcakes instead. How long with they need to bake in the oven?
Honestly I don’t know. This is not a cupcake recipe. Try 15 to 20 minutes. Let me know.
Bottom line: it was delicious.
This cake was dense, moist, and orange-y with just the right balance of bitterness and tang from the oranges.
I will make some changes next time: it was a little more wet and more eggy than I wanted, so I will try with one less egg and less water with the oranges (that variable is hard to judge from the recipe). I think the batter was too wet as it needed to bake 70 minutes before the center tested clean. I might also make the cake itself a bit sweeter and perhaps add some spice.
I used a combination of erythritol and Splenda which I like better than either alone. Replaced the xanthan gum with cornstarch. Served with a simple syrup made from erythritol, Splenda, reserved liquid from the boiled oranges and some lavender.
Overall it was very easy to make and we were very pleased with the result.
Thank you! Note, the recipe title still says “Lemon” instead of “Orange” 🙂
Just FYI, the xanthum gum makes a huge difference in the “wetness” of the batter, which is why you had to reduce liquids. I have also found this particular cake does have a mind of its own.
In the ingredients list you call for 2.5 cups almond flour, but in the recipe you say to mix the almond and the coconut flour. Something definitely missing here. My oranges are on to boil, now i have to find a similar recipe for clarity.
It’s all almond flour. Thank you for noticing. I fixed it.
Made this cake today in a 9 inch springform. This is a somewhat mixed review. First the bad if you call it that way. I don’t have a Vitamix and had to use a stick blender to mush the boiled oranges. Then I had to press the mush through a colander with the back of a large spoon to ensure hunks of rind that wouldn’t incorporate, plus seeds, were removed. This was a very lengthy process. But okay… Not so bad. But the orange flavor for me was not intense at all. The entire house has a heady aroma of yummy citrusy orange wafting around, but the cake was… bland. I tried brushing some pure orange extract on top and adding a few drops of extract to the glaze, which helps somewhat. But I’d love more intense orange flavor. And now the good. The is a fabulously moist cake with a crumb that I love! It rise up high while baking, flattened somewhat while cooling, and has a wonderful texture. And using the olive oil I think is a real positive! Id be curious to know others’ thoughts about the flavor. Thanks for great recipe.
The only way to make this cake without an extract is to use the entire oranges. The rind is used in the recipe where much of the flavor comes from.
If you don’t have a Vitamix, then a blender would work, and the entire mush is incorporated in the cake. I made this cake six times, four times with whole oranges and every time, it had intense orange flavor. If you can’t use whole oranges, then I suggest using a lot of orange zest in the batter and orange extract.
Okay I’m confused in your notes you said you changed the recipe and added coconut flour, an additional egg bumped up the baking powder and got rid of the baking soda so am I supposed to add 28 grams of coconut flour to the 2 1/2 cups of almond flour because the link is not working for the recipe you use for almond flour? Since I don’t see baking soda on the list of ingredients am I to assume that you’ve already got rid of the baking soda and increased the amount of baking powder or am I supposed to increase it and by how much? That brings us to the egg have you already increased this recipe by one egg or am I supposed to do that?
To prevent confusion, I took out the notes on what I did. Yes, I took out baking soda.
Have you ever made this with extra virgin olive oil. That is all I have.
Yes. You could do that.