Delicious Orange & Almond Cake (Dairy-free & Vegan)

Inspired by the yummy orange and almond cake that I had at the Holburne Museum Garden Cafe last week, I thought I’d attempt to bake an orange and almond cake myself.

And guess what?  …

It wasn’t a flop!

Look, it’s even cake shape (unlike last week’s brownie gloop which I had to turn into a chocolate ‘pudding’).

This cake is beautifully moist and has the most delicious almond flavour with a hint of orange.

AND, it’s got lots of lovely goodness in it, including B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E and a few minerals to boot. The cake’s also low GI, so it gives us slow release energy rather than those horrible refined sugar energy spikes.

AND it’s easy to make.  Even for me!  (and if I can bake it, you definitely will be able to!)

One of my study group friends said it’s the best cake I’ve ever made.  (To be fair, I haven’t set the bar very high with my attempts at baking, but it’s wonderful to hear that I’ve actually made something that’s more than edible).

M and Lil’ L absolutely loved it.  In fact, Lil’ L said it was one of the best cakes in the world!  For this reason alone, I think this cake deserves its own blog post.  So here it is.

Unlike regular cakes which are full of ’empty’ calories, this cake is packed full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein and fibre. It also provides slow release energy thanks to the wholegrain flour and almonds. I would class this cake as a healthier ‘eat any time’ kind of cake, though some of my readers have served it at parties and told me that it went down a treat. It can easily be prepared in advance. In fact, we find it tastes even better a day or two after baking.

140g / 1 cup fine wholemeal (whole wheat pastry) flour or chapatti flour
140g / 1 cup plain (all purpose) flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
½ tsp salt
100g / 1 cup ground almonds (almond meal)
100ml / ½ cup organic rapeseed (canola) oil or other neutral-flavoured oil
150ml / ½ cup + 2 TBSP soya or almond milk
200ml / ⅔ cup maple syrup
½ TBSP zest from an unwaxed/organic orange
60ml / ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tsp orange extract
½ tsp almond extract

Decorating options:
Orange Cashew Cream Frosting (see below) or apricot fruit spread (e.g. St Dalfour)
3 TBSP toasted flaked almonds, crushed


1  Preheat the oven to 180C (160 fan) / 350F.  Grease the sides of a 20cm / 8 inch loose-bottomed cake tin with oil and line the bottom with non-stick baking paper.

2  Sift the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl. Tip any remaining wheat germ into the bowl. Add the ground almonds and stir through to combine.

3  In a separate bowl, use a fork to whisk together the oil, milk, syrup, orange zest, orange juice, orange extract and almond extract until fully combined.

4  Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients and stir to combine (but do not over mix).  Pour the batter into the prepared tin.

5  Bake for 45 minutes, or until the cake is lightly browned and springs back when lightly pressed. Leave the cake to cool in its tin until completely cooled (it will firm up as it cools).

6  Decorate with frosting or apricot fruit spread and sprinkle toasted flaked almonds on top. Lightly press down on the almonds so that they stick. Chill in the refrigerator before serving.

7  Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, this cake will keep for up to 5 days. It also freezes well.



Orange Cashew Cream Frosting

Yield: about 240g / ¾ cup
Hand on time: 10 minutes    Ready in: 70 minutes

110g / ¾ cup raw cashews
55 ml / 3 TBSP maple syrup
½ TBSP zest from an unwaxed/organic orange
30ml/ 2 TBSP freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tsp orange extract
½ tsp vanilla extract
45g / 3 TBSP virgin coconut oil, melted

1  To soften the cashews,  boil them in a pan of water for 15 minutes or soak in freshly boiled water for 30 minutes. Rinse in cold water and thoroughly drain. 

2  Place the cashews in a food processor along with the syrup, zest, orange juice, orange extract and vanilla extract. Process until the cashews are ground into a creamy mixture. Stop now and then to scrape down the bowl. Add the melted coconut oil and continue blending for a few minutes until the mixture is completely smooth. Taste test for smoothness.

3  Scoop the frosting into a bowl and chill for one hour, or until firm enough to spread. The frosting will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator. It is also freezable


Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

With love,

60 thoughts on “Delicious Orange & Almond Cake (Dairy-free & Vegan)

  1. Good looking cake. Looking forward to trying a contender for ‘Best Cake in the World’. Personally I’m inclined to trust Master L’s judgement in such matters. And it’s full of vitamins. How much better can cake get??

  2. I wish I could help you on this one, but I have just about given up on gluten free baking. I refuse to use 42 different types of flour plus xantham gum and whatever other gums and starches and additions most recipes call for to make them gluten free. Although, the look and description of this cake does sort of make me want me to give it another try. I wonder if you upped the almond meal and used oat flour if it would hold together? I’ve made biscotti with all almond meal and it turned out beautifully.

    1. Mmm biscotti… Now there’s something that I need to try making 😉 I absolutely love biscotti but the version they sell in our coffee shops has butter in it. They seem to put butter in everything 🙁

  3. Oh this sounds delicious! I love almond in any baked good, it adds such a wonderful flavour. Your cake looks gorgeous 🙂 We make a really nice almond and pear cake at home – so good with Greek yogurt for afternoon tea!

    1. Almond and pear sound like a beautiful combo for a cake! You’ll have to share your family’s recipe one day. We’d love to try it! x

  4. I love citrus cakes – of there’s an orange or a lemon cake on offer, that’s the one I’ll usually go for. I had a delicious orange and polenta cake this week.
    This recipe looks great!

    1. I’ve been wanting to try polenta cake for ages. I’ve never actually had it before. I’ll have to check online for a dairy-free polenta recipe. Orange polenta cake sounds delicious!

  5. I am so glad you made this cake. After seeing it from your Holburne visit I so wanted to try it. Having the citrus in there is just like being able to pack a little sunshine into it.
    I will have to check all of the ingredients to see if I’ve got them, but I am quite certain my children would love this little treat to appear on the breakfast table or packed away in their lunch boxes.
    Thanks so much for this lovely treat. 🙂

    1. Cake for breakfast? Could life get any better?? We need to seek out some more of these ‘healthier’ cake recipes. We could eat a different cake for breakfast each day of the week. Yay!

  6. This recipe is amazing! Substituted agave for brown rice malt syrup, almond meal for decicated coconut and half amount of non dairy milk for more orange juice. Left out almond extract and used 1/2 a vanilla pod instead of essence.
    Will be making again!!!

    1. Thanks you SO much for leaving feedback about this cake. Hearing that you like it so much has made my day! 🙂 Next time I make it I’m definitely going to try out your subs. They sound amazing. I love the idea of adding dessicated coconut. Yum!

  7. Thanks Sharon. Yeah Its a totally different cake, because of the coconut its probably a bit more moist and alot cheaper to make. I also made the original which was delicious!! I just always like to put my own signatures second time round when I make a recipe. I have just made another version which is Cherry, Cocoa and Coconut as a birthday pressie for my sister. Will update you on how its turned out!

  8. I’d love to hear how the Cherry, Coconut and Cocoa version turns out. It sounds amazing! If it does work out, please do send me the recipe as I’d love to give it a try. Thank you! x

  9. To make gluten free cakes, I use Doves gluten free flour and simply add a little more vegetal milk and oil, so the dryness of gluten free flours is over balanced. Thanks for the recipe, looks delicious! I will try it for my birthday party 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog & for the advice on GF flour. I’ve tried the Doves flour once but I didn’t compensate for the dryness, so the bread I made was very dry & hard indeed 🙁 How much extra oil & milk do you tend to add when using the Doves flour?
      I really hope this orange & almond cake recipe works out for you. Do let me know how you get on.
      And Happy Birthday! I hope you have a great party! 😀 xx

      1. In the case of this recipe, I think I’ll go for one cup of soy milk instead of 3/4, and probably 2/3 cup of oil? Something along those lines! And why not a bit more orange juice…. 🙂
        I will let you know how it goes! xx

        1. Thanks Justine! Yes, please do let me know how it goes. I’ve got 3/4 bag of Doves flour in the pantry and I’d love to have another try at making at GF cake 🙂

  10. Hi, thanks for this recipe, I’ve been looking for things to make with my almond meal as I make my own almond milk – this cake is delicious! x

    1. Hi Melody! I’m so thrilled that the cake worked out for you! 😀 I’ve yet to make my own almond milk, but I’ve heard such good things about it. I really must give it a try! I didn’t even realise that the pulp could be turned into almond meal… ingenious! xx

  11. Hi Sharon,

    Almond milk is sooo nice – I can give you the recipe if you like? I tried it with hazelnuts this weekend and is even creamier! Yes you can use the meal either wet straight away, or you can dry it out at a low temperature in the oven and keep it to make cakes in the future 🙂 xx

  12. Of course 🙂 you soak one cup of nuts (hazel or almond with skins on) in water for up to 24 hours, changing the water after 12 hours. rinse, then blend with 3 cups of water, strain over bowl with a sieve lined with a cheese cloth and voila! Keeps in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight bottle. YUM hope you enjoy it!!

    1. Wow that sounds so easy! I just need to buy the cheesecloth then I can give it a try. Thank you so much for sending the recipe. I really appreciate it ♥ xox

  13. I made this for my daughters 14th birthday,I just have to say this is to become one of my most favourite cake recipe’s,everyone loved it,I loved everything about the cake,even baked to perfection,making more today into inividaual cup cake size.
    For my glaze I added some pieces of thin sliced oranges with the juice plus some rice syrup & coconut nectar,topped the cake off perfectly.
    Thanks for sharing such an awesome recipe.

    1. Hey Sherilee! Thank you so much for getting in touch. I’m thrilled to hear how much you like the cake. Reading your comments has made me smile so much 😀 Your glaze sounds totally delicious. I’m definitely going to try it next time I make the cake xx

      1. Hi there,just a note about the glaze,you need to simmer on stove until reduced to like a thick jam consistency,I didn’t measure anything,just a bit of each then I hoped for the best.Worked like a charm.

  14. I baked the cake and it came out delicious and moist. I made it a second time and added orange pulp and used honey instead of maple syrup. It was delicious and more moist. I placed one orange in a medium-sized saucepan of boiling water.Boiled and covered for 20 minutes. Removed from heat and drained.I placed softened orange in food processor. Processed the whole orange (pips,pith and all) until smooth paste was formed,approximately 3-4 minutes. I then followed your recipe and added the pulp to the wet ingredients.

    1. Thank you so much for your feedback and emailing pics of your gorgeous cakes. I’m so happy that you took the plunge and baked your first cake at age 69 (& that you chose one of my recipes :D) It’s wonderful that you’ve discovered the joy of baking & already have the confidence to experiment! I can’t wait to try your ‘whole orange’ variation xx

  15. Hi sharon,
    Just came across your blog and loved it instantly . I loved this almond orange cake recipe and wanted to try this. But I have got a doubt regarding the measurements . What does your 1 cup means ? Is it equal to standard 250 ml ? I have a 250 ml cup and can I try this recipe using that , because I don’t have any weighing machine ? Thanks.

    1. Hi Shamala Yes, the cup measurement is a standard measuring cup. Both a 240ml (US) or 250ml (metric) will work fine. So pleased you like this cake. It’s one of my favourites too 🙂

  16. Hi Sharon ,
    Thank you very much for your reply ….didn’t expect it so fast . Wanted to try few recipes from your blog . I wonder how you get those ideas……coz I am also vegetarian and don’t know how to replace an egg if a recipe calls for it . Also am new to baking and slowly it is turning into obsession , but scared to bake frequently because of calories . Happy to see your blog as most of the recipes are on low calorie side. Especially l like your almond cookies without butter . CanI replace almond milk with normal milk ? Also regarding the oven temperature what do you mean by 180C(160 fan) ? Thanks

    1. Hey Shamala. Great to hear from you again!
      My favourite milks for baking are soya and almond, but you can substitute cow’s milk if you prefer (I’m guessing this it what you mean by ‘normal’ milk?) 180 Celsius is the temperature for conventional ovens; 160 Celsius is for fan-assisted ovens.
      For baking cakes, cookies and pancakes, I don’t tend to use a substitute for eggs. For ‘fluffiness’ in cakes, I simply whisk a teaspoon or two of apple cider vinegar into the milk and leave it to curdle (like a butter milk substitute).
      I find inspiration from all over the place! If you’re interested in trying more plant-based cooking, there are some great blogs filled with recipes to inspire. Some of my favourites are and

      1. Hi Sharon ,
        Thank you for your kind reply . And yes I mean cow’s milk for normal milk . I also cook mostly plant based food . And sure will have a look into other blogs too .

  17. Just wanted to let you know I loved this recipe – I replaced one cup flour with 1.5 cups almond meal and it worked out really well too. It’s now on my list of favourites!

    1. So sorry for the delay in responding to you! I am so thrilled that you loved the recipe 😀 I’m really pleased the substitution worked out for you too. Thank you for letting me know xx

  18. My mixture was crumbly and not like a normal batter mixture. I used 2 cups of coconut flour instead of your requirement.

    1. Hi Michele. Unfortunately coconut flour won’t work in this recipe as a replacement for the wheat flour, as the only binder is the gluten. Without a replacement binder, the cake would definitely crumble. Sorry!

  19. Great recipe! absolutely delicious 🙂
    I love the combo almond and orange. But thinking it can be adapted as hazelnut and chocolate chips for the chocolate lovers too…

    1. Hi Nats. So pleased you enjoyed the cake! I love the idea of a hazelnut and choc chip version. If you try it, you must let me know how it works out xx

  20. This recipe turned out looking exactly like the picture as I followed the recipe flawlessly, but the taste wasn’t as I had expected! The orange is a little bitter so I would suggest an option to add more sugar or sweetener for those with a sweet tooth like me. Or perhaps the addition of a sweet sugary glaze infused with orange would be perfect. It could also be amped up with the addition of more orange juice perhaps or an orange essence. Overall I think this cake is perfect for those who prefer subtle flavours and treats that aren’t too sweet. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for your feedback Caitlin. I really appreciate it! Yes, this cake is definitely not the sweet/sugary kind. To me, it’s more of a wholefood/every day kind of cake, though some of my readers have also loved it as a birthday/celebration cake. I love topping this cake with orange cashew cream frosting (which is in the linked post), but a simple orange sugar frosting (made with vegan butter, orange extract, orange zest, icing/powdered sugar) also works. The latter would definitely be most appealing if you have a sweet tooth!

      1. The cake may have been slightly bitter bc the orange zest was grated too thickly. If you don’t grate down into the pithy white you may have more pleasing results. 🙂
        Anyway, I’m about to have a go at this. Looks delicious!

  21. Great recipe. I made quite a few variations but it turned out great. I wanted to make orange choice chip muffins for my kids and I had slightly wet ground almonds left over from making almond milk. I used white flour and white sugar, left out the essences, increased the orange juice and milk slightly (to make up for not using liquid sweeteners) and added chocolate chips and a touch of orange food colouring. They turned out perfectly and have risen up beautifully.

    1. Hi Naomi. So pleased they worked out for you! Chocolate and orange is one of my favourite flavour combinations. I definitely need to give these a try! Thanks for sharing your ingredient tweaks x

  22. I made this cake yesterday substituting half Doves gluten free plain flour and half coconut flour. It needed a lot of extra liquid but the finished result was great and it didn’t crumble.

  23. Such a great cake and one I will most-certainly be baking again!
    I subbed out a few ingredients but nonetheless ended with a superb end result:
    560g plain white flour in place of the chapati flour
    60ml unsweetened almond milk in place of orange juice
    200g white sugar + 135g Demerara sugar + 60ml unsweetened almond milk all in place of the maple syrup
    Also topped the cake with Demerara sugar in place of flaked almonds – gave such a good crunch

    Such a yummy cake! Love the idea of using chocolate almond milk or maybe even swapping out the almonds and almond milk in place of ground hazelnuts and hazelnut milk …. would be so good with some dairy free chocolate chips mixed in mmm … the possibilities are endless 😀

      1. Hi Stephen.
        I am so pleased that you enjoyed the cake! And thank you so much for feeding back on your substitutions. It’s great to hear that the cake can also be baked using regular sugar, rather than maple syrup (which can be expensive).
        I love all your suggestions about new flavour and nut combinations. If you make any, be sure to report back!
        By the way, is the 280g amendment for the sugar quantity? If you could let me know I’ll update your comment.
        Thank you!

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