Almond-Orange Cake with Vanilla-Orange Frosting
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This Gluten-Free, Grain-Free cake is a real treat! It has become a birthday cake tradition for me because it's so delicious! Recipe via Simply Gluten-Free with a few adaptations.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free optional
Serves: 10-12 servings
  • 3 cups finely ground blanched almond flour
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • Zest of 4 large oranges, finely grated (about 5 teaspoons packed)
  • 8 large eggs, room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Vanilla Orange Frosting
  • ¼ cup butter or dairy-free alternative, softened (we have made it with both butter and Earth Balance soy-free sticks)
  • 1 pound Confectioners (powdered) Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 4 – 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice, start with 4 and add as needed to get the right texture - I most often use 5 tablespoons)
  • Approximately ¾ -1 cup sliced almonds
  • Candied orange zest
Candied Orange Zest
  • 1½ cups sugar, divided
  • 1 cup water
  • Zest of 1 orange taken off the orange in thin strips with a peeler
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Generously grease 2 9 inch round cake pans. Cut circles out of parchment paper and line the bottom of the cake pans with the parchment and lightly grease them as well. Set aside.
  2. Prepare Almond flour mixture: In a food processor fitted with a steel blade combine the almond flour and ½ cup sugar and pulse a few times to combine. Add orange zest and process for an additional 30 seconds to combine. If you do not have a food processor, just whisk it all together but if you use the food processor the cake will have a finer texture.
  3. Separate the egg yolks and whites into two large mixing bowls.
  4. Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites, then at very high speed, using a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until they form stiff, glossy peaks. Set aside.
  5. In the mixing bowl with the egg yolks add the remaining half cup of sugar and the kosher salt. Then using the paddle attachment beat on high speed until thick and almost doubled in size – about 1 - 2 minutes. It will be a creamy and thick and light yellow in color.
  6. Stir in the almond mixture.
  7. Take a large spoonful of the beaten egg whites and mix into the yolk mixture and then gently fold in the remaining whites until the mixture is no longer streaky and is well combined.
  8. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The cake will also pull back from the pans.
  9. Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling Turn over the pans onto a cooking rack, knock gently and the cakes should come out easily. Peel off the parchment paper.
  10. While the cake is cooling, make the frosting.
  11. Note: I often make the cakes a day ahead and then frost the next day.
Vanilla Orange Frosting
  1. Using an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the confectioners sugar and the vanilla and turn the mixer on low. Add the orange juice, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture reaches the consistency of buttercream frosting – creamy and spread-able but not too thin.
Candied Orange Zest
  1. Combine water and 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then add the orange peel.
  2. Let boil gently for 10-15 minutes or until the zest is tender.
  3. Place the remaining ½ cup of sugar on a plate. Using a slotted spoon or large fork, carefully remove the zest from the liquid and drop into the sugar, tossing to coat. Let the zest dry in the sugar and the remove.
  4. Can be made several days ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
Assemble the cake
  1. Place one layer of fully cooled cake, top-side down, on a cake stand or platter. Spread some frosting on top of the cake then top with the remaining cake layer, bottom side down. Frost the sides and the top of the cake.
  2. Gently press the sliced almonds into the frosting around the sides of the cake.
  3. Garnish the top of the cake with sugared orange zest if desired.
  4. Serve and enjoy!
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