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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Smyth

Orange and Almond Cake (Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free)

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

It's a scorcher this week in the UK so if you're doing any baking you want it to be quick, fresh and zero hassle. This is a super simple recipe I tweaked for a friend who can't eat Gluten, Dairy or Soy, and I absolutely stand by the fact the cake doesn't feel like it's missing anything. The fine cornmeal (polenta) can usually be found in the world foods aisle and helps keep the cake very moist along with the almonds. It's got a slightly coarser structure to a regular sponge but will happily feed 8 as it is a bit denser. Feel free to leave out the thyme if you don't fancy the herby infusion! Enjoy, get involved and let me know how you get on in the usual ways @cakesmyth Andrew x

Ingredients - Makes a single layer 6 inch cake

For the cake

  • 90g light olive oil (not extra virgin as this is much stronger)

  • 110g caster sugar

  • 150g ground almonds

  • 2 medium eggs

  • Finely grated zest 1 orange

  • 1 1/2 tsp orange blossom water (optional)

  • 75g fine cornmeal (polenta, but not the pre-cooked variety)

  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 50g pistachios, finely chopped

For the drizzle

  • Juice of 1 orange (~100g)

  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 2 tbsp orange blossom honey (or regular honey)

To serve (optional)

  • Dollop of mascarpone

  • Kit

  • 6 inch loose-bottomed cake tin


  1. Grease a 6" cake tin with olive oil and line the base and sides with greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to fan 160C / 350F.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric whisk to whisk together the oil and sugar for about 2 minutes. Add some of the ground almonds and one egg then whisk to combine. Repeat with the remaining almonds and egg. Add the orange zest and (optional) orange blossom water and fold through using a spatula.

  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the fine cornmeal and baking powder then sieve and fold into the wet ingredients. Pour into the lined tin and level the top with a spatula.

  4. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven at fan 160C for 40-50 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. If it is still damp, return to the oven for 3 minutes and check again.

  5. Whilst the cake is cooking, make the syrup. Put the orange juice, honey and thyme (if you fancy the herbs) into a saucepan over a low heat. Stir and warm gently until it starts to steam then remove from the heat and set aside to let the thyme infuse.

  6. Once cooked, leave the cake in the tin on a cooling rack and immediately prick all over with a skewer. Leave for a few minutes to cool then reheat the syrup and brush it over the cake. It will seem like a lot but use it all! Leave to cool completely then decorate with chopped pistachios and a few spare sprigs of thyme if you have them. Perfect served with a dollop of yoghurt.

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