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Nigella’s Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake

This Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake is a stunning, 7 ingredient dessert made entirely in your blender. 

Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake |

You know the feeling you get when you meet someone and instantly connect? It might be the way they talk, a certain word they use, or the books stacked on their shelves, but something clicks, and you know this is one of your people. The other day, I went to a friend’s house and noticed her movie collection included all the seasons of 24, the Anne of Green Gables trilogy, and all the seasons of Gilmore Girls. I immediately knew she was a kindred spirit.

The crazy thing is, I often have this feeling about people I’ve never even met. Or (nerd alert), people who don’t even exist. If Anne of Green Gables were real, we would for sure be BFFs or, as she would say, bosom friends. I feel the same way about Belle from Beauty and the Beast and Jess from New Girl. I just feel like we’d get each other, ya know?

 Nigella's Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake

I’d never really been into cooking shows until I saw one of Nigella Lawson’s shows. That woman gets me. I simply love her approach to cooking and baking. It’s elegant without being fussy, which really describes her as a person as well. This is a woman who licks the spatula, eats leftovers straight out of the fridge, and doesn’t bother if a few lemon seeds happen to slip into her cake. She doesn’t spend hours obsessing over the way her food looks, yet she makes some of the most irresistible looking dishes I’ve ever seen. When something turns out a bit lopsided or cracked, she doesn’t fret, she simply says “that’s how they’ll know it’s homemade!” She’s my kind of baker.

Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake #glutenfree

This Chocolate Orange Cake comes from the great Nigella, and it’s the epitome of what her baking is like. It’s incredibly simple-only 7 ingredients!-and it all comes together in a blender. That’s right. There’s no creaming, no mixing wet ingredients in one bowl and dry in the next. It’s all done with just a few pulses on your blender. See why I love her so much?

This cake also happens to be flourless, getting its structure and texture instead from hazelnut flour, which is really just very finely ground hazelnuts. I used Bob’s Red Mill Hazelnut Meal/Flour.

Nigella's Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake |

Now, if you think chocolate and orange sounds a bit strange, I feel ya. I was skeptical as well, but intrigued enough to try it. The recipe actually begins by boiling oranges for 2 hours until they’re soft and tender. Don’t worry, no hands on work is required during this time. All you do is toss them in a pot, cover, and let them go. By the way, this is also a great way to make your house smell amazing.

Once the oranges are soft they get pureed, whole, with all of the other ingredients. I’ll be honest, I was REALLY skeptical about this part. I thought grinding up the peel and pith with everything else would most certainly result in a bitter cake.

Chocolate Orange Cake -- A gluten free, 7 ingredient, blender chocolate cake!

But Nigella was dead on with this one. This cake is dense and chocolatey with a punchy orange flavor. It’s not bitter but rather earthy; the citrus tones are mellowed but still quite pronounced. One word of warning: this cake does not have the texture you would expect from a traditional flour cake. It’s not fluffy or light, but instead substantial and rich with a very moist, nutty crumb.

There are a million different ways you could dress this cake up. Ganache would be a lovely, decadent addition as would a whipped cream cheese frosting. But I wanted to tay true to the spirit of Nigella and go the easy but classy route for the adornments. A light dusting of powdered sugar is like a string of pearls on this cake…classic, elegant, and fitting for a fancy dinner party or just a quiet evening at home. Feel free to add a few curled orange peels to the top, or simply leave it bare. This cake is sure to turn heads, whether you accessorize it or not.

Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake | #glutenfree

Tell me, who are your real (or fictional) kindred spirits? What  makes them “get” you?

Chocolate Orange Cake

Prep Time 15 minsPrep Time
Cook Time 3 hoursCook Time
Total Time 3 hrs 15 mins Total Time
Yields 8-10


  • 2 small oranges
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups finely ground hazelnuts, or store bought hazelnut meal (can substitute almond meal as well)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, optional
  • Powdered sugar, optional


  1. Place the oranges in a medium sauce pan and cover with water. Bring the pot to a boil then cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until oranges are soft, about 2 hours.
  2. Once the oranges are cool enough to handle, slice them in half and remove any large seeds.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Place the oranges in a blender and pulse until smooth. You should end up with about 1Β½ cups of puree. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the powdered sugar, to the blender. Pulse a few times, stir, and then pulse, repeating until the mixture is well combined.
  5. Grease an 8 inch round spring form pan. Pour the cake batter into the pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


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Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson

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  • Brenda@SugarFreeMom April 29, 2014, 9:51 AM

    I love the chocolate and orange combo! It looks so rich and delicious!

  • Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough April 29, 2014, 9:57 AM

    Oh yes, Nigella knows how to make one seriously good cake (I’ve made her Guinness chocolate cake before and OH MY LANS). Can’t wait to try this one! Pinned!

  • Amy {Very Culinary} April 29, 2014, 12:13 PM

    Oh my god – Anne of Green Gables. I used to watch that series as a kid. I loved it! Anyway, I can’t believe this cake is made in the blender. How awesome. It looks

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood April 30, 2014, 10:33 AM

      I know, right? Blender cake for the win! And I’m glad there are some fellow Anne with an e appreciators out there!

  • Lemons for Lulu April 29, 2014, 12:38 PM

    Too funny! I loved Anne of Green Gables and Belle is my favorite princess! I totally get it!! This cake is nothing short of extraordinary! Looks absolutely stunning!

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood April 30, 2014, 10:32 AM

      Thanks Tanya! I’m so glad there are some other Anne with an e fans out there! πŸ™‚

  • Melanie | Melanie Makes April 29, 2014, 1:16 PM

    Looks absolutely gorgeous, Courtney – loved reading this post!

  • Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes April 29, 2014, 2:14 PM

    I’ve always loved chocolate and orange together. This looks amazing!

  • @VeganFreeze April 29, 2014, 2:41 PM

    How decadent and chocolate and orange is so good together!

  • Marly April 29, 2014, 4:24 PM

    Chocolate and orange are one of my favorite flavor combinations. This cake looks so good!

  • Angie | Big Bear's Wife April 29, 2014, 4:25 PM

    I love Nigella too! She’s amazing! Love this cake as well! mmm who are my kindred spirits? I’m not sure haha. I do hear a lot of myself when I read your blog though! lol

  • bellalimento April 29, 2014, 6:51 PM

    Is it wrong that I want to have that powdered sugar sprinkled directly into my mouth? Ah-mazing girl.

  • Kim Beaulieu April 29, 2014, 11:28 PM

    I have never seen Nigella. Isn’t that odd. Not sure if it’s Canadian programming or I just never see her on anything. Silly. But now that I’ve seen this I want to worship her. And you for making this.

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood April 30, 2014, 10:31 AM

      She’s not on much any more but I think she has a show on about once a week on the cooking channel. I DVR all of them, of course. πŸ™‚

  • savoryexperiments April 30, 2014, 8:22 AM

    Chocolate and orange is one of my favorite flavor combinations. I also love flourless chocolate cake- rich and decadent!

  • Jenn April 30, 2014, 9:02 AM

    Chocolate and orange cake…YES PLEASE! πŸ™‚

  • Taking On Magazines April 30, 2014, 10:07 AM

    Chocolate and orange are meant to be together! In fact, they say that if someone’s craving chocolate and is trying to lose weight, they should eat an orange because there’s some chemical in the orange that mimics chocolate. Anyhow, I adore Nigella too. I don’t see her much anymore but I still think she’s awesome. This cake is proof. It looks amazing.

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood April 30, 2014, 10:30 AM

      No way! I’ve never heard that about oranges before, but that’s pretty awesome if it works!

  • Jessica_AKitchenAddiction April 30, 2014, 3:31 PM

    Love how decadent this cake looks! Perfectly rich and delicious!

  • Russell from Chasing Delicious April 30, 2014, 5:57 PM

    Wow! And now I’m craving this cake! Amazing.

  • Liz April 30, 2014, 9:24 PM

    What a fabulous flavor combination! And a flourless chocolate cake I haven’t made!!! I’m going to give this one a shot soon. Thanks, Courtney!

  • Karen @ The Food Charlatan May 1, 2014, 12:58 AM

    Dude, I love this. Cake in the blender??? Sign me up. PS was the hazelnut flour uber expensive? and where did you get it?

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood May 1, 2014, 12:37 PM

      Ehhhh…it’s kind of expensive. I actually was lucky enough to have this batch sent to me. But I can find it at the Kroger near me as well!

  • littleredkitchen May 1, 2014, 8:12 AM

    I’m so curious about this cake! Especially the whole orange in the blender thing but it looks amazing and Nigella really does know what she’s talking about. p.s. Out of all the Disney princesses I always connected with Belle probably because I was and still am a book nerd.

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood May 1, 2014, 12:37 PM

      I was really skeptical, but it totally worked! And I’m a book nerd too. That’s totally why Belle is my bosom buddy. πŸ™‚

  • Nutmeg Nanny May 1, 2014, 9:46 AM

    The fact that this cake is made in the blender is amazing! I totally have to give this a try!

  • Jennifer Lemke May 1, 2014, 10:49 AM

    I can’t wait to try this! All I have is a 10″ springform pan. Could I use a regular 8″ pan or use the 10″ springform and adjust the time?

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood May 1, 2014, 12:38 PM

      I think it’d be fine to use a regular 8 inch pan, you just might have to serve it directly from the pan. The 10 inch would also work, though it may be a little thin. Let me know if you try it!

  • Nancy May 1, 2014, 12:10 PM

    I have the Anne trilogy too, as well as all of the books. I’m a hard core Anne fan for life. Another reason why you ‘n I are bosom friends πŸ™‚ This cake is out of control, Courtney. It’s absolutely gorgeous and sinful and decadent. I’ve heard of this technique of boiling a citrus and then using the entire fruit in a cake. I really really want to try it myself, especially if I end up with something as beautiful as your cake. And these photos – you’ve outdone yourself! They’re spectacular! I love dark moody atmospheric photos like these. Perfection.

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood May 1, 2014, 12:40 PM

      Aren’t they the best? Anne with an e is my favorite! Thanks for the comment on the photos. I’m trying to experiment more with the dark and moody. Sometimes I fail miserably, but I liked the way these turned out for the most part. Definitely let me know if you try the boiling citrus technique on something else. I’d love to try doing a lemon cake now! Plus, it really is a great air freshener. πŸ™‚

  • Jennie @themessybakerblog May 2, 2014, 8:25 AM

    I have no doubt we would be buddies. I loved Gilmore Girls when it was on air. Jess from New Girl is my idol, and Nigella wakes up at night to raid the refrigerator (my kind of gal). This cake is stunning, and your photos are absolutely lovely. Pinning!

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood May 2, 2014, 10:16 AM

      Oh yes Jennie! We would definitely be friends. I seriously feel like Jess would be the best to hang out with. Too bad she’s not real. :/

  • ItsJoelen May 2, 2014, 10:21 AM

    Chocolate and orange is such a classic combo – love how gorgeous this turned out!

  • Tina @ Tina's Chic Corner May 2, 2014, 2:24 PM

    Yes, I’ve totally had that kind of connection before! It always amazes me. Omg, I had not idea anyone outside my family heard of Anne of Green Gables…my sisters and I love that series…so cool.
    I love this cake, especially the photo of powdered sugar being sprinkled on top! Orange and chocolate is delicious. πŸ™‚
    Tina from

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood May 4, 2014, 8:36 PM

      You’re definitely not the only ones. I love Anne of Green Gables. My hubby and I even went to Prince Edward Island for our honeymoon! It was beautiful!

  • Fedele's May 3, 2014, 2:27 AM

    “Orange and Chocolate” Interesting Combination. I would love to try out your recipe for my customers. I own an Italian Restaurant in Glen Waverley Melbourne called Fedeles and I am sure everyone here will love this.

  • marcie @ flavor the moments May 4, 2014, 11:12 AM

    I saw this cake on Foodgawker…it is a head-turner! I love flourless chocolate cake, and I think the orange sounds like a great way to change it up. Pinning!

  • Librarian Lavender May 4, 2014, 3:33 PM

    So delicious, this cake looks almost too good to eat, almost…

  • jan September 20, 2014, 12:11 AM

    Please clarify – boil the oranges peeled or unpeeled? Please reply to my email?

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood September 20, 2014, 9:35 AM

      Hi Jan, you boil the oranges whole with the peel on. Hope you enjoy it!

      • jan September 20, 2014, 5:37 PM

        Thank you!

        • MC December 17, 2017, 10:48 AM

          So to clarify … once boiled and sliced you blend the oranges with the peels? Only remove the seeds and keep peel on?

          • Courtney December 17, 2017, 10:19 PM

            That’s right! I know it sounds crazy, but it works!

  • Kag Adams October 16, 2014, 9:45 PM

    Made this today for my birthday. Simply amazing. Don’t get frustrated if the blender gives trouble…just mix and do your best hand mixing some if necessary. I made a ganache to top it

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood October 17, 2014, 10:55 AM

      I’m so glad you liked it! The ganache sounds wonderful. Thanks for coming back to let me know…it makes my day!

  • Alice Choi December 15, 2014, 11:28 AM

    Courtney, oh my gawd, this cake!!! I love Nigella. . and love meeting people like that. . where you have that instant connection. . my sister has all the seasons of Gilmore Girls too πŸ™‚

  • Dianna May 9, 2015, 8:05 PM

    Is it possible to skip the hazelnuts or add less without it ruining the cake? The person I’m making this for has a minor nut allergy πŸ™ can have some but not too much.

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood May 10, 2015, 10:51 AM

      Unfortunately the hazelnut flour is really what keeps the cake together so I wouldn’t take it out or reduce it.

  • Alice Shockley June 8, 2015, 9:30 PM

    I’m a little worried…how big are “small” oranges? If I used ones too big or too small, won’t that effect the outcome?

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood June 9, 2015, 2:01 PM

      Hi Alice, I wouldn’t worry too much about the size of the oranges. Look for average size oranges at your grocery store and you should be fine!

      • the_marigny November 22, 2015, 3:37 AM

        I can vouch for the fact that the size of the orange(s) doesn’t matter much. Nigella’s original recipe specifies “1 large or 2 small oranges” weighing ca. 14 oz total. I just made the cake today with an orange that weighed 10 oz. and it turned out just fine. The fact that this recipe is very forgiving makes it even better!

  • the_marigny November 20, 2015, 8:10 PM

    Came across this post while looking for this recipe, which I’ve made several times, to send to a friend. It’s fabulous.

    However – the original version of this recipe in Nigella’s cookbook “Feast” specifies 2 cups of ground almonds, not hazelnut flour. Curious why you changed the ground almonds in the original recipe to hazelnuts … ?

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood November 20, 2015, 10:46 PM

      Hello! There’s no particular reason, except that the first time I made this I had hazelnut meal I wanted to use up. I’ve made it with either almond or hazelnut since and both work wonderfully. I just go with whatever I have on hand.

      • the_marigny November 22, 2015, 3:39 AM

        Necessity really is the mother of invention! I just might try making it with hazelnut flour (which I love) next time to see if the flavor is different.

  • Jenny February 8, 2016, 6:24 PM

    Excited for this crazy good looking cake! One question, do you remove the peels before blending? Or do you put the oranges with the peels into the blender after they’re boiled? Thanks!

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood February 8, 2016, 8:46 PM

      They go in with the peel on! I know it sounds crazy but it really works! Hope you love it!

      • Jenny February 9, 2016, 9:10 AM

        Cool! Starting to make it now! Thanks for the quick response πŸ™‚

  • Bethany December 17, 2016, 7:34 AM

    Really delicious, buy could def use a touch of salt! Would recommend adding a pinch.

  • Ray Ivey December 23, 2016, 8:08 PM

    In what alternative universe does this recipe fit into a blender? I mean, it technically fits, but fills it up so high that nothing can effectively be blended together. I had to scrape it out and use my stand mixer. Like an ordinary cake. Did you use some kind of magical industrial blender? I have a VitaMix Turbo Blend 4500, and there’s no way under heaven I could have effectively mixed this volume of ingredients in it.

    • Paul March 26, 2018, 6:43 PM

      Maybe your oranges are too large
      I hve same mixer and works great

  • Marcia January 13, 2017, 6:21 AM

    I’m excited to try this! Is it ok to bake the cake a day ahead, or best to make it the day of? If ahead is ok, should it be refrigerated over night??

    • Courtney @ NeighborFood January 13, 2017, 11:38 PM

      You can definitely bake a day ahead! In fact, sometimes I think it’s even better the second day. Hope you enjoy!

  • Demarian May 24, 2017, 1:25 AM

    Would it be okay if I used a 9-inch (24 cm) springform pan for this? I know it would be a little thinner, but would it drastically change the cake? Would I need to make any adjustments? If so, what? Thanks!

    • Courtney May 24, 2017, 11:41 AM

      I think you could do that. I would just keep a close eye on it to make sure you don’t over bake it. You’ll probably need to reduce the baking time by 5-10 minutes.

  • My-Hoa Steger November 16, 2017, 10:38 PM

    This recipe is delicious and simple! I cut the sugar almost in half and it turned out very rich with an incredible orange essence. It’s a beautiful cake that can be dressed up many different ways. I made a raspberry/blueberry compote and drizzled it over the cake. Thank you! I will be making this again next week for my birthday!

  • Paul March 26, 2018, 6:28 PM

    I have made this cake several times – it is very good
    However when i take it out from oven it has risen a good 3 to 4 inches and then falls down to 2 inches is this proper?
    Why is it falling down

    • Courtney March 27, 2018, 5:55 PM

      It’s normal for there to be some sinking. It’s definitely more of a dense cake than a fluffy cake.

  • MALVIKA May 22, 2018, 7:02 PM

    Absolutely love love this cake! I have made it several times and it has turned out just awesome! I receive a lot of compliments when I make it. I frost mine with chocolate ganache with some orange zest on top-ah heaven!

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