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 | Neighborfoodblog.com

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 Flourless 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?

So, what is flourless chocolate orange cake made of?

This chocolate orange cake 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. This happens to be a great way to make your house smell amazing.

Once the oranges are soft they get pureed, whole, with all of the other ingredients, which include eggs, cocoa, cinnamon, and hazelnut flour or finely ground hazelnuts. I used Bob’s Red Mill Hazelnut Meal/Flour, but you can also grind up your own hazelnuts or sub finely ground almonds/almond meal.

After the mixture is pureed into a batter, it’s poured into a cake pan, baked, and VOILA. Gorgeous chocolatey orange cake is served!

Nigella's Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake | Neighborfoodblog.com

I’ll be honest, I was REALLY skeptical about this cake. I wasn’t sure if I would like the combination of chocolate and orange, and I was certain that grinding up whole oranges (peel and all!) would result in a bitter 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.

Is Flourless Chocolate Cake Gluten Free?

Not all flourless cakes are gluten free, but this one is! It also happens to be dairy free, butter free, and oil free, which makes it great for a variety of dietary restrictions.

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.

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

What Frosting Goes with Flourless Chocolate Cake?

There are a million different ways you could dress this cake up. Ganache would be a lovely, decadent addition (my friend has a wonderful microwave chocolate ganache), and a whipped cream cheese frosting would also work well (the one I use with this Easy Strawberry Cake is my personal favorite). 

But if you want to stay true to the spirit of Nigella and go the classy, no frills route, a light dusting of powdered sugar is all you need.

This cake is 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 | Neighborfoodblog.com #glutenfree

If you love this cake but need a quick gluten free chocolate cake fix, try this Paleo Chocolate Mug Cake for one!  You may also enjoy my rich and chewy Almond Joy Cookies.

Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake

Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake

Yield: 8-10
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours

This Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake is made in the blender and produces a moist, nutty cake with understated elegance.

Ingredients

  • 2 oranges
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups finely ground hazelnuts, or store bought hazelnut meal (can substitute almond meal as well)
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon, optional
  • Pinch salt
  • Powdered sugar, optional

Instructions

  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 1 1/2 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.
  6. Allow the cake to cool, then sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired. Or frost with your favorite frosting.

Notes

The hazelnut meal can be substituted with almond meal.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 461Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 112mgSodium: 155mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 6gSugar: 41gProtein: 11g

Please note nutritional information for my recipes is calculated by a third party service and provided as a courtesy to my readers. For the most accurate calculation, I always recommend running the numbers yourself with the specific products you use.

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Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson

Chocolate Orange Cake

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148 Comments

  1. Making this cake right now for a birthday! But my husband asked a good question.. “should the hazelnuts be roasted?” Ack! I’m not sure… I bought raw hazelnuts and grinded them up already, would this still work or should they be roasted beforehand? I have almond flour that I can substitute instead but I was really excited about the hazelnut flavor!

  2. I realise it’s a flourless cake, but could I use regular cake flour for this cake instead of the nut flour?

  3. I’m trying to boil the oranges and find they float! I can’t get them covered. Any suggestions? Will this be an issue?

  4. I just made this. I questioned the boiling of the oranges to remove the bitterness, I even blended them as directed, they smelled delicious so I tasted and oh so bitter!!! But I had gone this far so went on and added the sugar….still not appetizing..but continued, hand beat the eggs and added remaining ingredients.
    Poured into my prepared pan, and tasted again! AMAZING it was delicious !!!
    After cooking it was so moist with a amazing amount of orange flavor….this is By far One of the BEST desserts I have EVER made. No joke……try it exactly as written.
    Thank you.

    1. So glad you enjoyed the chocolate orange cake! I know the whole oranges throw people off, but I’m glad it proved worth it!

  5. I love this recipe, so easy and delicious exactly as the recipe states. I’ve made it a number of times, I love chocolate and orange. I am thinking of trying it without the orange for a friends dinner who is not a fan of the combo, will it taste the same should I add anything else to replace the orange??

  6. I made this cake for the 2nd time. As others have mentioned batter did not fit into blender. This time I pulverized the oranges and added dry ingredients which I sifted together alternately with 1 egg at a time. It went together with room to spare. I also used a 7 inch springform and cut it in half for 2 layers and frosted with a chocolate buttercream frosting and between layers. I was surprised that it was not too sweet. I used allulose instead of sugar in both cake and frosting. No aftertaste at all. Great to be able to make a cake sugar free and gluten free. Wanted to mention I originally made it for Passover but due to Covid I was unable to go. I cut it in half and put it into freezer frosting and all. Served it a couple of weeks ago and it was excellent. In fact I froze cake this time and put it into freezer. Much easier to handle and cut into 2 layers. Used 2. Large navel oranges. I think cake is very forgiving. Will adjust to the size of oranges thick or thin skin. Also mixed together Dutch cocoa, very dark cocoa and espresso powder Great cake. Easy to make. Thanks

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your tips for making this sugar free and freezing. So glad you enjoyed it!

  7. This was insane! So moist and flavor some! I don’t like chocolate orange but it was a request from my husband and it was DIVINE. Amazing! It does not need a topping, perfect as is. I served it with whipped cream.

    I used half almond and half hazelnut flour. I did add a tsp of vanilla and baked it for only 35mins. It was wonderful! Thank you!

  8. Does this recipe call for regular sweet oranges or can I use Seville oranges? I’ve been trying to find recipes for bitter Seville oranges, and this recipe appeared.

    1. I probably wouldn’t use Seville oranges in this. I’ve always used traditional sweet oranges and the sugar content would probably have to be adjusted significantly to account for the different flavor profile of Sevilles.

  9. Lovely tweak on an old favourite. First came across flourless orange cake 20 years ago when we visted a cafe in an old slab hut after hiking Cradle Mountain in Tasmania. Never thought to add cocoa to it, which is weird because “Jaffas” (a small orange flavoured chocolate ball covered in a hard red candy shell) are a much loved childhood treat in Australia and New Zealand. I substituted barley flour for the nuts. It’s low in gluten and won’t upset friends with nut allergies.
    Thanks for the inspiration,
    Pam (from Canberra, Australia)

  10. Great recipe. Did one cup almond flour , one cup ground hazelnuts. Could’ve added vanilla – maybe next time. Very unique cake and really yummy without gluten, butter, oil, dairy. Impressive

  11. By the way, is it ok if I use pressure cooker to “boil” the oranges? If so, how much water do I need? Thanks!

  12. Can you freeze the cupcakes for a few days? If so, how do I defrost them? Just leave them in the fridge overnight? Thanks

  13. Hi, can I make this cake into cupcakes? If so, what temp should it be? How many cupcakes do you think it yields? Thanks, can’t wait to try!

    1. I haven’t tried these with cupcakes before. I think it would work, but they would be dense like the cake, not fluffy like traditional cupcakes. Bake at the same temp but start checking them around the 18 minute mark. I always do a test cupcake before baking the whole batch to make sure it works and get an approximate baking time. Hope that helps! And yes, cupcakes should freeze fine. Defrost at room temperature or in the fridge overnight.

  14. Love the cake . Baked it for many times already however, the cakes cracked every time. Any solutions, i even reduce the baking powder to 3/4 teaspoon and reduce the temperature. Please help.

    1. I’m so glad you love the cake, but this is a tough one! I haven’t had issues with cracks for this recipe before. My first go-to would also be reducing the temp by 25 degrees. If that doesn’t work, you could try baking it in a tube pan with a hole in the center. I haven’t tried this before though, so I’m not sure how easily it would come out.

  15. A lovely and very forgiving recipe. I made a few changes (as I didn’t have quite enough liquid in the orange so I put in soy milk to get the same proportions and a little bit of gluten free flour as my packet of almond meal was just under two cups) and one new ingredient. The new ingredient was a cup of dark chocolate chips at the end. I also added tsp. vanilla as I love it in chocolate cakes. I felt when I tasted the batter the orange was a bit overpowering. I think the choc chips helped balance it and it added a new texture. I also used my processor instead of the blender. I still pulsed it etc. I’ve made whole orange cakes like this before so I knew it would work.

  16. FYI…you can buy almonds, put it in a food processor or grinder and voila you have almond meal. So much cheaper.

  17. Just another orange-boiling skeptic here to confirm that this stuff works!!!! Trust it! So simple and deeply delicious.

  18. I absolutely love Nigella,going to cook this for a dinner party.Also loved Anne of green gables , watched it n read it as a girl.will post a pic . Thanku for the great pics .BarbieB 👏💋

  19. Wha a delicious cake! Was looking for something fun and different to make today that was chocolatey, dairy free and gluten free. This ticked all the boxes and then some! I had to check several times when I asked myself, “really? The whole
    Orange?” Yes, yes and YES! It is Devine. Didn’t have spring form pan but came out just fine from a regular 8” cake pan. Dusted a pinch of cardamom in with powdered sugar on top. Thank you for such a delicious recipe. Will keep this one “in the mix” for a long time ☺️

  20. I will be baking this today right after my official work hours are over since it’s still a WFH! Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  21. Hi, thank you the recipe looks great. I might try it this sunday for my mum-in-law’s 70th. Can I substitute the granulated sugar for dextrose? Do you think that will work ok? I often do for recipes, but want to be sure before I make this cake. Thank you.

    1. Hi Rachel! I’ve never baked with dextrose before so I’m not much help with this question. If you experiment, please let me know how it turns out!

  22. Has anyone tried making this cake as a pan of individual cupcakes? Any advice/recommendations would be welcome if they have. Thanks

  23. Nigella’s recipe has 1/4 cup less sugar & vanilla. I think vanilla makes the cake! Maybe I used the wrong persons recipe & should have went for the original recipe from Nigella!!

  24. I am currently in the midst of making this cake! thank you for sharing! I only have a small nutribullet blender so I have blended the oranges in that and will either do very tiny batches of the other ingredients OR just fold the orange in 🙂 So interested to try! Thanks again 🙂

  25. I just made this cake today, can’t wait to try it. My blender was not big enough for the full batch, I will have to spilt the batter next time. I made my own hazelnut meal. I started by toasting the hazelnuts before grinding them, hopefully that adds some nice flavor to the cake. I will be serving it with a orange zest infused crème anglaise.

    1. I’ve never baked with coconut sugar before, but the internet suggests you can make a 1-1 substitution with coconut sugar. This is a pretty sturdy cake, so my guess is that would work fine. Let me know if you give it a try!

  26. Had coconut flour so tried it instead of hazelnut flour with a Terry’s orange ganache. Turned out very well and so rich, it lasted 3 days as a dessert for 4. Delicious

  27. Hi,
    I have baked this and love it.
    I would like to make this into 2 x 6 inch round pans.
    What would you suggest the baking time and the temperature?

    Thank you so much, I am so excited waiting for your reply.

  28. This sounds delicious… Can you use a sugar substitute? Almond flour can be used too, right? I can’t have the sugar. I am going to try this my way to see how it turns out… I am going to use sugar free cake icing , micowaved till slightly runny. Then add some orange flavoring, then a light dusting of powdered sugar substitute.

  29. This looks delicious!! I have some macadamia meal in the fridge – will this work? Also, I see you mention it is quite dense, will I still be able to construct it into a two/three layer cake sandwiched with maybe some dark choc mouse?

    Thank you!

    1. I think the macadamia meal would work! As far as layering, I think it would be a little heavy as a double layer cake. I think logistically you could stack it, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it. The mouse would make for a great frosting though!

  30. Hello, if I do not have an 8- inch spring form pan, can I use a regular square pan and line it with wax paper? Thank you for your advice.

    1. I think that would work, although you might not be able to get it as cleanly out of the pan. Serving it from the pan wouldn’t be a problem though.

  31. The cake was delicious, honesy i had my doubts when i saw it, chocolate and orage, but it s sooo good!!! Can someone tell me if i can freez a piece or two? Would it have the same taste? Thanks for sharing 😊

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! The cake should freeze just fine. I’d wrap them tightly in saran wrap and place in a ziplock bag then thaw at room temp overnight. Thanks for making the recipe, and coming back to let me know!

  32. 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!

  33. 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

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

  34. 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!

  35. 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!

    1. 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.

  36. 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??

  37. 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.

  38. 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!

  39. 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 … ?

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  40. 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?

      1. 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!

  41. 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 🙁 can have some but not too much.

  42. 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 🙂

  43. 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

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

  44. 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!

  45. “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.

  46. 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. 🙂
    Tina from http://www.tinaschic.com

  47. 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!

  48. 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 🙂 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.

    1. 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. 🙂

  49. 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?

    1. 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!

  50. 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.

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

  52. 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!

  53. 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.

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

  55. 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.

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

  57. 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!

  58. 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 a.ma.zing.

  59. 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!

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