Gluten Free Chocolate Blood Orange Cake

blood orange chocolate cake

What’s the weekend without a good slice of dense, rich chocolate cake? I like to call this particular recipe “Chocolate Cake 2.0” because it’s THAT good. That subtle hint of citrus stemming from the blood oranges that get pureed into the batter (pulp, skin & everything) after being boiled for 2 hours, is incredibly good- yet not overpowering. It doesn’t taste like oranges solely; it tastes like a phenomenal chocolate cake with subtle orange undertones. Because it’s gluten-free & paleo compliant- it’s not baked with regular, white refined flour.

I must admit… I really went a little overboard with the chocolate content on this cake: I even glazed it with homemade chocolate ganache and then put in the freezer while it awaited my husband’s much anticipated return. The last thing I did after I thawed it was candy the oranges and shave some semisweet, baking dark chocolate to create a beautiful, fully edible topping that was stunning, yet very simple to recreate.

chocolate and blood oranges

The last few weeks have been crazyyyyy; even by my abnormal standards. Ed has been travelling a lot for work, and he’s only been home for a total of 7 days this month. I’ve been a “one woman show” running the household with 2 young kids under 5 & let me tell you; it ain’t no easy task. I have a whole, newfound respect for the women AND men that go at parenting alone. I salute you! You are both rock stars, I mean it. I find my energy sliced in half every day. Working on this cake during the week has been almost therapeutic for me because: 1) chocolate is always cheaper than therapy & 2) the loud, busy day makes me appreciate that golden late night silence in my kitchen. Where it’s me, myself and I (and chocolate)!

chocolate cake

We’re also celebrating my daughter’s 3rd birthday this Sunday so I’ve been baking & freezing ginormous trays of brownies all week. Whenever I find a 30-40 minute time slot I put chocolate and almond flour to work and bake a batch. And then the kids find them cooling before going into the freezer and they attack the batch, and then I join forces with them. And half my work is gone. Because again, chocolate. I’m also making tamari meatballs, a thai quinoa salad & a tray with hummus and different paleo crackers. I am excited and so is she! Every morning she wakes up and screams: “Is today Gracie’s party?” (Yep, in third person). Makes it even more endearing! Soon baby girl, soon.

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Chocolate Blood Orange Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Time: 3 hours
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Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s “Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake”. I have two food muse’s: Nigella & my mama.


  • 2 blood oranges (or regular oranges)
  • 2 cups of almond flour or almond meal (you could aso try mixing 1 cup almond flour + 1 cup of hazelnut meal (ground hazelnuts)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of raw cacao powder or good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup of raw cane, unrefined sugar
  • 1 packed tsp GF baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract

To candy the oranges for cake topping decoration: (optional) 

  • 1 orange
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of coconut sugar or raw cane sugar
  • 1 tbsp of pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp of rose water (optional)


  1. Place the oranges in a pot & cover with water. Bring to a boil & then cover with a lid & reduce the heat to a low simmer. Let them cook for 2 hours.
  2. Remove the oranges from the pot & allow them to cool off. Slice them in half & remove any seeds to avoid any bitterness in the batter.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F & grease the bottom & sides of a 8 or 9 inch cake spring pan.
  4. Throw the oranges into your food processor or blender & pulse until you obtain a smooth puree. Then add the almond flour, raw cacao powder, eggs, vanilla, baking soda & baking powder into the food processor. Process until nicely smooth.
  5. Pour batter onto cake pan & bake for 45-55 mins. All ovens vary, I like to check & insert a toothpick in the middle at the 40 min mark.

For the candied oranges:

  1. Cut an orange into thin, round slices. You can candy as many oranges as you want: simply double up the recipe, that includes the water & the sugar. In my case, one large orange was enough to decorate the cake.
  2. Bring the water & sugar to a boil. Throw in the oranges and lower to medium heat. Let them puff up and cook for about 25 minutes. Allow them to cool on a rack.
  3. Turn the oven on to 300F and place them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. I glazed them with a bit of pure maple syrup and rose water & the smell & taste were divine! The water they cooked in is also a perfect glaze if you want to coat them in that, instead. I always save the water they boiled in as it makes an amazing syrup for pancakes or crepes!
  4. I baked them for about 20 minutes. I loved the deep, dark colour and crunchiness they acquired. If you want to FULLY candy your oranges, this takes about 5-6 hours at 200F (a much lower heat setting). Enjoy as the perfect cake topper!!! OH & I also added some dark chocolate shavings on top of the oranges because that’s how I roll. 🙂

P.S. In case you’re wondering how to make ganache, my recipe was gluten free- but not dairy free. I make ganache the old-fashioned way my mom taught me: equal parts heavy cream & equal parts hard, 70% baking chocolate chopped & measured in a cup.

Pastel de Chocolate y Naranja

  • Servings: 8-10 porc
  • Time: 3 hrs
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Adaptado de una receta de Nigella Lawson titulada “Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake”.


  • 2 tazas de harina de almendras o pueden substituir (1 taza de harina de almendras + 1 taza de harina de avellanas)
  • 1/2 taza de cacao puro en polvo
  • 2 naranjas
  • 6 huevos
  • 1 cucharadita de de extracto de vainilla
  • 1 cucharadita de extracto de almendra (opcional)
  • 1 taza de azúcar morena de cana sin refinar
  • 1 cucharadita de polvo para hornear sin gluten
  • 1/2 cucharadita de bicarbonato de sodio

Naranjas Confitadas

  • 1 naranja partida en rodajas delgadas (circulares)
  • 1 taza de agua
  • 1 taza de azúcar morena
  • 1 cucharada de jarabe puro de maple
  • 1 cucharada de agua de rosas


  1. Poner las naranjas en una olla y llenar con agua fría hasta casi cubrirlas completamente con agua. Van a flotar. Poner en fuego alto para que hierva. Una vez ha hervido, poner en fuego lento-medio por 2 horas. Luego se sacan y se dejan enfriar.
  2. Encender el horno a 350 y engrasar el molde (parte inferior y lados) para pastel. Use una tortera con resorte que hace muy fácil retirar los lados y mantener la parte de abajo y el pastel intacto. Le pongo mantequilla y un poco de harina sobre la mantequilla para que no se pegue el pastel.
  3. Se sacan las naranjas de la olla y se dejan enfriar. Una vez hayan enfriado, se cortan a la mitad (linea horizontal) y se sacan las semillas.
  4. Se mete la fruta dentro del procesador de comida o licuadora y se le da “pulse” por 20-30 segundos. Se deshacen con mucha facilidad.
  5. Se le deja caer a el pure de naranja los 6 huevos, la vainilla y el azúcar y se mezclan hasta conseguir una pasta uniforme.
  6. Se incorporan los ingredientes secos (harina de almendras, cacao, bicarbonato, polvo para hornear), poco a poco y siempre mezclando muy bien.
  7. Se hornea por 45-55 minutos, pero siempre hay que chequearlo al minuto 40. Se puede probar con un cuchillo o un palillo grande y ver si al meterlo al centro del pastel, sale limpio.
  8. Se deja enfriar y se puede decorar con naranjas confitadas o dulce de naranja. Yo también le deje caer chocolate obscuro rayado encima. Sabe mejor al día siguiente! Lo he tenido en la refri por 3 días y cada día sabe mejor pues los sabores se han asentado.

Para confitar las naranjas:

  1. Solo uso una naranja para ponerle de topping al pastel, pero si quieren usar mas, simplemente doblen el agua y el azúcar. Se deja hervir el agua y el azúcar y se dejan caer las rodajas de naranja. Se baja a fuego medio y se dejan cocinar por 25 mins.
  2. Se sacan las naranjas de la olla y se dejan enfríar sobre una rejilla para hornear.
  3. Luego se enciende el horno a 300F y se colocan en una hoja para hornear galletas que ha sido forrada con papel de pergamino.
  4. Se le deja caer el jarabe puro de maple y el agua de rosas. Si no tienen ninguno de estos dos, usen el agua en el que se cocieron las naranjas para glasearlas. Se hornea por 20-25 minutos.
  5. Si las quieren confitar por completo y hacerlas dulce, entonces se baja la temperatura a 200F y se hornean por 5-6 horas.
  6. Guarden el agua con azúcar, hace un sirope delicioso para pancakes o crepas!