Almond, orange and pecan cake

You know how I feel about cake and desserts: even when they’re made with the best ingredients, they are too energy dense for every day scoffing. That’s why making a cake is a treat – because we don’t do it very often.

But my few forays into gluten-free cake baking (I’ve made about 4 attempts in 4 years) have been disappointing which is probably one of the reasons I don’t bother. This one, however, is the most cakey cake I’ve ever made without gluten. It has a crumby texture and a soft of springiness that is completely delicious. There is a tiny bit of honey in there – about 4g per slice – so if you need to maintain strict ketosis, this may not be the best choice for you. For those who are keto-adapted and relatively fit, the odd slice shouldn’t present a problem.

I hope you like the picture – including the fire burned edges of the baking parchment which caught light in the oven because I made such a bad job of lining the tin!!


For the batter

  • 300g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 50g xylitol
  • 3 large eggs
  • 50ml honey
  • 120ml olive oil
  • 1 tsp natural almond flavour
  • 1 tsp Madacascan vanilla essence
  • I small orange or satsuma

For the topping

  • 6 dried apricots – soaked in tea
  • 6 pecan nuts
  • (or you could use prunes and walnuts, figs and almonds)
  • I have also laid thinly sliced oranges on top which look great and caramelise nicely.


  1. Heat the oven to 160°C/fan 140°C/gas 3 and grease and line a 20cm cake tin.
  2. Put the almonds, baking powder, salt and xylitol into a large mixing bowl, stirring to mix together and break up any lumps.
  3. Grate the zest of the orange into the dried ingredients but try to avoid it sticking together in one lump!
  4. Put the eggs, honey, olive oil and flavourings into the big cup of your Nutribullet along with the body of the orange/satsuma (cut into segments) – blend it all together for about a minute to make a creamy mixture.
  5. Stir the wet into the dry ingredients adding a little warm water if the batter is too stiff.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and arrange the apricots and pecans on top.
  7. Bake for 40–50 minutes, until golden brown on top, and fairly firm.
  8. If you are feeling wicked you can pour a couple of tablespoons of amaretto over the top when it cools a little.


Ring the changes by swapping the half the almonds for ground pistachios, and the almond flavouring for cardamom drops (or seeds from 10 green cardamom pods). Sprinkle the top with pine nuts for a more middle-Eastern vibe and serve with pomegranate seeds.

The recipe above will easily feed 8 as a dessert but the quantities also double very successfully for larger gatherings. Tastes great served with berries and creme fraiche.


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