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Orange & Cardamon Celebration Cake

So I’m calling this a celebration cake rather than a Christmas cake, both to…

So I’m calling this a celebration cake rather than a Christmas cake, both to differentiate it from the claggy, heavy, fruit-laden cakes that abound at this time of year (and which are also usually slowly collapsing under a groaning crust of – ew – marzipan), and also to make it very clear that this is a cake that can be enjoyed all year round.

Spring birthday? Of course. Look at the prettiness! It’s a perfect birthday cake!

Summer party? Definitely. All that citrus keeps it light and tangy.

Autumn bonfire night? Well, just look at the colour of it! It’s autumn in a cake!

orange cardamon cake recipe gluten-free easy celebration cake festive christmas

I’m not actually sure that’s an orange, but, you know. You get the idea.

Okay, to be fair, I can argue for most cakes to be enjoyed year-round. But with a bit of white icing and a crown of pomegranate seeds, this just looks so festive and lovely. Plus, you can easily make it gluten-free. Win!

This is an intensely orange cake, as you use two whole oranges in it, pith and all. It offsets the sweetness nicely, in my mind, but it could be a bit bitter for some tastes. If that’s you, I’d scoop the innards out of one or both oranges and use that along with some fresh zest to taste. That way you can control the flavour a bit better. All this huge orange flavour also means it takes a lot of cardamon to be able to taste it. Personally, I’m good with that (and if you are too, go try the Nankhatai recipe. They are glorious), but of course adjust it to your preferences. I reckon this would also be lovely with a bit of nutmeg and cinnamon instead, or really embrace the Christmas thing and go with mixed spice.

And, of course, if you’re after a more traditional Christmas cake that still doesn’t have to be started three months ahead and is thankfully marzipan-free, you can try this one here. Even I like it, and I regard fruit cake with much, much doubt …

orange cardamon cake recipe gluten-free easy celebration cake festive christmas

I would happily accept this for a birthday. Or an anniversary. Or, you know, a Wednesday…


Orange-Cardamon Celebration Cake

  • 2 oranges
  • 1 tsp ground cardamon
  • 225g sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 50g polenta
  • 25g self-raising flour (skip this if you’re going gluten-free and just up the ground almonds slightly. The SO is shouting something about not messing with his recipes behind me, but, seriously. It will work.)
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Give your oranges a scrub to remove any nastiness from the skin, then boil for an hour or until soft. Make sure to roll them over in the pan now and then so that they cook all the way around. Once done, remove from the water and allow them to cool, then remove the pithy bit around the stem before pureeing.

Pre-heat the oven to 160C, and prepare a large round tin – a springform one is perfect for this. Line the bottom and give the sides a bit of a grease.

Beat the sugar, eggs, cardamon and orange puree until mix starts to become smooth and to expand a bit. Add the dry ingredients and mix to just combined.

Bake for about an hour, or until a skewer comes out clean. If you’re not going to ice it, you could scatter some flaked almonds on top about 15 minutes before the end of baking time, so they toast up nicely.

Allow to cool and devour plain, with cream, or with a drizzle of icing (I made mine with icing sugar and the juice of about half an orange, added till it was at the right consistency. Very technical. The SO and I then had creative differences about whether to let it go down the sides or not, but, my cake, so …) and top with nuts, pomegranate seeds, or whatever takes your fancy.

I imagine you could freeze it, but why would you want to?


orange cardamon cake recipe gluten-free easy celebration cake festive christmas

Christmas dragon approves.

Over to you, lovely people – what’s your favourite celebration cake? Let me know below!

baking, cakes, easy, orange and cardamon cake, recipes

Comment away! (Points awarded for comments involving cats, tea, or baked goods)

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