Beautiful and elegant, this is a true showstopper of a cake in both flavor and appearance. And it smells amazing while it’s baking! The best part is it’s completely Sugar Free as well as Paleo and Gluten Free and Dairy Free. It’s a cake that is full of goodness and brightness. Treat yourself!
This cake is very special to me, because my husband and I baked a similar version for our wedding. Now after many years, I have tweaked the recipe to make it completely Sugar Free and Paleo. I also added a chocolate frosting filling which I didn’t know how to do Sugar Free back then.
Speaking of frosting, you’ll notice that this is a “naked” cake. To be honest, I love naked cakes. I think it’s beautiful to see the variations of color on the sides of the cake. And we’re not huge frosting people here in our home, so that’s not the most important part of a cake to me. But I have always loved a good Mocha Valenciana (back in the days when I thought I could indulge in a sugary coffee drink…) or a chocolate covered orange rind. Chocolate and orange are a fabulous combination. But I didn’t want the chocolate to overpower the orange, because even though we’re boiling the WHOLE orange, natural orange flavor is still more subtle than chocolate.
If you want to dress up this cake, you could always arrange some thin raw orange slices on top. That would look lovely, and it’s also very nice when the decoration hints at the flavors inside the cake. I used the same decorations we used for our wedding cake, because for me, this cake is always a “wedding cake.” I also just love the paper flowers that we used.
I can’t take full credit for that ingenious idea. A friend of mine had gotten married the year before in Chicago… in February. Instead of fussing with the issues of finding fresh flowers in February in Chicago, she used paper flowers made out of pages from books. They were lovely, and guests got to take home some of the bouquets.
So we did the same thing. We weren’t living in Chicago at the time, and we were having a very small wedding (25 people total, including us!). We did everything ourselves with the help of some kind friends. Everything had to be streamlined, and there was no way I was going to fiddle with fresh flowers while staying in an airBnB trying to get ready for my wedding. I found an amazing artist on Etsy, and she made my bridal bouquet, the table decorations, and the flowers for decorating the cake. They’re still in perfect condition today, and I look forward to passing them down to my daughter in the future if she wants them.
But back to the cake!
This cake is not something to whip up in a short hour. It takes a bit of planning and several steps, but it’s well worth the effort. It’s not a ton of hands-on labor, actually, but you can’t rush the time for boiling oranges or waiting for cake layers to cool. The great thing, though, is that this cake needs to be refrigerated so that the frosting firms up. So it’s a total make-ahead cake!
When I make this cake, I like to get up first thing and put the oranges to boil. Then by the time I’ve got everyone fed, dressed, and off to school and work, then the oranges are ready to be pureed, and I’m ready to bake the cake. After baking the cake layers, I let them cool, and then I’m usually ready to frost the cake by the late afternoon and then it goes into the fridge. It might even be ready for dessert after dinner. But if not, then for sure by breakfast the next day.
And when a cake is so full of healthy ingredients like this is one, why not have it for breakfast?
Why You’ll LOVE this Recipe:
- Completely Sugar Free
- Low Cholesterol
- Gluten Free
- Dairy Free
- Chocolate + Orange = Amazing!
Ingredients for Paleo Orange Chocolate Cake:
- almond flour
- baking powder
- Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
- liquid stevia
- fresh orange puree
- chocolate chips
- coconut oil
- Spectrum Organic All-Vegetable Shortening
- fruit-sweetened raspberry jam
Notes on Ingredients:
Almond flour – This is the only flour in the cake, and it provides a big punch of protein and fiber as well as tenderness and good structure.
Baking powder – This is our leavener.
Salt – For flavor.
Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks – This vegan shortening incorporates perfectly into baked goods and has a neutral flavor.
Lemon – A little bit of lemon juice and zest does wonders to make the cake more tender and fluffy as well as to highlight the brightness of the orange flavor.
Liquid stevia – Just a little does the trick. I always use liquid stevia, never powdered.
Eggs – The eggs are the binder, and they also give the cake structure.
Fresh orange puree – Use 2 navel oranges, and if you can, please use organic, because you going to be eating the entire orange – skin, rind, and everything. You might want to pick up an extra orange to slice and use for decorating the top of the cake. Just an idea.
Chocolate chips – These are for the chocolate frosting filling. Use sugar free chocolate chips to keep this recipe Completely Sugar Free.
Coconut oil – We need a bit of coconut oil in the frosting so that the frosting actually firms up and holds the cake layers neatly together.
Spectrum Organic All-Vegetable Shortening – This is still the best non-dairy shortening that I have found to use for frosting.
Fruit-sweetened raspberry jam – A thin layer of jam helps the cake stay moist, and the raspberry flavor complements the orange flavor. Use a fruit-sweetened jam without any added sugars to keep this cake Completely Sugar Free.
How to Make Paleo Orange Chocolate Cake From Scratch
Make the Orange Puree
First things first, boil the oranges. I like to boil them in a big soup pot so I can completely submerge the oranges in water and keep the boil roiling the whole time.
Once the oranges are boiled, puree them in a blender. Make sure that they are completely smooth. You don’t need to add water. They will turn to mush immediately if they are completely cooked. Now, set the orange puree aside until we add the wet ingredients to the cake batter.
Make the Cake Layers
When you’re ready to make the cake layers, preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare two 8-inch cake pans by greasing the bottoms and sides of the pans with Spectrum Organic All-Vegetable Shortening. Cut out a circle of parchment for each cake pan and place it on top of the greased cake pan bottom. This is a brilliant technique that I learned in culinary school that ensures the center of your cakes will never stick to the pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients – the almond flour, baking powder, and salt.
Now, add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients – the melted Earth Balance, lemon zest, lemon juice, liquid stevia, eggs, and orange puree. Stir until completely combined.
Pour the cake batter evenly into the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. *Pro tip: When testing for doneness in cakes, insert the toothpick halfway between the center and the edge. This will ensure that the edge is not overcooked.
Remove the cake pans from the oven and let them cool on top of a wire rack. Run a butter knife gently around the edge of each cake before attempting to remove the cakes from the pans. Invert the cakes onto wire racks.
Wrap the cakes separately in plastic wrap and freeze them for about 1 hour. Freezing cakes that have just been baked helps to ensure a tender crumb (supposedly), and it makes cutting the cakes and frosting them so much easier.
Make the Frosting
While your cake layers are chilling, make the frosting.
First, melt the chocolate chips. In a small bowl, melt the chocolate chips with the coconut oil in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Stir until smooth.
In a stand mixer, combine the melted chocolate chips with 1 cup Spectrum Organic All-Vegetable Shortening. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Put frosting aside until ready to assemble the cake.
Assemble the Cake
Take the cakes out of the freezer. Use this amazing cake leveler to cut each cake into two layers. A cake leveler is definitely one of those kitchen gadgets that looks so unnecessary, but I am so glad I have it every time I use it. Maybe you’re a pro at slicing cakes freehand, and that’s fantastic. But I am not. And I don’t like messing up a perfectly good cake simply because I can’t cut straight. A cake leveler is not expensive, it doesn’t take up much room in the cabinets, and it makes a big difference for layered cakes.
Now that you have four layers of cake, you’re ready to start assembling.
Place one bottom cake layer on a cake stand or plate. Spread the chocolate frosting on the first cake layer. Then spread the raspberry jam on the bottom of the second layer. Place the second layer on top of the first layer.
Repeat this pattern of cake + chocolate frosting + raspberry jam + cake until all 4 cake layers are used. Do not put frosting on the top of the cake.
Cover the assembled cake with plastic wrap (you don’t want your cake to get stale) and put it in the refrigerator to chill until the chocolate frosting is hard, about 1 hour. You can leave this cake in the fridge overnight, and it will be perfectly fine, which is super convenient if you’re making this cake for guests or an event – like a wedding.
When ready to serve, remove the cake from the refrigerator. Slice it, and serve it. Enjoy your beautiful cake!
If you make this cake, please let me know how it turns out for you in the comments below. I hope it becomes as special in your home as it is in ours.
More Sugar Free Cake Recipes:
- Paleo Double Chocolate Cake
- Paleo Black Forest Cake
- Paleo Lemon Poppyseed Bundt Cake
- Paleo Chocolate Olive Oil Bundt Cake
- Paleo Sheet Cake with Chocolate Frosting
- Paleo Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Frosting
Paleo Orange Chocolate Cake – Sugar Free
- 4 ½ cups almond flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks (2 sticks),melted
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 2 teaspoon liquid stevia
- 8 large eggs
- 1 ½ cup fresh orange puree (use 2 navel oranges)
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 cup Spectrum Organic All-Vegetable Shortening
- 1 cup fruit-sweetened raspberry jam
- Boil 2 navel oranges for 2 hours. Place the boiled oranges in a blender and puree them until completely smooth.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare two 8-inch cake pans. Grease the bottoms and sides of the cake pans with Spectrum Organic All-Vegetable Shortening. Cut out a circle of parchment for each cake pan and place it on top of the greased cake pan bottom.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Add the melted Earth Balance, lemon zest, lemonjuice, liquid stevia, eggs, and orange puree. Stir until completely combined.
- Pour the batter evenly into the two prepared cake pans.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Remove the cake pans from the oven and let them cool on top of a wire rack.
- Run a butter knife gently around the edge of each cake before attempting to remove the cakes from the pans.
- Once the cakes are out of their pans, wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and freeze them about 1 hour.
- In the meantime, make the chocolate frosting. In a small bowl, melt the chocolate chips with the coconut oil in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Stir until smooth.
- In a stand mixer, combine the melted chocolate chips with 1 cup Spectrum Organic All-Vegetable Shortening.
- Take the cakes out of the freezer. Use a cake leveler to cut each cake into two cake layers. You should now have 4 layers of cake.
- Place one bottom cake layer on a cake stand. Spread the chocolate frosting on the first cake layer. Then spread the raspberry jam on the bottom of the second layer. Place the second layer on top of the first layer.
- Repeat this pattern of cake + chocolate frosting + raspberry jam + cake until all 4 cake layers are used. Do not put frosting on the top of the cake.
- Cover the assembled cake with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator to chill until the chocolate frosting is hard, about 1 hour.
- When ready to serve, remove the cake from the refrigerator. Slice, and serve. Enjoy!
Reader Comments and Reviews