Blood Orange Olive Oil Chocolate Cake (Gluten Free, Vegan Friendly)
Blood oranges are one of my FAVORITE fruits. I haven’t been able to eat citrus in a long time because of my sensitive stomach, citrus has always been too acidic and a no go. But I love to bake with citrus, and I do great with it in desserts and dishes. This is my first time blogging at this time of year, and I’m hopping on the seasonal bandwagon, because it’s always nice to be able to find the produce easily that the recipe calls for. So I decided to take advantage of blood orange season and make this blood orange chocolate olive oil cake. If are looking for a delicious gluten free dessert, this cake is divine. It is also gut-friendly and safe on a low fodmap diet.
I made this cake 4 times to get it right. It was too wet the first time, and then it sunk. So I changed the flours around again and it was still too heavy. I made it with gluten free flour and it was too dense and dry. I tried it in a circle 9” pan and a loaf pan. I’ve tried it ALL. I finally got a recipe that is best of all the worlds. It’s moist and rich with a nice crumble. It’s made with fresh squeezed blood orange juice, blood orange zest that sits in olive oil for a half hour to infuse the olive oil into a nice orange flavor. This enhances the flavor of the orange in the cake. I used a rich cacao powder so it’s a deep chocolatey flavor. Remember those chocolate oranges in the shape of an orange? It brings me back to the day I used to eat those.
I can’t wait until I get back to the farmer markets in LA to stock up on more blood oranges!! Not only are they delicious but they are beautiful and they bake so well.
This blood orange olive oil chocolate cake is gluten free, dairy free and can be made vegan!
I tested this cake out several times and the best combination I found is with a combination of oat and almond flour and using one egg to lift the cake a bit. You can also use gluten free all purpose flour and omit the egg. The cake may just not have the same rise without the egg and is more of a brownie-cake like texture. It has no dairy in it, or dairy substitutes!
Is gluten free blood orange olive oil chocolate cake easy to make?
There are a few steps to the gluten free blood orange cake, but overall it’s easy. You have to take time prior to zest the oranges and let them infuse in the olive oil for a stronger and richer flavor. Then you have to squeeze the oranges and divide the juice. Once the oranges are squeezed and zested, it’s just mixing together the ingredients and baking it up!
How to store this blood orange olive oil chocolate cake:
This cake stores well on the countertop tented with tinfoil, or airtight for more moisture. Then it can be transferred to the refrigerator and stored for up to 7 days, or the freezer for up to 6 months in an airtight container.
What special kitchen tools are needed?
A zester or cheese grater for zesting the oranges. And a loaf pan or 9” round or square baking pan
What is in this gluten free blood orange chocolate cake?
Oat Flour: I like using oat flour in my baking because it’s a great substitute for all purpose gluten free flour. I prefer oats over rice and other grains, they’re much easier on the digestion and have more of a neutral flavor in baking
Almond Flour: This is the other half of your flour mix, it adds so much moisture and protein to your cake
Cacao Powder: The richer the cocoa here the better! Dark chocolate compliments orange really well
Baking Soda and Powder: I add a lot in this recipe because it’s a heavy batter and baking powder and soda give it a little lift
Sea Salt: Sea salt balances out sweetness in dessert recipes
Olive Oil: This makes your cake so rich and adds a nice flavor. You will infuse your orange zest in the olive oil
Blood Orange Juice and Zest: The hero of this cake! I love blood oranges but any oranges will work
Coconut Sugar: My go to sweetener, it’s low glycemic and does not taste like coconut! But any sugar here works
Apple Cider Vinegar: This helps your cake rise. It also adds some acidity that compliments the orange flavor
How do I make my own unrefined powdered sugar?
Place any granulated sweetener in a high speed blender for 30-60 seconds. I use my Vitamix and place the sugar in my dry container. I prefer to use coconut sugar because it is my go to low glycemic sweetener but you can use any granulated sugar, even monkfruit. Powdered sugar is great to have on hand for frostings, icings, and shortbread cookies so I like to make a bunch and store it for later.
4 blood oranges zest and juice divided
1 cup of oat flour*
1/2 cup of almond flour
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp of cacao powder or dark cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp of coconut sugar
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 egg* optional but recommended
Zest of 3 blood oranges
1/2 cup of blood orange juice
3/4 cup of water
1 1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar
3-4 tbsp of blood orange juice
1 cup of unrefined powdered sugar
Zest from one orange
1 sliced blood orange
4 tbsp of crushed pistachios or other nuts
How to make the blood orange chocolate cake:
1. Prep your infused olive oil, orange juice and zest. Zest 3 of the oranges and combine the zest with the olive oil in small bowl. This should infuse for a minimum of 30 minutes for a stronger flavor. The longer you infuse, the better flavor your cake will have! You can do this ahead of time or you can do this 30 minutes before you start the recipe.
2. Once the olive oil has infused with the zest, preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a 9x5” loaf pan or a 9” circle or square pan by lining with parchment paper, and oiling the sides. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, juice the 3 oranges that you just zested. Measure out 1/2 cup and set aside the rest. You should have about 3-4 tbsp left over.
4. Combine the coconut sugar, olive oil with the zest, egg, and water with the 1/2 cup of orange juice until well mixed.
5. In another medium bowl, sift together the oat flour, almond flour, cacao powder, baking soda and powder, and sea salt.
6. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. Just before you pour the batter into the pan, mix in the apple cider vinegar until well combined into the batter.
7. Pour the batter into the prepped pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. If using a 9” baking dish, bake for 35-40 minutes.
8. While baking, prep your icing and toppings. Zest the last remaining orange into a small bowl and set aside. Then, cut off the remaining skin with a pairing knife and slice into rounds. Crush the pistachios or optional nuts and set aside.
9. Once the cake has finished baking, let cool on a cooling rack for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool to room temperature.
10. Mix your icing. Whisk the remaining blood orange juice (the 3-4 tbsp that you saved from the first 3 oranges) with the powdered sugar and zest you set aside from the last orange. Whisk well until no lumps remain. If the icing is too thick, you can add 1 tsp of non dairy milk or water at a time to thicken it up. If it’s too runny, add 1 tbsp of powdered sugar at a time until it thickens to your liking.
11. Spread the icing on top of the cake and top with the crushed pistachios/nuts, and then the sliced orange pieces. The sliced oranges are the best part!
12. Slice up and enjoy!
You can substitute both the oat and almond flour for a total of 1 1/2 cups of GF All Purpose Flour. But you will need to add 1/4 more cup of water to the batter.
You can also sub out JUST the oat flour for GF All Purpose Flour to combine with the almond flour
You can omit the egg in this recipe to make it a vegan cake. I have made it both ways and the egg adds more lift and rise, giving it a better crumb. Without the egg, the cake will be more flat and have a more brownie-like texture. If you omit the egg, add 1/4 cup of water to the batter in replacement.
The olive oil should infuse with the orange zest for 30 minutes minimum to achieve ultimate flavor. You can even infuse this overnight.
I prefer blood oranges in this recipe but any orange will do!
If you make this divine BLOOD ORANGE OLIVE OIL CHOCOLATE CAKE, leave ratings or comments below! I love your feedback and it really helps others! And share photos of your creations & tag me on Instagram @gutsy_baker!