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Orange Olive Oil Cake

  • Author: Lexi
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


This gluten free and vegan Orange Olive Oil Cake is one of our favorite winter desserts. It's easy to make, super flavorful, spongy and such a beautiful light dessert, snack or even breakfast!


Units Scale
  • 2-3 blood oranges (or any other citrus), peel removed and sliced into rounds
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil*
  • 1/2 cup nondairy milk (oat, almond, cashew, etc)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh blood orange (or regular orange) zest
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (or store-bought with some pulp)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour*
  • 3/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum* (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Oil the sides and bottom of a 9” cake pan and line bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Use a sharp knife to remove the peel and outer pith from the oranges. Then, slice into 1/4" thick rounds and pat each side dry with a paper towel. Try to remove any noticeable seeds. Let sit on dry paper towel while you prepare cake batter to remove as much moisture as possible.  
  3. In a large mixing bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer), whisk together olive oil, almond milk, applesauce, orange juice and zest, maple syrup, vanilla and orange liqueur. Add sugar and whisk well.   
  4. In a smaller bowl, combine all purpose flour, almond flour, oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, cinnamon, and salt.
  5. Using an electric hand mixer (or stand mixer), slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mixing on a low speed, until the batter is smooth.
  6. Arrange the orange slices on the bottom of the cake pan, filling in with citrus odds and ends. 
  7. Pour batter into pan and bake for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, cover the cake with aluminum foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Use a toothpick or small knife to determine doneness. If it comes out clean, it's ready.
  8. Remove cake from oven and let it cool in pan for 30-40  minutes. Then place a cooling rack over the top of the pan and carefully flip onto cooling rack. Carefully remove parchment paper, and let the cake cool completely before slicing.


*The higher quality olive oil, the better! You want something with a lot of flavor to make this cake shine.

*If you're not gluten free, you can use regular all purpose flour. 

We used blood oranges for the zest and juice, but you can use regular navel oranges, cara cara oranges, or even clementines. It's up to you!

*Xanthan gum: Although most gluten free flour blends already contain xanthan gum, we've found that a little extra really makes a difference with the texture in gluten free/vegan baked goods. Plus, it's a perfectly safe ingredient since we're using it in such a small amount. You can order it online or find at most specialty grocery stores.

When it comes to choosing the citrus for the upside down part, you can opt for all one variety, or mix things up. All blood orange would make for a beautiful cake. We used a mixture of blood oranges, cara cara oranges, clementines, and a few meyer lemon slices.

We strongly suggest using parchment paper, otherwise the cake may be difficult to remove. We love this parchment paper for cakes – it has easy lift handles for quick removal!

Let the cake cool down a bit after it comes out of the oven. Use a butter knife to loosen the edges of the cake, then carefully flip on to a cooling rack. Peel off the parchment paper, and voilà! The perfect citrus upside down cake. 

We have not tried this recipe with regular all purpose flour. However, it should work perfectly fine. If you're not gluten free, substitute the gluten free all purpose flour, oat flour AND almond flour with an equal amount (3 1/4 cups) regular all purpose flour.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Cakes


  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 518
  • Sugar: 44.7 g
  • Sodium: 335.5 mg
  • Fat: 16.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 81 g
  • Fiber: 4.7 g
  • Protein: 5.1 g

Keywords: orange olive oil cake