My Flourless Whole Tangerine Cake is for serious citrus lovers ~ it’s made with the whole fruit, peel and all, for a vivid tangerine flavor.

Yes, this is minimal, and seasonal too!  It’s made with just 5 ingredients, one of which is a luscious puree of whole tangerines, and tangerines are just as seasonal as pumpkins and cranberries!  I know it’s counter intuitive, but the citrus trees are drooping with lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines, clementines, and grapefruits at this time of year.  While you can of course buy oranges year round, tangerines are only available seasonally. This cake makes the absolute most of them.

I think we sometimes forget that holiday cooking is about more than just the one or two blockbuster meals… this beautiful cake would be perfect for all the less formal gatherings of friends and family, little celebrations at work or school, and all those times when you need something special to bring and share.

This cake is really very easy, and you can cook the tangerines the night before while you’re watching tv.  The next day it will be a quick one bowl deal.  The intense citrus flavor and brilliant color you get by pureeing the whole fruit is unique.

gluten free whole tangerine cake

This cake has an Italian heritage, and versions of it are sometimes called Sicilian orange cake.  The Sicilians are known for their citrus desserts, ever since the Arabs occupied the region many centuries ago, bringing with them citrus fruits of all kinds.  It makes a fabulous sunny breakfast on a cold fall morning.

Minimal Monday: Flourless Whole Tangerine Cake (gluten free)


  • 3 large tangerines (to make about a cup of puree)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups almond meal or almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • confectioner's sugar for dusting


  1. Set oven to 350F
  2. Step one is the only time consuming part of this cake. Wash your tangerines and put them in a saucepan covered with cold water. Boil for 15 minutes. Drain the pan, refill with cold water, and boil again for 15 minutes. This boiling removes the bitterness in the citrus skin.
  3. Rough chop the tangerines and remove any seeds, do this on a plate so you don't lose any juice. Put it all in a food processor and process until completely smooth. You'll have to stop and scrape down the sides a few times. The color and smell will be amazing. My finished puree weighed 11 1/2 oz, and was about a cup.
  4. Set aside, or refrigerate until the next day if you're doing this in 2 stages.
  5. The rest is a one bowl deal: Beat the eggs and sugar until light and creamy. Fold in the almond meal, orange pulp, and baking powder, mixing until combined.
  6. Pour into a buttered 9" spring form pan.
  7. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan to finish cooling.
  9. Dust with confectioner's sugar. Decorate with some citrus zest if you like.


Note: This cake isn't overly sweet, I think it would also be good with a little sweetened and/or flavored (Amaretto? Grand Marnier? ) whipped cream. Recipe adapted from

The texture of this cake is moist and dense, but not heavy.  You’ll enjoy the fresh aroma of tangerine from the moment you puree the fruit, through the baking when it scents the whole kitchen, and then again when you slice into the finished cake and take your first bite.  It’s glorious.

All I can think of is trying a Meyer lemon version of this cake.  Yum!


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125 Responses to Minimal Monday: Flourless Whole Tangerine Cake (gluten free)

  1. Erin says:

    I’ve made this cake in the past and loved it. I’m currently egg free, has anyone made this with an egg alternative? Egg free tips would be appreciated!!

  2. mona says:

    I want to let you know that I made this tonight. My husband and I loved it. The cake was moist and decadent. My husband had his slice with vanilla ice cream. I had my slice with a dollop of creme fraiche with a hint of madagascar vanilla. I obviously won on taking it over the top, but the true win goes to you for creating this recipe.

  3. Nini says:

    Hi Sue,
    Thank you to share your great recipes. I have to try this one but I really don’t want to use baking powder so please can you give me the way to realize It without using leavening/raising agent.

  4. Anca says:

    I’m baking this cake as we speak. I used clementines and to my disappointment, after boiling them they ended up horribly bitter. I’ve then added fresh juice to the batter, and it saved it a little bit, but it doesn’t have the great smell you describe. Has this happened to anyone else? I’m still baking it as I need it for tomorrow morning, and I’ve added the extra batter into cupcake molds, to be able to taste it before I serve it. I might make some orange juice syrup if the taste is not strong enough.

  5. Joan says:

    I just made the cake exactly like you did, and it is wonderful. I had additional tangerine pulp and made another one in a bunt pan, fantastic.
    Not joking, still had tangerine pulp and made the last cake (which is in oven now) with regular flour and is tasted delicious before it went into the oven. I always taste the batter.
    Now I know how to judge the fruit, I bought a 3lb bag that is why I had sooooo much tangerine pulp. Glad I found you, thanks again

    • Sue says:

      How fun — that bag went a long way! I’m eager to hear how the cake made with the regular flour turned out~

      • joan says:

        It came out more like a corn muffin as far as texture. A little dry but still good.
        My neighbor’s loved it. Toasting it with honey or jam will make it wonderful.
        Thanks again

        • Sue says:

          Hmmm, that’s interesting, I wonder if your tangerines were less juicy than mine? I’m intrigued by the idea of toasting it!

  6. Marlene says:

    I made this using two Meyer lemons and enough clementines to get the required amount of puree (can’t recall how many, 3-4?, as it was a few months ago). The cake came out beautifully, and was a hit with guests and my husband, a/k/a Mr. Fussy. It was so much easier than a similar one I made where you had to zest and juice the clementines. I’ll be making it again for Passover, without the baking powder, either with all clementines or if I can get them, with half Meyer lemons. Thanks for a terrific recipe, Sue!

  7. Kate says:

    Thank you for the recipe!! Has anyone tried to substitute sugar all-together with applesauce?

  8. Beisan says:

    I have a 10 inch pan and had to use that, I hope it turns out good, it’s in the oven now! Your recipes are amazing :) Just came across your website today!

  9. Sarah T says:

    This is an incredible recipe, thank you!
    I’ve never bothered to comment on someone’s food blog before, but you deserve it for this.
    I made this 2 x so far, both times as muffins. 350 degrees for 20-25 min. One recipe = about 18 muffins.
    Double boiling the fruit is a wonderful thing to know. I had no issues with bitterness.
    The first recipe I used 4-5 Cuties tangerines. The second time I used one Cara Cara orange. I reduced the sugar to 3/4 cup, but I think it can go to 1/2 cup, unless the pulp is really not sweet. I did not bother to dust with sugar; my family just inhaled them as-is. With the reduced sugar, these guys are basically just whole fruit and the protein goodness of almonds, but they taste like a special dessert. Again, thanks.

    • Sue says:

      Thanks SO much Sarah – you made my week! I’m so glad to get your feedback and suggestions, I never thought to turn this into muffins, and I think that sounds really good :)

  10. Lynne says:

    I have made this cake three times in the last two months! It is phenomenal!
    I have not modified or changed a thing in the recipe, it’s perfect just the way it is.

  11. Lisa says:

    Anyone tried this with lemons? I have made the tangerine one several times and love it!

  12. joanne says:

    Hi, I don’t have a 9″ springform pan, but have a 6″ one and several 4″ ones. I’d like to make it in the pans I have already instead of buying a new one, so wondered how high to fill my pans if using the 6″ and 4″ pans? How long should I bake them for in these smaller sizes? Thanks!

    • Sue says:

      I’m sorry I can’t tell you for sure Joanne. I generally fill springform pans about half full, and you will have to check them for baking time. They should be firm in the center.

  13. taffeny says:

    Would limes work well for this?

  14. kathy says:

    hi do you boil the tangerines skins and all? or do you remove the skins of the tangerines first then boil just the flesh?

    • kathy says:

      can I also use just regular unbleached white flour for this receipe?

    • Sue says:

      The whole tangerine, skins and all, Kathy! And I ‘m not sure about the regular flour, it would make a different texture, for sure, and my instinct is to say it will not work. If you do try, please let me know how it comes out!

  15. Ruwani says:

    Just made this for my friend’s 50th Birthday Party. Came out looking great, can’t wait to taste it.

    • Ruwani says:

      UPDATE: Yum! It was fantastic!! Thanks for the great recipe. A hit at the party and even the kids loved it. The tangerines were still a little bitter, so not sure if a half hour was enough for me but I had already cut it, so let it be as is. I added vanilla as one reader had mentioned but other than that stayed true to the original recipe. Delicious and will definitely be making it again.

  16. Grace says:

    This looks delicious! I don’t have a spring form pan, though. Will it be ok in a regular pie pan?

  17. […] ricetta originale viene da qui, scovata nelle mie peregrinazioni sul web (come vi raccontavamo qua). Questa è la mia […]

  18. Christin says:

    I just made this cake today with oranges instead of tangerines, as well as oat flour instead of almond. It was fantastic! It was quite dense though; if anyone is going to use oat flour like I did, I suggest using only 2 1/2 cups instead of the 3. Also, I upped the sugar by half a cup. With the oat flour, it needs a bit more sugar. I topped the cake a thick orange glaze and it made it even more delicious :) Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Sue says:

      Oooh, that glaze sounds good! Thanks for the info on the alterations, I do love oat flour.

    • Rachel says:

      Oh good, I was just looking at this recipe and wondering if oranges would be OK as I have a glut of them at the moment. How many oranges did you use, Christin?

  19. joanne says:

    I’d love to try this recipe, but just missed tangerine season. Oranges are plentiful though and I’d like to try them in this recipe. Do I need to do anything different when substituting with oranges?
    I’d also like to use coconut sugar.. and whipped coconut cream would be tasty on top. How long will this cake last? And can leftovers be frozen for later? Thanks!

    • Sue says:

      Oranges will work fine, Joanne, just use the same amount of puree. I haven’t worked with coconut sugar, but I assume you can substitute it, and the cake should last about a week. I did not freeze mine, but I think that should be fine too. Let us know how yours turns out!

  20. […] Minimal monday: flourless whole tangerine cake (gluten […]

  21. Lorraine says:

    Hi Sue
    Love your recipes, I tried this and substituted figs(6 dried and then rehydrated overnight) for the sugar and mandarins for the fruit It was delicious. Thank you

  22. Casandra Fleming says:

    I’m trying this today for my sister’s birthday, her boyfriend is allergic to all nuts, so I have powered oatmeal, I’m going to try it, hoping it well work just as well. I also am going to cut down some of the sugar, and try it with strawberries…. I’m hoping it works!

    • Sue says:

      Good luck, Cassandra. I’m not sure the oatmeal will do the trick, but it’s worth experimenting with!

  23. […] from The View from Great Island…   2 large oranges (to make about a cup of puree) 3 eggs 1 cup sugar 3 cups almond meal or  almond […]

  24. nicole says:

    I made this a few weeks ago and it was WONDERFUL. Served with a date caramel glaze/frosting and sea salt caramel ice cream. The caramel and tangerine combo was a hit! Question — has anyone tried with pureed strawberries? I thought it might be a great Valentine’s Day cake.

    • Sue says:

      I never thought about using anything other than citrus fruits, Nicole, but now that I think about it, I don’t see why other fruits wouldn’t work…if you try it let me know how it turns out!

      • nicole says:

        I tried it with pureed strawberries yesterday. We really liked it. Very, very, very moist. I baked for about 45 min (same for tangerine cake). A bit sweeter than the tangerines, so perhaps could use a little less sugar next time depending on sweetness of berries/fruit. The color is a dull pink, but still pretty especially with fresh strawberries and powdered sugar on top. I think other berries or peaches would work well too. Perhaps even pear? A very versatile cake. Thanks!!

        • Sue says:

          That’s so funny because I was actually awake last night thinking that I should amend my reply to say that strawberries probably wouldn’t work because they’d be too wet! But I guess it sounds like you kind of made it work!

          • nicole says:

            Yes, it worked quite well, actually. I might use a little less of the puree and I might “swirl” it through the cake next time rather than mixing it. Fun to experiment with this recipe.

        • Chris says:

          If you use one third apple with the strawberries they will not be as watery. I make lots of fruit leathers and the apple gives the strawberries a little more substance. You can also add 1 tablespoon of honey to the fruit mix as well.

  25. chelle says:

    hi, this looks great!
    I was just wondering whether or not i could substitute sugar (or just use less) and use something like honey?
    Also, do you think poppy seeds would go nicely with the cake?
    Thanks! :)

  26. Kate says:

    Yikes…Am in the middle of making this for dinner party tonight and when I finished mooshing up my puree I have almost 2.5 cups! (I guess my “large tangerines” were actually oranges.) Should I weigh or measure my puree so that I don’t put too much into the mix? Thanks!

  27. Maggie says:

    This sounds yummy, planning to try this. What temperature should this be baked at, I didn’t see it listed in the recipe?

  28. Carol says:

    I can’t wait to try this for my son’s birthday. One question: can you substitute flaxseed meal for the almond meal?

    • Sue says:

      Not sure, Carol, but I’d say give it a try! Let me know how it turns out…

      • Carol says:

        Well, it turned out pretty well! It tasted great but it seemed a little dry (which could be from the flax meal). Maybe I could use more orange next time? (I did use Cuties instead of tangerines.) Any suggestions?

  29. Lucy says:

    I just came upon your website – so beautiful and just my kind of food. Someone from India gave me a recipe for “Whole Orange Cake” – same concept of boiling the fruit and hers calls for an hour; perhaps I’ll try for less as you do. She actually cooks hers in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes which sounds pretty cool. Hers uses some flour and I’m looking forward to trying this flourless one. I like making my own almond meal in the processor (being careful not to turn it into almond butter, of course.) But first I toast the slivered almonds in a 350 oven in a single layer, shaking here and there, for up to 10 minutes or so, just until light brown, then cool before processing. I’ll be trying your recipe this week! One question: I know it keeps well, but for how many days? I may need to freeze mine and wonder if you’ve ever tried that. Thanks!

    • Sue says:

      Hi Lucy— It will keep for a week in the fridge, and I’m sure you could freeze it, but maybe hold off on frosting it until you are ready to serve. Let me know how it turns out. The long boiling is to remove the bitterness in the skin of the fruit, and the peels of Meyer Lemons aren’t very bitter to begin with, so my boiling time is short.

      • Lucy says:

        This cake has been extremely popular around here! I’ve had fun experimenting with different techniques. I made it two more times this month using oranges again (boiled for an hour as I had before.) First Cake: After scraping the processed oranges into the large bowl, I quickly processed the eggs and sugar before adding them in, then stirred in the baking powder and almonds. When the cake came out pretty flat, I figured that I’d overmixed it. Then I realized that I’d forgotten to measure the pulp! I probably had a cup and a half in there, but it still tasted good and was less sweet, Tightly wrapped, it froze just fine. Second Cake: Boiled a large Valencia orange (which happened to yield exactly one cup) while I prepped the almonds and for the heck of it minced up some orange zest I had in the freezer. Processed the pulp, set it aside, then did the eggs — but this time I left them going, gradually adding the sugar through the processor tube and leaving it to run for a minute or so. Got out the baking powder and remembered this cookie recipe that had you mixing it with a teaspoon of warm water before adding to the batter. Why not, right? So I did the same, stirring the tiny mixture into the orange pulp whereupon it immediately began to fizz (not as much as baking soda would, but still, yikes!) Quickly but gently folded in the fluffy, slightly thickened egg mix, then folded in the almonds just until blended through. Glad I had my pan ready… and how luxurious the batter looked pouring in! Baked it as directed and resisted opening the oven until checking for doneness, closing it gently when I did. The cake turned out really beautiful, the taste and texture outstanding! We kept it under a cake cover in a cool room for a few days, still moist and yummy. Which of the details made the difference? I agree with a previous poster that it doesn’t need frosting. However, the flavored whipped cream that you and others have suggested sounds very inviting. Next time: tangerines for sure!

  30. The Hedonist says:

    Not sure if you saw, but I posted about this. Didn’t turn out so well, but I think it was me and not the recipe –

    • Sue says:

      I just saw this and went to your page to check. The problem was that when I say “almond meal or flour” that meant almond meal or almond flour, not regular flour. I just updated the recipe to be extra clear. I do hope you try it again, a lot of stores are carrying almond flour these days, and you did everything perfectly except for the flour part!

  31. Virginia Santoro says:

    Recommend against buttering pan – burned for me. Using light spray such as Pam or other works better. Also, I added 1 cap each of vanila and orange flower water. Delish!

  32. My daughters have just sent out invitations for an afternoon tea party, we will have two guests who are gluten intolerant, this will be perfect. Thanyou

  33. RC says:

    Not to be unhealthy but can use regular old flour instead of almond meal to make this?

  34. Do you think this could be made into teacake-like cupcakes? If so how do you think I would have to adjust the temperature and bake times? Thank you!

  35. petnut says:

    This cake looks wonderful! Any idea how many carbs would be in a 1/8 cake slice of it?

  36. Janet Wise says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  37. Janet Wise says:

    Oh this is stunning. Cannot wait to try it. Know what might float my boat would be a drizzle of dark chocolate. I like one of your reader’s suggestion for coconut sugar, too. You have a big winner here I think.

  38. Christina Conte says:

    I’m going to try this for my GF friends! Looks wonderful!

  39. Deborah says:

    This cake looks so incredible. I can’t wait to make it! Thanks for sharing.

  40. Tara says:

    We have included this gorgeous cake in our Mouth Watering Mondays. Please come over to see it at Cheers, Tara

  41. Anonymous says:

    I must make this cake, it looks scrumptious. Thanks for posting. Love Ya.

  42. wow. it’s really a good contribution to us guys not good at cakes, you know i did some cakes before but the taste it’s not good, then i quit, so if you have interesting, you can load to down jackets

    visit my new make up, give me your advice, Thanks!

  43. Unknown says:

    Fabulous cake for Christmas or anytime, recipe worked perfectly, thank-you! Very moist and perfectly sweet. I served slices in a pool of raspberry sauce, a dollop of whipped coconut cream and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds for garnish. Beautiful! Also delicious for breakfast leftover and high in protein, but I would probably reduce the sugar if making primarily as a breakfast cake.

    Just in case anyone was wondering, here is the calorie count for one slice, based on the cake serving 8 slices.

    Per serving:
    Calories 382
    Fat 23
    Protein 12
    Sugar 31

  44. Ir/rational Blatherer says:

    As I’m sitting here eating this cake for breakfast, I wanted to leave a comment.

    I made this cake yesterday following the recipe to a T and I must say… it does not disappoint!

    So far my luck with gluten-free desserts hasn’t been the best, so I’m always a bit leery. However, given my love for citrus themed desserts, I had to try this.

    (I also made fresh whipped cream to go with the cake, fearing that the recipe would come out dry like every other recipe I’ve tried. Totally didn’t need it… it was a nice accompaniment, but not necessary. This cake is so moist and flavorful, it stands up perfectly on its own.)

    Brava and thank you for sharing!

  45. Anonymous says:

    This looks delish; but I’ve never had luck baking with almond meal. In fact, I had to throw out my last 3 baking projects that involved almond meal (2 batches of cookies and a batch of muffins). Any substitutions that you can think of? Would cornmeal work?

    • Anonymous says:

      I make my own almond meal with the coffee grinder but it is so time consuming. You can control how mealy to make the ground almonds. I have good luck using freshly ground almonds. Wishing you well, throwing away almond meal can be costly.

  46. foamy about the mouthy region says:

    also the second time making this in the past 5 days… thanksgiving, and right now.

    making with cuties mandarins, and came back in to check the temp….
    and remember I guessed since I dint see it.

    350 is what I cooked at.


  47. Susan F. says:

    Sue, I’ve made this cake twice in the last 10 days and it’s fantastic! I made it with coconut sugar and threw in unsweetened coconut slices. Now I can claim it as a health food! hahahah I’m going to take your suggestion and make it with meyer lemons next. Thanks for all the great recipes!

  48. Becca says:

    This cake looks so unique and amazing. I’m curious though…In your ingredient list you call for baking powder, but in the instructions you refer to adding baking soda. Can you clarify? I’d love to make this recipe soon!

  49. belleau kitchen says:

    this is my favourite all time cake… I make it with whole oranges and cinnamon and my recipe boils them for 2 hours!, skin and all and then puree… it makes the house smell of Christmas!

  50. Hi Sue! This cake looks absolutely gorgeous and oh so delicious! And stunning pictures, too :)

  51. This is just what I have been looking for. I am allergic to chocolate but always looking for the dense, moist texture that comes from flourless chocolate cake. I also love tangerines. I’m so excited to make this :)

  52. Very nice Sue. I love a citrus cake – so fresh and beautiful.

  53. The Café Sucré Farine says:

    Why is it that almost every time I click on your site, my mouth starts to water? Oh my, this looks so moist and delicious! I love tangerines and clementines and can’t seem to get enough when they’re in season ……………. and you just reminded me that the season has arrived!

  54. Donna Dang says:

    Very tastefully and beautiful! I’ve always wanted to try baking flourless cake. I’ll add this to my baking list to bake. Have you tried olive oil cake?

    Donna D.

  55. Mary says:

    This looks amazing, Sue. I’ve never heard of pureeing the whole fruit before. I need to try something like this asap! I’m fascinated by the idea.

    P.S. It always makes me grin when my “year ago today” post pairs with my post for the day!

  56. Amy says:

    This is beautiful! I love how you use the whole tangerine — I’ve recently discovered the wonder of using a whole citrus in a recipe, it really changes everything. Bookmarking this one.

  57. Anonymous says:

    You boil and puree with the skins ON?

  58. Valentina says:

    I agree with Shannon! The photo makes me feel I can taste this and it tastes delicious!

  59. Siobhan says:

    they both look wonderful! Two years of hits : )

  60. sometimes i can actually taste things when i see photos of them; this is one of those times. Tangerines are my favorite; i use them in almost any recipe i can which calls for oranges. This cake looks so perfect for a winter day with some coffee. beautiful recipe, Sue.

  61. Sue this looks so good! I love that it’s a ‘simple’ cake, not overly fussy, like you said, for those times you need to bring something or want to make a little something but not go crazy in the process. I bet the tangerine flavor is just POPPING through, too. Mmmm, so good! Pinning!

  62. Mary says:

    What a glorious looking cake, Sue. I’ll wager this is delicious. I’ve never used tangerines in my cooking and I am curious as to the flavors you’ve created here. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  63. Cathy says:

    this is so beautiful Sue- Can’t wait to try it!

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