Gluten Free Tangerine Cake

Gluten Free Tangerine Cake ~ this flourless cake is such a wonderful surprise, made with whole tangerines and almond flour in the Italian tradition ~ it’s impossibly moist and bursting with citrus flavor,  just like biting into a fresh tangerine!

Gluten Free Tangerine Cake ~ image

VINTAGE VIEW ~ this gluten free tangerine cake is from TVFGI archives, first published in 2012. As part of a new series on the blog I’m reviving some of the best recipes that you may have missed over the years ~ I’ve updated my notes, taken new photos, and enjoyed making this wonderful cake again. It’s even better than I remember it!

Gluten Free Tangerine Cake ~ imagery

Cakes made with whole citrus fruits have always fascinated me. The concept comes from the sunny island of Sicily, where citrus trees grow like weeds. This one is made with whole tangerines, peel and all! They’re boiled, de-seeded, and processed into a brilliant orange puree. The puree is blended with eggs, sugar, and almond flour, poured into a tart pan, and baked into the moistest, most delicate, tangerine cake you’ve ever tasted. This is an experience not to be missed!

This fresh tangerine cake is made without any flour or oil of any kind, and yet it’s fluffy, moist, and fabulous!

Making Gluten Free Tangerine Cake with whole tangerines ~ image

Gluten Free Tangerine Cake ~ photo

It’s hard to believe that the boiled tangerines, above, will magically morph into such a delightfully fluffy cake with so few ingredients and such minimal effort. It blows my mind every time. I used my Vitamix, which does an amazing job blitzing the tangerines into a silky puree, but any good food processor will work.

Gluten Free Tangerine Cake ~ horizontal image

I bake it in a 9-inch springform or tart pan with a removable bottom so I can lift it out for serving and cutting. (You can also use a cheesecake pan.) The cake bakes up moist and dense, but with a light, almost sponge cake texture. I know it sounds strange, but it really is light and dense at the same time.

Gluten Free Tangerine Cake ~ photograph

The cake slices like a dream, and will stay most for several days at room temperature. If you’d like to make it a day ahead, dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

Gluten Free Tangerine Cake ~ vertical photograph

TIP: To get the pretty lace effect lay a doily or piece of lace on top of the cooled cake and then sift powdered sugar over all. Carefully life off the lace and voila! Don’t be afraid to try, you can always cover up with a solid layer of powered sugar if necessary.

See my post on HOW TO DECORATE A CAKE WITH LACE for detailed instructions on how to achieve this pretty and surprisingly easy look. The technique is so versatile and can be used for all kinds of special occasion desserts from the winter holidays, to Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter, etc.

Gluten Free Tangerine Cake ~ vertical imagery

Sometimes the message of a post can get drowned out by all the text and photos…so I’ll just put it here in plain black and white ~

Try this, it’s sensational.

A slice of Gluten Free Tangerine Cake ~ image

After making this cake in 2012 I went on to make a FLOURLESS WHOLE MEYER LEMON CAKE in 2013 which is wonderful, too. I’m already experimenting with pink grapefruit and blood oranges ~ I’ll keep you posted ;)

Gluten Free Tangerine Cake

Category: cake, dessert

Yield: serves 10-12

Calories per serving: 262

Gluten Free Tangerine Cake


  • 1 pound tangerines to make 11 1/2 ounces of puree (approximately 5-6, but weigh them)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups almond meal or almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp Amaretto (completely optional)
  • 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. (They'll float, but don't worry about that) Bring to a boil, and boil for a full 15 minutes. The boiling removes the bitterness in the citrus skin.
  3. Drain and let the tangerines cool for a bit. Slice them in half, and then in half again. Remove any seeds and discard, but do this on a plate so you don't lose any juice or pulp. Put it all in a food processor and process until completely smooth. You may have to stop and scrape down the sides a few times. My finished puree weighed 11 1/2 oz, (about a cup) and I highly recommend weighing the puree and only using the 11 1/2 ounces. Too much puree will throw off the balance of ingredients in this cake.
  4. Set aside, or refrigerate until the next day if you want to do this ahead.
  5. The rest is a one bowl deal: Beat the eggs and sugar until light and creamy. Fold in the almond meal, orange pulp, baking powder, and Amaretto, if using. Mix until well 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. If the cake is browning too fast, cover loosely with a sheet of foil.
  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.

Tips for making the perfect gluten free tangerine cake~

  • use good, sweet, seasonal tangerines…your cake will be as good as your fruit, so choose the best!
  • Since you will be using the whole fruit, I recommend organic tangerines, if possible.
  • Weigh the puree so that you get the proper amount in your cake.   It should be 11 1/2 ounces.
  • You can experiment with flavoring this cake.  I added Amaretto on a whim, and you could use other spirits like Grand Marnier.  You could also leave out the alcohol and use some vanilla or almond extract.


Don’t forget to pin this sensational Gluten Free Tangerine Cake!

Flourless Whole Tangerine Cake ~ this cake is such a wonderful surprise, made with whole tangerines and almond flour in the Italian tradition. @orangecake #flourlesscake #glutenfreecake #tangerinecake #wholeorangecake #citrus #glutenfreeorangecake #almondflourcake #almondflour #lacecake #tangerines #clementines #dessert #glutenfreedessert #flourlesscake

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  • Reply
    October 3, 2018 at 2:50 pm

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  • Reply
    September 28, 2018 at 9:56 am

    I just made the tangerine cake for the second time. I had frozen the extra pulp which I used on the cake.
    It was a big hit for my friend’s birthday. I also had enough pulp to make your g/f poppy seed tangerine pancakes.
    I make your recipes over and over, and they are always a big hit. thank you

    • Reply
      September 28, 2018 at 10:28 am

      Wow, I love that you used the leftover pulp from the cake in another of my tangerine recipes, you go girl!

  • Reply
    Essa Elkady
    September 19, 2018 at 3:17 am

    Thank You, I did tried with different flavour, apple, Apricot, it was amazing

  • Reply
    July 26, 2018 at 6:57 am

    Absolutely wonderful recipe! After reading some comments I was a bit scared not to add too much of the bitterness, and as for my taste the dough was a bit too sweet so I compensated with some lemon juice, and it turned out absolutely delicious! and it’s super simple to make. Weirdly enough, it tastes a bit like my mum’s cheesecake. Definitely will play around it again many times. Thank you!

    • Reply
      July 26, 2018 at 7:00 am

      You’re welcome Weronika, I’m so glad you loved it!

  • Reply
    July 11, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    Can I use a blender instead of a food processor for this?

    • Reply
      July 11, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      That should be fine if yours is strong enough K.

  • Reply
    71 Gluten Free and Dairy Free Brunch Recipes • The Fit Cookie
    May 8, 2018 at 8:12 am

    […] Gluten Free Tangerine Cake (grain free, dairy free, contains almonds) – The View from Great Island […]

  • Reply
    Dinah Hope
    April 26, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    Whoa! Followed the recipe exactly. Tasted the batter before adding the almond flour. Extremely bitter. Added 1/2 cup more sugar. Still very bitter. Added another 1/2 cup and it was only slightly bitter. End resulted after baking is that the cake is slightly bitter when you eat it…acceptable. But the aftertaste of it is considerably more bitter. I am a person that doesn’t like sweet things very much. I’m also a citrus freak. So you’d think this would be the perfect cake for me. However, i would not make again. And I’m on the fence about serving it to some guests, which is why I made it. The tangerines I used were very sweet and I boiled them for the required 15 min. I’m a very experienced baker and always follow recipes exactly the first time I make them. If I hadn’t doubled the sugar for this recipe it would have been a throwaway. But even with that, for me, it was not a good cake. And I wanted to love it! My niece has a 30 year old tangerine tree that yields hundreds of fruits every year. We’re always looking for ways to use them up!

    • Reply
      April 26, 2018 at 12:21 pm

      You might try it with only half the peel, Dinah, that might be more to your taste. I do think that tangerines vary quite a bit, I think there are a lot of different varieties, and I’m guessing that the peel flavor and bitterness must vary, too. Could be yours were unfortunately on the bitter side, peel-wise.

  • Reply
    Cee Grant
    April 8, 2018 at 11:21 am

    I did this exactly as described and it was wonderful. However, next time, I would remove the peels from half the tangerines. The peel’s bitterness was sophisticated, but too much for some.

    • Reply
      April 8, 2018 at 11:39 am

      That’s an interesting idea Cee, thanks!

      • Reply
        April 12, 2018 at 10:13 pm

        Hi sue, I want to make ds cake for my sisters bday today. Can I half the recipe?? What would be the measurements then? Thanks

        • Reply
          April 14, 2018 at 8:39 am

          I haven’t tried to adjust this recipe, Tanz, and it makes a fairly small cake to begin with, so I suggest keeping it as is, to avoid frustration.

  • Reply
    March 2, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    Our tangerine tree dropped like 100 beautiful tangerines this week as winds have been high all week. Normally I would bag them up and take them to the park to distribute among fellow dog-walkers, but the wind and rain have done that plan in. So this cake has been a lifesaver. Numerous variations too – since I am pathologically unable to follow even the very best of recipes more than once with luck. All delicious so far. Thanks!

    • Reply
      March 2, 2018 at 7:33 pm

      Love this ‘e’! I’m in awe of your tangerine tree…I have a white grapefruit tree but it’s not nearly as useful. I’d love to hear about your variations!

  • Reply
    February 26, 2018 at 9:53 am

    I had a doggie birthday party this weekend and made your cake using honey tangerines. It was such a delicious treat (for the humans).
    Can I use my left over pulp in any bread recipes I have? Please reply.
    My friends are so happy when I bake any of your recipes, and so are my neighbors.
    Keep up the good work.

    • Reply
      February 26, 2018 at 10:03 am

      I have to laugh because as I was reading your comment I of course thought you had made the cake for the dogs…which would be fine, I don’t judge ;) As for the pulp, I haven’t tried to use that in recipes, but I would think that wherever you’d use mashed banana or applesauce it would work. Thanks for the kind words, Joan!

  • Reply
    January 22, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    Omg! This is soooo good and so easy to make! Thank you for this recipe. I didn’t think it would be so moist and “fresh “ tasting but it was that’s and more. I added rum concentrate two teaspoons.

  • Reply
    January 1, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    Is it possible to make this recipe into muffins? Thank you & Happy New Year!?

    • Reply
      January 1, 2018 at 1:45 pm

      Gosh, I have no idea, I’ve never tried. But I don’t see why not…I have a flourless chocolate cake that I make into muffins. Give it a try and let us know.

      • Reply
        January 2, 2018 at 11:49 am

        It is possible to replace sugar with maple syrup? And if so, how much should I use.
        My friend made the Moroccan pound cake from your site. DEEEEElish!

        • Reply
          January 2, 2018 at 12:00 pm

          The sugar is granulated, so if possible you should replace it with maple sugar. Maple syrup being liquid is going to disrupt the balance in the recipe.

  • Reply
    karen tedesco
    January 1, 2018 at 11:52 am

    I love the simplicity of whole citrus cakes, and they’re packed with flavor. This looks simple, moist and beautiful.

  • Reply
    December 29, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    I don’t know if this is the same cake I made a few years ago, and I bet if I went up through the comments, there’d be at least one from me. So I made it again today! It’s just as wonderful as ever. But this time, I substituted the entire cup of sugar with erythritol with excellent results. I also added a drizzle of fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar. It’s delightful!

    • Reply
      December 29, 2017 at 2:52 pm

      Great to know about the erythritol, since I usually don’t cook with artificial sugars I’m sure other readers who do will love to know this, thanks Janet :)

  • Reply
    December 29, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Do you think there would be any issue subbing coconut sugar for white sugar?

    • Reply
      December 29, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      No, I think that would work fine Tiffany.

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    December 28, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    So pretty, this is the perfect cake for winter citrus season! :)

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