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Not Quite Nigella (But Her Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake Recipe)

Nigella Lawson Image from 'Nigella Feasts'
Nigella Lawson Image from ‘Nigella Feasts’
(Image sourced from here)*

I don’t believe in low-fat cooking. (Nigella Lawson

So, for those of you who didn’t know, last week I was up at the Gwynganna Health Retreat on a gluten-free, dairy-free, red meat-free, sugar-free, caffeine-free, alcohol-free 7-day detox programme. Sound a little grim? It wasn’t. It was fantastic and I loved almost all of it**. Truly.

Don’t panic – I’m not planning on boring you with all the details. The thing is though – when you do a detox like that, you come back energised and determined to be healthy and stay in this semi zen-like state you worked so hard to achieve. For me, that’s just a little harder than it sounds.

Case in point – Wednesday was LM’s birthday. Tomorrow we have a few of our nearest and dearest coming over for a celebratory spot of afternoon tea. Being the wannabe domestic goddess that I am, I can’t let the occasion pass without creating a wee tasty something for my chocoholic birthday boy, can I?

So, I went a-googling. I wanted a gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate cake. Guess what I found? Trusty Nigella, the queen of over-indulgence, almost the last person I would have expected to help me, has the most positively commented upon version of the cake I sought. As it so happens, despite having three of Nigella’s cookbooks gracing my cookbook shelf, I do not own the one from whence the recipe came…

Nigella Lawson 'Feast'
Nigella Lawson ‘Feast’
(Image from here)

Now, I know Nigella has her detractors. My Mum is not a fan. But – damn-it, Janet! – her recipes work. I’ve never had a dud. She’s up there with Nigel (Nigel Slater) and Delia (Delia Smith) for me as never-fail recipe providers. I just never expected her to give me a gluten AND dairy free cake recipe.

I eat healthily. It`s just that I eat enough for five healthy people. (Nigella Lawson)

So as I write this, I’m boiling oranges in preparation for making Nigella Lawson’s Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake tomorrow. Here’s the recipe, if you’d like it:

Nigella Lawson’s Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake

2 navel oranges (approx 375g in total)
6 eggs
200g almond meal
250g caster sugar
50g cocoa
1/2 tsp bicarb
1 tsp fleur d’oranger (orange flower water), optional
1 tsp baking powder
Orange peel for decoration

1. Put the whole orange or oranges in a pan with some cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 2 hours or until soft.

2. Drain, and when cool, cut the oranges in half and remove any big pips.

3. Pulp everything – pith, peel and all – in a food processor.

4. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C Butter and line a 20cm springform tin.

5. Add the eggs, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, almonds, sugar and cocoa to the orange in the food processor. Run the motor until you have a cohesive cake mixture, but slightly knobbly with the flecks of puréed orange.

6. Pour and scrape into the cake tin and bake for an hour, by which time a cake tester should come out pretty well clean. Check after 45 minutes because you may have to cover with foil to prevent the cake burning before it is cooked through, or indeed it may need a little less than an hour; it all depends on your oven.

7. Leave the cake to get cool in the tin, on a cooling rack. When the cake is cold you can take it out of the tin. Decorate with strips of orange peel or coarsely grated zest if you so wish, but it is darkly beautiful in its plain, unadorned state.

Chocolate Orange Cake
Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake
(Image sourced from here)

I’ll let you know how it turns out! If anyone has a fab’ gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate cake recipe that they’d like to share – I’m ALL ears!

*Can anyone tell me how Nigella gets her coloured cardigans to nip in at the waist like that? It may just keep me awake wondering! Hollywood tape?

**There were leeches

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Comments (28)

Oh, I adore Nigella!!! Indeed, the “Queen Of Indulgence”! Thanks for sharing the fabulous recipe! I did not know she had a new cookbook… for the list!

Hi K – Feast isn’t a new one, just one I haven’t got in my collection! Will let you know how the cake tastes. It looks good!

It’s got to be Hollywood Tape, I’m thinking, on the cardigan question. Although I don’t have breasts that shapely, so maybe cardigans just fall like that naturally on her.

She has a rather impressive set, doesn’t she? I’m going with the Hollywood Tape…

It must be the tape. But I’m still jealous. Whenever I try to use that tape, it ends up being a dismal failure. That should be a blog post, I think…

YES! – that would make a brilliant blog post. See – now you are sourcing inspiration from down under! What a wacky world this interweb place can be… 🙂

sounds yum. Nigella is great, I used to find her a little too much but I watched a documentary on her life and found a whole new respect for her, she has been through a lot and and is so stoic. 🙂 re the Cardigan…. I have no boobs so not quite sure I am qualified to answer that one! 😉

Hey BCD – hope you’re having a fab’ Saturday!

Cake all made and looks good. Fingers crossed that it’s a winner because it was easy-peasey lemon-squeezey to make.

I have boobs, but cardis never look like that on me! 🙂

I am sure Photoshop has something to do with the card issue!!! 🙂 – let me know how it tastes! New neighbours next for so looking to take them around something, so this may be a winner!

That looks amazing. Would love it if you take a moment to link it to Piquant Potluck @ 🙂

Yum. Choc and orange a marriage made in heaven. I would say Nigella’s cardigan is a work of art supplied from Charles’ collection. I love Nigella, to be able to cook sexily and marry an art collector….a bit like choc and orange.Cheers

Sue! Can’t believe I overlooked your comment! Sorry, my friend.

That cake is a doddle to make and worth adding to the repertoire. I’m totally with you on marrying an art collector!

doddle? doodle! I love that word -does it mean cinch or nightmare. I will definitely add the cake and the word to my repertoire. Don’t be sorry, you must still be chilled from your spa time.

Doddle = child’s play, cinch, piece of cake, pushover, breeze, walkover, picnic, snap

Easy-peasey lemon-squeezey!

‘orange flower water’ – typical nigella! Yup I’ve definitely got that in my pantry…… I have to say that I agree, she never fails to satisfy! I think that on the cardigan front, she just wears tiny cardigans!

Anarty – the cake is an absolute winner AND it’s a doddle to make. I suspect if you left out the orange flower water, no-one would be any the wiser!

I wonder if Nigella would make a dog cake?
Think of the crumbs and left-overs I could snaffle from her kitchen!
Beloved doesn’t allow me to taste everything she eats, though as she is permanently on a low sugar, low dairy, low carbs, no alcohol and no fun diet I think that’s just as well.
Nigella however is another story.
It is not that I would be unfaithful to Beloved, it is just that I do like my tummy….. and it is a never filling hole 🙂

Poor Beloved, Zac. That doesn’t sound like much fun. I try to be low sugar, but I made an exception for LM’s cake. Birthdays are important, I reckon.

How did the cake turn out Syders? I am sure you’ll find some clothesline clips nipping the cardigan!

Marina – that cake is a winner. Lovely and moist due to the oranges and so easy! The boys gave it the seal of approval, too.

Yum! That cake looks and sounds delicious. So I’m guessing that if we follow Nigella’s lead we can have 5 slices of cake 🙂


Sent from my iPhone

So good – made the cake myself for a group of hungry young people yesterday although it was a group who required neither gluten or dairy-free-ness – wow it had the trifecta – easy to make – one bowl mix and divine flavour! Hope you and LM enjoyed it also – BTW Happy birthday to him – we always raise a little glass here – July 4 – easy to remember! Somewhat like mine (Pearl Harbour Day) always got heaps about that from my significant other until a few years ago – his birday September – you guessed it – 11!


Hi Sharon! – Did you make the cake as a result of my blog post? If so – WOW! How cool is that? I reckon it’s a winner, too! Both LM and the teenager gave it the thumbs up (although they both added whipped cream!)

I passed on your well wishes to LM. He was impressed you remembered! Yours is getting pretty close to Christmas… I hope you don’t let them all roll it into one. A girl needs to celebrate her birthday!

Cheers from over here, Jx

Yes I did make the cake completely as a result of your blog post. We added ice cream so it lost its dairy free status here too. Oh and no one would think of rolling my birthday into Christmas (its the LM Goddaughter’s bday the day after mine so we tend to have a bit of fun around that time – just clearing up in time to deck the halls!

Hi Sharon – LM added cream to his,too!

Happy to hear you get both Christmas AND your birthday. 🙂

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