Orange and Chocolate Cake served on a white plate.

Orange and Chocolate Cake – Paleo, Gluten Free

Orange and Chocolate Cake served on a white plate.

Intense and aromatic, charged with citrus zest and studded with dark choc chips, this Orange and Chocolate Cake is grain and gluten free. It’s a winner. Dress it up for a special occasion by dousing it with a sticky orange syrup. It serves 12. But if there’s only 6 of you, everyone gets seconds.

Orange and Chocolate Cake, Serves 12

Orange and Chocolate, what is it about them? Put together, they’re enticing and curious flavours. They both have a bitter quality to them, but within a sweet context, they’re exquisite.

Growing up, we loved “Jaffa’s” – milk chocolate balls covered with orange icing. They were classic sweets of the Drive In, and later, the cinema. Do they still exist? Probably. Then came those Chocolate Oranges, whose individual crescents flowered open and were so delicious… but sickly after two. And then Lindt joined in with real orange zest spiking luxurious dark chocolate… but even that blend is too much sweet now for my altered tastebuds.

Chocolate and Orange Cake on orange background, viewed from above.

Every now and again, I‘ll come across handcrafted strips of crystallized orange zest lovingly coated in rich couverture. Hard to resist. I usually give in, but halfway through the first strip I’m left with that usual sense of disappointment: too sweet. Too refined-sugar sickly.

The beauty of this Paleo Orange and Chocolate Cake, is that it’s… well, cake, for one. And sometimes you want that texture and mass that only a cake or a muffin can provide. But, seriously, the quality which we love – like all my  ‘Sweets and Treats” – is that it’s simply not too sweet. The lack of white, refined sugar allows the important flavours to intensify and stand out.

You want to use good quality dark chocolate – I use a 100 gram block of Lindt, 85% minimum cacao, chopped into small shards with a chef’s knife. And you need firm, full oranges. It’s the essential oils from the rind and the tartness of the juice which make this cake great.

Make the syrup if you have time, and especially if you want to serve it with whipped dairy cream or thick coconut cream as a dessert. But if you don’t have time, it’s good without. I’d say, as far as Orange and Chocolate Cake recipes go, this one’s worth printing out. All the more so because it’s gluten free, grain free, totally Paleo.

Love this recipe? Grab a copy of my recipe E-book, Easy and Essential Paleo Recipes for Busy People. It contains all of my most-cooked favorites, a shopping list, equipment list and advice on cooking and eating Paleo.

More Delicious Things

Homemade Baci – Make them for someone you love. Oh, that’d be yourself, right?

Chocolate Slab with Macadamia and Almonds – Always good to have this in the fridge.

Christmas Cut Out Cookies with Almonds, Honey and Spice – Not Christmas? No problem!

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Orange and Chocolate Cake

Intense and aromatic, charged with citrus zest and studded with dark choc chips, this Orange and Chocolate Cake is grain and gluten free. It’s a winner. Fancy it up for a special occasion by dousing it with a sticky orange syrup. It serves 12. But if there’s only 6 of you, everyone gets seconds.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Course: Dessert, Paleo Baked Goods, Snack
Cuisine: Gluten Free, Paleo
Keyword: Chocolate, Orange
Servings: 12


  • 1 large orange
  • 100 grams dark chocolate Lindt, 85% min cacao
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 grams almonds
  • 150 grams cassava flour also called "manioca" flour
  • 2 teaspoons Paleo Baking Powder 2 parts cream of tartar, 1 part bicarbonate of soda, 1 part tapioca starch
  • 150 grams butter
  • 50 grams muscovado sugar

Optional Orange Syrup

  • 1 large orange
  • 2 tablespoons muscovado sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F. Lightly grease a 20cm bundt tin with a removable base.
  • Using a fine vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the orange, making sure no white pith remains. Mince into very small pieces - I use a half moon knife.
  • Juice the orange, and add enough water to make 1/2 cup.
  • Cut the block of chocolate into very small pieces, ‘slicing’ it with a chef’s knife.
  • Crack the eggs into a small pouring jug and beat lightly with a fork.
  • Grind the almonds to a flour in a spice grinder. Add the ground almonds, cassava flour and baking powder to a bowl and mix to combine.
  • Chop the butter into chunks and place in the food processor along with the muscovado sugar. Process on a low speed until well creamed. Then, add the flour in lots with the egg. Add the orange zest, and then the orange juice.
  • Remove the blade from the processor, add the chocolate pieces and fold through. Pour the batter into a 20cm round bundt tin. Smooth the top.
  • Bake at 180°C / 350°F for 45 minutes. Allow to cool before turning out.

Orange Syrup

  • Using a citrus zester, remove the zest from the second orange in fine strips. Juice the orange and add enough water to make 1/2 cup. Place the zest, juice and muscovado sugar into a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer over a low heat until the juice has reduced by half and has thickened. Spoon the warm syrup over the cake, allowing it to seep in.



Angelina Brazzale

Angelina Brazzale is the founding creative director of Empress and Sister. Like her chart ruler, Mercury, she travels between worlds. She has degrees in English Literature and in Fine Arts, Ceramics. She's a Primary Health Coach, having reversed autoimmune disease through the protocols of ancestral health. She spent over 10 years teaching yoga and meditation. She reads Tarot, writes and makes art, and is sensitive to the energy in crystals and trees. Visit her Page in the Empress and Sister Collective for information, products and services.

  • Anna

    March 26, 2022 at 9:29 pm Reply

    Muscovado sugar?? Sure it’s not a paleo cake with muscovado ????

    • Angie

      March 28, 2022 at 12:06 pm Reply

      Hi Anna, I’ve dedicated a post to Muscovado Sugar, which you might like to read, Muscovado Sugar: Why I’m okay with it. I’m comfortable with defining a recipe as “Paleo” if it’s free of grains, legumes, seeds oils, refined sugar and alcohol. Muscovado is unrefined. Like it’s close cousin, Molasses, it’s surprisingly high in some nutrients, most notably iron. As I write in the post, it’s still sugar so we shouldn’t exagerate, but a healthy person who has their Sugar Dragon under control won’t suffer negative consequences from a slice of cake lightly sweentened with Muscovado.

      Keep in mind that Paleo isn’t synonymous with Keto. Paleo is low carb, not no carb. And most importantly, it’s not about being obsessive. Too much rigidity, for most people, is unsustainable and leads to failure, guilt and disappointment. Rather, we want to optimize gene expression through diet and lifestyle choices that can be easily maintained in the long term, and that means being able to partecipate in life fully.

      As a Primal Health Coach, I promote Mark Sisson’s concept of “80/20”. Sure, strive for 100%, but acknowledge that contemporary life involves celebrations and parties, rituals and relationships, and thus don’t stress when offered a slice of birthday cake or a glass of white wine. A healthy body is resilient, and will bounce back quickly after a little deviation.

      When we’re invited to dinner, I usually offer to take dessert, knowing that it will be grain free and the muscovado sugar content will be low.

      As I like to say, Paleo isn’t a religion, and the Paleo Police don’t exist. Being healthy isn’t about renunciation, but substitution.

      I hope this clarifies and allows you to experiment some of my dessert recipes, guilt free!

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