Whole Orange Almond Cake

James Beard

Author and Educator

Our namesake hated seeing good food go to waste. True to form, his flourless orange and almond cake uses every bit of the citrus, pureeing them whole to extract all the flavor and oils from the peels and spinning them into this vibrant, virtually effortless dessert. By not stopping short of pureeing the oranges too fine, you wind up with little bits of skin, which will not be at all bitter after the long boiling and very pleasant to bite on. A tip from Beard himself: it will not rise very much, and you may wonder if it will ever bake firm. Don’t worry, it will.

Editor's note: this recipe, which James Beard first published in The New James Beard (Knopf, 1981), is believed to be inspired by James Beard Award winner Claudia Roden's recipe for Orange and Almond Cake from her influential cookbook A Book of Middle Eastern Food (Knopf, 1968).


  • 2 large oranges (preferably seedless navels)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups ground almonds
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


  • Thin slices of peeled orange sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar and a touch of cinnamon, or fresh raspberries
  • Whipped cream


Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter and flour a deep 9-inch cake pan.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Wash the oranges and place them in the boiling water; cover the pot. Boil until very soft, about 30 minutes. Drain, cool, cut into quarters, removing any seeds.

Process the oranges to a fairly fine puree in a blender or food processor, or put them through a meat grinder.

Beat the eggs in a bowl until thick then add the ground almonds, salt, sugar, baking powder, and orange puree. Mix well.

Pour into cake pan and bake for 1 hour, or until the cake is firm to the touch when pressed with the tip of your finger.

Remove the pan to a rack and allow the cake to cool. Turn it out of the pan into a serving dish. Serve garnished with orange slices or berries and whipped cream.


From Waste Not: How to Get the Most from Your Food by The James Beard Foundation/Rizzoli Publishing.


8 servings