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The Great Gluten Free Recipe Challenge – Orange & Ginger Cakes

I was delighted to be asked by Caleigh at Gluten Free(k) to take part in this month’s Great Gluten Free Recipe Challenge.  The theme was to be orange – it could be sweet or savoury.  The recipe had to be an original (or attributed to the recipe that inspired us or that we had adapted) with orange as a main ingredient and flavour in the dish.  The recipe had to be free from gluten and dairy, and also free from almonds, hazelnuts and chestnuts.

That ruled out the old standard gluten free almond and clementine/orange cake!

I had intended to offer a savoury recipe as cake recipes are really ten a penny.  However with our supperclub hosting a Mothering Sunday Afternoon Family Tea on Sunday 18th I am in complete baking mode!  One of the cakes that I intended to make was an orange flavoured cake – so it seemed a good idea to use that as my entry in to the challenge.

There are many flavours that pair well with orange.  Some are well known – think chocolate orange, marmalade glazed hams, orange and pineapple.  One of my favourite combinations is orange and ginger so I decided to use ginger in the cake mix.

The mix is based on the mayonnaise cake idea.  I first came across that idea when researching vegan cakes – using vegannaise to replace egg in baking.  Then I realised that even if you didn’t need to replace egg, using mayonnaise (made with egg yolks, vinegar and oil) made for a light and moist mixture.  When you are baking gluten free, moisture and stick-togetherness are the two issues that you need to address and I’ve found that mayo really helps.

For the purposes of this Challenge I wanted to work with a normal gluten free flour mix, one easily available.  Too many gluten free recipes rely on particular flours which people may or may not have to hand.  Dove’s Farm Plain Flour is one of the most well known and easily available flours so that is what I used as the basis for this recipe.

I also chose to use muscovado sugar for these cakes.  This sugar goes very well with ginger and makes for a lovely chewy crust – something a bit different.  To enhance that effect I used my new Individual Taybake Pans from Lakeland.  If you wanted light and fluffy cupcakes I suggest you use caster sugar and cupcake cases.


225g Dove’s Plain Gluten Free Flour
175g light muscovado sugar
zest of one orange
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4-1/2 tsp ground ginger
250ml rice milk
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Juice of one orange (mine came to around 60ml)
115g mayonnaise (use a vegan mayonnaise to make these vegan)

Preheat the oven to 170c/338F/Gas Mark 3.

Sieve the flour into a bowl along with the salt, bicarb, baking powder and ginger.  When I made these I put 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger into the mix.  The cakes had a lovely taste of ginger but it did end up overpowering the orange somewhat.  I think the partnership worked but you may wish to use only 1/4 of a teaspoon – or miss it out entirely if you really want just the pure orange taste.

Add the sugar and orange zest and mix thoroughly – you should end up with something that looks just like sand!
The dry ingredients look like sand when mixedIn a different bowl, mix the rice milk, orange juice, lemon juice and the mayonnaise.  It might seem odd to add lemon juice when you are making an orange cake but a splash of lemon actually enhances the taste of orange.  Blend the mayonnaise in well.

Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and, this is important, DON’T PANIC!

The mix will look VERY wet – too wet.  Please trust me and don’t adjust anything.  Blend the ingredients together thoroughly.  I used a hand mixer for about 1 minute.  Let the mixture stand for a few minutes – plenty of time to get your tray ready.

I know really one should get the baking trays out BEFORE starting to bake, line them with your cupcake liners or grease them etc.  However it is normally moments before I have to put the mixture into the cake tins that I realise I haven’t prepared them…  So the stand time gives me chance to remedy that!  If you are more organised than me, you can use the time to wash up ;-)

Divide the batter (it will still be quite runny!) equally between your cases/tins.  This mixture made 15 square cakes which were not very deep.  That was exactly what I wanted but if you are filling cupcakes or fairy cakes you should get a deeper cake and make 12.

The cakes waiting to go in to the ovenBake the cakes for 30 minutes until they are risen and golden brown – they will look a little bit like golden syrup cakes!  In fact, I’m wondering what these would be like just drizzled with warmed golden syrup and served with some custard for a pudding…

Fresh out of the ovenYou can top them with your favourite icing.  I used a dairy free marg to make “buttercream”.  Actually I think that they may taste even better with just a simple glace icing made with orange juice – the buttercream seemed too sweet.  Of course, my teenage sons didn’t think it was too sweet – I don’t think that is a phrase that is in their vocabulary!

Gluten Free Orange and Ginger Cakes

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2 Responses to The Great Gluten Free Recipe Challenge – Orange & Ginger Cakes

Hazel (fullymum)
Commented:  12/03/2012 at 1:26 pm

I would have never thought of using Mayo what a good idea.. can’t wait to try this thanks

Commented:  12/03/2012 at 1:48 pm

I love the combination of orange and ginger, the folks at your supperclub tea on Mother’s Day are in for a treat!


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