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Grain-free Walnut Orange Cake

Easy Walnut Cake (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)


A fragrant and deliciously easy walnut cake that is flavored with fresh citrus orange, interlaced with crunchy walnuts, and finished off with a dusting of powdered sugar. Perfect for a quick breakfast, an afternoon snack or a light dessert! Totally gluten-free and dairy-free too.


Units Scale
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 3/4 cups almond meal
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 large eggs, separated into egg yolks and egg whites (room temperature)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, optional (for sprinkling over finished cake)


  1. Preheat and Grease: Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Grease a 9-inch springform pan and then place a parchment paper round on the bottom, and cover the sides with parchment paper.
  2. Chop Walnuts: Roughly chop walnuts until you get very small pieces.
  3. Combine Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, combine the chopped walnuts, almond flour, tapioca starch, and baking powder.
  4. Beat Egg Yolks: Beat egg yolks in another bowl until frothy, then add slowly add in the sugar, and beat until it turns pale yellow.
  5. Add Yolk Mixture to Dry Ingredients: Pour the egg yolk mixture into the bowl with dried ingredients, add orange juice, zest, and coconut oil. Mix well until combined.
  6. Beat Egg Whites: Beat egg whites and salt with an electric hand mixer until stiff peaks form.
  7. Fold Egg Whites into Batter: Gently fold in beaten egg whites into the batter, until just combined (be careful not to over-mix).
  8. Pour Batter into Pan: Pour batter into the prepared spring form pan, place pan on baking sheet, and bake for around 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  9. Cool Completely Before Removing: Cool cake completely before removing pan sides.
  10. Remove Cake From Pan: Invert cake onto platter and then remove parchment paper.
  11. Sprinkle with Sugar: Sprinkle powdered sugar on top of cake and serve.


Walnuts: Since this is a walnut cake, walnuts are essential here. Unless of course you don’t care about the walnuts, then you can use other types of unsalted nuts such as pecans, pistachios, almonds, or cashews.

Almond Meal: I used my homemade almond meal, but you can also use store-bought almond meal or almond flour if you prefer. Alternatively, if you want to have a stronger walnut flavor, feel free to use walnut meal instead.

Tapioca Starch: If you don’t have tapioca starch (also known as tapioca flour), you may also use arrowroot starch instead.

Baking Powder: In this gluten-free walnut cake recipe, baking powder is the only leavening agent, so make sure you add it in. If you have Celiac disease or are gluten-intolerant, make sure you use certified gluten-free baking powder.

Eggs: Make sure the eggs are at room temperature and that you separate the eggs into yolks and egg whites and use them separately. I have not tried this recipe without eggs, and I don’t think it will work without them, so I don’t recommend replacing the eggs with something else.

Salt: Using a very small pinch of salt (no more than 1/8 teaspoon) helps to give more structure to the egg whites and allows them to reach their full volume when beaten.

Sugar: I used normal white sugar, but you may also use light brown sugar, dark brown sugar, or coconut sugar if you prefer. If you are diabetic or insulin-resistant, I highly recommend using Lakanto monkfruit sweetener (a 1:1 sugar substitute that is zero glycemic index, and will not raise your blood sugar.)

Orange Juice/Zest: For best results and taste, I highly recommend using freshly squeezed orange juice and freshly grated orange zest.

Coconut Oil: I prefer using refined coconut oil when baking because it has a less pronounced coconut taste (compared to extra virgin coconut oil that has a stronger coconut flavor and smell). You may also use melted vegan butter instead. Alternatively, if you are not lactose-intolerant, feel free to use normal butter or ghee instead.

Powdered Sugar: Sprinkling a light dusting of powdered sugar (also called confectioner’s sugar) always makes any dessert look a little fancier. If you don’t have powdered sugar on hand, you can make your own by blending white sugar in a high-speed blender until you a super fine powder. If you are diabetic or insulin-resistant, I highly recommend using powdered Lakanto monkfruit sweetener (a 1:1 powdered sugar substitute that is zero glycemic index, and will not raise your blood sugar).

Storing: To store this gluten-free walnut cake, cover it with plastic wrap or place it in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Adapted from: Epicurious

This recipe was originally posted on this blog in 2014, but has since been republished to include clearer step-by-step instructions, as well as recipes notes/substitutions.

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Western

Keywords: walnut cake, gluten-free walnut cake

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