Recipe: Gluten-free Orange and Coconut Cake with Sticky Orange Syrup

A colleague on my team at work had her birthday this week and really didn’t want to have a fuss made as she’s relatively new and didn’t feel like we should buy her a birthday cake. Well! No one gets to have a ‘secret’ birthday in our office as it’s the perfect excuse for everyone to get together and have cake! We are most definitely a sweets-loving office.

In deference to her desire to not make a big deal of the day, we agreed to not light any candles, to not sing Happy Birthday (though we broke this!), and I decided to bake a cake rather than buy a cake. With a few oranges left sitting in my fruit tray, and half a packet of desiccated coconut left from another baking adventure, an orange and coconut cake was just begging to be baked.


I also knew that I needed to make the cake gluten-free to suit some dietary requirements in the office, though I wasn’t able to make it vegan-friendly for our one gluten-free vegan…next time!

I was a little worried about it when it came out of the oven, as the top had caved in a little bit and was quite concave. I also wasn’t sure what it would taste like, as I’ve never done any gluten-free baking before. Still, when drizzled with the sticky orange syrup (which I heated up in the microwave just before serving it), it was a real hit in the office.


I’ll be making this again.

This recipe is an adaptation of this Whole Orange Cake recipe on


For the cake:

  • 2 oranges
  • 125gm melted butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1.5 cups gluten-free self-raising flour (I bought some from Aldi)
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup desiccated coconut

For the syrup:

  • 2 oranges
  • 2 large clumps of Chinese bing tang (rock sugar)


For the cake:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Submerge the oranges in a pot of cold water. Bring the water to the boil twice, and drain the water.
  3. Chop up the whole orange, remove any pips, and blitz it (peel and all) through the food processor until it turns into a puree.
  4. Pour your orange puree into your benchtop mixing bowl, and fold in all the other ingredients. Mix until well combined. Add coconut or milk as necessary to get your cake batter to the right consistency – this will depend on how juicy your oranges were!
  5. Grease your cake tin, and pour the batter in.
  6. Bake for an hour on the medium rack, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  7. Wait for your cake to cool, and then turn it onto your serving plate.

For the syrup:

  1. Grate two oranges and collect the zest in a saucepan.
  2. Juice the oranges and add it to the saucepan with the lumps of bing tang, removing any pulp.
  3. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally until the consistency is thick enough as a syrup.

Serve the cake cold, with warm syrup drizzled on top. Enjoy!


7 thoughts on “Recipe: Gluten-free Orange and Coconut Cake with Sticky Orange Syrup”

  1. Oh yes, it is fun to celebrate birthdays of colleagues. She was lucky to have you bake her a nice and yummy looking like this! Bet there wasn’t even a tiny crumb left!

    Gourmet Getaways

  2. Oh my, this cake looks luscious!! I enjoy the occasional gluten free cake, and apparently, this should be the norm going forward as scientific studies have proved that at best, you’re intolerant… and at worst, allergic. I’ve never used gluten free flour, I usually go for almond meal when it comes to gluten free!

  3. Looks fab, will have to give it a go! I often recreate recipes using half gluten-free flour, half almond meal, makes for an interesting flavour (unless the nut-free person is at work, then all bets are off lol).

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