This gluten-free cake recipe is an ideal rainy-day dessert to make with a childDehydrating the orange slices may seem laborious but the resulting crunchy texture works really nicely with the smooth dark chocolate pudding. The crispy orange slices also make fantastic garnishes for ice cream and other treats, and can be prepared in advance of making this lovely chocolate cake

Preheat the oven to 100°C/lowest gas mark
For the syrup, place 200g of the caster sugar and 200ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil
Slice 1 orange and add the slices to the stock syrup
Add the star anise and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes until the syrup is glossy and translucent. Allow to cool in the pan
Back to school
Shaped like an 8-pointed star and with a flavour similar to aniseed, it is easy to see how star anise got its name. Kids will be intrigued by the ingredient
Lay the orange slices from the syrup on greaseproof paper and dry out in the oven for 3 hours. Then, break into small chips
For the orange sponge, preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
In a pan, boil the remaining 2 oranges whole for 30 minutes - this will take the bitterness out of the skin
Cut the oranges in half, remove the pips and place in a blender with the remaining 125g of caster sugar, ground almonds, 3 eggs and baking powder. Blend until smooth
Line a 22cm spring form cake tin and tightly seal the outside with foil. This will help to keep the chocolate layer from leaking
Pour the mixture into the tin and cook in the oven for 12–14 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool
For the topping, use an electric hand-held whisk to whisk together 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks in a large bowl, until doubled in volume
VideoVideo: Separate eggs
Bring the granulated sugar and 4 tsp of water to the boil. Continue to boil until a sugar thermometer reaches 121˚C. Then, remove the pan from the heat
Add the sugar mixture to the eggs, whisking continuously
Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over hot water (or in a microwave), and pour into the egg mixture
VideoVideo: Melt chocolate
Whisk the cream until half-whipped and then fold into the chocolate mix
Room for a little one
Let the little helpers whip the cream and add to the chocolate mix, their appetites should be duly whetted afterwards
Pour over the orange sponge and leave to set in the fridge for 2 hours
Once set, top with the orange chips and shavings of dark chocolate. Slice and serve
Room for a little one
Decorating the cake with the orange chips and dark chocolate shavings should be left to little hands. Encourage them to make patterns with the toppings
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Chocolate orange cake

  • 125g of ground almonds
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 80g of sugar
  • 225g of dark chocolate, plus a few shavings to decorate
  • 250ml of whipping cream
  • 2 oranges
  • 125g of caster sugar

Orange crisps


  1. Food processor or blender
  2. Electric hand whisk
  3. Sugar thermometer
  4. 22cm spring form cake tin

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This gluten-free chocolate cake recipe from Shaun Rankin is garnished with dried orange crisps for a superb extra crunch

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