“Lunch is our busiest time of the day,” says Sarah McWilliam, owner of Meet Gerard in Sydney’s Alexandria. “Customers here are after a simple, healthy and vibrant lunch.”

So for an after-lunch treat, Meet Gerard created a wholesome and seasonal dessert item to match – a gluten-free spin on the classic flourless orange cake.

“This was the first cake I ever made,” says McWilliam. Combining whole oranges, almond meal and flour, it’s topped with an icing made from rose water and cream cheese.

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“It’s stupidly moist and dense, but in a good way,” says McWilliam. “The use of the whole oranges, skin and all, give it a texture like no other. The orange flavour is very present, but is well balanced with other flavours in the dish and doesn’t take over.”

To make the cake, local organic oranges are boiled and blended together with almond meal. Once baked the cake is then adorned with “all the fun stuff”. That includes candied orange, sugared almonds, rose petals, Turkish fig and toasted coconut, which McWilliam thinks “makes it even better and more exciting. The cream cheese makes the perfect base for a pillowy, smooth icing."

The orange cake is displayed in the Meet Gerard cake cabinet and is available to take home or eat in the cafe. McWilliam says it’s also relatively easy to make at home; a mixer is only needed for the icing component. She has given us the recipe so you can try it yourself. Best of all? “They’re individually sized so you don’t have to share.”.

Update: This item is no longer available in-store. Here’s how to make Meet Gerard’s Flourless Orange Cake at home.

Meet Gerard’s Flourless Orange Cake
Makes 12 individual cakes

For cake:
750g oranges, whole and unpeeled
280g almond meal
310g caster sugar
5 eggs
2 tsp baking powder

For icing:
125g unsalted butter, softened
125g icing sugar
250g cream cheese
1 tbsp rose water
6 dried Turkish figs
100g candied orange peel
20g edible rose petals
12 candied almonds

For cake
Boil the oranges whole for 3–4 hours or until soft. Strain water and allow oranges to cool, then blend oranges until smooth. Combine with almond meal, caster sugar, eggs and baking powder. Spoon mixture into muffin tins and bake at 165°C for 25–28 mins.

For icing
Beat butter until pale, then add icing sugar, cream cheese and rose water. Whip mixture with paddle attachment until smooth. Using a small knife, cover the top of each cake with icing. Garnish with figs, candied peel, rose petals and candied almonds.