Whole grain & low sugar recipes

Sugar free baking

Recipes featuring whole grains and no refined sugar

Low Sugar Whole Orange Cake

If you love the taste of orange, you'll love this low sugar whole orange cake made with the zest and pulp of 2 entire oranges.

The original recipe for this cake is from the wonderful cookbook Bake (Australian Women's Weekly). It calls for 2 whole tangelos that need to be brought to a boil and drained, and that process has to be repeated twice more. The boiled tangelos are then processed whole, rind and all.

The first time I made this cake I tried this method (using oranges rather than tangelos), but without the added sugar, the cake was too bitter tasting. I wanted to omit the boiling step, so I removed the zest from 2 oranges, then cut off the rest of the peel and white pith and used only the juicy orange segments that were left.

The result was a tangy, orangey, moist cake that I served with dollops of vanilla whipped cream and fresh orange slices. It was a great dessert!

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Yield: 1 8-inch round cake

Mildly Sweet Recipe


Low Sugar Whole Orange Cake 2 medium oranges
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease an 8-inch cake pan and set aside.

  2. Use a microplane zester to remove the zest from the 2 oranges. Set aside. Cut away the remaining peel and white pith from the oranges and discard. Cut the oranges in half and remove any seeds. Roughly chop the peeled, seeded oranges and process in a blender or food processor until pulpy.

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

  4. In large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. With the mixer running, beat in the applesauce, eggs and vanilla extract. Using a spatula, stir in the orange pulp and orange zest, mixing until blended.

  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing by hand until incorporated.

  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top and bake for 35 - 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

  7. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes. Run knife along edges of pan, place a wire rack over the top of the pan and invert to release the cake onto the rack.

  8. Serve with vanilla whipped cream and fresh orange slices, if desired.


1/2 cup whipping cream or heavy cream (35%)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Pour the cream and vanilla into a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on low until soft peaks form.

  2. Drop by spoonfuls onto the top of the cake. If there is leftover cream, add an extra dollop to each cake slice when serving.

Low Sugar whole orange cake nutrition

Sweeter Option

For a sweeter orange cake, replace the 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce in the Mildly Sweet recipe above with 1/4 cup sugar.

If you would like to experiment with other sweeteners, see About Sweeteners for more information and nutrition facts on honey, maple syrup, stevia and other sweeteners.

Low Sugar whole orange cake nutrition

Most of the recipes on Sweet Smart are adapted from my favourite cookbooks and websites. The Sweeter Option usually calls for about 1/4 to 1/2 of the sugar used in the original recipe.

Adapted from: Whole Tangelo Cake from Bake (Australian Womens Weekly H/B).

Recipe Sweetness

Sweet Smart recipes offer 2 sweetness levels:

1. Mildly Sweet
For those looking to enjoy baked treats with low sugar content. Recipes are designed to:
  • Minimize potential blood sugar spikes
  • Reduce cravings for sweets

2. Sweeter Option
For those who want a bit more sweetness in their baked goods, but are still looking for a lower sugar option.

These recipes are not meant to replicate traditional recipes, they are meant to provide a less sweet alternative.

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