Treats & Snacks

Zero Waste orange, cardamom & Ginger Cake

Here’s a zero-waste cake with financial, nutritional and earth-friendly benefits. (Was that a backflip?)

It’s basically the lovechild of Claudia Roden’s legendary orange cake, and Tom Hunt’s vegan twist. By adding the skin of the orange, we’re mainlining bags of antioxidants, vitamin C and fancy polyphenols for our body to enjoy. Besides, adding the whole orange makes it taste like a badass marmalade cake. It’s a win-win situation.

But instead of eggs, we’re using aqua faba to keep our vegan friends happy and for extra sustainability points. Aqua faba is the soak liquid from a tin of chickpeas that we usually pour down the sink (you can check out more aqua faba recipes from my Sunday Independent column right here).

And when you spot your ginger going gnarly, simply peel the skin with a potato peeler and freeze it whole. This way, you have fresh ginger to grate on demand. Zero waste baby! You can also use whatever citrus you have that may be turning in your fruit bowl. Citrus only keeps at room temperature for 3-4 days before it starts to deteriorate. Try storing them in your fridge for longevity and highfives.

I love this recipe. Hope you do too. Go ahead and use an 8-inch brownie tin instead if you can’t get your mitts on a circular spring form tin. A generous drizzle of dark chocolate will give a healthy Jaffa vibe.

I’ll be cooking my absolute favourite vegetarian midweek meals, live on Zoom next week. See here for more details and how to bag your ticket before Tuesday!

For more zero waste recipes and kitchen tips, you might like my weekly Sunday Independent recipe column focusing on sustainability in 2022 (back catalogue here).


Zero Waste Orange, Cardamom & Ginger Cake

2 organic or unwaxed oranges

2 teaspoons freshly grated (or freezer) ginger

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

6 cardamom pods, seeds coaxed out and papery shells removed

5 teaspoons psyllium husks (find in pharmacies, health food stores, online, and in bulk refill stores)

160ml aqua faba from a tin of chickpeas (anytime you’re making a chickpea curry, go ahead and freeze the aqua faba to make this recipe later, or my aqua faba brownies)

230g golden caster sugar

300g ground almonds

1 level teaspoon fine sea salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

Melted dark chocolate, to drizzle (optional)


1. Cover your whole oranges with water in a small saucepan, and boil for 90mins. When cooked and soft, transfer carefully to a food processor without scalding yourself, and open carefully with a super sharp knife to remove any pips. Once the pips are gone, let the grated (or frozen) ginger join the oranges alongside your turmeric, cardamom seeds and splendid psyllium husks (these are for our vegan and gluten free pals!) Pulse briefly in the blender to a chunky marmalade consistency – not a puree. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

2. Line a square 20cm x 20cm brownie tin or an 18cm springform circular tin with non-stick parchment paper. Then fire up your oven to 170C (150C fan-assisted).

3. Whisk the aqua faba on high speed until shiny peaks form as if you were making a meringue from egg whites. (This might require the company of a podcast, as you’ll be whipping for 5-10 mins). Now whisk in the sugar, a third at a time, until fully incorporated. This part only takes 1 minute.

4. Fold in your ground almonds, sea salt and baking powder. Transfer the marmalade mix to the party, and as best you can, fold gently but firmly.

5. Spoon into your prelined tin, and bake for 60-70 mins until a toothpick comes out clean from the centre. Allow to cool down in the tin, before drizzling with optional dark chocolate. We love it served alongside a blob of sourcream or thick Greek yoghurt.

Originally appeared in the Sunday Independent January 2022 as part of a series on zero-waste recipes and tips. Click here for more.

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