Gluten-Free Cutie Cake Recipe

I’m on a big anti-food-waste kick lately.

I heard a story on NPR recently about food waste that stated that as much of 1/3 of the food in this country goes to waste — and consumers are the biggest problem.

Take, for example, the ubiquitous Cuties you can find at the grocery store this time of year.


I don’t have a problem with Cuties on the whole. In fact, I think lots of fruits and veggies would benefit from this kind of awesome marketing!

The problem I have is that it’s so easy for these guys to go to waste. Think about it: At the peak of the season, you can get a 5 pound box of these little guys for $5 or less. Irresistible! But if you have a small family like I do, you might have trouble getting through 5 pounds of adorable mandarins before they start to go squidgy.

And, while you can still eat them when they get a little squidgy, nobody really wants to, so they just sit there getting squidgier and squidgier until they are ultimately composted.


So, I’ve started looking for recipes that incorporate foods that might otherwise go to waste. (I’ve started a new tag that says “use it up” where I’ll collect them!)

And this recipe was born of that.  Adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe that originally called for clementines, this cake also has the benefit of using the WHOLE fruit — you’re not even putting any rinds in the compost!

Cutie Cake

Prep Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

Cutie Cake


  • 1 lb Cuties (mandarin oranges)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 1/3 cup ground almonds (almond meal)
  • 1 heaping tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Place Cuties in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for two hours. Drain and allow to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375. Butter an 8" springform pan and line with buttered parchment.
  3. Chop cuties (peel and all) finely in a food processor.
  4. Mix eggs, sugar, almonds, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Add Cuties and mix.
  5. Pour cake into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour. Check at about 30 minutes; if the top is very brown, cover with foil for the remaining time. Allow to cool on a rack before removing from pan.
  6. Serve with whipped cream.


5 ppv per slice Adapted from Nigella Lawson's Clementine Cake

This is a wonderful, naturally gluten-free cake recipe that works well as dessert with some ice cream or whipped cream, as a snack/tea cake, or even served for brunch. It’s not-too-sweet and pretty easy to pull together.

Looking for another fun way to use mandarins? Check out these candied orange peels! I originally made them with satsumas, but any citrus — including Cuties! — will work.

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