Hazelnut Orange Tea Cakes came about completely on accident!  But what a lucky accident – these petite cakes explode with the flavor of fresh oranges, toasted hazelnuts and currants.  And Hazelnut Orange Tea Cakes are perfect to serve for Brunch or a Tea Party or as a decadent, gluten-free snack… I’m eating one right now… ooooh, these are good!

Fabulous Cream Scones…. that’s what I was after, but without the cream because I wanted a dairy-free scone.  Well, that’s what I was attempting to make.  

But my hazelnut scone batter simply would NOT thicken; so I increased the amount of ground almond flour.   Nope, not thick enough.  More ground almond flour; no luck.  Hmmm… more almond flour?  Yep, but they still weren’t thick enough to shape into scones.  So next I added ground flaxseed – surely that would do the trick.  

I tasted the dough… it was good but needed some ooomph.  Freshly grated orange rind, vanilla, pure orange extract and a handful of currants were added… ahhhh, wonderful. 

Howeverthe dough refused to get thick enough to make scones!

Oh mercy – I couldn’t help letting out a huge sigh of complete frustration.  I had put a lot of beautiful, gluten-free ingredients in this little experiment.
What should I do?? I was getting desperate.
I got on my knees to fast and pray, then suddenly… it came to me…


Make little Tea Cakes… 

Cupcake papers flew into my mini-cupcake pan (24 mini cupcakes).  I spooned the batter in; baked them and then I got another idea!  

Glaze the wee cakes with a fresh orange icing while they are still piping hot!  Those tea cakes absorbed that orange glaze with the fervor of a hungry baby sucking a bottle.  It was a beautiful sight.  But they were lacking something… what could it be? 

YES!  The final elegant touch… a sprinkle of powdered sugar.  Oh, the beauty of the wee little cakes!  I am in love with Hazelnut Orange Tea Cakes!  They are so cute!

Hazelnut Orange Tea Cakes 

Gluten-free Hazelnut Orange Tea Cakes are a cross between a cookie, scone and cake.  They taste like an elegant, hazelnut orange doughnut.  (Delicious)  These Tea Cakes are easy to make and they keep well in a tightly covered container.  

Tea Cake Ingredients
2 1/2 cups almond flour
1 cup hazelnut flour
1/2 cup arrowroot starch
1/4 cup ground golden flaxseed
1/4 cup sugar (I use organic cane sugar)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Grated rind (zest) of one large or two small oranges
1/2 cup Zante Currants (See notes below)
1 cup cream from a can (13.66 FL. OZ./403 ml) of coconut milk (See notes below)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure orange extract

Fresh Orange Glaze 
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon orange extract
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice

Extra powdered sugar for sprinkling on top of the Tea Cakes

Gimme Gluten Free Method

  • Preheat your oven 400 degrees F.  
  • Line a mini-cupcake pan with 24 mini cupcake papers.  

1.  Combine the first 7 ingredients using a wire whisk.  Add the grated orange rind and raisins; stir.  Add the coconut cream, vanilla and orange extract.  Stir using a large spoon and mix until the dough hold together; it will be quite sticky.
2.  Spoon into the prepared mini-cupcake pan.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes then turn down to 350 degrees F. for about 5 minutes.  Bake until golden brown.  Test to see if they are done by lightly pressing a finger on a tea cake – the tea cake will feel firm and bounce back; you can also test with a toothpick.

  • Note:  If your oven bakes “hot” lower the temperature by 25 degrees.

3.  While the tea cakes are baking whisk together the orange glaze ingredients in a small bowl.  When the cakes come out of the oven spoon the glaze on each piping-hot tea cake.  The cakes will sizzle when the glaze runs down the sides (I love that!)
4.  Let them sit about 3 minutes.  Put some powdered sugar in a sieve and sift over the cakes.  Remove the cakes while they are still warm (otherwise the cooled glaze will make the cakes stick to the pan).  Take a skinny knife; insert it along the edge of each little cake and pry them up out of the pan.

VARIATION:  The next time I make these I might reduce the sugar in the dough to 1 tablespoon and double the Fresh Orange Glaze – I love that glaze.  I can hardly wait to hear what wonderful variations YOU make!

Serving Suggestion:  Place your Hazelnut Orange Tea Cakes on your most beautiful china (or stoneware) and enjoy with a cup of hot coffee or Irish Tea.    


Lynn’s Baking Notes for Success
About Zante Currants and Substitutions:   
Zante Currants made from the Black Corinth grape are about one-fourth the size of a regular raisin.  If Zante Currants are not available; dried apricots, snipped into small pieces would be wonderful in your Hazelnut Orange Tea Cakes.
How to Measure “Cream from the Coconut Milk”

I scooped off the cream from the can of coconut milk and added a little of the remaining “watery part” to equal one level cup.  Do NOT use low-fat coconut milk.  If your coconut cream is cold, you may want to use your mixer to blend it in instead of a spoon.  Either way, your tea cakes will turn out fine.  I use Thai Kitchen’s organic coconut milk – some brands use emulsifiers so the “cream” doesn’t separate and rise to the top; avoid these brands.

About Pure Orange Extract

Pure Orange Extract contains alcohol as does vanilla extract and is perfect in cakes, cookies, frostings and liqueurs.  Pure Orange Extract really makes the orange flavor come forth and sing – do not leave it out – it is a vital component in this recipe.   
  • Question:  Is Pure Orange Extract the same thing as Oil of Orange? 
  • Answer:  No, Oil of Orange is about four times stronger than Pure Orange Extract, but it varies between brands.
  • Question:  Could I substitute Orange Flower Water or Orange Liqueur for the Orange Extract? 
  • Answer:  I don’t know.  Orange Flower Water is distilled from bitter orange blossoms and has it’s own delicious character.  One teaspoon of Orange Extract equals approximately one tablespoon of Orange Liqueur.  If you try either of these as a substitute for Orange Extract let me know how it works for you!
  • Question:  Can I make my own Orange Extract? 
  • Answer:  I haven’t found a homemade orange extract recipe that is as flavorful and strong as commercial extract so I recommend that you purchase it.  It certainly is easier; and you can use Orange Extract in a variety of ways.  It is wonderful stirred into vanilla or chocolate cake batter or frosting. You can even stir a little Orange Extract in a fruit salad or add to whipped cream – yum!


Hazelnut Orange Tea Cakes are perfect for Brunch, an Elegant Tea Party, Wedding and Baby Showers and of course they are ideal to serve on St. Patrick’s Day or Christmas… Okay, okay ~ I’ll stop now. 




Celebrate TODAY with a delicious pot of hot Irish Tea
and a beautiful Hazelnut Orange Tea Cake and perhaps a wee slice of Unauthorized Irish Soda Bread!

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