Honey Orange Cakies

Gluten-free, Dairy-free 


It finally stopped raining in Boston after what felt like a month of just rain. With the sun shining, I got all crazy for spring/summer. I threw on my shorts (we wear shorts here when it hits 50 degrees), threw open all the windows and grabbed all the citrus I could find. 

So what’s a cakie? Cakie is not just me talking baby talk or some other jibberish. I was trying to figure out what to call these cookies because they are not exactly the texture of a cookie; they are part cookie, part cake. So, Cakie is born. 

There are few important ingredients for these little cakies that add to the floral, citrus flavor, soft center and just the hint of chew. 

Sumac: It’s not just a bush to avoid. 

Sumac is a seasoning that is seen a lot in middle eastern cooking. When I first heard of sumac, I could only think of the bush in the woods that I was always told to avoid. This is not that bush. Ground sumac comes from the berries of the sumac tree. The berries are then dried and ground and added to spice mixes (like Za’atar) . On its own, the smell is a little sweet, the taste is subtle. Sumac will add an aromatic, floral quality to these cakies. 

The floral nature of sumac makes it a perfect mate for citrus fruits, especially the more sour ones like lemons or limes. But it works so well with oranges as well. Just use small quantities. If you can’t find ground sumac, you can also use ground cardamom and a little bit of ground ginger.

Honey, honey, how you thrill me.

As I have said before, I love honey. It is one of those things that I can eat straight from the jar (and I am aware that I I am just eating straight sugar, but we all have our thing). I did eat honey sandwiches when I was younger too. 

Aside from eating in sandwiches, honey is a great alternative to sugar, especially raw honey. Raw honey has oodles more nutritional value than pasteurized honey. It is a low glycemic alternative to cane sugar and a 1/2 cup of honey is equalivent in sweetness to 1 cup of cane sugar. Not to mention, honey adds moisture to whatever baked good you add it to. 

If you are going to substitute honey for cane sugar, you will need to add a bit more dry ingredients and little bit more leavening to the mix. 

Just one note about honey; if you are baking for a pregnant friend or a child under the age of 1, swap the honey for agave nectar or maple syrup. 

That seed butter though. 

I have only recently gotten into seed butter. I have dabbled in pumpkin seed butter, watermelon seed butter (yes, that exists), sesame seed paste (aka tahini) and sunflower butter. While I don’t always love eating these butters on their own, I love baking with them. In this recipe in particular I prefer seed butter over almond butter for one reason: flavor. 

Seed butters are inherently more earthy and savory in flavor than almond or peanut butter, for example. Since this dough is on the sweeter, floral and citrusy side, the savory, earthy flavor of the sunflower butter is the perfect balance. If there is one important kitchen rule that I think everyone needs to remember: balance. Finding balance in the kitchen is just as important as outside the kitchen. You want your palate to the curious and excited to take another bite, never getting bored with just one flavor. 

There are a few brands of sunflower butter that I love: Thrive Market, Sun Butter and Trader Joe’s. Or get whatever brand you can find in your local grocery store, just make sure there is no added sugar or palm oil. 


1 cup almond flour

3/4 gluten-free sorghum flour

1/4 cup tapioca flour

3/4 tsp ground sumac

1/2 tsp baking powder 

1/2 tsp sea salt 

2oz vegan butter 

2 oz sunflower butter (or tahini) 

1 tbsp olive oil

1/3 cup raw honey 

1/4 cup organic cane sugar

2 tbsp orange juice

1/2 tsp vanilla extract 

1 tbsp orange zest

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk


1/2 cup organic powdered sugar, sifted 

1 tbsp orange juice 

In a medium bowl, whisk together almond, sorghum, and tapioca flours, sumac, baking powder and salt. Make sure to get out any lumps in the almond flour. 

In a large bowl set over a zeroed kitchen scale, measure out 2 ounces of sunflower butter. Add 2 oz of vegan butter (that is half a stick). Melt in the microwave. Add the olive oil and whisk together. Add the honey, sugar, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla extract and whisk together. Add the egg and yolk and whisk again to combine. 

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. The mixture won’t be too stiff, which is what we want. Cover and place in the fridge for 3 hours. 

After the 3 hours, preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Using a cookie scoop or spoon, dollop dough onto baking sheet, leaving 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, just until they start to turn golden brown. 

Let cool completely. Chill the cakies in the fridge before you ice them (this stops the icing from running all over; don’t ice them warm) 

Sift the powdered sugar into a small bowl. Add the tablespoon of orange juice and whisk until smooth. You want it to be on the thicker side. If it is too thick, add a little more orange juice. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar. 

Spoon the icing over each cakie, using the back of the spoon to spread it around the top of each. Once all iced, throw back in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

These are the perfect tea time companion or for a your Mother’s Day brunch. 

Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Makes about 1 dozen cakies.