Orange almond cake

It’s a tantalizing cake. It has taunted me since Malou posted the recipe in a comment last April; the season of oranges had passed.

As winter came again the cake was on my mind. I meant to bake it for a skiing weekend; then didn’t. This week, finally, I did.

It is a cake for snowy days. When the light is low, the trees are bare, and the cold air breathtaking. The cake, by contrast, is light, spongy, melting. The sunny flavor of oranges with more than a hint of bitter from the pith.

It’s surprising, addictive, and leaves you wondering how the score might be played a dozen other, slightly different ways.

I love it. With tea.


With many thanks to Malou for the recipe

Update: I have since discovered that this is a famous Claudia Roden recipe !

2 large untreated oranges

6 large eggs

1 1/4 cups (250 g) sugar

2 generous cups (250 g) ground almonds

2 tsps baking powder

Candied orange slices for decoration (optional):

1 untreated orange

1 cup (200 g) sugar


Place 2 oranges in a small saucepan, cover with water, and simmer slowly for 2 hours, adding water if necessary.

Remove the oranges from the water and let cool. Cut the oranges in half, then each half again in two. Remove pips if necessary. Purée the oranges in a food processor. (The orange purée can be made a day in advance.)

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a 9 inch (24 cm) baking tin with parchment paper that should be buttered generously.

In a large bowl, mix the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the orange purée, the ground almonds, and the baking powder, and mix well until thoroughly combined.

Pour the batter into the tin, slide into to oven, and bake for 1 hour, until a knife or skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

For the candied orange slices:

In a small saucepan, make a sugar syrup with 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes.

Slice the orange as thinly as possible. Add the slices to the syrup, and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the slices carefully one by one, and place them on a rack or parchment paper to dry for about half an hour. Return the orange slices to the syrup, and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes. Let the slices dry for at least 1/2 hour. Reduce the syrup until it thickens and reserve.

When ready to serve, place a few orange slices on top and drizzle with a little syrup. **The cake gets even better after a day or two, so it should ideally be made in advance.**

Note: The candied orange was not in the original recipe, but I thought they looked nice and added a little something. However, the cake being very soft it is difficult to cut through the candied orange on top of the cake, so it is best cut on the side as the cake is served.


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Cake with pear and toasted hazelnuts

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18 Responses to “Orange almond cake”

  1. Tia Wheeler Says:

    Interestiing read

  2. Citypixie Says:

    I made it! But as muffins. Delicious and very satisfying.

  3. citypixie Says:

    Do you peel the oranges before you add them to the saucepan or do you simmer them unpeeled?

    • valerie Says:

      The oranges go in whole with the peel. It gives the cake an incredible taste – quite bitter in the best possible way.

  4. susan Says:

    This looks delicious and amazing. I cannot wait to make this!

    • valerie Says:

      Thank you, Susan! I must admit it is so delicious, and somewhat unusual with the bitter taste of the orange. Completely addictive.

  5. Imen McDonnell Says:

    Do you think this would work the same with blood oranges? Looks lovely.

    • valerie Says:

      Thank you, Imen. Yes, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work with blood oranges, on the contrary! I would just adjust the amount as I think blood oranges tend to be smaller than regular oranges. I would use 3 or 4 depending on the size. And just as a note, the batter is very liquid – I was a little worried at first, but it works and sets well nonetheless.

  6. Betsy Says:

    Oranges and almonds are such a great combination, and this sounds perfect for this time of year! We just launched our online Seasonal Potluck and February is Oranges month! If you’d like to link up your recipe, we’d love to have you!

  7. Paula @ Spoons n Spades Says:

    Oh, this looks like a fantastic cake, I love the combination of orange and almonds!

  8. Megan Says:

    This looks wonderful. I stumbled upon your blog from tastespotting. I’ll subscribe. Feel free to pop over and visit sometime. Thanks for sharing xx

    • valerie Says:

      Thank you for stumbling in and leaving a comment, Megan! I love your flourless chocolate cake recipe, will have to try it soon. Valerie

  9. Oui, Chef Says:

    Oohhh…this looks lovely. I especially like the fact that the entire orange (minus pips) is incorporated into the batter, sounds delicious!

    • valerie Says:

      Thank you, Steve! Yes, using the whole orange is what makes it quite special. And now I am imagining multiple citrus cakes, or orange thyme almond cakes, or or or… It’s an inspiring recipe.

  10. Nat Says:


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