The orange and almond cake of loveliness

Orange and almond cake is moist, delicious and densely satisfying.

Orange and almond cake is moist, delicious and densely satisfying.

Almond is very popular in our household: frangipane, marzipan, macaroons (French, British and Spanish), amaretti and amaretto are all consumed here on a regular basis. For Valentine’s day I tried a Seville orange, almond and olive oil cake that I had seen online. It too was very popular and I made it again last weekend. I’ve made some modifications to the original recipe and serve it with an orange syrup for extra moistness. It is a lovely, lovely cake with plenty of orange flavour.

The original recipe calls for almonds toasted golden and Seville oranges. I didn’t have the time to toast and grind my own almonds and although we like oranges a lot, marmalade isn’t universally loved in my household. Seville oranges taste too much like marmalade, so I chose to use a milder orange and found that blood oranges work well.

The method for this cake calls for a food processor to mix the peel into a paste. I think a large mortar or a stick blender would work as well. Trying to cut the peel by hand would be tedious beyond words.

Orange and Almond Cake

This orange and almond cake has a subtle nuttiness that could be enhanced by a few apricot kernels or by toasting the almonds, but for speed and convenience, I’ve swapped the 180 grams of toasted almonds that the original recipe asks for for 200 grams of ground almonds.


  • 2 large oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 200 grams ground almonds
  • 125 plain or brown flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 170 grams caster sugar
  • 80 ml olive oil


Boiling oranges. It smells divine!

Boiling oranges. It smells divine!

  1. Put the oranges and lemon in a saucepan and cover with water.
  2. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Let cool.
  4. Speed this process up by flushing the fruit with cold water as if they were eggs that needed to stop cooking. A couple of minutes will normally do it.
  5. Juice the fruit – retain the peel and flesh from one orange and the lemon, discard (or eat) the rest.
  6. Put the fruit peel and flesh from the orange and lemon in a food processor and blitz.
  7. Add the juice.
  8. Citrus peel, flesh, juice and almond paste. Yummier than it looks.

    Citrus peel, flesh, juice and almond paste. Yummier than it looks.

    Add the ground almonds to make a paste.

  9. Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 6.
  10. Prepare a 24cm cake tin.
    I used silicone bakeware so only had to take it out of the cupboard to consider it prepared. A spring-form tin needs to be greased and base-lined.
  11. Mix the flour with the baking powder in a bowl.
  12. Beat the eggs with the sugar for a couple of minutes.
    We’re looking to combine well, not create the white fluffiness that we’d look for in a Victoria sponge.
  13. Add the citrus-almond paste and the olive oil and mix.
  14. Fold in the flour until it is fully incorporated.
  15. Pour into the tin.
  16. Straight out of the oven, warm and springy.

    Straight out of the oven, warm and springy.

    Bake in the middle of the oven for 50 minutes or until cooked.
    Look after 30 and 40 – if the cake is getting too dark, cover with tinfoil.
    The cake will be moist – and stays that way for days.

  17. Let cool somewhat before removing from the tin.
    Serve with orange syrup for a fancy desert, or as it is with coffee.

Orange Syrup

The orange syrup isn’t absolutely necessary, but it is tasty. Left-over syrup can be diluted with water for a refreshing drink or poured over pancakes, yogurt and anything else that benefits from a bit of tangy sweetness.


  • 1 large orange
  • 200 ml sugar
  • 300 ml water


  1. Squeezing an orange for orange syrup.

    Squeezing an orange for orange syrup.

    Zest of the orange and put the zest in a saucepan. (I use a lemon zester but a grater works too.)

  2. Squeeze the orange into the saucepan.
  3. Add the sugar and water.
  4. Bring to the boil.
  5. Turn down the heat and simmer for an hour or until it has reduced by almost half and is slightly syrupy.
  6. Sieve to remove bits and zest.

The syrup thickens somewhat as it cools and keeps for a good while on the fridge. (It’s never lasted more than a week at mine.)

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About Caroline von Schmalensee

Cooking, eating and drinking is fun as well as necessary. I do food for fun and I write for a living. Good food makes the world a more delicious and satisfying place. Good writing, meanwhile, can make the world a less confusing place.


  1. Pingback: What’s in Season – March | Edinburgh Foody

  2. This cake sounds wonderful. I look forward to making it!

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  4. Lovely looking cake. Have been playing around lately with the concept of boiling my citrus fruit, it isn’t as hard as I originally thought and the outcome is always so good. I really look for to trying your orange and almond cake, thanks for the recipe.

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