Using only a few ingredients this deliciously rich, moist and aromatic flourless cake, has an intense fresh orange flavour, and is an all time classic.
This recipe is from Claudia Roden’s ‘A Book of Middle Eastern Food’, first published in 1968. Roden explains that it was popular amongst the Sephardic Jews who brought it to the Middle East in the 15th century, where they sought refuge from the Inquisition. This cake has since become a classic in cuisines from Spain to Iran.
This wonderful citrus cake, is incredibly easy to make but takes some time. It requires 2 large oranges which are first boiled till fork tender, and then puréed whole. A few more ingredients are added, and then it is baked slowly to produce a very elegant delicious cake.
With a dense crumb exterior and a soft centre, Roden describes this cake as ‘somewhere between a cake and a pudding‘.
Why this works
Boiling the whole oranges for 1.5-2 hours softens them and draws out most of the bitterness from the peel and pith. This is certainly a very rewarding process and gives a far superior flavour to using uncooked oranges, just the zest or an orange extract.
The orange purée has a fresh, sharp, sweet flavour and makes the cake wonderfully aromatic.
Almond flour releases oil as it bakes which combines beautifully with the fresh orange flavour. Ground almonds give a grainy slightly dense texture to the cake.
Six eggs give the cake a wonderful richness, not to mention a high protein count of 7g per serving!
The baking time is lengthy as the cake mixture has a high water content.
The finished cake browns on the edges but has a moist, soft interior.
Orange and Almond Cake – what you need
Here is a note on the equipment and a few of the ingredients.
- Springform pan – as the cake is so moist, this pan is essential for removing the cake, to prevent it breaking. This recipe uses a 9-inch pan. For any other size, you will need to adjust cooking times accordingly.
- Large oranges – as whole oranges are used in this recipe, use organic as they are easier to scrub clean. Select the best oranges for flavour, and the largest for a perfect proportion of zest/pith/pulp.
- Ground almonds – or almond flour/meal. This is easily available in most shops, or you could make your own by grinding almonds in a blender.
- Baking powder – select a gluten free variety of baking powder for a gluten diet.
- Butter – Use oil to grease the pan to make this cake dairy free.
How to make it
- Wash the oranges well and place in a saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, till the oranges are soft and tender. Remove the oranges from the water and set aside to cool. Slice the oranges in half to remove any pips.
- Blend the oranges (peel, pith and pulp) till it is puréed.
- In a separate mixing bowl, beat the eggs and add the sugar, ground almonds, baking powder and orange purée.
- Mix together well.
- Grease a 9-inch springform pan and pour the mixture into it.
- Bake for around 45 minutes or till the edges are brown and a skewer comes out only slightly sticky.
Allow the cake to cool in the tin before removing from the springform tin.
Take it up a notch with a layer of melted chocolate or warmed apricot jam, spread over the top of the cake once it has cooled.
To make this paleo: Sugar can be substituted with honey. The amount of honey required would depend on the variety used. Use roughly 1.5 cups of a light honey with a mild flavour so that it does not overpower the cake. Then lower the oven temperature by 25℉/20℃ so it doesn’t burn, and you may need to extend the cooking time by a few minutes due to the extra moisture.
Try these similar cake recipes
Here are a few similar cake recipes which are a real hit with family and friends!
Kladdkaka – for chocolate lovers everywhere! This Swedish chocolate cake has a crispy top, chewy edges and a soft and rich gooey center!
New York Cheesecake – this cheesecake is rich, smooth, fluffy and moist! It is my favourite cheesecake recipe ever!
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Orange and Almond Cake
- 2 large oranges
- 6 medium eggs
- 250 g ground almonds or almond flour/meal
- 250 g sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder * see recipe notes
- butter for greasing
- ground almonds (as above) for sprinkling
- confectioner's sugar for dusting
- Wash the oranges and place in a saucepan filled with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 90 to 120 minutes, till the oranges are soft. Remove the oranges and set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 350℉/180℃.
- Slice the oranges in 1/2 to remove any pips. Purée the oranges (including the peel, pith and flesh) in a blender.
- Separately, beat eggs in a large bowl. To this, add the ground almonds, sugar, baking powder and orange purée and mix together well.
- Grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter and dust lightly with ground almonds.
- Pour the mixture into the springform pan and bake for 45-50 minutes.
- Allow to cool in the tin before removing from the springform.