This citrus syrup soaked almond cake takes me back to the Jemaa el-Fnaa, the central square of Marrakesh: the teeth pullers ready to pounce with their pliers, the snake charmers forcing a writhing snake scarf on your neck, and amongst this the orange juice vendors lined up, the citrus scents suffusing the air…
Incredibly easy and quick to make, this cake will last for several weeks if kept in a sealed container.
It can be made gluten free simply by using gluten-free bread crumbs.
The candied orange topping is optional.
50g stale/toasted white bread crumbs (gluten free can be used)
175g caster sugar
100g ground almonds
1 ½ tsp baking powder
200ml vegetable oil
Finely grated zest of 3 medium /2 large unwaxed oranges
Finely grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
Juice of 2 oranges
Juice of 1 ½ lemons
1 cinnamon stick
Optional Candied Orange
1 cup water
½ cup caster sugar
2 small unwaxed oranges sliced across the diameter 2mm thick
20cm diameter tin, lined with baking parchment
- In a large bowl whisk together oil, eggs and orange and lemon zest until combined.
- In a separate large bowl mix all dry ingredients together.
- Pour wet mixture into dry and stir until combined. Pour into lined tin and place in cold oven & turn heat to 180˚C.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
- While cake is cooking pour all ingredients into pan & place on medium high heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved then let it simmer for 4 minutes until it has reduced slightly to a thin, non-viscose syrup.
- As soon as the cake is removed the oven stab it all-over with a skewer , don’t hold back. Pour the syrup over. It may initially look like it’s drowning, but it will rapidly be absorbed.
- Serve when cool.
Optional candied orange layer
- In a large frying pan stir together sugar and water until sugar has dissolved.
- simmer for 3 minutes then add orange slices. Don’t worry if they overlap.
- Simmer on medium-low heat for 15 minutes, or until the skin of the orange is translucent.
- Arrange as desired.
(recipe influenced by Sophie Grigson)