This almond and orange cake has got to be one of my favourite cakes ever!!! Now, although it would be considered by many as being a naughty confectionary delight (with the addition of sugar in it), I must admit that I can’t help feeling really healthy whenever I eat a slice of this cake. I think it may have something to do with the subtle taste of ground almonds combined with the zesty orange aroma which hypnotizes me into this healthy state of mind. Anyway, I initially made this cake for my dad who loves anything nutty! Literally, he will happily crunch his way through any nut in existence and I thought this cake would be the perfect treat for him. I was a little nervous when he took his first bite because he can be very critical of my baking and cooking at times, but to my surprise, he loved it. He loved it so much that he asked for a second slice, and this made me realise just how special this cake is. It really made my day watching him devour every mouthful because like I said, he can be critical.
You are probably thinking that an almond and orange cake is probably quite grown-up and just for adults to enjoy because most children (like mine!) hate the sound of anything with the word ‘almond’ in it. Their faces just automatically scrunch up in disgust at the very sound of ‘almond’. Well, it turns out that this presumption is wrong and it is actually quite a kid-friendly cake too. My son, who is the exact description of the above when it comes to almonds, clearly told me that he will not go near the cake. However, after he saw everyone drooling over its taste, he decided to ask me for a slice. As soon as he tasted it, he quickly finished it off – there was not one crumb left on his plate. So, there you go….an almond and orange cake can equally be loved by children as well.
It can be enjoyed with afternoon tea, or even packed up as a picnic treat. I personally like to enjoy a slice sitting outside on a cool summer evening with a chilled glass of iced tea.
50g plain flour
1 level tsp baking powder
225g caster sugar
120g light brown sugar
250g ground almonds
250g unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp orange zest
4 large eggs
70ml orange juice
1 tbsp marmalade
½ cup flaked almonds
To make the sponge:
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/gas 4.
Whisk the butter with the caster sugar, orange zest and 60g of the brown sugar. Add the eggs one at a time. Sift the flour and baking powder and slowly fold this with the ground almonds into the wet mixture. Bake for 30 – 45 mins.
To make the syrup:
Boil the orange juice with the remaining 60g of brown sugar for a few minutes and then let it cool. Once the cake is cool, prick the sponge and with a tablespoon pour the cooled syrup carefully into each little hole. Next, spread the marmalade over the sponge and scatter with flaked almonds.
This cake can be eaten straight away, or put into the fridge – just allow it to soften for half an hour before eating it. It can be covered and stored in the fridge for a few days.