Dense orange and almond cake

March 3rd, 2010


You need to bake this cake. Perhaps the most perfect afternoon tea cake. Ever. Not only is it moist, aromatic with citrus and dense with ground almonds; it actually improves with age. So, its perfect for baking on a lazy Sunday and eeking out as an afternoon treat over the week. The recipes comes from Orangette’s blog and she actually calls it marmalade cake as boiling the lemon and orange makes it smell like marmalade when it’s cooking. Then when you’re eating it, the little nuggets of orange and lemon make it taste like little bursts of marmalade-like bitterness.

I’ve called it orange and almond cake in the hope of inspiring those who love ground almonds rather than putting off those who hate marmalade. (I dislike marmalade too, except in bread and butter pudding, where it is divine.)

The cake requires a little preparation as you need to boil an orange and lemon for 30 minutes first. Otherwise, its very easy to put together. I normally make this in a springform tin, but have also made it in two 20cm sandwich tins. The slight bitterness of the cake means it goes very well with some super sweet buttercream icing (and I recently made it for a friend’s wedding cake).

(A friend of mine recently baked this with just lemons and tells me it’s divine – one to try)

1 orange (blood oranges are nice when in season)
1 lemon
4 eggs
½ tsp salt
300g sugar
125ml oil (sunflower or light olive oil)
150g ground almonds
150g flour
1 tbsp baking powder

  • Cover the lemon and orange with water and boil for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool.
  • Cut the lemon and orange in half. Scoop the flesh out of the lemon and discard, remove any stones from the orange.
  • Blend the orange and lemon rind to a purée.
  • Whisk the eggs and salt together until fluffy. Slowly whisk in the sugar, then the oil.
  • Fold in the orange and lemon purée.
  • Fold in the ground almonds, baking powder and flour. Do not overmix.
  • Spoon the mixture into a greased and lined 23cm springform tin.
  • Bake for 1 hour at 180C, or until springy on top and skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
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14 Responses to “Dense orange and almond cake”

  1. HighTeaMan says:

    I’ve been to quite a few afternoon teas, and I’d have to agree with you, this sounds like one of the best afternoon tea cakes ever.

  2. Mmm, don’t remind me, it was sublime! Made my working week. Thanks for the recipe x

  3. mangocheeks says:

    Another delicious zesty looking cake. I so wish I could have a piece right now!

  4. Hilary says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Citrus and almond cakes are my obsession in life. This one looks just fabulous. I know what I am baking this weekend!

  5. Lucie says:

    This looks sooo yummy. I love your blog – I shall be back for more deliciousness! Lucie x

  6. Kathleen says:

    I found you through ‘DesignSponge’. She showcased the almond and yoghurt cake with blood orange curd. I can’t seem to find it on your blog. Can you help? By the way, your blog makes me hungry! 🙂

  7. Rachel says:

    Hi Kathleen,
    The recipe for the cake is actually on Design*Sponge
    I do have another yoghurt cake recipe here as well
    Rachel x

  8. Hi Rachel

    I made this orange almond cake and turned out really great. I loved it.

    I want to send this recipe to my Mom who lives in Argentina and I’m pretty sure that she’ll have self-rising flour available as it’s very common to get that type at the store. If that’s the case, does she still need to add baking powder or change the amount of it?

    Thank you!


  9. Rachel says:

    Hi Ximena,

    I’m not sure as I’ve not tried the recipe with self-raising flour, but I would suggest adding one teaspoon of baking powder instead of one talespoon. Hope that works!

  10. Jinesh says:

    I’ve just made this and it turned out amazing. Thanks for the recipe.

    I’m hoping to make it down to your brunch club soon.

  11. Rachel says:

    Great! I think this cake is one of my favourites, wishing I had a piece now…

  12. […] I found the recipe here at What Rachel Ate. I foresee many bakes from Rachel’s site – it’s […]

  13. Rachel says:

    Hi Rachel,

    Going to test this recipe for a layer of my wedding cake. Have you frozen the cake before buttercreaming and icing? Does the taste or texture alter at all?

    Thanks x

  14. Rachel says:

    Hi Rachel,

    No, I haven’t, sorry. It does keep for several days though (I reckon up to a week), so you could make it in advance for a wedding cake.

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