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More Nigella recipes

Almond and Orange Blossom Cake

by . Featured in HOW TO EAT
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Introduction

I have been making this delicate, fragrant cake for over two decades now, and it never disappoints. It’s not showy – the only adornment is a light dusting of icing sugar – but it doesn’t need to shout: the proof of et cetera, et cetera; this is a cake that underpromises but overdelivers.

I love this mostly as a cake for pudding (though there is nothing wrong at all with a slice with a cup of tea) when I also serve it with raspberries, or whatever fruit is on hand, depending on the season.

Don’t panic about the fact that no raising agent is used: the cake doesn’t need it. Though I have made a small recent adjustment to the recipe: you will note that I have given an option of replacing the regular flour with rice flour. I did this in order to make the cake gluten-free for a friend of mine, and I have (even though I am on excellent terms with gluten myself) rather got into the habit of baking it this way. So I happily give you the choice.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

I have been making this delicate, fragrant cake for over two decades now, and it never disappoints. It’s not showy – the only adornment is a light dusting of icing sugar – but it doesn’t need to shout: the proof of et cetera, et cetera; this is a cake that underpromises but overdelivers.

I love this mostly as a cake for pudding (though there is nothing wrong at all with a slice with a cup of tea) when I also serve it with raspberries, or whatever fruit is on hand, depending on the season.

Don’t panic about the fact that no raising agent is used: the cake doesn’t need it. Though I have made a small recent adjustment to the recipe: you will note that I have given an option of replacing the regular flour with rice flour. I did this in order to make the cake gluten-free for a friend of mine, and I have (even though I am on excellent terms with gluten myself) rather got into the habit of baking it this way. So I happily give you the choice.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Almond and Orange Blossom Cake
Photo by Lis Parsons

Ingredients

Serves: 8

Metric Cups
  • 225 grams soft unsalted butter (plus extra for greasing)
  • 200 grams caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 50 grams plain flour or rice flour if you want this to be gluten-free
  • 180 grams ground almonds
  • 1 scant teaspoon almond extract
  • finely grated zest of 1 medium orange
  • juice of ½ medium orange (1 x 15ml tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons orange-flower water
  • 1 teaspoon icing sugar (to decorate)
  • 16 tablespoons soft unsalted butter (plus extra for greasing)
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour or rice flour if you want this to be gluten-free
  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1 scant teaspoon almond extract
  • finely grated zest of 1 medium orange
  • juice of ½ medium orange (1 x 15ml tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 tablespoons orange-flower water
  • 1 teaspoon confectioners' sugar (to decorate)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/350°F, and slide a baking sheet onto a low rack or the bottom of the oven – this is not for the cake to bake on, but to catch any drips. Grease a 20cm / 8 inch springform cake tin, and cut out a baking parchment circle to line the bottom.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until almost white, then beat in the eggs one by one, spooning in a little of the flour with each one as you go.
  3. Fold in the rest of the flour, and the ground almonds. Add the almond extract, grated orange zest, orange juice and orange-flower water, folding again to combine. Don’t worry if the mixture looks a bit curdled.
  4. Pour and scrape this into your prepared tin smoothing the top and bake on a rack in the oven for 40-50 minutes. If the middle has not set but the top is catching then cover loosely with foil.
  5. If a cake tester comes out clean and the top of the cake is firm, then remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for about 5-10 minutes.
  6. Carefully unspring the sides of the cake and leave to cool on a rack. Once cold it can be wrapped in baking parchment and foil and left for a day or two.
  7. When you are ready to serve, dust the top with a little icing sugar pushed through a small sieve.
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/350°F, and slide a baking sheet onto a low rack or the bottom of the oven – this is not for the cake to bake on, but to catch any drips. Grease a 20cm / 8 inch springform cake tin, and cut out a baking parchment circle to line the bottom.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until almost white, then beat in the eggs one by one, spooning in a little of the flour with each one as you go.
  3. Fold in the rest of the flour, and the almond meal. Add the almond extract, grated orange zest, orange juice and orange-flower water, folding again to combine. Don’t worry if the mixture looks a bit curdled.
  4. Pour and scrape this into your prepared tin smoothing the top and bake on a rack in the oven for 40-50 minutes. If the middle has not set but the top is catching then cover loosely with foil.
  5. If a cake tester comes out clean and the top of the cake is firm, then remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for about 5-10 minutes.
  6. Carefully unspring the sides of the cake and leave to cool on a rack. Once cold it can be wrapped in baking parchment and foil and left for a day or two.
  7. When you are ready to serve, dust the top with a little confectioners' sugar pushed through a small sieve.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD:
The cake will keep for 4-5 days in an airtight container in a cool place.

FREEZE:
To freeze the cake wait until it is completely cold then wrap tightly in a double layer of clingfilm and a layer of foil and freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, unwrap the cake and put it in an airtight container. Leave in a cool place overnight.

MAKE AHEAD:
The cake will keep for 4-5 days in an airtight container in a cool place.

FREEZE:
To freeze the cake wait until it is completely cold then wrap tightly in a double layer of clingfilm and a layer of foil and freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, unwrap the cake and put it in an airtight container. Leave in a cool place overnight.

Tell us what you think

What 4 Others have said

  • Made this for a colleague's last day at work and everybody loved it... Unfortunately I could not find almond extract anywhere and I think that was missing in the cake as I could really taste more orange than almonds.

    Posted by NutNut on 26th February 2021
  • Wonderful!

    Posted by Eliane64 on 10th August 2019
  • I made this for my son’s wedding cake, at the request of my daughter in law. It is delicious and moist. We decorated it with real flowers and herb sprigs. Perfect.

    Posted by Beviec on 31st July 2019
  • This is a delicious cake. It was my first experience using orange-blossom water, and I was very pleased with the results! My relatives also enjoyed it. It turned out beautifully -- the flavors are marvelous. Simple, yet wonderfully complex. I'll bake this again.

    Posted by egschneider on 11th March 2019
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