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More Nigella recipes

Scented Citrus Cake

by . Featured in AT MY TABLE
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Introduction

Created for a gluten-free friend's birthday, this is a wonderfully uplifting cake: subtly fragrant but full of zing.

If you can't get ground cardamom - though do try to, I consider it a baking essential - you can pound your own, but it'll be much stronger; so here you would need only ½ teaspoon.

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

Created for a gluten-free friend's birthday, this is a wonderfully uplifting cake: subtly fragrant but full of zing.

If you can't get ground cardamom - though do try to, I consider it a baking essential - you can pound your own, but it'll be much stronger; so here you would need only ½ teaspoon.

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

Image of Nigella's Scented Citrus Cake
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin

Ingredients

Serves: 8-12 slices

Metric Cups

FOR THE CAKE

  • 175 grams unsalted butter (soft, plus more for greasing)
  • 200 grams caster sugar
  • 1 - 2 lemons finely grated zest (plus 3x 15ml tablespoons of juice)
  • 1 orange finely grated zest (plus 2x 15ml tablespoons of juice)
  • 4 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 75 grams rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons orange flower water
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons lime juice
  • 200 grams ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (gluten-free if required)

FOR THE ICING

  • 1 x 15ml tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 x 15ml tablespoon orange juice
  • 150 grams icing sugar (sieved if lumpy)

FOR THE CAKE

  • 1½ sticks unsalted butter (soft, plus more for greasing)
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 - 2 lemons finely grated zest (plus 3x 15ml tablespoons of juice)
  • 1 orange finely grated zest (plus 2x 15ml tablespoons of juice)
  • 4 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • ½ cup rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons orange flower water
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 cups fine almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (gluten-free if required)

FOR THE ICING

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1½ cups confectioners' sugar (sieved if lumpy)

Method

You will need 1 x 20cm / 8-inch springform cake tin

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/350°F and grease the sides and line the base of your springform cake tin with baking parchment.
  2. Into the bowl of a freestanding mixer (for ease), though you don’t need to use one, add the butter, sugar and the zests of the lemon and the orange. Beat well until you have a pale and creamy mixture.
  3. Add the eggs, beating in one at a time, at not too high a speed. Be patient doing this, letting each egg be completely mixed in before adding the next one, scraping down as you go. Don’t worry if the batter starts to look curdled at any stage.
  4. Once the eggs are all added, beat in the rice flour and, when that is incorporated, the ground cardamom and orange flower water, then slowly pour in the citrus juices, beating as before, followed by the ground almonds and baking powder.
  5. Finish off by folding and stirring everything together by hand and pour this grainy, fragrant and utterly delicious batter (just try a bit) into the prepared tin.
  6. Bake for about 35 minutes, although start checking at 30 and be prepared to go on to 40. Once ready, the cake should be coming away from the sides, just firm on top and a cake tester will come out with only a few just-damp crumbs stuck to it.
  7. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely in the tin. Unclip the tin and slide the cake off its base and onto a cake plate or stand, ready for icing. It is a damp and delicate cake, so be careful and treat it tenderly.
  8. Once the cake is cold, mix the lemon, lime and orange juices in a little bowl and put the icing sugar into another bowl. Gradually add the citrus juices to the icing sugar, whisking until you have a smooth and flowingly spreadable tangy icing. You may not need every last drop of juice.
  9. Pour the icing on top of the cake, then very gently – I like a small cranked spatula for this – ease the icing out from the middle of the cake to spread to the edges. Don’t worry – indeed, be pleased – if the icing drips down the sides a little.

You will need 1 x 20cm / 8-inch springform cake tin

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/350°F and grease the sides and line the base of your springform cake tin with baking parchment.
  2. Into the bowl of a freestanding mixer (for ease), though you don’t need to use one, add the butter, sugar and the zests of the lemon and the orange. Beat well until you have a pale and creamy mixture.
  3. Add the eggs, beating in one at a time, at not too high a speed. Be patient doing this, letting each egg be completely mixed in before adding the next one, scraping down as you go. Don’t worry if the batter starts to look curdled at any stage.
  4. Once the eggs are all added, beat in the rice flour and, when that is incorporated, the ground cardamom and orange flower water, then slowly pour in the citrus juices, beating as before, followed by the fine almond flour and baking powder.
  5. Finish off by folding and stirring everything together by hand and pour this grainy, fragrant and utterly delicious batter (just try a bit) into the prepared tin.
  6. Bake for about 35 minutes, although start checking at 30 and be prepared to go on to 40. Once ready, the cake should be coming away from the sides, just firm on top and a cake tester will come out with only a few just-damp crumbs stuck to it.
  7. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely in the tin. Unclip the tin and slide the cake off its base and onto a cake plate or stand, ready for icing. It is a damp and delicate cake, so be careful and treat it tenderly.
  8. Once the cake is cold, mix the lemon, lime and orange juices in a little bowl and put the confectioners' sugar into another bowl. Gradually add the citrus juices to the confectioners' sugar, whisking until you have a smooth and flowingly spreadable tangy icing. You may not need every last drop of juice.
  9. Pour the icing on top of the cake, then very gently – I like a small cranked spatula for this – ease the icing out from the middle of the cake to spread to the edges. Don’t worry – indeed, be pleased – if the icing drips down the sides a little.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
Bake cake 1 day ahead. Cool and store in the springform tin, tightly wrapped in cling film or in an airtight container, in a cool place overnight. Ice before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 5 days.

FREEZE:
Wrap un-iced cake in a double layer of cling film and a layer of foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. Freeze the cake on the springform base for extra protection. To defrost, unwrap and leave on a wire rack at room temperature for 3-4 hours. Ice before serving.

MAKE AHEAD / STORE:
Bake cake 1 day ahead. Cool and store in the springform tin, tightly wrapped in cling film or in an airtight container, in a cool place overnight. Ice before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 5 days.

FREEZE:
Wrap un-iced cake in a double layer of cling film and a layer of foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. Freeze the cake on the springform base for extra protection. To defrost, unwrap and leave on a wire rack at room temperature for 3-4 hours. Ice before serving.

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