RECIPE: Orange and Almond Syrup Cake



Impossibly light and syrupy at the same time, this citrus-y cake is perfect in the afternoon with a cup of tea or with a scoop of crème fraîche for a sophisticated evening dessert. Be sure to buy unwaxed oranges for this recipe: the zest, along with the juice, is a key ingredient.

Recipe courtesy of The Levantine Vegetarian: Recipes from the Middle East by Salma Hage, £29.95 HB, Published by Phaidon


For the cake:

  • 6 eggs, separated

  • 200 g/7 oz (scant 1 cup) soft brown sugar

  • Grated zest of 2 oranges

  • Grated zest of 1 lemon

  • 1⁄4 teaspoon almond extract

  • 225 g/8 oz (22⁄3 cups) ground almonds

  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt

  • Crème fraîche, to serve

For the syrup:

  • Juice of 6 oranges Juice of 1⁄2 lemon

  • 250 g/9 oz (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) runny honey

  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Line a 23-cm/9-inch springform cake pan with parchment paper.

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar and beat until pale and fluffy. Add the citrus zests and almond extract and beat to combine. Stir in the ground almonds and mix well. Clean the whisk.

  • Cut the zested lemon in half. Rub the inside of a clean mixing bowl with a lemon half. Add the egg whites and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites and salt into the almond mixture, until no white streaks are visible.

  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake on the middle rack for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

  • Meanwhile, make the syrup. In a small saucepan, combine the citrus juices and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium- low and simmer for 5 minutes, until reduced by a quarter.

  • Add the honey and simmer for 8–10 minutes, until the mixture has thickened. Remove from the heat, then stir in the orange blossom water.

  • Prick the cake surface all over with a skewer. Pour over the syrup and leave to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Release the cake, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Cut into wedges and serve with crème fraîche.


Author: minervadigi