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February 8, 2018

This is orange season, and particularly gorgeous are these juicy little blood oranges you can pick up in most green grocers or supermarkets.  Marmalade is next on my list but in the meantime it being one of my brother’s birthdays last week, and he coming over for a little weekday supper last night to celebrate in a Wednesday-ish sort of way, I thought I’d make a Persian orange cake.   Cake is the perfect way to celebrate pretty much anything, and also the answer to most of life’s problems I think, except perhaps if you are on a diet. Luckily none of us last night were on a diet.  This is such a lovely, fragrant cake (also gluten and fat free – yes, it is), and such an easy recipe I then thought I’d put it our there for you, gentle reader.

This based on a Claudia Roden recipe I have used for years.  She is a remarkable women and worth a diversion away from here should you be curious to know more.

Persian Orange Cake

2 large, or 3 small/medium oranges.  (Blood oranges are lovely for this but to be honest don’t make a lot of difference to the colour unless they are very dark red.  Any nice ripe oranges will do.)

6 eggs

250g ground almonds

200g sugar

1 tsp baking powder


In Advance

Put the oranges in pan of boiling water – enough so they bounce around a bit, not touching the bottom.  These need to simmer away for an hour or so, until really soft, so the water will need to be topped up every now and then.

When soft drain the water and let the oranges cool.

When cooled down cut them cross ways and scoop out any pips.  Then put the oranges, peel and all, into a food processor to whizz into a pulp.  If you don’t have one they will need thorough mashing with a potato masher, or chopped finely on a board (this could get messy).  You need to end up wth a lovely sloppy pulp.  Then put this to one side.

Ready to bake.

Pre heat the oven to about 200 degrees or gas 6.

Line a baking tin with baking parchment. I use a round one because that’s what I have and I think round looks nice, but use what you like, just make sure you line it.  My tin is approx 10″ diameter which works well for these quantities.

Whisk the eggs throughly in a large bowl.  Add the almond, sugar & baking powder and combine well.  Add the pulp and stir vigorously.  If you like you can add a few drops of orange water here to give it a more perfumed aroma.

Scrape entire mix into the tin and put into the oven, middle shelf, for approximately one and half hours.  It needs to spring back very gently to the touch when it is ready, and not wobble.  Use a toothpick or skewer to double check if you’re not sure.  It won’t come out squeaky clean because of the way the cake is formed, but it should come out without raw sticky bits on it.


Sprinkle with icing sugar or drizzle with a marmalade syrup to serve.  Marmalade syrup is easy  – add a few tablespoons of water and one of sugar to one large one of marmalade and boil for 5 mins or so, until the sugar is dissolved.  The thicker you want it the longer you boil it.  You can leave the bits in or remove them, up to you, but it adds a lovely sharp extra marmaladey taste to the cake.

Serve warm or room temp with crème frâiche.  Stored in a sealed container this will last a week.  It won’t, because it tastes so good, but theoretically…


2 Comments leave one →
  1. SUSANNA DAMMANN permalink
    February 8, 2018 4:05 pm

    Yum – lovely and simple. I have one similar which I found in the FT but it has rice flour in it and is a little more complicated. I’m just recovering from acupuncture session booked to recover from over- enthusiastic gardening at RH – all needed doing at once which is why I didn’t try and fit in a trip to Bristol. Hope all good Do you need any enthusiastic assistance – a young woman taking a year out from University is in Bristol and looking for a job with food, which she likes. She’s a cousin on Michael’s daughter in law and sounds a good bet. xxxS

    Susanna From my iPhone

  2. February 8, 2018 6:56 pm

    Really nice the next day at work as well! Thanks darlin’

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