Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Flourless orange and almond cake

We've just returned from a super weekend in Portugal with A's family. Aka 'The A Team'.

I've never been to Portugal before. And while I promise this won't turn into an excerpt from Lonely Planet: Portugal, please humour me while I tell you how great the country is. If you get through my gushing-travel-talk there are pretty pictures of cakes at the bottom for your perusal. And an inspired-by-Portugal cake recipe.

For why is Portugal worth a visit? Well...

1. It is beautifully sunny and gloriously warm. That kind of sunny warmth you feel giddy with joy from, while your pale white limbs feel overexposed after a winter of jeans and jumpers

2. The beaches are long and sandy, crying out for you to run along them, white limbs flailing, straight into the sea. Or, of course, you can do a 'Baywatch' if you so wish.

3. The Orange Juice is like a sweet nectar made from pure gold

4. The Portuguese are super friendly and welcoming

5. The cakes mostly involve almonds or egg custard or both. I've taken it upon myself, in the greedy, cake monster eating way I do, to sample all the cakes I came across to sort-of prove this theory of mine. All in the name of 'research' of course.

Portuguese Custard Tart

Almond and egg custard cake

Strawberry and egg custard tart

Almond cake

And inspired by the trip, I present to you a flourless Orange and Almond cake

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake

(Jill Dupleix, The Times)


3 large oranges
225g caster sugar
200g ground almonds
6 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
Icing sugar to dust

1. Clean the oranges and place in a large pan. Add boiling water and bring to roughly half way up the sides of the oranges. Bring to the boil. Turn the heat down so the oranges simmer for approximately one and a half hours or until soft

2. Once soft, remove from the water, cut in quarters and remove any large pips. Place the quarters-skin, pith, juice and all-in a food processor and whiz until pureed. Cool.

3. Heat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Separate the egg yolks and whites. Pop the yolks and sugar into a large bowl and beat until pale

4. Beat in the oranges, almonds, and baking powder. Beat the egg whites until softly peaky and fold gently into the mixture.

5. Pour into a 23cm (9in) springform cake tin and bake for an hour, until firm to the touch (cover with a loose sheet of foil if over-browning)

6. Cool in the tin and dust with icing sugar to serve

Baker's notes...

  • The recipe here is based on the Sephardic orange-and-almond cake in Claudia Roden’s  A New Book of Middle Eastern Food.
  • You could serve it with double cream, creme fraiche or for an extra treat mascarpone cream (add 2 tbsps of vanilla sugar to 250g mascarpone and combine)
  • This cake isn't terribly sweet. To reduce the bitterness of the oranges I've since read the following about boiling the oranges, from the website taste.com.au:
'Place the oranges in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over medium heat. Cook for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain. Return to pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for 15 minutes (this will reduce the bitterness of the peel). Refresh under cold water. Drain.'


  1. Wow, love the photos from your trip to Portugal! And what a yummy cake too, almonds are the way to go!

  2. That's a yummy line up of all sorts of goodies but I especially like the flourless cake, I must try something like this.

  3. Lovely pics! The cake looks so good.


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  5. Great article and recipe. We are currently in Portugal and completely agree with you about the country, people and food. Do you have a recipe for the almond and egg custard cake? We love it and would love to bake it. Thanks for a great blog.


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