Marrakech is one of those cities that really excites all of the senses. The bustling Medina, filled with sights, sounds and the aromas of wonderful spices is something that any explorer would enjoy. The recipe for Moroccan Orange and Almond Cake is a lovely way to create some of those wonderful Moroccan flavours at home. Serve with peppermint tea and pretend you’re sitting in one of the cities beautiful riads.
For the cake:
- 200ml vegetable oil
- 200g ground almonds
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 4 medium free-range eggs
- zest of 2 oranges
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon orange blossom water (optional)
- 5 saffron strands (optional)
For the syrup:
- Juice of 1 large orange
- 100g golden caster sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 25g flaked almonds
- Grease a round loose bottom baking tin and preheat the oven to 180C / Gas Mark 4.
- Mix the ground almonds, golden caster sugar, baking powder and saffron together in a bowl.
- In a jug, measure 200ml of vegetable oil, add the vanilla extract and orange blossom water and then crack the eggs into the jug and beat with a fork until loosely combined.
- Add the contents of the jug into the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. (The batter will look a little grainy but the sugar will dissolve in the mixture during cooking so don’t be alarmed!)
- Spoon the cake batter into the tin and bake in the centre of the oven for around 30 minutes, or until the cake has risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. (TIP: Don’t open the oven at all during cooking if you can help it, or at least for the majority of the cooking time, as this can cause cakes to sink in the middle)
- Once cooked, remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.
- To make the syrup, place the orange juice, sugar and cinnamon into a pan and gently heat on the hob until the sugar has dissolved in the juice.
- Place the almonds on a baking tray, and lightly toast in the oven until golden brown, keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn.
- Pierce the cake all over with a skewer or fork, and spoon the syrup all over the cake, making sure it’s nicely glazed all over. Sprinkle the almonds over the cake and grate over some orange zest to finish.