Orange and Lemons...

For a short period in October, the theme appears to be orange and black - you guessed it, it's around the time of Halloween.  I really dislike this combination, although I am a huge fan of the saffron orange which just conjures up the impression fiery warmth and life.  Another reason why I love the colour orange is that it reminds me of the fruit as well, which comes in beautiful gluts at this time of the year.  Naturally then, this glut will feature somewhere in the form of a cake, and this happens to be one of my all time favourite cakes.  Tunisian orange cake was first introduced into my hemisphere as I worked at Harbour Lights behind the bar.  It is in effect a light citrusy sponge drenched in an orange syrup and tastes much better the next day as the flavours mingle and time has allowed the sponge to really absorb the syrup.  The recipe was found in a Waitrose Kitchen magazine (Oct '10) as a feature of a family-run cafe called The Main Street Trading Company which resides in Scotland.  If you're ever around the area, check it out, it looks so inviting!  In the meantime though, I leave you with their recipe.

Tunisian Orange Cake
(Serves 8)


  • 45g Polenta
  • 200g Caster sugar
  • 100g Ground almonds
  • 1.5tsp Baking powder
  • 215ml Olive oil
  • 4 Eggs, lightly beaten
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 45g Granulated sugar
  • Juice of 1 Orange
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1/4 of a large cinnamon stick
  1. Line the base of a 19/20cm cake tin with baking parchment and grease the sides with some oil
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients of the cake: polenta, almonds, baking powder, caster sugar and zest.  Beat the eggs and oil together, then whisk into the dry mixture.
  3. Pour into the prepared cake tin and put into the cold oven.  Switch on the oven to GM 5/190C/375F and bake for 50-60 minutes, until lightly golden and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre.  Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.  
  4. Meanwhile, put the granulated sugar, orange and lemon juices and cinnamon stick into a pan and heat until all the sugar is dissolved, stirring often. 
  5. Skewer holes all over the cake and pour the syrup over the cake gently, giving the cake time to absorb the liquid.  Place a baking tray underneath the cake to catch the juices!


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