Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Grandpa Urchin's Tunisian Orange Cake

For my third cake this week I chose to make this deliciously sticky, sweet Tunisian Orange Cake which I (along with many others) fawned over when we tasted it at fellow blogger, Food Urchin's lamb in a pit extravaganza last summer. Sadly for poor Food Urchin, despite his best efforts to wow us all with his amazing-cooked-in-the-ground-for-10-hours lamb, it was his Dad's cake which stole the show.

So here is the recipe, reproduced with the kind permission of Food Urchin and Grandpa Urchin, for the most moist, sticky, orangey, lightly spiced cake you e'er will taste on these shores...


For the cake:

50g slightly stale white breadcrumbs
200g caster sugar
100g ground almonds
1 ½ tsp baking powder
200ml sunflower oil
4 eggs
finely grated zest of 1 large unwaxed orange
finely grated zest of ½ unwaxed lemon

For the citrus syrup:

juice of 1 orange
juice of 1 lemon
75g caster sugar
2 cloves
1 cinnamon stick

For the icing (optional):

The original recipe doesn't have icing, but I wanted to 'posh it up' a bit on this occasion. It really isn't necessary and you could just serve it as it is or with a dollop of yogurt or fresh cream.

2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
125-150g icing sugar
zest of ½ unwaxed orange


Line the base of a 20cm round and 5cm deep tine with greaseproof paper, then grease and flour the tin.

Mix the breadcrumbs with the sugar, almonds and baking powder. Whisk the oil with the eggs, then pour into the dry ingredients and then mix well. Add the orange and lemon zest. Pour the mixture into the tin, place in a cold oven and turn on the heat to 180C.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the cake is golden brown (mine took 45 minutes). Check with a skewer by inserting it into the middle, if it comes out clean it’s done. Cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a plate.

Meanwhile, make the citrus syrup. Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring gently to the boil, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. Simmer for 3 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves from the syrup.

While the cake is still warm, pierce it several times with a skewer, then spoon the hot syrup over the cake allowing it to run into the holes. Leave to cool. Spoon any excess syrup over the cake every now and then until it is all soaked up.

To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into the orange juice and zest and stir until smooth. Drizzle across the cake.


  1. Sounds wonderful, love sticky and orange. Haven't used breadcrumbs in cake before. Infinitely preferable to lamb I reckon (that's the vegetarian talking) ;-)

  2. Aah yes... the lamb WAS superb. Superb. But grandpa urchin's tunisian orange cake did steal the show, didn't it? OK not really, but it was a damn close thing!

  3. All your cakes look so wonderful - this is going on the list to make!