Orange Almond Cake is an option that I find hard to resist on cafe menus! With flavours reminiscent of sunny Spain, it is generally a moist and nutty cake with a refreshing citrussy burst of flavour…delicious! I was inspired to develop this Orange Almond Cake with Basil Mascarpone recipe having been sent samples of fruit syrups by Dasha Caffrey Photography, who is developing the range as a new business venture. With fruity flavours such as Raspberry and Thyme, the syrups were delicious mixed with cocktails and even sparkling water. I was particularly drawn to the Orange Basil flavour, a combination that I hadn’t tried before. As well as adding the syrup to drinks, I of course had to experiment with the flavour combination in a cake!
This simple single layer Orange Almond Cake with Basil Mascarpone recipe is adapted from a recipe I use for layer cakes, with a higher percentage of ground almonds for that denser, nuttier texture. I used Dasha’s Orange Basil syrup as a flavoursome soak, but have included the recipe for a simple orange syrup here. The basil mascarpone icing is a tangy and not too sweet contrast to the cake and adds an interesting twist to a classic orange almond combination.
I brought this to a summer barbecue dinner with friends and it went down a real treat…I urge you to try it! (And don’t forget to tag your bakes on social media, @covecakedesign #bakingwithcovecakedesign, for me to share!)
Orange Almond Cake with Basil Mascarpone Icing
Ingredients for the Cake:
- 250g unsalted butter
- 250g caster sugar
- 250g self-raising flour
- 5 medium eggs
- 100g ground almonds
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- Grated zest 1 orange
- 50ml whole milk yogurt
- 2-3tbsp orange juice
- Pinch salt
- 1-2 drops almond essence
Ingredients for Orange Syrup:
- Juice 2 oranges
- 100g caster sugar
Ingredients for the Basil Mascarpone Icing:
- 250g tub mascarpone
- 50g unsalted butter
- 175 icing sugar
- 20 large basil leaves
- 2-3 tsp orange juice (or more as required to taste)
- Crushed pistachios to decorate (optional)
- To make the cake, preheat the oven to 150°C/300F. Grease a 20cm/8″ round cake tin with butter and line the base and sides with baking parchment.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
- Cream together the butter, sugar, orange zest and almond essence in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until pale and light. Scrape down the sides intermittently.
- Turn the mixer down and add one egg and a tablespoon of the flour mixture and mix on low before turning up and mixing well. Repeat with the remaining eggs, adding one tablespoon of flour with each addition.
- Add the rest of the flour mixture and the ground almonds and mix on low until just combined.
- Add the yogurt and orange juice and mix on low. The batter should be thick but have a dropping consistency.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin.
- Bake for approximately 45-50 mins until springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- To make the syrup, heat the sugar and orange juice in a saucepan over a medium heat. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup has reduced (approx 5 mins).
- While the cake is still hot and in the tin, poke holes in the cake with a skewer and pour the hot syrup over the cake allowing it to soak down into the cake.
- To make the icing, finely chop half the basil leaves and beat with the butter and icing sugar in a stand mixer until pale. Add the mascarpone and enough orange juice to create a spreadable icing and mix gently to combine. Pound the other half of the basil leaves in a pestle and mortar to begin to release some of the herby liquid. Scrape into a sieve and place the sieve over the bowl of icing. Press down with a spatula to get some of the basil juice into the icing. Mix. Test the icing to taste for basil. If the flavour is not strong enough for your liking repeat the latter step and/or add more chopped fresh basil.
- When the cake is cool, generously spread the icing on top and decorate with crushed pistachios.
- Because of the mascarpone icing this cake needs to be stored in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before serving however. It should keep for 2-3 days although I will be honest and say that we didn’t manage to let it last that long to test!