Orange and Cardamon Cake…

Orange fruits on a white background.

I haven’t baked for weeks – not since before the house went on the market. It’s not just been about trying to avoid the mess… ok, maybe it has been. It’s just that it’s seemed as though most of my available time on weekends has been spent in cleaning.

Anyways, we had friends over on Saturday evening and I was determined to make the pav I didn’t get to make when my family was over the weekend before. I ended up serving them chocolate paddle pops and lemonade icy poles.

The pav was a failure. The first time I’ve failed a pav. It was flattish and chewy – not at all like a pav should be. I was devastated – I’ve become known for my pavs. And this one was all set to be a Nigella chocolate pav.

‘That’s great news,’ declared my husband. ‘I really wanted the orange and cardamom cake instead.’

Good response.

Anyways, this is my husband’s favourite cake. And no wonder really- it’s intensely orange, moist and delightfully soft. The cardamom adds a touch of the exotics and the cointreau and cinnamon in the syrup elevate it into something worthy of a farewell barbecue.

The recipe comes from Greg and Lucy Malouf’s wonderful book, Moorish- Flavours from Mecca to Marrakech. It’s super easy, super tasty, and tastes a lot more special than it looks.

I served it on an antique cake plate that I found when I emptied out the sideboard. Just how pretty is that?


What you need:

  • 130g soft unsalted butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, free range from happy clucking chooks, of course
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon cardamon seeds, finely ground and sieved. You can use pre-ground in need I guess…
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 200ml sour cream


For the syrup:

  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 3 tablespoons Cointreau
  • 3 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 6 cardamon pods, cracked
  • 1 cinnamon stick


What you do with it:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 170C
  • Cream the butter and sugar
  • Add the vanilla and zests and mix in
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom together
  • With the mixer on low speed, add the flour alternately with the sour cream
  • Slap it into a tin (23cm springform cake tin) that you’ve had the forethought to grease and line in the usual way.
  • Bake for 50-60 mins- until a skewer comes out clean
  • Use the cake cooking time to prepare the syrup, ie bung the ingredients together into a saucepan and simmer gently for a few minutes. Strain.
  • When the cake is done, pierce it all over with the skewer and pour over the syrup evenly.
  • Leave it to cool completely in the tin.
  • Dust with icing sugar and serve with dollops of double cream.


Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

12 thoughts

  1. That cake does look yummy. I had a flashback to my childhood to some orange cake my mum must have made! (And I only like cakes if they’re moist… as close to batter as you can get!)

  2. Oh Yum! Must try this and impress the family! It looks lovely and moist. 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

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