One Sunday afternoon at the end of summer, I spent in the sunshine enjoying tea and cakes at the lovely Petersham Nurseries near Richmond. If you haven’t been to the Petersham Nurseries before, then I definitely recommend a visit. It’s a top rated international garden centre, an oasis away from the bustle of London, and somewhere to find antiques and gifts or just a place to sit, wonder and enjoy delicious food or homemade cakes in their teahouse.
The Teahouse Cafe offers a selection of homemade cakes, of which some are even gluten free or vegan. I had their signature Flourless Orange & Almond cake which was so moist and tasty that I knew I had to try and recreate this recipe at home. I searched the internet far and wide and managed to find a recipe that I think comes pretty close to the original by Petersham Nurseries’ Chef Lucy Boyd. I made this gluten free flourless Orange & Almond Cake for a recent bake-off at work and it was a real winner, my cake was so popular it was sold out in seconds.
Flourless Orange & Almond Cake
Knob of butter, for greasing the tin
plain flour, for dusting the tin (or use almond flour for to make it 100% gluten free)
4 medium eggs, separated
125g caster sugar
grated zest of 1 orange
50g ground almonds
50g flaked almonds, finely chopped
For the syrup:
3 oranges, juiced to give about 300ml
75g caster sugar
1 whole cinnamon stick
1 tbsp orange liqueur
Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan). Butter and flour a 20cm springform cake tin. Put the egg whites in a bowl and whisk until you get soft peaks when the beaters are lifted. Add 25g of the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking between each addition until glossy. Put the egg yolks in another bowl with the remaining 100g of sugar and whisk until thickened and pale. Mix in the orange zest and the almonds. Fold in the egg white mixture gradually to maintain volume. Pour into the cake tin, level the surface and bake for about 45 minutes.
To make the syrup, simmer the orange juice with the sugar and cinnamon stick until the sugar has dissolved, then stir in the liqueur. When the cake has cooled, use a skewer to pierce the top with little holes, then pour the syrup over so that it soaks into the holes and is completely absorbed.
Yummm so good, and my little tip is that it tastes even better a day after it’s made, making it perfect to make a day in advance! Or if you’re not for baking, then just pop down to Petersham Nurseries to try this cake there – or any of their other scrumptious homemade treats for that matter.
Church Lane (signed posted ‘St Peter’s Church’)
Off Petersham Road
Richmond, Surrey, TW10 7AB