by now you probably know what a lousy house-wife i am, i am however superbly gifted in being lazy which is why i choose my baking battles with baking very carefully. this orange cake - the recipe from claudia roden’s comprehensive book A New Book of Middle Eastern Food is reputedly from ancient middle eastern origin - and one of my favourites… of course you can have it with tea, but i prefer it with a good Pocas Junior Porto Seguro or other white vinho do porto at dessert time; you’ll be surprised at the limited ingredient list and grateful for the simple method… after trying this, i’ve had difficulty baking anything else, thanks to chris .


2 large or 3 medium oranges

6 eggs

225g caster sugar

200g ground almonds

1tsp baking powder


Place the clean, whole and unpeeled fruit in a little water, and bring to the boil. Simmer for at least 1½ hours or until soft, adding more water when necessary.

Drain the oranges, cut into quarters, discard any major pips, and whiz (including peel) in the food-processor, then cool. Throw in the rest, egg*, sugar, almonds, and baking powder.

Heat the oven to 180C

Pour into a 23cm (9in) springform cake tin and bake for an hour, until firm to the touch (cover with a loose sheet of foil if over-browning). Cool in the tin and dust with icing sugar or sprinkle almonds and zest for greater effect.