The English Pear: Dickens’ Birthday- Orange and Almond Cake

‘“Very good,” said Steerforth. “You’ll be glad to spend another shilling or so, in almond cakes, I dare say?”

I said, “Yes, I should like that, too.”

Charles Dickens – David Copperfield

In celebration of Charles Dickens’ birthday on 7th February, we have put together an almond cake recipe good enough to tempt both you and David. Our orange and almond cake takes inspiration from Dickens’ food allusion but modernises it into something simple and yummy. Be sure to make this cake and host a Dickens-cake and book club this Thursday!

What you need:

For the cake:
6 eggs
200g caster sugar
250g ground almonds
1 tbsp baking powder
Zest of 2 large oranges

For the icing:
Icing sugar
Juice of ¼ large orange
Orange slices

almond 3

How to make:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/ 300° Grease and flour a cake tin (rub butter around the base and sides of the tin, add some flour and tap the sides until the flour sticks to the butter, discarding any excess flour). We used a 20cm round cake tin here but any tin you have will do!
  2. Begin by beating the eggs together in a bowl. Stir in the ground almonds, caster sugar, baking powder and orange zest. Sift the baking powder and almonds if they have clumped at all in their packets.
  3. Pour the cake mixture into the tin. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes. Check that it’s ready with a cake tester/ toothpick – it should come out clean.
  4. Leave the cake to cool completely.
  5. To make the icing, sift some icing sugar into a bowl. Add the orange juice in small amounts. You want a pourable but not too runny consistency. When you’re happy with the amount and texture of icing, spoon it onto the cooled cake and allow it to spread – don’t worry if it drips over the sides! We used about ¾ cup of icing sugar and the juice of ¼ orange.
  6. Decorate the top with some orange zest and slices to finish. Be sure to use up the oranges so they don’t go to waste!


Caitlin Britt & Naomi Osborne

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