Almond-orange syrup cakes recipe | Arabic Food Recipes


Almond-orange syrup cakes recipe

These easily-made cakes (you just stir everything together) are typical
of sweets found in the cuisines of the Middle East and Eastern
Mediterranean, where ground nuts (pistachios, almonds, walnuts) and
semolina are widely used. Their slightly gritty texture works
beautifully with the infused sugar syrup, another common feature of
cakes from that part of the world. Be sure to use coarse semolina not
semolina - or durum wheat - flour, which is used for making pasta.

Makes 14
Preparation 15min
Cooking 25min
Skill level Easy

Leanne Kitchen


100 g almond meal
220 g (1 cup) castor sugar
250 g (2 cups) fine semolina
75 g (½ cup) plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
310 ml (1 ¼ cups) milk
125 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
double cream, to serve
toasted slivered almonds, for serving


3 oranges
440 g (2 cups) castor sugar
8 cardamom pods, crushed
1 cinnamon stick
100 ml lemon juice
3 tsp orange flower, or to taste

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced
(convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian
tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml;
1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups
are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless
specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Preheat the oven to 170ºC Lightly grease a non-stick 12 cm x 12 cm
mini-cake (brownie) pan with 6.5 cm x 6.5 cm x 2 cm (⅓ cup capacity)
squares. Combine the almond meal, sugar and semolina in a large bowl.
Sift in the flour and baking powder and stir to combine well. Combine
the milk and butter in a small bowl then add to the dry ingredients,
stirring until a smooth batter forms. Fill the 12 mini cake pans (you
will have a little batter left over) then bake for 25 minutes or until a
cake tester inserted in the middle withdraws clean. Cool in the pan for
5 minutes then turn out and place, in a single layer, in a large dish.
Bake the remaining batter in the same way. Pierce the cakes all over
with a metal skewer.

Meanwhile, for the syrup, use a sharp knife to cut the rind from the
oranges in wide strips.  Cut off as much of the white pith from the
strips as possible then finely slice the peel into matchsticks. Bring a
small saucepan of water to a simmer, add the rind and cook for 2 minutes
or until softened then drain well. Rinse under cold water then drain
again. Juice the oranges and add water, as necessary, to make the amount
up to 250 ml (1 cup). Combine the liquid, sugar and spices in a
saucepan and slowly bring to a simmer. Cook over medium heat for 8-10
minutes or until reduced and thickened slightly.

Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice and orange flower water.
Strain the hot syrup over the cakes, discarding the spices and reserving
the orange peel shreds. Stand the cakes, turning them occasionally so
they evenly absorb syrup, for 2 hours or until the syrup has soaked in.
To serve, spoon any syrup in the base of the pan over the cakes then top
each with a spoon of double cream and some of the reserved orange peel
shreds and toasted almonds. The cakes will keep, without the cream
topping, in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Photography, styling and food preparation by china squirrel.


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