Its cold outside…really cold.  And when it gets cold, I want to eat lovely comforting food to cheer myself up a bit.  So the other day, after a rather freezing walk with the dog, I fancied making a cake. I went through my folder of recipes that I pull out of my favourite food magazines each month and came across this recipe for almond cake with a spiced citrus syrup in Delicious Magazine.  It worked a treat.  Its soft, light and unbelievably moist, and has beautiful wintery spiced flavours.

Butter, for greasing
6 medium eggs, separated
225g caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp extra
230g ground almonds
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

For the syrup:
50g caster sugar
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 star anise
1 large cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods, lightly crushed

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C (fan)/gas 4. Grease and line a 23cm round, deep springform cake tin with baking paper.

Put the egg yolks and 225g sugar in a large bowl. Using an electric hand whisk, beat for a few minutes until pale and thick.

Fold in the almonds and zests. It will be quite stiff at this stage.

In a separate large bowl, whisk the egg whites with the extra sugar to soft peaks.  Mix a little into the almond mixture to loosen, then gently fold in the rest until combined.

The pour into the tin.

Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Cool in the tin on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the syrup. Put the sugar and fruit juices into a small pan with the spices and leave over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes, until syrupy.  At this point, your kitchen will smell like Christmas…the spices are intoxicating.

Strain into a bowl and cool slightly.

Invert the cake onto a plate and pierce the base all over with a fine skewer. Spoon over the syrup, giving it time to soak in.

Wait until the syrup has soaked into the sponge and serve.  I served with cream (although the cake is so moist it doesn’t really need it) and a scattering of pomegranate seeds.



Please try this cake out if you get a chance, it really is delicious, and so light.

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  • Reply sybaritica 6th November 2012 at 3:53 pm

    That really does look delicious and the Pomegranate seeds are a nice touch!

  • Reply tableofcolors 6th November 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Looks delicious! And the whipped cream and pomegranate seeds give a great finishing touch!

  • Reply Cecila 10th April 2013 at 4:43 am

    First off I want to say wonderful blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear
    your thoughts before writing. I have had a difficult time
    clearing my mind in getting my ideas out. I do
    enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10
    to 15 minutes are usually lost just trying to figure out how to begin.
    Any suggestions or tips? Cheers!

    • Reply A Spoonful Of Sugar 21st April 2013 at 1:22 am

      Well it depends on a few factors. It depends if I’m writing up about an experience I had at a restaurant. I usually have to write it up straight away as my mind is bursting with opinions and I don’t want to forget any aspects of the meal. I don’t write it straight onto my blog though, I scribble notes in a pad on my way home, or I tap it into an email to myself on my phone. Then I write it up as and when I have time.

      If its a recipe, that’s pretty easy as I’m just writing up how I make something so I just replay it in my head and write as I’m thinking it.

      If its a write-up of a market or an area of London I love, it gets a bit tougher because I really have to think about it. I tend to open a Word doc or an email and write bullet points of what I want to say. Going through all my photos is a good reminder too so I pick the photos I want to use and work the bullet points around them and then expand them.

      In general, my brain is only ever full of food. What I just ate, what I’m going to eat next, the next restaurant I’m going to eat at, the next market I want to go to, recipes I want to try out, ingredients I need to shop for, what I’m going to cook at my next dinner party…you get the picture! Sometimes concentrating on my actual job is hard because it has nothing to do with food. As soon as I leave the office I’m back on food again, reading food magazines on the tube home. So when I get home, I switch on my computer and I’m ready to write. But again, this depends on time. Recently I’ve been so busy I’ve found it really hard to find the time in the evenings or at weekends.

      I used to put a lot of pressure on myself to post every day or every other day and I’d get really stressed. Now I just do it when I can and that makes the writing a lot easier. I won’t write if my head isn’t in the right space. If it is, it comes a lot easier.

      The only advice I can give you, which works for me, is to always have a notebook on you to scribble down any thoughts that pop into your head before they pop back out again. Even if its just a few words. Also, take lots of photos. Looking back at them always jogs my memory. And don’t be too hard on yourself. Having to do something takes the pleasure out of it. If you pressure yourself, you’ll just seize up. Just do it when it feels like you’re able to. For me, it tends to be late at night when there is nothing on TV, no-one is texting me or tweeting me, its quiet and I’ve usually decompressed after a long day. That’s when my brain seems to relax and I’m able to write.

      I hope I’ve helped even just a bit. Best of luck and let me know how you get on.

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    I’m truly enjoying the design and layout of your website. It’s
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    • Reply A Spoonful Of Sugar 7th June 2013 at 2:57 pm

      Ah thank you! That’s very good to hear. I wanted to keep it simple and easy to navigate. Too many blogs are full of flashing adverts and you can’t work your way around them. I just wanted mine to be easy.

      I’m just using the standard WordPress Twenty Ten theme which I customised to make it look the way I wanted it to look i.e. background, header, font style and size, tabs etc.

  • Reply Hugh Johnson 20th November 2013 at 1:04 pm

    What a wonderful fantastic cake. Every mouthful gives you another flavour.
    Thx H

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