Orange & almond cake with botrytis syrup

Orange & almond cake with botrytis syrup

I’m not one for maintaining a wine cellar as I drink the damn stuff too quickly. However, if anything is going to gather dust it’s the small collection of dessert and fortified wines we’ve picked up over time such as this one that has been sitting patiently for eight years. I still remember tasting it at the First Creek cellar door in the Hunter Valley. Who would have thought we’d use half of it in a cake!



orange & almond cake with botrytis syrup

serves 12


  • 3 large oranges (about 250g each)
  • Melted butter, to grease
  • 5 eggs
  • 1½ cups caster sugar
  • 2½ cups almond meal
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup botrytis dessert wine
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • Double cream, to serve


Place two of the oranges into a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil over high heat. Drain.

Return oranges to the saucepan and repeat the process. Return the oranges to the saucepan once again and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 1¾ hours until the oranges are very tender. Top up with more water to keep them covered, if neccessary.

Drain and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 160°C. Brush a 20cm round cake pan with melted butter. Line the base with non-stick paper.

Cut oranges into quarters, remove the white cores and any seeds, put into a processor and blend until smooth.

Using an electric beater, whisk the eggs and ¾ cup of the sugar in a large bowl until thick and pale.

Stir in (by hand) the orange mixture, add the almond meal, flour and baking powder and stir until just combined.

Pour into the prepared tin and smooth out the surface.

Bake in the preheated oven for 1¼ hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.

For the syrup, use a zester to remove the rind from the remaining orange. Juice the orange and pour the juice into a small saucepan with the rind, wine, vanilla pod (split in half and seeds scraped out) and remaining sugar.

Stir over low heat for 2 minutes until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Cook, without stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until the syrup thickens slightly. Remove from heat.

Turn the cake onto a wire rack over a baking tray. Spoon the hot syrup and orange rind over the warm cake. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool.

Cut into wedges, drizzle with any remaining syrup and serve with double cream.


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