Bitter orange and pistachio cake

As much fun as cupcakes and layer cakes are, it’s nice to bake a slightly more grown up cake once in a while. This one is wonderfully fragrant and perfect for a summer afternoon tea, especially if you’re not a frosting obsessed sugar-fiend. (I’m not, honestly.)

Bitter orange and pistachio cake

It’s sweet, but not tooth-achingly so and has lots of sunny citrus flavour. The nuts and semolina give the cake a generous crumb texture and moistness which means that you can make it ahead of time and not worry about it becoming too dry.
A lot of the recipes I looked at when I was researching this particular bake seemed to require a lot of faffing about making candied fruit and peel. This is something I was dis-inclined to do when I knew I had a perfectly good jar of homemade marmalade sitting in the cupboard. It works really well in place of both the fruit and the sugar in the other recipes I’d seen. There’s no need to mess around with making soaking syrups or fancy decoration for it either, a dusting of icing sugar and a scattering of beautifully green chopped pistachios and you’re good to go.

Bitter orange and pistachio cake

Ingredients
serves 12

75g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g fine semolina
35g ground almonds
35g ground pistachios
pinch of salt
2 eggs
2 tbsp olive oil
150g good quality chunky marmalade
100ml buttermilk

Bitter orange and pistachio cake

Pre-heat the oven to 180°c.
Sift together the baking powder and flour and then whisk in the semolina, both types of ground nuts and the salt.
Separate the eggs and whisk the whites in a large clean bowl until they form stiff peaks. Pop these to one side.
In another bowl, beat together the egg yolks, oil, buttermilk and marmalade until they are well combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, in two batches, mixing well between each addition. Finally fold in the egg whites, using a large metal spoon, in two or three goes.
Pour the batter into a greased and lined cake tin and bake for 30 minutes, until it is golden brown and a skewer comes out cleanly if you give the cake a bit of a poke. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust the top with icing sugar and sprinkle with roughly chopped pistachios before serving.

Bitter orange and pistachio cake