Greek Orange and Honey Syrup Cake with Yoghurt and Pistachios

The sharp acidity of the orange in this cake combines beautifully with the sweetness of the Greek mountain honey. Because the cake is soaked in syrup, you can make it well ahead and just whip it out when you’re ready to serve.

Serves 12

This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book Three.

Greek Orange and Honey Syrup Cake with Yoghurt and Pistachios
For the cake:
 2 small oranges (weighing about 9 oz/250 g)
 4½ oz (125 g) ground almonds
 6 oz (175 g) well-softened butter, plus a little extra for greasing
 6 oz (175 g) golden caster sugar
 3 large eggs, beaten
 9 oz (250 g) semolina
 4½ level teaspoons baking powder
For the syrup:
 8 fl oz (225 ml) Greek mountain honey
 5 tablespoons orange juice
 1½ tablespoons lemon juice
 1½ inch (4 cm) cinnamon stick
For the topping:
 7 oz (200 g) Greek yoghurt
 1½ oz (40 g) unsalted, shelled pistachio nuts
 2 tablespoons Greek mountain honey
 Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C).
You will also need an 10 inch (25.5cm) round loose-based cake tin, greased, with a non-stick base liner.


First, cut the oranges into chunks, removing the pips. Then tip the whole lot – flesh, pith and zest – into a food processor and whiz it to a thick purée. Now all you do is simply put all the other cake ingredients into a large bowl and, provided the butter is really soft, just go in with an electric hand whisk and whisk everything together until you have a smooth, well-combined mixture.

After that, fold in the orange purée, spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top with the back of the spoon.

Now place the cake on the centre shelf of the oven and bake it for an initial 10 minutes. Then lower the temperature to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C) and bake for a further 40-45 minutes, or until it is golden brown, springy in the centre and has shrunk slightly from the sides of the tin.

Meanwhile, make the syrup. To do this, simply combine the honey and 5 tablespoons water with the cinnamon stick in a small saucepan, place it over a gentle heat, bring it up to simmering point and let it simmer gently for about 5 minutes. After that, take the pan off the heat, remove the cinnamon stick and stir in the orange and lemon juices.

Leave the cake aside to cool for 5 minutes, then remove it from the tin to a wire rack to cool, with a large plate underneath. Make a few holes all over it with a skewer before pouring the syrup over it. (It will look like there is far too much, but don’t worry, the cake will absorb more than you think, and any that is not absorbed can be poured from the plate back over the cake.)

Then, when the cake is absolutely cold, place it on a serving plate, cover it and leave it in a cool place overnight.

Just before serving, spread the top of the cake with the Greek yoghurt, sprinkle over the pistachios, drizzle with the honey and serve cut into chunky slices.

Note: This cake can also be made to serve 8-10, in an 8 inch (20 cm) tin, using 1 orange, 3 oz (75 g) ground almonds, 4 oz (110 g) each softened butter and sugar, 2 large eggs, 6 oz (175 g) semolina and 3 level teaspoons baking powder.

For the syrup, use 5 fl oz (150 ml) honey, 3 tablespoons each water and orange juice, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 inch (2.5 cm) cinnamon stick. For the topping, use 7 oz (200g) Greek yoghurt, 1 oz (25 g) pistachios and 1½ tablespoons honey.

Bake the cake for 10 minutes at the higher temperature and 25-30 minutes at the lower temperature.

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