Italian citrus and almond cake

Italian citrus and almond cake

Lucy's Bakes
5 mins
Cooking time
40 mins
Jacqui Melville

The other Lucy loves Italy and a lot of her recipes wend their way back to the UK with her after a visit. This syrupy-sweet little something is best enjoyed sitting down with a really good cup of coffee or a glass of sticky liqueur – why not? What time of day you enjoy it is up to you. It is a great pud for lunch or dinner, served with cream, but is just as delightful mid morning or as part of a decadent afternoon tea. The bay-flavoured syrup is truly unusual but adds an exotic flavour to this cake.


Quantity Ingredient

For the cake

Quantity Ingredient
200g caster sugar
200g sunflower or olive oil
4 eggs
50g stale breadcrumbs
100g ground almonds
5g baking powder
1 orange, zest finely grated
1 lemon, zest finely grated

For the syrup

Quantity Ingredient
orange and lemon, juiced, (1 each)
100g granulated sugar
2 bay leaves


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 20 cm deep cake tin with baking paper.
  2. Whisk together the sugar, oil and eggs until pale and frothy, preferably using an electric hand whisk.
  3. Add the breadcrumbs, almonds, baking powder and zests and fold into the egg mixture using a metal spoon.
  4. Turn the mixture into the tin and cook for 40–50 minutes, or until a cocktail stick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin while you make the syrup.
  5. Put the fruit juices, sugar and bay leaves in a small saucepan and heat gently, without boiling, until all the sugar is dissolved. Then bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes.
  6. While still warm, carefully turn the cake out, remove the baking paper and place on a serving plate. Prick it all over (use a skewer or cocktail stick) and pour on the syrup a little at a time until the whole cake is well soaked – this should pretty much use all the syrup. It will keep well covered with cling film and stored in the fridge but it does not freeze well.


  • This recipe is vegetarian and dairy-free.


  • I always keep a stock of stale crumbs in the freezer – they are useful for so many things, not just this lovely cake.

What the the testers say

  • NAOMI AND RUTH HULME – ‘This coffee-time treat to share with friends has a different sort of texture to usual cakes but is still good.’

    MARGARET LEE – ‘My husband loves all things citrus and this no exception – we had it for pudding with whipped cream.’

    LYNSEY JONES AND HELEN WOOLDRIDGE – ‘This has no flour (just breadcrumbs) so has a much denser texture than afternoon tea cake. However, it is perfect as a pud or something to eat with coffee – full of flavour and an unusual treat.’
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