almond-orange cake


I spent the beginning of last week in Rome, La Città Eterna (the Eternal City). One afternoon, I found myself waiting out a downpour at Casa & Bottega, an adorable little cafe off Piazza Navona. While the coffee was exceptional, it was the house-made almond-orange cake that brought a smile to my face. My mom and I returned again the next day for another taste, greeted warmly by the staff who recognized us on our second visit. The cake was missing from the display case, so I opted for a plate of biscottini – the cake has been on my mind ever since.

I flew home on Monday, and though the week has been filled with unpacking, laundry, and jet lag, I found a sliver of time yesterday to recreate the cake. Laced with fresh orange zest and juice, plus a splash of Nudo Mandarin Oil, this light cake bursts with citrus. Toasted ground almonds add a nutty flavor, and the crisp sugar and almond topping is simply irresistible. This almond-orange cake will always remind me of a few lovely afternoons in my beloved Italy.

Almond-Orange Cake
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
2/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 Tbsp Mandarin Oil (or substitute any fruity olive oil)
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk

2 Tbsp sliced almonds
1 Tbsp turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F and spray an 8-inch cake pan with nonstick spray. Pulse almonds in a food processor until ground; whisk together with flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Using an electric hand mixer, beat orange zest, juice, oil, and sugar together in a medium bowl. Add egg and almond extract; beat well. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top with an offset spatula; sprinkle with almonds and turbinado sugar. Bake for 22 minutes, until cake springs back to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly on a wire rack before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

Yield – 8 servings (serving size: 1 slice)
Calories – 198
Carbs – 25

  1. Welcome home, Laura! I hope the California weather isn’t too much of a change from what you experienced in beautiful Italy. 🙂

    I’m already in love with this cake! How is that even possible?! (It’s simple elegance and the use of almonds and citrus must have something to do with it.) Gorgeous!

  2. Welcome Home!!! I enjoyed following your Instagram photos;-)
    I would have been dreaming about this cake too, love the almond orange flavors, lovely recreation;-)

  3. What a beautiful cake. I absolutely love the ingredients in it, although I always have a challenge finding fruity/citrus olive oil. Looking forward to baking it up too! 🙂 Thx for sharing.

  4. almond and orange is a real comforting flavor combination to me. my mom used to buy that flavor of bread at the market when we were younger. it’s SO good. i love that you recreated this cake and shared it with us to give us a little slice of Italy!

  5. Welcome home! I can imagine how hard it must be to reenter reality after your trip, but, this sure does soften the blow. What a lovely souvenir – the cake looks SO good!

  6. Isn’t it amazing as to how much laundry gets piled up during trips?

    Anyway, I’m so glad you made it back safely. And I’m also thrilled that you recreated this! Jason and I probably won’t make it out to Rome until our honeymoon but at least this amazing cake will hold me over! 🙂

  7. This cake is really beautiful! What a perfect cake to enjoy with my morning coffee:-) I need to try fruity olive oil now, sounds fabulous! Hugs, Terra

  8. Glad you made it home safe and sound. The cake would be on my mind too, I adore citrus in my cakes and with almonds even better. I look forward to some more of your baking throughout the holidays. Have a great weekend Laura.

  9. So glad to hear your trip home was uneventful! Welcome home!
    I am fond of easy, simple to prepare deserts that have stellar flavors.
    A touch of citrus is a vibrant salute to autumn and paired with almonds is just sublime!

  10. That tea towel is so pretty and cakes like this are my favorite. I love Rome and wish next time we go to spend more time there. A few days is not enough-maybe a month is better:) ben tornata xx

  11. I’m sure it is great to be home but the dreaded unpacking and washing is such a pain. There are many things that remind me nostalgically of Italy and not least of all their cakes. This looks lovely.

  12. Gosh, I’m so impressed that you could recreate this amazing cake…and while jet lagged to boot! I’d love a slice with my tea…I’d close my eyes and imagine I was sitting near a fountain on the Piazza Navona….

  13. Welcome back Laura! Sorry it took me a while to get here but I’ve been busy preparing for my upcoming trip (and I wish I’m going to Italy but not…). I have enjoyed your some pictures on IG/FB and looks like you had an amazing trip. Will we hear more about it (def hope so!)? You really know how to recreate food and bake as you like. I can do that for cooking but I wonder how you do it for baking! This must be really delicious. Also I love the plate and the super cute cloth… perfect for this fabulous cake! Hope jet lag is better by now and all the laundry is done. I’m not a fan of post-international trip…argh…

  14. mmm i love how delicate european sweets are. and i really respect a citrus cake that has a strong citrus flavor! it seems like so many just hint at the fruit, and cover it all up with sugar. i’d love to try this.

  15. Laura, this cake has taken me straight back to Italy. The citrus-flavored tortas were DIVINE! I love this recipe and have been wanting an authentic one since I first bit into these Italian tortas during my trip. Welcome home and PS: we have the same Villeroy and Boch pattern of china/tableware. 😀 !


  16. Hi Laura
    Just wanted to thank you for the beautiful Almond Orange cake that I got on my birthday. It was not only gorgeous, it also tasted sooo good. My husband and my daughter loved it!

  17. What a perfect recipe! I tried it today and it came out wonderfully! I was nervous about the batter – it seemed too runny. But the cake baked perfectly in 22 mins. Perfectly citrusy with the nuttiness of the almonds. Thank you Laura. I look forward to trying many more recipes on your blog!

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