When I went to Ballymaloe this Tunisian Orange Cake was legendary there. It’s legendary for several reasons. First of all it’s delicious, which is always important in a cake, and secondly it’s so easy. And I mean really really easy.

You don’t even have to get out a mixer. There’s no elbow grease required. Guys, in fact you don’t even need to preheat the oven! It really is that easy. Plus it keeps for days, if you don’t eat it all that is.

This is one of those recipes where you read over the list of ingredients and can’t quite believe it will all come together to make a cake, but oh I promise you it will. A moist (sorry!), light, deliciously citrus-sey cake which everyone loves! You simply have to mix the ingredients together and then pour in the cake tin and bake. Whilst the cake is baking, you prepare a seriously simple sticky citrus syrup which you then pour over the cake when it comes out of the oven. The result is a deliciously flavoursome cake with the most gorgeous texture.

Donal said in his episode of Desert Island Dishes that he often makes this as a pudding for a dinner party and I do too. It’s a great pudding for a dinner party! Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche or Greek Yoghurt and it’s the perfect pud. But it’s also great with a cup of tea in the afternoon, but then what cake isn’t!

Give it a go and don’t forget to tag me in your photos as I love seeing your pics @margienomura

Tunisian Orange Cake - Desert Island Dishes - Margie Nomura

Serves 8 - 10

50g white breadcrumbs (if they are slightly stale, even better!)

200g caster sugar

100g ground almonds

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

200ml sunflower oil

4 eggs

zest of 1 orange

zest of 1 lemon

For the citrus syrup

juice of 1 orange

juice and zest of 1/2 lemon

75g sugar

2 cloves (optional)

pinch of cinnamon or cinnamon stick


chopped pistachios


Line a 20cm (about 5cm deep) cake tin with baking parchment

The in a large bowl simply mix together the breadcrumbs, sugar, almonds and baking powder. Crack in the eggs and stir in the oil. Add the zest and give it a good mix. Pour into the cake tin.

Now put the tin into the cold oven and turn the heat up to 180C

Bake for 45 mins ( - 60mins) until a skewer poked into the middle should come out clean. The top should be lovely and golden. Leave to cool for a few minutes before turning out on a a plate - the golden top will now be on the bottom.

In the meantime you can be making the syrup. Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil. You want the sugar to dissolve and then carry on simmering it gently for about 3 minutes.

Once the cake is on the plate, and still warm, poke it all over with a skewer and then pour the delicious citrus syrup all over. Check on it occasionally and you can spoon syrup that has run off the side back on top of the cake.

Once it’s all been soaked up, sprinkle with chopped pistachios and cut into slices and serve with a dollop of creme fraiche and an extra bit of orange zest.

Recipe originally from Ballymaloe Cookery Course: Darina Allen

Tunisian Orange Cake - Desert Island Dishes - Margie Nomura - Donal Skehan
Tunisian Orange Cake inspired by Donal Skehan - Desert Island Dishes - ballymaloe - Margie Nomura