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Zesty orange & cardamom cake

Jul 8, 2024 | Baking, Desserts, sweet treats & baking, Fruit


Zesty orange & cardamom cake

Makes 1 large 24 cm cake

Recipe developed for AMC Cookware.

This is one of my favourite kinds of cake, as I’m not one for a lot of icing. I also love the flavour of cardamom and it’s such a great partner to citrus. I developed this recipe for AMC Cookware a while back and the orange slices on top, are not just pretty – their flavour reminds you of a delicate marmalade. The orange slices and aromatic syrup make this cake such a special treat. I also love the fact that a butter cake, like this one, can last a few days without drying out. 


Orange syrup

100 ml water

100 ml orange juice (use juice from oranges needed for the cake, once the rind is removed)

200 ml (170 g) castor sugar

finely grated rind of an orange

8 cardamom pods, lightly crushed to expose the seeds

1 large-sized soft citrus or orange in the skin, cut into thin slices (see tip)



300 ml (300 g) soft butter

350 ml (300 g) castor sugar

finely grated rind of 2 oranges or soft citrus

6 eggs

750 ml (3 cups) cake flour

15 ml (1 tbsp) baking powder

100 ml milk

100 ml orange juice

10 ml (2 tsp) vanilla essence or 5 ml (1 tsp) orange blossom water (available from large supermarkets)

plain double cream yoghurt to serve (optional)


  1. Syrup: Place all the ingredients except the orange slices in a saucepan (use a AMC 20 cm Gourmet Low.) Stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the mixture thickens slightly.
  2. Place the orange slices in the syrup, making sure they are well coated. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until the slices have softened but they should not fall apart. Spoon the slices out and allow to cool on a plate. Remove unit from the heat and allow syrup to cool.
  3. Cake: Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180 °C and line a cake tin (use a 1 x AMC 24 cm Baking Tin) with baking paper. Lightly grease with butter.
  4. Beat butter, sugar and orange rind together in a large mixing bowl with an electric beater or in a stand mixer until light in colour and fluffy. For the best results, beat for at least 5-8 minutes to incorporate as much air into the mixture as possible.
  5. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Beat to form a smooth mixture.
  6. Sieve cake flour and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl.
  7. Mix milk, orange juice and vanilla or blossom water together in a jug. The orange juice will curdle the milk but don’t be alarmed, it will not affect the cake.
  8. Gently beat the milk mixture into the butter mixture, alternating with the flour mixture until a smooth batter forms. Take care not to overmix.
  9. Pack orange slices in a circle in a single layer on the baking paper.
  10. Pour the batter over the slices and gently even it out on top. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  11. Allow to cool down in the tin for a few minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack, placed over a tray or large plate. The top of your cake will now become the bottom, so that the orange slices are on top.
  12. Pour the remaining syrup evenly over the top of the warm cake and allow to cool completely. Enjoy as a tea-time treat.


  1. Use a sharp serrated knife to cut the oranges into even slices.
  2. If your cake has a pointy tip once baked, use a large bread knife to carefully cut that off, flattening the top of the cake. (That piece is the baker’s treat.)
Zesty orange & cardamom cake
Zesty orange & cardamom cake
Zesty orange & cardamom cake (1)

Images: Hein van Tonder.
Courtesy of AMC Cookware.

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