When oranges fall from the trees - make a cake

A twist on a classic orange cake, this roasted orange & hazelnut cake is less bitter than a cake that uses the whole of ...
Nicola Galloway

A twist on a classic orange cake, this roasted orange & hazelnut cake is less bitter than a cake that uses the whole of the orange.

Kia ora, I am thrilled to be sharing my simple homemade recipes here inspired by seasonal produce. Before we get to this glorious spring cake, let me introduce myself. I am a Nelson-based food writer and self-taught food photographer, cooking and growing food for my family of four on our urban property.

I have been writing about food for 15 years, with my fourth cookbook released in April, Homegrown Kitchen - everyday recipes for eating well (Potton & Burton). I also regularly teach cooking workshops around New Zealand, on traditional techniques such as home preserving, fermentation and sourdough bread-making.

Being a trained chef, the enjoyment of good food is at the heart of my interest in cooking. However, I also find importance in preparing food for my family that supports our wellbeing. I use everyday healthful ingredients and, where possible, include variations in recipes to suit dietary requirements, having firsthand experience myself with food intolerances.

The inspiration for my recipes comes from my garden, and local seasonal produce. If you don't have a garden, sourcing food in season will often be the most plentiful and affordable. I truly hope you enjoy the offerings from my kitchen.

Roasting the orange adds time but the sticky caramelised wedges make the cake more intensely orange-flavoured.
Nicola Galloway

Roasting the orange adds time but the sticky caramelised wedges make the cake more intensely orange-flavoured.

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This spring recipe uses plump oranges fresh from the garden. With the classic Sicilian boiled orange cake in mind, I set to the task of creating an orange cake with a little less bitter aftertaste that comes when using whole oranges. I recently added orange wedges to a savoury tray bake of chicken, kumara and onions with wonderful results, so it was a natural progression to try roasted oranges in cake.

The pre-cooking of the oranges does add to the prep time but this can be done ahead of time. The sticky caramelised orange wedges make an intensely orange-flavoured cake that is difficult to achieve when using orange zest alone.


This cake has a gloriously light, almost sponge-like, texture. The cake batter is very runny that sets as it cooks.

Makes 12 slices

Preparation time: 20 minutes

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Cooking time: 25 minutes roasting oranges + 35 minutes baking cake

3 medium oranges – my homegrown oranges veer on the side of small so use 2 oranges if particularly large

Knob of butter, about 30g

2 teaspoons runny honey

⅔ cup ground toasted hazelnuts (*see ingredient note)

1 cup white flour (gluten-free: use ⅔ cup white rice flour + ⅓ cup tapioca)

1 teaspoon baking powder (gluten-free if required)

⅓ cup sugar

4 free-range eggs

Preheat oven 180 degrees Celsius.

Trim the skin off the orange flesh (a little pith remaining is OK) and chop into wedges. Arrange in a single layer in a baking dish, dot with butter and drizzle with honey. Bake for 20-25 minutes until softened and beginning to caramelise. Cool a little.

Turn down the oven to 160 degrees. Line and grease a 20cm cake tin.

In a mixing bowl combine the hazelnuts, flour and baking powder.

Place the orange wedges into a food processor, add the sugar and blend until smooth. With the engine running, add the eggs one at a time. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and use a spatula to fold together into a runny batter. Pour into the tin and bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is lightly golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Serve with creamy yoghurt.

*Ingredient note: I used toasted and ground hazelnuts for their complementary flavour to orange. I often pick up a bag of unshelled hazelnuts from the market to hand-crack and add to cooking, the extra time involved makes the cake a treat. If hazelnuts are unavailable, substitute with ground almonds (almond meal). Toast the whole hazelnuts in the bottom of the oven while the orange wedges are cooking. Once the skins crack (about 10 minutes) tip into a tea towel and rub away the skins. Cool, then finely grind in a spice grinder or food processor.


 - Stuff


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