Canary cake


Maria made this gooey almond cake as a pudding, which she topped with bananas and a tangy orange syrup. You’ll probably prefer crème fraîche to the tinned evaporated milk we poured onto it.


  • 125 g unskinned almonds
  • 4 large free-range eggs, separated
  • 75 g golden caster sugar
  • finely grated rind of 2 large oranges
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • pinch of salt
  • butter for greasing

For the syrup and topping

  • juice of 2 large oranges
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 75 g demerara sugar
  • 1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 small firm bananas


Heat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Butter a 20 cm round cake tin and line the bottom with a disc of buttered baking parchment. Put the almonds in a food processor and grind finely.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the caster sugar and orange rind until pale. Then gradually whisk in the ground almonds, followed by the warm water. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with the salt until they stand in soft peaks. Using a metal spoon, gently fold them into the yolk mixture. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 45-55 minutes until resistant to a very light touch in the centre.

While the cake is in the oven, make the syrup. Strain the orange and lemon juices through a sieve into a saucepan and add the demerara sugar and cinnamon. Stir over a low heat to dissolve the sugar, then increase the heat and boil briskly for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

When the cake is cooked, remove from the oven but leave it in the tin for 10 minutes; don’t worry if it sinks slightly. Loosen the sides with a knife and turn out onto a serving plate. Peel the bananas, slice thinly and arrange in a jumble on top of the cake. Spoon the syrup over the bananas, allowing it to trickle down the sides of the cake. It is now ready to eat.