in the kitchen with: rachel manley’s almond yogurt cake


I try to keep my finger on the pulse of a range of food magazines/outlets in the US, UK and Australia, as I find they have the best overall presentation and easy food preparation. (Note: I’m always open to new sources of inspiration!) Our recipe this week for an Almond and Yogurt Cake with Blood Orange Curd comes from Rachel Manley, one of the editors at the BBC Food website.  If you’ve never visited the website, it is a treasure trove of information on food — recipes, techniques and news. I love it! I loved the idea for Rachel’s cake because it’s a simple, no frills two-layer cake with a beautiful filling that keeps and travels well. If you can’t find blood oranges at your usual shopping place, you can try regular oranges, lemons or any citrus you like. — Kristina

About Rachel: Rachel lives in the middle of the glorious melting pot that is Brixton, home to one of the best markets in London. She spends most of her time in the  kitchen, either cooking for friends and family or for her secret supper/brunch club where 12 people cram into her flat for some delicious food and good chat. When she’s not cooking, she works for the BBC Food website editing lots of recipes, going to photoshoots and thinking about SEO. You can find her on Twitter or see what she’s been cooking on her blog.

CLICK HERE for the full recipe after the jump!

Almond and Yogurt Cake with Blood Orange Curd
This recipe makes more curd than you will need for the cake — spread any leftovers on toast or fold into softly whipped cream for a quick dessert. It’s best to make the orange curd a day in advance to give it a chance to cool and thicken.


Blood Orange Curd Ingredients

  • 2 blood oranges, zest and juice
  • 1/2 cup (100g) caster sugar
  • 9 tablespoons (125g) butter, cut into cubes
  • 3 eggs, beaten

Almond and Yogurt Cake Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (150g) Greek-style yogurt
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) sunflower oil
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup (150g) self-raising flour (to make your own, 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder plus 1/2 teaspoon salt per cup of flour)
  • 3/4 cup (100g) almonds, ground
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) double cream or heavy whipping cream
  • powdered sugar, to dust

For the blood orange curd:

1. Place the orange zest and juice, sugar and butter into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. (Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water.) Stir the mixture until the butter has melted. Slowly whisk the eggs into the mixture until well combined. Continue to cook, stirring constantly but slowly, until the curd has thickened and looks like custard (don’t let it boil, otherwise the mixture will curdle). This should take about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes; the mixture should thicken slightly.

2. Strain the curd through a sieve into sterilized jars, and leave to cool completely, then store in the fridge. After a couple of hours, the curd should look like thick custard. You can keep it in the fridge for a few weeks.

For the cake:

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas 4. Grease and line two 8-inch (20cm) cake pans.

2. Whisk the yogurt, oil, vanilla, and sugar together until smooth; whisk in the eggs one at a time. Fold in the flour and ground almonds. Divide the mixture between the two cake pans and bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake rises and the top is springy to the touch.

3. Remove the cakes from the oven and set aside to cool in their pans for five minutes. Then run a palette around the edge of the tin and turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack to completely cool.

4. Whisk the cream until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed.

To assemble the cake:

1. Place one of the cakes onto a serving plate or cake stand and spread with the double cream, then carefully spread with the orange curd. Top with the other cake, upside down so that you have a nice, flat top.

2. Dust with powdered sugar.

Photography by Kristina Gill. Orange bowl from the Russian Market in Phnom Penh; almond dish is a salt cellar by Andrea Brugi; cake stand by Sophie Conran for Portmeirion; white small pebble bowl and ash and white bread plates by mud australia; all other items flea market/eBay finds.

Why Rachel Chose This Recipe
I love making cakes. They involve minimal effort for maximum effect, a sure-fire way to make you feel like an accomplished cook. This is a variation of a recipe I use often — sunflower oil and yoghurt make it really moist, and I usually add a handful of ground almonds to make it extra dense. (The cake also, unsurprisingly, keeps really well.) Here, I’ve sandwiched it with whipped cream and a homemade blood orange curd, making the most of the short season. Eat thick slices of this cake with a pot of Earl Grey tea, or even better, Lady Grey.

  1. Holly says:

    This looks absolutely delicious and completely puts me in the mood for some teatime with cake!

    I must say that I’m a bit surprised that the blood orange curd isn’t a wee bit orangier–but I suppose the butter and eggs temper the color a bit, yes?

  2. Julia Louise says:

    HA ! I am so happy to have the cup equivalent in grammes !!! This looks delicious and for once, my not-so-accurate convertion won’t mess up the recipe ! Can’t wait to try it

  3. Cathy says:

    This looks like the perfect dinner party cake!

  4. kristina says:

    @Holly – The juice from the oranges accounts for only about one quarter of the recipe. Though, like you, I expected an oranger colored curd. I actually made the curd twice just to see, and it came out the same both times. I used a commercial butter (President) that is yellower than the usual butter I get from the local farm, that may be why?

    Let me know how yours turns out, but move quick before the blood orange season is over!

  5. Molly Cooper says:

    Oh my, what a tantalizing recipe… I might have to go on a hunt for blood oranges! Thank you for sharing, what a lovely post.

    As far as other sources of inspiration go, I recently fell in love with Nook Eatery, based in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Looking at their beautiful website and blog makes me really sad it’s so far away.

    http://www.nookeatery.co.za/

    Good luck at the yard sale tomorrow! I wish you were closer too! :)

  6. I can’t wait to make this!

  7. Holly says:

    Thanks Kristina! I can’t wait to give this a try, and a taste!

  8. Teresa says:

    Oh my goodness… this looks *divine*!! The perfect dessert for a springtime brunch…

  9. Anneleen says:

    I am usually quite fussy about putting aromatic ingredients like citrus fruits into the sweets I make because I like pure flavors of the sweet itself.

    That’s why I am stuck for years with my good old 4/4ths cake. Blood oranges are a favorite of mine, and because of that I might just make a leap for it this time.

    Thank you for this recipe!

  10. Oh my! How delish! I am hungry now ;)

  11. Sarah Reilly says:

    my oh my, that cake looks absolutely delicious.

  12. Thank you for the BBC Food website and this great recipe. I too am always looking for new food inspiration.

  13. Renai says:

    Interesting! I’ve made a blood orange curd in the past and it came out very intensely colored. I used my favorite lemon curd recipe and subbed it, so the quantities must have been much different. I am just in love with the idea of this cake… hoping to have time to whip it up this weekend.

  14. This looks so delicious! Yogurt cake always reminds me of France, where I was first introduced to the idea.

  15. Sarah Jane says:

    That sounds so good! Can’t wait to try it. I’m going to gain more weight after my baby comes than I have during the pregnancy! (On an awful gestational diabetes diet)

  16. Sylvia says:

    Sounds delicious, i can´t wait to try it.

  17. Very cool. Beautiful photos!

  18. Jenny Hoople says:

    This looks wonderful! and I just happen to have some almonds that I want to use up :D

  19. Marilyn says:

    Wow! Thanks for posting this- I am always on the lookout for good food blogs in London since I moved here. I hope to go to one of her supper clubs soon too!

    Thanks x

  20. Mollie says:

    This cake recipe & lovely pictures are so inspiring! Because it’s supposed to be dense, it could also be adapted to be gluten-free pretty seamlessly. Thanks for the wonderful post!

  21. Thanks for the Beeb food website and this recipe sounds great…blood orange curd and almonds…what an inspired combo…cheers! Patricia

  22. Jenny says:

    Sounds great . Can’t wait to try it

  23. Kathryn Z says:

    What a fabulous idea. I am a huge fan of the not so sugary it induces a toothache cake, and I would not have thought to use a citrus curd as a filling (even though it makes perfect sense). I just got out of the kitchen making a meyer lemon version of this curd myself! What a beautifully solid and delicious recipe! Thank you! http://instagr.am/p/B4Bnz/

  24. Tammy says:

    Oh my: I have every single one of those ingredients…Mmm, I know what I am making (also because I know how great yogurt cakes are–they ARE a French thing–something many kids even learn at school.)

  25. I made it with small sweet pink grapefruit and it was refreshing and delicious.

  26. Jessica says:

    Your post led me to the Easy Peasy Chocolate Cake, which I made tonight and is delish! Fudgy moist chocolatey goodness and so easy. thank you from me and our supper guests.

  27. Rachel says:

    Oy! You people are dangerous …

  28. Lauren B says:

    Looks delicious! I bet the Greek yogurt makes the cake super moist and light. Can’t wait to try this :)

  29. delicious! blood orange curd and amonds seam to be a great mix!

  30. mouth drooling. cake daydreaming in my head. feeling blissful at the thought of trying this cake.

  31. Kelly says:

    I made this today with my children and we added about 1/8 t. salt to the cake–the rich flavors got bumped up a bit. BTW, my blood oranges were crimson and my curd came out the color of a ruby grapefruit.

    Oh, and another tip I learned from Maida Heatter: grind the almonds with a 1/4 cup of the sugar and process for at least a full minute–the finer the almonds the smoother the cake!

  32. Claire says:

    Rachel, I just wanted to thank you for this recipe! I made it over the weekend, and it turned out very well. The blood orange curd is a bit unusual, but works so well with the almond cake and the whipped cream. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  33. Jacqueline says:

    Hi, Rachel,
    Thank you so much for the recipe — I’ve been looking for a tried and true yogurt cake recipe since I first tried it in Madrid last summer.
    I’m wondering though, would any proportions need to change if I eliminated the almonds? I am allergic. Is there possibly a substitute for the almonds? I usually skip over a recipe entirely if it contains nuts — but this just looks divine!
    Cheers!

  34. Rose says:

    yay – thumbs up for the good old BBC food website – i use it all the time! The cake looks delish – will have to try it.
    I also use the Waitrose Supermarket website (a great supermarket here in the UK) http://www.waitrose.com/recipe
    although they sometimes use Waitrose products you can easily substitute US products. And they have loads of great advice too on techniques etc.
    Happy cooking!

  35. Rachel says:

    Hi Jaqueline,

    You can just substitute the ground almonds for plain flour, it’s still really good!

    Rachel

  36. Ella says:

    I just made this and it’s delicious! But I forgot to add the vanilla, because there wasn’t a specific instruction to do so. Can you make an edit to the instructions to help people remember to add the vanilla? Thanks!

  37. Angela says:

    Looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it!

  38. @Kelly – great tip about grinding the almonds with sugar. I will do this the next time I make this cake. Thank you for sharing!

    @Ella – thank you for pointing that out. I usually make notes on the recipe as I make them and correct them, but that omission slipped through. I have corrected the instructions.

  39. Whitney says:

    I just made this cake…. not so sure. I made the curd recipe twice and it was an awful gray color, so I made it a third time using Alton Brown’s Lemon Curd recipe (subbing blood oranges). I also may have made a mistake by buying ground almond, they had the skin on and the cake came out much darker. I would start checking the cake at 2o minutes.

  40. Alex says:

    Rachel,

    I haven’t tried the recipe yet but it looks incredibly scrumptious. Im not a baker and recently learned I have a terrible gluten intolerance.
    I was wondering if you have suggestions for alternate flours that will produce the same effect in your almond/yogurt cake???

  41. kristina says:

    @Whitney – Gray?? What color was your butter? Your eggs? The oranges?

  42. Gabrielle says:

    @Alex
    I am also gluten intolerant. It makes baking a challenge but the challenge it fun! Check out glutenfreegirl.com, she has a token gluten free baking flour recipe. I would sugget white rice (closet to reg. flour) and almond meal.

  43. Cliona says:

    This cake is absolutely delicious! I used lemon curd and added zest and juice of 1/2 lemon to the cake mixture for extra lemon flavour-mmm…

  44. Alex says:

    @Gabrielle

    Thanks so much for the tip! I’ll post once I’ve tested it out with the alternatives.

  45. Greetings! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I genuinely take pleasure in reading through your posts. Can you suggest any other blogs that deal with the identical topics? Thanks for your time!

  46. Hanna Finn says:

    I made the cake base (but changed the filling), it turned out absolutely delicious! I added the zest of two lemons, and spread some lingonberry jam (from IKEA) in the middle, I already got requests to make this again every week :)

  47. G says:

    Delicious cake. Debating what to do with the rest of the curd…

  48. Heidi says:

    Hi There! I’m going to give this cake a try this weekend and I wondered if you would clarify the instructions on the ground almonds – should it be 3/4 c of whole almonds, which are then ground, or is the 3/4 c. measurement the amount of ground almonds I should have? Sorry for such a silly question, but it wasn’t obvious to me.

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