Torta all’arancia (orange cake)

An Afternoon Tea Cake Fit For A Dame


To celebrate the release of Tea with the Dames, which is in cinemas now, I was in search of a simple afternoon tea cake that would make use of our local produce at this time of year. After a spontaneous trip to Harvey, a small town in the South West of Western Australia which is renowned for their oranges, I decided on this simple orange cake.

Being of Sicilian background, citrus fruits are a staple in our diet as they grow in abundance on the Island. Oranges are used in salads, dressings and obviously desserts. I’ve included poppy seeds in this cake for colour and a change in texture.


200g unsalted butter, chopped and softened

1 tablespoon finely grated orange rind

1 ½  cups caster sugar

3 eggs

2 cups plain flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ cup poppy seeds

¾ cup milk

1 ½ cups freshly squeezed orange juice

1 cup shredded orange rind



Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Place the butter, grated orange rind and ½ cup of the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sift the flour and baking power into the butter mixture. Add the poppy seeds, milk and ½ cup of the orange juice. Mix to combine.

Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 20cm round cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until cooked, use a skewer to test. Set the cake aside to cool in the tin, before inverting onto a wire rack. Leave to cool.

While the cake is cooling, prepare the orange syrup. Place the sugar, remaining orange juice and shredded rind in a saucepan over low heat. Stir the sugar until its dissolved. Increase the heat and boil for 5-6 minutes.

Pour half of the hot syrup over the warm cake. Top the cake with the candied rind and remaining syrup and serve immediately.

Buon Appetito,


Tea with the Dames is in cinemas now! And click here to read about my chance encounter with one of the movie’s stars in Rome.

  • This recipe has been adapted from a Donna Hay recipe

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