James Stapley's Orange and Almond Cake

  • James Stapley's Orange and Almond Cake

James Stapley's Orange and Almond Cake


Photographer Chris Skelton "The Dominion Post"
(makes 1 x 23cm round cake)


This substantial and large cake was baked by James Stapley, executive chef from Whare Kea Lodge, Wanaka, for morning coffee when he took a cooking class at our school last year. Anything and everything James cooks is divine.




340g unsalted butter (softened)

340g (1 + 2/3 cups less 1 tbsp) castor sugar

6 eggs

finely grated zest of 1 orange

300g (2 cups + 3 tbsp) flour

1 tbsp baking powder

75g (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp) ground almonds

100ml (1/3 cup + 1 tbsp) freshly squeezed orange juice

45ml (3 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil

Orange Syrup (hot)

icing sugar to garnish

ground cinnamon to garnish

natural yoghurt for serving




· Preheat oven to 170°C. Lightly grease with baking spray base and sides of a 23cm springform tin. Line base and sides with baking paper.

· Into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle place butter and sugar and mix until light and fluffy.

· One at a time add eggs, mixing well between each addition. Add orange zest and mix well.

· Remove bowl from mixer, add ground almonds, baking powder and flour and fold ingredients together.

· Add orange juice and oil and fold to combine.

· Place batter into prepared tin and bake for 1 hour or until when a metal skewer is inserted in centre of cake it comes out clean.

· Remove from oven and cool. Remove cake from tin and remove baking paper. Leave the cake with the flat bottom facing upwards and pierce repeatedly with a thin metal skewer. Gently pour Orange Syrup over cake and leave it to soak into the cake.

· Before serving dust with icing sugar and very lightly dust with cinnamon. If you wish accompany with natural yoghurt.

Orange Syrup

Always use hot syrup on a cold cake or cold syrup on a hot cake.



freshly squeezed juice of 3 oranges

finely grated zest of 1 orange

freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

105g (1/2 cup) castor sugar

1 cardamom pod

1 vanilla pod ( split and seeds scraped out)

3 whole cloves




· Place all ingredients into a saucepan and simmer for 3 minutes. Use immediately or leave to cool and reheat to use.

Michael Lee-Richards' Double Cream Brie with Dried Fruits and Grapes

This is an impressive party piece, designed by colleague, friend and chef, Michael Lee-Richards from Christchurch. As far as I am concerned Michael has always been the master of over the top. Seek out top quality dried fruits such as Central Otago dried apricots.


400g (2 cups) sugar

65ml (1/4 cup) water

500g-600g (3 cups) dried fruits and nuts (apricots, pears, figs, peaches, prunes, macadamias)

85g (1/2 cup) crystallised ginger

zest strands from 2 lemons

250g-300g grapes

1kg (1 wheel) double cream brie (firm but ripe)


· Place sugar and water into a medium-sized saucepan and set over a low heat. Using a metal spoon, stir to dissolve sugar. Increase heat to medium-high and cook without stirring until syrup becomes golden brown

· Place dried fruits and macadamias with ginger, lemon zest and grapes into a bowl and toss together. Pile on top of brie.

· When sugar has reached a good caramel colour, slowly pour it over fruit on top of the brie. The caramel will set firmly, adhering to the fruits on top. It will be quite difficult to serve neatly. Allow guests to break toffee and take fruit and brie.

· Serve on a cake stand accompanied with crackers and walnut bread.