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I have made this cake several times following the forever beautiful Nigella Lawson’s recipe found in her ‘Nigellissima’ book.

This time though, I dared to give it a bit of an Arabian twist by adding ground mastic and cardamom spices to the vanilla flavour and using orange zest instead of the lemon in the original recipe. I have also used raw fine sugar instead of refined caster sugar and swapped the vegetable oil with light taste olive oil. I did try a couple of other types of sugar to see how each would work with this recipe, but I figured out that in order to achieve the same soft texture, you will have to use a super fine sugar that is also light in colour and that’s what I ended up using. ( i wish Nigella could approve this one!)

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The original cake is known as the yogurt pot cake; referring to the old-fashioned method of measuring each ingredient using the small yogurt pot. It is also so very Italian. Nigella says in her book ” if there’s a family in Italy that doesn’t have a recipe for yogurt pot cake, then I’ve yet to meet them”

The best thing about this cake, i think, is that it tastes so light and dissolves in your mouth. i love eating it while it is still warm..i don’t even need to dust it with icing sugar.. just magnificent !!

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Spiced orange yogurt cake
Serves 4
a typical zesty yogurt cake spiced with cardamom and mastic spices
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
  1. 150 g plain full cream yogurt
  2. 150 ml good quality light taste olive oil, extra for greasing
  3. 3 large free range eggs
  4. 200 g raw fine sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract(liquid)
  6. zest of a whole medium size orange
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  8. 1/4 teaspoon ground mastic (usually available as small rocks) grind them in a mortar or a small blender to a fine powder.
  9. 175 g plain organic all purpose flour
  10. 75 g organic cornflour
  11. 2 teaspoons icing sugar, to serve
  12. 1 (22cm) ideally savarin or ring mould,(flat or patterned at the bottom like mine), but you can also use a 22 cm spring form cake tin if the ring is not available.
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius/400 F and grease your ring mould or spring form tin with olive oil to coat well.
  2. In two bowls separate the eggs, whites in one and yolks in the other.
  3. prepare your spices grinding the mastic in a mortar (if needed) and measuring 1/4 a teaspoon then adding 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom to the ground mastic and set aside.
  4. measure the rest of your ingredients
  5. now whisk the egg whites in a bowl using an electric mixer until firm peaks are formed, then set aside.
  6. add the egg yolks to your yogurt in another large mixing bowl and whisk, then add the sugar while beating on medium speed until airy and light.
  7. slowly add the oil to the egg yolk mixture while beating, then add the vanilla extract and the orange zest.
  8. still beating, add the flour then the spices then the corn flour, beat for another 10 seconds scraping down and folding in using a rubber spatula.
  9. with a large metal spoon add one spoon of whisked egg whites to the batter and fold in gently using a rubber spatula, then add the rest of egg whites and fold in again. don't over stir.
  10. fill the prepared ring mould with the smooth batter turning the ring as you go.
  11. -depends on the depth of your ring mould, it might fill most of it, which is ok as this cake doesn't rise too much, but mine filled just half the ring mould.
  12. bake in preheated oven for 30-40 mins. test the cake with a wooden skewer after 30 mins, if it comes out clear then the cake is ready.
  13. remove from oven, let it sit in the tin for 10 mins then turn it out on a wire rack.
  14. once cooled (best to eat it slightly warm), transfer to a serving plate, dust with icing sugar(optional), and serve with tea or coffee.