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Thursday 24 January 2013

Let Her Eat Cake: Arabian Nights Cake

Perhaps it's all this snow and ice, but I've been dreaming about exotic places. Beaches, warm breezes, spice bazaars… I’ve also been trying not to eat chocolate after repeated Christmas lunges into the Quality Street tin.

This has lead to a dismal state of affairs. I am desperately craving a slice of something sweet, but all my usual sources are out the window. In despair, I went to the health food shop (I know, I know…) and bought a bag of dried figs the size of a small dog. Sweet, yes. Cutting it? No. Although they do look pretty good in Sian's fig and walnut bars.

Instead I started thinking what they could be paired with to make them more enticing and appeal to my sweetness cravings. Pistachios maybe, almonds definitely, honey, TURKISH DELIGHT.

This cake will put to bed any sweet-tooth hankerings once and for all. There’s no chocolate, but it’s stuffed with more goodies than a Turkish Tiffin.* Most dried fruits work well – that half-packet of apricots hanging around will do nicely – so feel free to mix’n’match.

Also, if this cake is stored in a tin it just bets better as it gets older, much like Hugh Jackman…

*shameless historical inaccuracy

Arabian Nights Cake
You'll need:

For the cake:
  • 175g butter, softened
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g self raising flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 40g pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 1 handful of dried figs, sliced
  • 4 pieces of rose Turkish Delight, chopped (not the chocolate covered kind)
For the topping:
  • Squeeze lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. honey
Make it!
  1. Preheat the oven to around 180C. Grease and line an 8" cake tin. A loaf tin would work as well, if you've lost all the others. 
  2. Cream together the butter, sugar, beaten eggs, then add the ground almonds, flour and baking powder and mix by hand (phew!) or with an electric mixer until combined. 
  3. Tip in the chopped pistachios and Turkish Delight and gently stir until they are spread through. 
  4. Scatter the bottom of your tin with sliced figs. 
  5. Splodge your cake mixture on top. 
  6. Bake for around 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. (If the edges are browning too fast, cover them with tin foil) 
  7. Wait a minute or two, and then turn your cake out onto a wire rack. 
  8. Dilute the honey with a splash of hot water and a quick squeeze of lemon and stir. 
  9. Spoon it over the cake whilst still warm. It's especially delicious with a coffee and a large spoonful of Greek yoghurt or mascarpone.


  1. How do you...? How? I don't even LIKE Turkish Delight but I'm already working out where I can get it from in order to make a delicious cake!

  2. It's a weird phenomena! I don't like it much on its own, but somehow in this cake it just works. Cooking it changes the texture so that it's all melting and fragrant... I got mine from the local sweet shop.

  3. Oh dear lord. Shall add to our bursting-at-the-seams cake file. Hoping the kids won't like it so there's more for us.

  4. *hands up* I'm not a huge Turkish Delight fan either. AND YET. I'd totally eat this cake. Same with the absinthe in your first column. Next you'll be making cauliflower cake and getting me to eat that...

    1. Cauliflower cake... is that a challenge?!

  5. I was lucky enough to pop over to Laura H's house before all the cake dissapeared. Oh my goodness!!! What a delectable cake!
    The almond cake is just the right balance of flavour and not too sweet, and then BAM! The hit of rose and chewy-ness hit you in a perfect dance of flavours in your mouth. And then you get a crunch of yummy salty pistachio and what's that? Fig! All these flavours work so well together. Yummy, and what's even better, it's not sickly, so you can eat a great big slice without feeling sick!
    I will be definitely be attempting this myself.
    What's more, i Don't even like Turkish Delight!

  6. I make a similar pistachio cake, but with rosewater in the honey drizzle. but I am definitely adding the turkish delight next time!

  7. Im gonna be baking this simply because of the Hugh Jackman reference!


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