Sophie Michell’s mandarin, rosemary, olive oil and almond cake

My family lives in Greece and this reminds me of the cakes we get there. I generally don’t like massively sweet cakes and this olive oil and almond cake is the perfect breakfast with some Greek style yoghurt.

olive oil and almond cake
David Loftus


3 mandarins (or similar small orange citrus)
100ml extra virgin olive oil plus extra for the tin
6 medium eggs
200g Xylitol (see pet safety note below)
250g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder (gluten-free if wished)
1 handful flaked almonds, toasted if wished
1 sprig rosemary plus optional sprigs for decoration

1. Put the mandarins in a pan with some cold water, bring to the boil and cook for two hours. Don’t forget to keep covering them in water, as they can boil dry.
2. When the two hours are up, drain off and cool. When cooled, cut each fruit in half and remove any pips. Then place the mandarins – skins, pith, fruit and all – into a blender and give a quick blitz into a relatively smooth puree.
3. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Oil and base-line a 20-21cm x 7.5cm springform cake tin or similar. Beat the eggs and oil together and add the sweetener, almonds and baking powder, and finally the pulped mandarins. Place the sprig of rosemary in the bottom of the lined tin (it will add a delicate flavour).
4. Pour the cake mixture into the tin and bake for about an hour, when a skewer should come out clean: check after about 40 minutes and if the top appears to be browning too quickly, cover it with foil or greaseproof paper to protect it. Remove from the oven and, leaving it in the tin, place on a rack to cool.
5. When completely cooled, turn it out of the tin, sprinkle with almonds, decorate with extra rosemary if wished and serve with Greek yoghurt.

PET SAFETY NOTE Xylitol is toxic to dogs. Don’t feed your pet anything containing Xylitol – if this is a concern for you can use an erythritol-based sweetener instead.

Baking Without Sugar by Sophie Michell will be published by White Owl, an imprint of Pen & Sword, on Thursday, price £25. To order a copy for £18.75 (a 25 per cent discount) until 10 June, visit or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15.