Through many wet, grey and sad days, I waited anxiously for the sun to arrive to shoot a picnic with all the foods I love: savoury tarts, smoked meats, cheese, marinated olives, fresh and dried fruit, and a delicious, rustic cake. The day was beautiful, cold and translucent. The reservoir of Caniçada acted like a watery mirror, reflecting the surrounding hills, boats and houses, some with smoke pouring out of chimneys. It takes a good dose of determination (and a bit of madness) to deal with the logistics of a shoot in the middle of the forest. Somehow, everything went as planned and we were able to enjoy our wintery picnic in all its glory, including this moist and buttery cake with the unique sweetness of honey, the perfume of oranges and the intensity of hazelnuts.






Skill level

Average: 3.6 (39 votes)


  • 225 g honey
  • 250 g unsalted butter, cut into cubes, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 150 g (1 cup) plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 100 g ground hazelnuts
  • zest of 1 orange
  • chopped roasted hazelnuts, to serve


  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 2½ tbsp water
  • 2 small oranges, cut into rounds

Orange syrup

  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 small oranges, cut into rounds

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To make the caramel, combine the sugar and water in a heavy-based saucepan. Bring to the boil over high heat and cook, without stirring, until it starts to gain colour (make sure the caramel is a light colour as it will continue to cook and darken in the oven). Remove from heat, pour into a 22 cm round cake tin and swirl the tin to spread the caramel over the base and side  hold the tin with a tea towel to prevent burning as it is very, very hot! Place the orange rounds on top of the caramel to cover the base. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 170˚C. Using an electric mixer, beat the honey and butter until pale. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between additions. Sift over the flour, baking powder and baking soda, add the ground hazelnuts and orange zest, and stir to combine.

Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the tin and turn out the cake while the caramel is hot.

Meanwhile, to make the syrup, place the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the orange and cook for 10 minutes or until tender and translucent.

Place the orange on top of the cake and pour over the syrup. Scatter the chopped hazelnuts over the top  and eat!


Recipe and photographs from Pratos & Travessas by Mónica Pinto.