Julia's Afternoon Cake

Julia's Afternoon Cake

A fragrant, humble, not-too-sweet cake that’s perfect with afternoon tea or a late morning cup of coffee. While Julia uses all-purpose flour, I used a little buckwheat flour as it’s earthy flavor compliments the citrus and almond meal so beautifully. The color of the cake is a darker brown because of the buckwheat flour — if you use 100% all-purpose flour it will be more of a light golden brown. To make the cake nut-free, simply omit the ground nuts.

Recipe slightly adapted from: Small Victories


3/4 cup (90g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (30g) buckwheat flour
1/2 cup (50g) finely ground nuts (I used almond meal; see note below*)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 orange, plus 1/4 cup (60ml) fresh orange juice
Powdered sugar, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch cake pan, then line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. For good measure, butter the parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, ground nuts, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until the whites and yolks are fully combined. Add the olive oil and granulated sugar and whisk until the sugar is dissolved (test by rubbing some of the mixture between two fingers). Whisk in the vanilla, orange zest, and orange juice. Whisk in the flour mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, being sure to use a rubber spatula to get it all out of the bowl. Hold the pan just a little bit above the counter and then drop it on the counter to eliminate any air bubbles.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. Transfer the cake, still in its pan, to a wire rack and let it cool completely.

Once cool, use a dinner knife to loosen the edges of the cake from the pan and invert it onto your work surface (you might need to give the pan a little whack). Peel off and discard the parchment. Invert the cake one more time onto a serving platter so the flat side is down and the domed side is up. Just before serving, dust the cake with powdered sugar.

* Note: Julia notes that any nut works well in this cake: walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios. Or purchase nut meal or nut flour at the store instead of grinding your own.