With summer fast approaching, we asked our friends at Thyme to put us in the mood for the (hopefully!) balmy months ahead.  They had the perfect answer.  Greek-inspired orange, almond and olive oil cake – what could be more Mediterranean?

Charlie Hibbert's Orange, olive oil and almond upside down cake

Serves 8

For the cake

4 free range eggs

300g + an extra 50g golden caster sugar

250g whole blanched almonds

120g plain flour

180ml olive oil (you can use light or extra virgin – extra virgin gives a more distinctive flavour)

For the syrup

2 oranges (we used blood oranges as this was created in winter but use good quality normal oranges any time)

100g golden caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C (normal) | 160°C (fan) | gas mark 4 and line a 24cm / 9” cake tin with parchment paper.

For the cake, beat the eggs and 300g sugar until light, fluffy and doubled in volume – 10 minutes should do it.  Then, grind the almonds in a food processor until fine.  Grinding your own almonds gives better texture to the cake as opposed to shop-bought ground almonds.  Sift the flour into the egg mixture and fold together along with the almonds with a spoon (if you use the mixer, you’ll bash out all the air).  Fold through the olive oil to finish the cake batter.

Slice one of the oranges very thinly with a sharp knife and line the base of the tin in circular rings.  Scatter over the other 50g of the caster sugar, then fill the tin with the batter.  Bake in the oven for 1 hour.  Check the cake with a skewer or tip of a paring knife; if it comes out clean the cake is ready.  Allow the cake to cool in the tin before turning out.

For the syrup, combine the juice of the remaining orange with 100g of caster sugar.  Bring it to a boil over a medium heat then turn off the heat.  Turn the cake out carefully onto a large plate, removing the parchment, and gently pour over the syrup.

Serve with plenty of whipped cream.

The Ox Barn at Thyme is open all week for lunch and dinner.

Click here to see a Charlie Hibbert recipe for a delicious light lunch recipe.

Image courtesy of Thyme.