Diana Henry’s Orange and Pomegranate Cake from A Change of Appetite

Once in a while a cookbook comes along that has you drooling long before you actually cook anything from it. When we first flicked through an advance copy of Diana Henry’s A Change of Appetite it was a double whammy – not only is this book packed with delicious, inspiring and beautifully shot food, it’s also refreshingly good food. It’s all ‘good’ of course, but Henry has been on a year long odyssey to change the food she cooked to make it healthier without loosing any of the scrumminess. In her words it’s all “accidentally healthy”. It’s all good common-sense – less fat, less sugar, less red meat. More vegetables and whole grains and oily fish. But somehow in her capable hands you never realise the healthy subtext. Here’s one of our favourite recipes – which does of course have sugar – but it’s a lush, delicious cake. The downside is that it’s almost impossible to eat just one slice.

Orange & Pomegranate Cake from A Change of Appetite

Incredibly easy. Not sugar-free I know but, as cakes go, not bad. And it is for dessert. Serve thin slices with Greek yogurt. It’s very, very moist (almost pudding-like) so be careful when you’re moving it off the base of the cake tin and on to a plate.

Serves 8

For the cake

  • 50g (1.oz) wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • 100g (3.oz) ground almonds
  • 175g (6oz) soft light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 215ml (7.fl oz) olive oil, plus more for the tin
  • 4 eggs, lightly beate
  • seeds from pomegranate


For the syrup

  • juice of 1 orange
  • 100ml (3.fl oz) pomegranate juice (pure juice, not ‘pomegranate juice drink’)
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tbsp runny honey


In a bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, almonds, sugar and baking powder. Add the orange zest, olive oil and eggs and stir well until everything is amalgamated.

Pour the batter into an oiled 20cm (8in) springform cake tin. Put it into a cold oven and set the heat to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5.

Bake for 45–50 minutes, or until the cake is browned and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

 Meanwhile, make the syrup by gently heating all the ingredients together. Stir a little until the honey has dissolved, then increase the heat and simmer for five minutes. You should end up with about 100ml (3½fl oz) of syrup.

 When the cake is cooked, pierce holes all over the surface and slowly pour the syrup all over it, allowing it to sink in.

Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin. It will sink a little in the middle but don’t worry, this makes a lovely dip for the pomegranate seeds to lie in. Scatter the pomegranate seeds on top just before serving.

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