Sand Cake is one of the recipes in Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management. The cake is made using a mixture of cornflour and rice flour or ground rice, and the tin is dusted with crushed ratafia biscuits. The cake is flavoured with lemon zest and the resulting texture is quite close and moist, but gritty.

This version is a Chocolate and Orange Sand Cake and has Amaretti biscuits lining the tin. It is a really good option for people who prefer a plain cake with their coffee.

This recipe has cocoa powder in it but it can be made using melted dark chocolate. If you want to serve this as a gluten-free cake, check that you have gluten-free Amaretti biscuits and baking powder.

Chocolate and Orange Sand Cake


Butter for greasing

Amaretti biscuits, crushed8


Caster sugar225g

Grated rind of oranges2



Ground rice35g

Cocoa powder25g

Baking powder5ml

Icing sugar for dusting


1. Grease a 900g loaf tin with melted butter and dust with crushed Amaretti biscuits.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Add the orange rind.

3. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well between each addition.

4. Sieve the cornflour, ground rice, cocoa powder and baking powder together and add to the cake mixture. Fold in carefully and turn into the prepared tin.

5. Bake in the centre of the oven, heated to a 180C, for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 170C and cover with a piece of damp greaseproof paper. Continue to cook for another 30-40 minutes. It is ready when the top springs back when lightly pressed.

6. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before turning out. When cold, dust with sieved icing sugar.