Whole Orange Cake


While oranges are available pretty much year round, this is the season when, at least here in the Midwest, they are most economical, and usually a little more flavorful and sweeter too. It is also the season when the trees we had in our back yard in Arizona would be loaded with both sweetest of the season fruit and those incredibly fragrant orange blossoms.

Ah memories. But back now to snowy Minnesota.

With some really good specials on citrus at the newest grocery store in town, I stocked up on several bags of oranges and decided to try a whole orange cake.

I’ve seen recipes for these cakes over the years, sometimes identified as “Sicilian,” and they have intrigued me, but they also seemed a little bit too messy and bothersome to try. Now, with more oranges than I know I will eat quickly enough, time to check out some of the online recipes and see what I could come up with.

Almost every recipe I found includes a simple glaze made of powdered sugar and orange juice, and while that does enhance the orange flavor even more, I also had some raspberry syrup from last season’s berries. So, for the first try at this recipe, I went for the raspberry/orange combination, making the cake with no glaze and the raspberry syrup as a pour over.

Result? Great flavor and a cake that is a lot easier to make than I thought. Of course I say that as one who has two pieces of kitchen equipment that are almost mandatory for making this cake: A good food processor and a stand mixer. While a hand mixer could work too, this needs the butter, sugar, and eggs to be beaten “until light”–which can mean several minutes for best results.

And the second try, with the glaze? Wonderful too, and just a little reminder of those Arizona spring times with the scent of orange blossoms filling the air!

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 pound navel or other seedless oranges (about 3 medium)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder  

1.  Scrub the oranges well and cut off both the navel and stem ends. Then cut them into small pieces, about 1 inch in size. Process by pulsing them until the peelings are well chopped but not until the mixture is pureed. You should end up with between 1 1/2 and 1 3/4 cups. Set aside.

2.  Cream butter and sugar until well blended and then add the eggs, one at a time. Continue beating until the mixture is light colored and very smooth, about 4 to 5 minutes for best mixing. 
3.  Add the orange chunks and juice to the creamed butter mixture and beat until well blended.

4.  Either in a sifter or large bowl, stir or sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Gradually add this to the batter, and beat until well mixed. The mixture will be thick.

5.  Pour the batter into a 9 X 12 pan, spreading evenly. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes.
These photos show the cake made with an orange glaze:

1 c powdered sugar
about 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice

Mix together; this should be a thin glaze. Pour over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Serve the cake warm or cold.

Alternative Serving:

Skip the glaze and serve serve with a warm raspberry sauce.

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