This orange cake recipe was given to me by my mom’s friend Shirley. Shirley has made this a couple of times and had raved about it.
So one Thursday night while I was watching my granddaughters I said to the girls, “Let’s make an orange cake for family dinner tomorrow night.” We have a bi-weekly family dinner every other Friday night.
Oh boy they were excited because there are a lot of little tasks that they could help with – like making orange zest and juicing the oranges.
Yes, this cake uses REAL oranges. Not orange juice.
I realize this isn’t one of those traditional Italian cakes – but this is very European. It’s one of those dunk-in-your-coffee-type of cakes. The kind they serve in Europe with a cup of tea or coffee.
It holds together, but not too flaky fluffy that little pieces of it fall into the bottom of your coffee cup. And here’s why….
There is NO leavening agent in the cake. No baking powder. No baking soda. And that’s what leads to the “neato-European- type-coffee-dunking-texture”. So don’t think it’s a typo. It’s not there. The butter-egg ratio holds the cake together firmly. And to get that “lift” in the cake – you will HAVE to sift your flour.
(I thought it was kind of cute watching my granddaughters struggle with the sifter, because it’s like yesterday I remember struggling with one when I was learning how to bake with my mother.)
The girls and I had a fun time baking. They learned about zesting – and how to make sure you don’t get the zest bitter. We talked about why it’s not a good idea to eat raw batter. And I only had to referee a few arguments about who got to stir next, or who got to juice next, or who did the zest “just right”.
It was a fun night. And the girls were so proud when we served the cake the next night at Family dinner. They talked about all the things they learned about baking.
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* 2 sticks of butter (save the wrappers for greasing the pan)
* 1 1/4 cups sugar
* 4 eggs
* 2 teaspoon orange zest – (a tad more if you want to add it to the glaze)
* 2 cups SIFTED flour
* 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
* 1 cup powdered sugar
* 3 teaspoons milk
* 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice
* 2 dashes of lemon juice (optional – but I go out of my way to do this!)
* Preheat the oven to 340F (I know this seems weird – but 350 dries the cake out a tad too much)
* Cream the butter and sugar together until it looks very pale. (Takes about 5 minutes or so)
* Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat well between each egg.
* Be ready with a spoonful of flour to add in with the last egg if you see that your batter is beginning to curdle. (Mine was. So I added it in and all was well.)
* Blend in the orange zest.
* Add the (sifted) flour and then blend well.
* Gradually add the fresh orange juice. Blend.
* Take the butter wrappers and rub them around the bundt (or spring) pan
* Spoon and then spread the batter in your pan.
* Bake for -50 minutes (remember you are at 340 degrees NOT 350 degrees)
* If your cake begins to brown too early, just add aluminum foil over it. And you may want to spray the foil with Pam or rub butter, if you think the cake may touch it.)
* The girls and I made our “magic glaze” while the cake cooked.
* Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl.
* Then the rest is an eyeball thing - stir in the milk and orange juice. (And if you chose the lemon – add that too. Oh, and extra zest if you saved some back.)
* Thick and runny is the consistency you are looking for.
* You can poke holes in the cake if you want the glaze to run inside. If you want a shiny look just pour over the cake when it’s almost cooled.
Don't think of this orange cake as a typical bundt cake. It won’t rise as high as a typical bundt cake. Maybe ½ the normal heighth.
I will say I haven’t doubled it. But Shirley has. And when she did she said she just doubled the baking time. Again, I haven’t done it. But Shirley had great results.
The key in zesting is to NEVER get into the pith. The best way to explain that is – only grate off the “color” of the rind. Never EVER go into the white part.
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