All In Whole Orange Cake

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Whole Orange Cake Header Image

This recipe for All In Whole Orange Cake gives you a bright orange flavored cake that is very dense. Perfect with an afternoon tea or coffee.

All In Whole Orange Cake

Ingredients

  • For the Cake

    250g (8 ounces or 2 cups) granulated sugar
  • 100g (7 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature (if using salted butter, omit the salt in the recipe)
  • 3 large eggs (150g)
  • 55g (2/3 cup) buttermilk
  • 250g (8 ounces or 2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 large (about 300g) untreated (organic preferred) orange, cut into chunks, seeds removed, peel left on
  • For the Glaze

    100g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • Juice and zest of one orange (about 75ml)
  • Pinch of salt
The ingredients needed to make an All In Whole Orange Cake

Method

Step 1

Prepare the Cake

Set oven to 325°F (170°C). Set the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Prepare a cake pan or springform pan by generously buttering it. Place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom and spray with cooking spray. Set-aside.

Step 2

In the work bowl of an electric mixer, place the sugar and butter. Beat well until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until each is incorporated. Add the buttermilk and mix in.

Step 3

Mix the flour with the baking powder, soda, and salt. Slowly add to the wet ingredients, mix until well blended.

Step 4

Pulse the orange pieces in a food processor or blender until you have a fine puree with just a bit of the orange peel showing. Mix into the batter until blended.

Step 5

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, cook for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick, when inserted into the center, comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, turn out onto a place.

Step 6

Make the Glaze

In a small saucepan, bring the orange juice and sugar to a simmer and cook until the sugar is completely dissolved and the syrup thickens slightly. Brush or spoon over the cooled cake. Cut and serve.

 

The Making of All In Whole Orange Cake

A printer-friendly recipe card can be found at the end of this post

 

A white plate with the finished All In Whole Orange Cake on it showing lovely oranges in the background.

 

My neighbor has a wonderful organic orange tree in her backyard that was full of ripe oranges. “Do you juice?” she asked. I don’t usually but told her I do like oranges, so she brought over a big bag full of fresh aromatic oranges. 

Now to use them up.

One of the first things that came to mind was an orange-flavored cake. Or muffins. Or something like that. 

To my trusty cookbooks, and the internet for inspiration. There are a number of recipes that use orange juice, many include some orange zest. This got me to thinking, what about if I was to use the whole orange. Google search gave me a recipe for Pan d Arancio which literally translates to Orange Bread. But it did use the whole orange. And the pictured result looked more like a cake than bread, so what the heck, I’ll give it a shot.

 

A slice of All In Whole Orange Cake on a plate with an orange.

 

One of my first assignments with recipe writing and development was working with Colivita USA rewriting their recipe archives. Many of the recipes were poorly written, written in partial Italian, missing ingredients to method, or method to ingredients. My job, that I chose to accept, was to be a detective and to rewrite all the recipes to a simple, easy to follow, format. It was a lot of work, and a lot of fun trying to decipher what some of them wanted or meant, but I was very successful at fixing them and it taught me a lot about writing a recipe clearly.

The recipe for Pan d Arancio was written very much the same, vague, and since it really was a Sicilian Orange Cake, also written much like Grandma may have written it. So I translated it to make it easy for you to make. 

I also did a few modifications, mostly to add some moisture to this very dense cake in the addition of buttermilk. The buttermilk gives it a nice tang while adding some, in my opinion, needed moisture.

But it all starts with…oranges.

 

A basket of oranges waiting to be used in all in orange cake.

 

What are the BEST oranges to use in All In Whole Orange Cake?

Well, the obvious first answer is organic. Because you are using the skin and all, you don’t want it to be either coated with wax or a pesticide. Clean as can be. Be sure to wash the orange anyway, even organic ones have dirt and dust on them.

The second answer is ones with a thinner skin work best. Normally when cooking or using citrus in a recipe the rule of thumb is to avoid the white pith as it can be bitter. And while this is true, in this whole orange cake, it’s actually a bit of the flavor profile. But a little bitter is better than a lot of bitter. 

And lastly, fresh and full of juice. 

 

White plates with a slice of whole orange cake in the foreground. Forks and napkins in the background.

 

Here is a list of some of the best oranges to be used in the cake

Valencia OrangesValencia oranges are best known as the orange juice oranges, but they are also great to eat too. Valencia oranges have thin skins, a few seeds, and are very juicy.

 Seville OrangesSeville oranges are sour oranges well-suited for making marmalade and are also used in cooking, cocktails, and salad dressings.

Cara Cara OrangesOne of the prettiest oranges is the cara cara. It’s a type of navel orange – it’s sometimes labeled “pink navel” or “red navel” – and was discovered in Venezuela in 1976. It is an all-time great orange, extremely sweet but with a complex sort of berry flavor behind it. And best of all is the color: a luscious pink.

These are just some of the many oranges to choose from. Just remember, whichever you do choose, wash it and seed it. 

 

Do I need any special equipment to make All In Whole Orange Cake?

Yes.

A food processor would be a key piece of needed equipment. I think it would be virtually impossible to get your orange to the right consistency without one. Your awesome knife skills aside, it would take a long time to chop the orange up properly. A blender could be used, but it is much more difficult to control the textures with a blender.

 

Blended whole orange zest for cake.

 

Because the batter is so thick, a stand mixer, I love my KitchenAid, or a heavy-duty hand mixer is useful. Of course, this cake could be made without these modern-day devices, just use your awesome muscles and a good wooden spoon.

 

All in whole orange cake batter showing fine flecks of orange in it.

 

The Glaze for the Cake

You could serve this cake without a glaze at all, perhaps just a dusting of powdered sugar. But the glaze does enhance the orange flavor and adds a bit of sweetness. Again, not too sweet, just an essence of sweetness.

To make the glaze heat the juice from one orange over low heat and add the sugar. Simmer until the sugar is melted and the glaze has thickened slightly, then stir in the zest. You want the zest to be zesty. Here is where you don’t want any pith, so zest only the skin. And remember to zest first, juice after. Then spoon or brush on the now mostly cooled cake. 

The Great Glaze Cheat

Orange Marmelade.

Heat some orange marmalade over low heat and stir in a bit of water. Instant glaze.

 

A spoon pouring glaze on the cake.

 

After I was done I took a piece over to my neighbor. “We have something very much like this in Greece,” she told me. So now I guess you could say it’s either Sicilian or it could be Greek. Wonder what other culture has a similar cake? Share if you know one!

Cheers.

For more wonderful, not too sweet, slightly different, snack or dessert ideas, try one of these delights…

Fresh Apple Chunk Olive Oil Cake

Zucchini Carrot Biscotti with Walnuts

Eggplant Cornmeal Cake with Whipped Orange Frosting

Apricot Almond and Brown Butter Tart

Yield: 12 servings

All In Whole Orange Cake

A slice of All In Whole Orange Cake on a plate with an orange.

This recipe for All In Whole Orange Cake uses the entire orange, skin and all to give you a bright orange flavored cake that is very dense. Perfect with an afternoon tea or coffee.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • For the Cake
  • 250g (8 ounces or 2 cups) granulated sugar
  • 100g (7 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature (if using salted butter, omit the salt in the recipe)
  • 3 large eggs (150g)
  • 55g (2/3 cup) buttermilk
  • 250g (8 ounces or 2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 large (about 300g) untreated (organic preferred) orange, cut into chunks, seeds removed, peel left on
  • For the Glaze
  • 100g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • Juice and zest of one orange (about 75ml)
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

Step 1

Prepare the Cake

Set oven to 325°F (170°C). Set the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Prepare a cake pan or springform pan by generously buttering it. Place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom and spray with cooking spray. Set-aside.

Step 2

In the work bowl of an electric mixer, place the sugar and butter. Beat well until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until each is incorporated. Add the buttermilk and mix in.

Step 3

Mix the flour with the baking powder, soda, and salt. Slowly add to the wet ingredients, mix until well blended.

Step 4

Pulse the orange pieces in a food processor or blender until you have a fine puree with just a bit of the orange peel showing. Mix into the batter until blended.

Step 5

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, cook for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick, when inserted into the center, comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Once cooled, turn out onto a place.

Step 6

Make the Glaze

In a small saucepan, bring the orange juice and sugar to a simmer and cook until the sugar is completely dissolved and the syrup thickens slightly. Brush or spoon over the cooled cake. Cut and serve.

Notes

I highly recommend you weigh ingredients where weights are indicated.

You can make a quick glaze by heating orange marmalade and thinning with a bit of water.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 115Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 168mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 1gProtein: 3g

Nutritional values may not be 100% accurate.


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Nutritional Info

This information is per serving.
  • Calories
    115
  • Fat
    3g (1g Sat, 2g Mono)
  • Cholesterol
    53mg
  • Sodium
    168mg
  • Carbohydrates
    18g (1g Fiber)
  • Protein
    3g
  • Nutritional Information may not be 100% accurate

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