Teta’s Orange Cake

Now more than ever – juggling a renovation, moving in 3 days, and our wedding in less than 30 – do I believe in rewarding life’s little victories. Like scoring moving boxes at $2 a pop, or discovering there’s one last pair of your perfect wedding shoes in stock, in your size, after being told they were totally sold out.

Yesterday, our reward came in the form of another bout of spontaneous baking. This time, it was the urge to fill our increasingly boxed-up home with the cheerful, citrusy scent of fresh orange cake.

Orange cake may appear out of place on a Middle Eastern food blog, but this recipe comes to you from a very special kitchen in Amman, Jordan: my Teta’s – grandmother’s – kitchen. This sweet, simple yet incredibly aromatic cake has been in my life as long as I can remember, and holds in its delicate crumbs some of my favorite childhood memories.

With the zest of four whole oranges, plus a fresh orange juice glaze, each bite pays a loving homage to a fruit widely grown in the Middle East; the fruit that my own family once grew on an orchard in Gaza. The combination of canola oil and four eggs lends a richness that even a true connoisseur may mistake as the result of endless butter.

The juice and icing sugar glaze is my mother’s addition, and one not to be missed. Simply mix, poke several holes in the top of the hot cake, and pour all over. It’s magic.

Makes 1 10″ bundt cake; Dairy free
dairy free, orange, cake, bundt, fruit cake

4 eggs
1 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cup raw sugar
1.5 tbsp vanilla extract
Zest of 4 oranges
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (may substitute wholemeal, but it will yield a denser cake)
2 tsp baking powder
Optional glaze: 1/3 cup fresh orange juice + 3 tbsp icing sugar 
Preheat oven to 180C / 350F. Grease and flour a standard 10″ bundt pan.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla, grated orange rind and juice until well incorporated and smooth. Add the flour and baking powder and mix again until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake 40-50 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Invert the cake onto a cooling rack.
While still warm, use a toothpick to poke several holes along the top of the cake. Whisk 1/3 cup fresh orange juice with 3 tbsp icing sugar to make a glaze. Drizzle the glaze over the toothpick holes.
Slice and serve with a hot mug of tea or Arabic coffee.

Audio pairing: Oum Kalthoum improvisation in Morocco
  • http://theindolentcook.blogspot.com/ leaf (the indolent cook)

    Orange cake is also part of my childhood, though a different type. Yours is much easier! I’d love to try.

  • http://twitter.com/angiesrecipess Angie

    I adore citrus cakes…yours has such a fine and smooth crumb. Super!

  • http://theviewfromthegreatisland.blogspot.com/ theviewfromGreatIsland

    I have a weakness for citrus cakes, and this one looks gorgeous Yasmeen.  I can’t believe it’s dairy free.  My mouth is watering just thinking about all that orange zest, and the glaze…oh my!

  • http://discoveringcandace.blogspot.com/ Candace

    I have the fondest memories of my mom making orange cake when I was a little girl.  She completely does not remember it.  I guess it was an ordinary cake for her; but for me….it was special.  This looks absolutely fantastic, Yasmeen!

  • http://www.wanderingspice.com/ Yasmeen

    Thanks, Candace. It’s such a simple but really special recipe – so many families have it and put their own spin on it, which I love! 

  • http://www.wanderingspice.com/ Yasmeen

    Claudia Roden is amazing – I love that recipe, too. This one comes together really quickly with items we usually have on hand (no trips to the store for almond meal). 

  • shruti @ a spoonful of yumm

    love the texture of this cake…..nothing like citrus !

  • http://theshadypine.blogspot.com.au/ Anna @ the shady pine

    This looks perfect to go with an afternoon cup of coffee!

  • Ashley

    This sounds so fresh and zesty in the cold weather we’re having at the moment! Would pair nicely with a cup of afternoon tea methinks… :) Lovely pics!

  • http://www.wanderingspice.com/ Yasmeen

    Thanks, Ashley! I think it’s perfect for winter, too. Sometimes we just need that burst of citrus to warm things up.

  • http://www.wanderingspice.com/ Yasmeen

    Hi Shruti – I completely agree. The egg yolks and oil are the magic combination for its soft crumb. No need for butter at all.

  • http://www.wanderingspice.com/ Yasmeen

    If you slice a thick piece, and then slice that into logs, they’re perfect for dipping in a hot cuppa. Just saying :)

  • http://twitter.com/gingerbagelbake gingerbreadbagels

    What a gorgeous cake! I wish I had a big slice for breakfast! :)

  • http://www.wanderingspice.com/ Yasmeen

    Why thank you! It only takes a few moments to prepare – and I always advocate giving in to temptation :)

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