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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

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  • Reply Lemon, Yogurt and Pistachio Bundt Cake | Wandering Spice 26/05/2013 at 10:05 pm

    […] and orange cakes of many varieties grace the tables of many families come snack time – my Teta’s famous orange cake being one of them. We need something to accompany all that strong coffee of ours, you […]

  • Reply Yasmeen 31/05/2012 at 12:17 am

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

  • Reply gingerbreadbagels 30/05/2012 at 2:59 pm

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

  • Reply Yasmeen 30/05/2012 at 12:52 pm

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

  • Reply Yasmeen 30/05/2012 at 12:50 pm

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

  • Reply Yasmeen 30/05/2012 at 12:50 pm

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

  • Reply Ashley 30/05/2012 at 8:37 am

    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!

  • Reply Anna @ the shady pine 29/05/2012 at 3:35 am

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

  • Reply shruti @ a spoonful of yumm 28/05/2012 at 7:53 pm

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

  • Reply Yasmeen 28/05/2012 at 7:49 pm

    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). 

  • Reply Yasmeen 28/05/2012 at 7:49 pm

    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! 

  • Reply Candace 28/05/2012 at 7:49 pm

    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!

  • Reply theviewfromGreatIsland 28/05/2012 at 7:46 pm

    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!

  • Reply Angie 28/05/2012 at 7:45 pm

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

  • Reply leaf (the indolent cook) 28/05/2012 at 7:45 pm

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

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