Whole Orange Cake


Something odd happened today.

I baked a cake.  Crazy, right?

Okay, I may need to explain.  This is weird because:

  • There was absolutely no reason for me to bake a cake today.  No birthdays, nobody coming to visit – just me at home doing laundry.
  • I don’t love cake.  In fact, given a choice between cake and, oh, just about any other dessert, cake is generally the loser.  (Especially cake with no chocolate.)
  • I am not a fan of citrus in desserts.  Lemon bar?  No thank you!  (In fact, I’m not a fan of citrus in a lot of dishes.  I blame my mother’s very, very lemon chicken…but that’s a story for another day.)

But this cake…this cake seduced me.  It invaded my thoughts.  I craved this cake.  And I have no idea why!

Let me tell you a story.

Yesterday afternoon, I got an email from my friend Jessica titled Whole Orange Cake.  In this email was a link.  I clicked on the link, and was taken to a description of a cake unlike any cake I knew. A cake make with whole oranges.  Yes, my friends!  Whole oranges, peels and all!


“I wonder what this tastes like,” I thought innocently.  “It sounds pretty good.”  Then I moved on…or so I thought.  But I continued to think about this mysterious whole orange cake.  When I least expected it, the orange cake would pop into my head.  Watching the new Alex Cross movie – whole orange cake!  Ironing pants for work – if only I had orange cake for breakfast!  Lunchtime at work – I bet that orange cake would taste pretty good right now…

Finally, I decided that there was no help for it.  I just had to make the Whole Orange Cake.

So I did.

And it was delicious.  And pretty.  And orangy and cakey and everything that I hoped it would be.  (And yes, I served it to myself on an orange plate.)


Thanks, Jess!

Has a recipe ever consumed your thoughts until you just had to make it?  Or am I just crazy?  What’s your opinion of citrus in desserts? 

Whole Orange Cake  (The original recipe that Jess sent me can be found here.  I made a couple of minor changes in italics.)

  • Cooking-oil spray
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 oranges (about 1 lb. total), ends trimmed, then cut into chunks and seeded (I needed three oranges, but they were pretty small.)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • (I added 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg)
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 tsp. orange juice
1. Preheat oven to 325°. Coat a 10-cup Bundt pan with cooking-oil spray. In a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed, beat butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs.
Orange chunks after being chopped in the food processer.  The oranges smelled awesome!

Orange chunks after being chopped in the food processer. The oranges smelled awesome!

2. Whirl orange chunks in a food processor until mostly smooth but not puréed. Add 1 1/2 cups orange mixture to batter and beat until blended. Add flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and nutmeg to bowl and beat until smooth. Spread batter in prepared pan.
The batter is really thick.  Getting it into the bundt pan evenly was the hardest part.

The batter is really thick. Getting it into the bundt pan evenly was the hardest part.

3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs clinging to it, about 55 minutes. (My cake was done after 45 minutes.)  Cool pan on a rack 10 minutes, then invert cake onto rack and let cool completely.
4. Whisk together powdered sugar and orange juice in a small bowl. Drizzle over cooled cake. Let glaze set, then slice cake. (I did this before the cake was completely cool – I couldn’t wait any longer!) 

16 thoughts on “Whole Orange Cake

  1. andrewsbeth

    I can vouch for you, that is so unlike you to make a cake!! I was so surprised when I saw the post. Looks beautiful.I bet it tastes great too. You know who would love that? GP. He loves citrusy desserts. I think I will make that for the grands. I understand the comment about my lemon chicken. I was a little heavy handed with that lemon pepper seasoning back in the day! 🙂 Yes, I obsessed about a food item to make. Tempeh (sp?) Never did figure that one out. Tried different recipes and was not successful. Anybody know a good way to use that?

    1. Melissa Post author

      Thanks! I definitely think Grandpa Perry would love this cake. You are a fabulous cook, but that lemon chicken recipe just was not my cup of tea!
      I had to go look up tempeh – it sort of looks like tofu, but I guess it has a different taste/texture. It does not sound appealing to me, but I can see why you would want to try it. Maybe we’ll get a good recipe suggestion!

  2. Carolyn Galizio

    I love cake. I love any all cake. It looks delicious to me. I thought it was the orange cake recipe from Aunt Jean that Nana Jan used to make all of the time (back when she baked!) Or did I make it all the time? Anyway, it looks fabulous!

    I was obsessed with Laura’s rueben sandwich that she ordered the last time we were at the Blue Door cafe together and I got quiche. The quiche was great, but I craved a rueben. I ordered oneThe Blue Door!

    1. Melissa Post author

      I didn’t know we had a family orange cake recipe! If you come across it, let me know and we’ll try it out.
      Everything at the Blue Door is awesome. I can totally understand why you would be craving that! Brian had a rueben the last time we were there and it looked amazing.

      1. Carolyn Galizio

        I will look for the recipe from Aunt Jean. It has orange juice in the cake and in the glaze. I am wondering if it turns out the same. One more thing to try together! Tom has an orange cake recipe too!
        My other comment got cut off. I ordered a rueben at another Kent pub and it was NOT as good as The Blue Door’s!

  3. Laura Andrews

    I was totally surprised to see this picture! Cake has never been something that the family tends to make much of. Appetizers, main entrees and desserts like brownies and puddings, but not cake! Looks delicious though!

  4. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets

    I love fruit so I would add it to my dessert every chance I get. Citrusy desserts are some of my favorites, and this orange cake is intriguing. I bet it did smell fabulous in the food processor. I can practically taste it.

    1. Melissa Post author

      The orangeyness of it was amazing 🙂 It’s actually making me rethink my stance on citrusy desserts. I found a Whole Lemon Bar recipe in my Smitten Kitchen cookbook that now I kind of want to try…


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