The Sicilian Orange Cake

Like so many great dishes I make, this one was born out of sheer curiosity. I just had to make a cake with orange after I had a piece of a similar one in Bengaluru a while back.

Unfortunately, I had never cooked with an orange batter before and decided to seek inspiration online. Most of the recipes either had orange pulp or the juice. Fittingly enough, it was a Scottish-Italian cook in Los Angeles who had the daring recipe of using an entire orange instead.

My version of an adaptation of the recipe from Christina’s Cucina, adjusted to the orange I had and added a few tweaks of my own.DSC_0041 (2)-01

Prep time: 15 mins | Baking time: 50-60 mins


  • A 200- to 250-gram good quality orange (try to get an imported orange, the ones in India tend to have a more bitter peel than others)
  • A cup and a quarter of all-purpose flour
  • A cup full of caster sugar
  • 1 and a half teaspoons of baking powder
  • Half a teaspoon of baking soda
  • 100 grams of salted butter, melted and then left to reset to a soft consistency (I used an entire slab of Amul butter)
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • A cup of set curd
  • Half a teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • A little milk to loosen the batter

For the glaze:

  • 5-6 tablespoons of icing sugar
  • Juice of one entire large orange (about half a cup)
  • Half a teaspoon of lemon rind


Cut the orange into small pieces and remove the seeds. Luckily, my orange was seedless! Add it to a blender and blitz to form a puree.

The ingredients from left to right: Curd, soften butter, eggs, orange, flour + baking soda + baking powder & caster sugar.
I used this variety of oranges in the recipe.

In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar with an electric whisker or by hand. The mix should reach a pale yellow stage. It will fluff up quite a bit as well. 

Drop in the eggs slowly and keep whisking. Careful to mix them in slowly to avoid the eggs splitting.

Sieve the flour, baking powder and baking soda into the bowl and stir to combine. Add curd to loosen the batter. Then add the orange puree in and mix well.

Mixing the butter, sugar and eggs.
Whisk till you reach this consistency.
Sieve in the dry items.

Mix well and then add the vanilla essence. Add a pinch of salt to bring out the flavours even more. If the batter feels a little too thick, a splash of milk will help it reach the right consistency. The batter should be just falling off the spoon.

Line the sides of a cake tin with baking or butter paper. Grease the bottom evenly with oil or butter. Drop the batter into the tin and distribute evenly with a spatula. Tap to set.

Mix well and add the pureed orange. It should resemble this consistency.


The batter should be just dropping off the ladle.

Bake in a preheated oven at 190 degrees Celcius for 50 minutes and check with a skewer. It may need another ten minutes, depending on the oven.

As the cake cools, we can work on our glaze.

Juice one entire orange and add about four tablespoons of icing sugar to it. Place in a saucepan and bring to boil. As the sugar dissolves, add another two spoons more and swirl to combine.

The cake fresh out of the oven and let to cool.

Add about half a teaspoon of some freshly grated lemon rind. Remove from the heat and let it cool till it becomes a little sticky.

Check if the cake has cooled enough. Remove from the cake tin and place on a wire rack or plate. Using a spoon, distribute the sticky glaze evenly all over the cake, with a little extra around the edges so that it trickles along the sides.DSC_0015

Let it cool completely before cutting. That way the cake will absorb the excess sugar syrup, ensuring there are fewer crumbs.

Serve with some fresh cream and a cup of hot coffee. Happy cooking!

2 thoughts on “The Sicilian Orange Cake

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