Flavors: Orange Cake

Orange Cake (03) by MeetaK

Stepping out of the elevator I could already smell the enticing fragrance of freshly baked cake. It always made me smile. The few seconds it took to walk down the corridor to our apartment door, I would try to guess what aromas were lingering in the air. After I rang the doorbell, I would close my eyes and take a deep breath, savoring the scent.

My mother would open the door with a huge smile on her face and her eyes twinkling. She knew what I was doing and what I wanted.

"Wait!" she would say holding me back for a few minutes longer. It was torture, but she was always in a playful mood when she baked. "Guess!" I would close my eyes again, trying to penetrate the fragrance in the air. It was a game we would often play, who would have known back then that these games would play an important role in my foodie life later.

My mother did not get to bake that often. Unfortunately - because she was a great baker. Her cakes were always put together to highlight a certain ingredient, flavor or fragrance. She was not a fan of over-killing a baked good by the excessive use of ingredients. Instead she would use each ingredient carefully and make sure they complemented the main flavor of the cake.

As my father worked in luxury hotels, we were never short of extravagant and pompous cakes and pastries at home. An Austrian Sacher torte, French eclairs or an Italian Millefoglie - we would have it all. You're probably thinking "WOW!"

Yes, it was nice and we indulged in these scrumptious pastries often. But what we loved the most were my mothers homemade simple baked cakes. That was our real treat. We would really savor each bite and enjoy her guessing games in the process.

Carrot cake, orange cake, ginger cake, banana torte, lemon-coconut cake - these were all her specialities, and as you can see, it was the ingredients in the name of her cakes that played the key role.

I loved the orange cake the best. It was a simple blend of flavors, using the zesty orange peels and orange juice to give a pure accent to the cake. When she made it the entire floor, we lived on, was filled with a sweet, tangy, citrussy aroma.


Orange (01) framed by MeetaK


Oranges are one of the most popular fruits in the world. It's no surprise either! They are juicy, sweet and well-known for their concentration of vitamin C. Oranges make the perfect snack and add a special tang to many recipes. What's more you can use almost every part of the orange in your cooking. 

Oranges come in two general categories: sweet and bitter. The former being the type most commonly consumed. Popular varieties of the sweet orange include Valencia, Navel and Jaffa oranges, as well as the blood orange. The blood orange is a hybrid species that is smaller in size, more aromatic in flavor and has red hues running throughout its flesh. Bitter oranges are often used to make jam or marmalade and their zest serves as the flavoring for liqueurs such as Grand Marnier and Cointreau.

Health Benefits

Oranges are ranked No. 1 on nutrition among five popular fruits (apples, bananas, grapes and pears) and are among the healthiest items in the produce section that provide valuable health benefits. They are one of Mother Nature's best super foods, packed with an unbelievable array of disease-fighting nutrients, all tucked neatly beneath the peel.

Oranges supply 80 fat-free calories packed with energizing carbohydrates that fuel energy levels. We all know that oranges are a powerhouse when it comes to Vitamin C. One orange supplies a healthy dose of Vitamin C, which plays an important role in cancer prevention, healthy blood circulation and wound healing. They are also a good source of the crucial B-vitamin folate, which is essential in preventing birth defects and fighting heart disease. Oranges also contain an array of phytochemicals, which help fight age-related diseases.

Oranges provide antioxidants, which help protect the skin from free-radical damage known to cause signs of aging. Oranges are loaded with disease "phyt-ing" phytochemicals. These substances, such as flavonoids, which are found in oranges, act as antioxidants and may protect against heart disease. According to a Finnish study, women with the greatest intake of flavonoids had half the risk of dying from heart disease compared to women in the study with the lowest intake.

Selecting & Storing

It is not necessary for oranges to have a bright orange color to be good. As a matter of fact, the color of non-organic oranges may be due to injection of Citrus Red Number 2 into their skins.

Organic or not, oranges that are partially green or have brown spots may be just as ripe and tasty as those that are solid orange in color. Oranges with soft spots or traces of mold should be avoided. As oranges are among the top 20 foods in which pesticide residues are most frequently found, buy organic oranges whenever possible.

When choosing oranges go for fruit that have smoothly textured skin and are firm and heavy for their size. These will have a higher juice content than those that are either spongy or lighter in weight. In general, oranges that are smaller will be juicier than those that are larger in size, as will those that have thinner skins.

Oranges can be stored either at room temperature or in the refrigerator. They will generally last the same amount of time, two weeks with either method, and will retain nearly the same level of their vitamin content. The best way to store oranges is loose rather than wrapped in a plastic bag as they can easily develop mold when exposed to moisture.

Orange juice and zest can also be stored for later use. Place freshly squeezed orange juice in ice cube trays until frozen, and then store them in plastic bags in the freezer. Dried orange zest should be stored in a cool, dry place in an airtight glass container.

Now that I have a child of my own, I find myself making the same cakes my mother would make for me for the exact same reasons. I want to tickle Soeren's tastebuds and have his senses concentrate on individual flavors and aromas. We too play guessing games, which I hope will help him in his grown up life too. Maybe I am one of the few mothers who feels proud when my son says "I want to be a good cook when I grow up!"


Monthly Mingle - One-Dish Dinners
Come on over with your casseroles, crockpots or baked dishes. I am looking for innovative and creative one-dish meals. Looking forward to having you all over.

Deadline: March 10th, 2008

Eat Fresh
Share your fresh produce with us. Show us your weekly bounty from the Farmer's Market, grocery stores or CSA box.

Deadline: March 31st, 2008

Printable version of recipe here.

Orange Cake (09) by MeetaK


250g all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
40g vanilla pudding powder
340g sugar
3 eggs
80g oft butter - cut in pieces
2 teaspoons orange zest - preferably organic orange
250ml orange juice

For the Orange Buttercream

90g confectioner's sugar - sifted
125g soft butter
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoons orange zest - preferably organic orange


Orange Cake (06) by MeetaK

Pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees C. Prepare a round cake form (23 cm diameter) by buttering the base and the sides. Line with baking paper.

Sift flour, baking powder and the pudding powder into a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, sugar, butter, orange zest and juice to the dry ingredients and with a hand mixer whisk into a smooth thick mixture.

Pour the cake mixture into the cake form, even out with a rubber spatula and bake approx. 50 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick or knife is inserted in the middle of the cake and it comes out clean.

Take out of the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the form. This might be a difficult task and you will be dying to taste, but if you unmold it too soon the cake will break. Run a knife along the sides of the cake and tip out onto a cooling rack. Peel off the baking paper. Allow to cool completely before frosting the cake.

For the Orange Buttercream

In a small bowl mix all the ingredients together until thick and creamy. Spread the buttercream evenly over the top and sides of the cakes. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Tip: You can substitute the butter with 125g of cream cheese. This adds a wonderful delicate touch to the frosting. 


MM-OrangeCake (01) by MeetaK

This is Soeren's favorite cake too! So much so he wanted it for his 5th birthday last year (August). It surprised many mothers that there was NOT a chocolate cake in sight. Don't kids always want a chocolate cake for their birthdays? Not Soeren he prefers the wonderful, zesty flavors of a simple orange cake. It is a pleasure to bite into the cake. Delicate and moist where the orange is highlighted in style.

I am rather chuffed that I have been nominated for the Inspiring Food Photography this month by Margot of Coffee & Vanilla. If you have a minute you can head on over to Margot's blog and vote for me. Voting lasts all this month. I'd love to have that scrumptious looking badge to display on my blog LOL!

If you are looking for more cake decorating ideas, my hunk of a colleague over at the Daily Tiffin, Dharm, has written a fantastic article about cake decorating you might find helpful.

Other aromatic cakes you might enjoy:

CranberryUpsideDown1 Cranberry Upside-Downer
Persimmon Spice Cake - Slice Persimmon Spice Cake
CherryCake04 Sour Cream Cherry Cake
WhiteChocolateBrownie03 White Chocolate and Raspberry Brownies


This month the lovely Marta of An Italian in the US has chosen the orange as her Fresh Produce of the Month. It's a great event featuring a seasonal fruit or vegetable and I always enjoy taking part. This is my entry for her great event. Gracie Marta!

All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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  1. This is a simple yet beautiful cake. I can imagine the citrusy flavours.
    And yes, children don't always like chocolate cake.

  2. Meeta, your son is a smart kid, I'll say! I'd rather have orange cake than chocolate cake anytime, too!

    That slice of cake is calling my name... :)

  3. Well, Soeren does seem to have a very developed and adult palate :) I love the birthday cake - such a great decorating idea!!

  4. I love seeing the flecks of orange zest in the icing -- but it looks pretty cool covered in M&Ms, too!

  5. Beautiful cake! Your son sure is a smart young man. :)

  6. What a beautiful cake! I love simple, yet flavorful cakes as well.

  7. There is simply nothing I love more than orange cake!! Forget chocolate, or even vanilla... give me a good citrus-based cake. This looks fabulous!

  8. Meeta, everything you make is so gorgeous to look at (and I'm sure delicious, but I have to keep my fork on this side of the monitor...)! I tagged you with an award. Come see: http://jenyu.net/blog/2008/02/29/wheres-the-love/

  9. Lovely cake. My five year old has also expressed interest in being a good cook when he grows up, and helps out when he can.
    I think I will see if he wants to make this with me later today.

  10. Wonderful write up meeta. its simple things in life which i treasure the most. i am not surprised to know u preferred this citrus cake over any exotic one. the aroma wafting from oven and biting into warm cake itself is enough to bring back all good memories:)
    and do i even have to say something abt pics!!! i guess not:)

  11. Meeta such a wonderful mother story! And two gorgeous orange cakes! It doesn't surprise me that Soeren has adventure in his taste buds as I can see he's getting them from at least his mom and grandmother. My boys went for carrot cakes.

  12. Just reading your descriptions of the cake, I could taste and smell the orange flavors and aroma. This is just beautiful! Since I'm from Florida and therefore have a deeply ingrained love of all citrus, I'm going to try to make this myself. Thanks!

  13. Beautiful!! I'm in awe of the pictures more than the yummy looking cake :D

  14. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm looks gorgeous, would I be able to substitute vanilla essence for vanilla pudding powder do you think? Don't think I can get the powder in Ireland, will use more flour to make up the difference

  15. I can't wait to visit your blog each day to see what drool-worthy photos you have taken. This cake looks incredible! I may have to find an excuse to make it sometime soon... just what I need, a cake to nibble on, but I am guessing it will be worth every single calorie!

  16. Absolutely gorgeous! And I'm sure it tastes even better -- it looks so moist and delicious!

  17. Beautiful cake Meeta and a wonderful story to accompany it!

  18. It's hard to resist that cake. Looks so yummy.

  19. The cake is gorgeous, and you certainly deserve to be in the running for inspiring food photography, congratulations!

  20. Meeta, I have got to try this, icing looks so delicious.

  21. I would chose this cake over chocolate anyday.

  22. Thanks so much for your comments. This is indeed a simple cake but it is huge in taste.

    Quellia please do let me know how you and your little one enjoyed the cake. Maybe both our kids can open a foodie restaurant - the next generation!!

    Jen, you sneaky girl. Thank you for that award, it's an honor!

    Rachel, you know I have never tried that! But go ahead and do give it a try. Don#t you get a ready made vanilla pudding powder there? I used Dr. Oetker (to name the brand) but i thought you would have been able to get something similar in Ireland too. If you do try this using the extract and extra flour please do let me know how it turned out.

  23. I think we are so blessed to have had mothers like ours to lay the foundation for our love of food.

    Beautiful orange cake.....I smell the coffee brewing and you....

  24. Cake looks awesome. Def love the orange taste. Your son is lucky to have a mom who bakes so well.

  25. Sounds like a delicious cake. I really don't care for oranges, but cooking with them is another story! I also really like the orange buttercream--that seems like the perfect touch

  26. Lovely cake Meeta.... love the pics too....

  27. I made an orange cake years ago, and was just thinking the other day and wondering why I hadn't made it again. This one sounds even better!

  28. Hi!

    I really like your blog and found your link on Daring Bakers! (I'm also a proud one!) So.. 'cause I like your blog so much I added your link on my blog on the right! Hope this is okay for you!! If not - just tell me! :)

    Greetings from Switzerland, Annina (Ann's Food)

  29. Beautiful picture meeta.. you are an awesome photographer and a cook. Will surely try your recipe sometime. Is there any alternative to eggs in this recipe?

  30. How in God's name did you click that single orange??!!! man, it looks divine!

    I have been thinking about baking an orange cake too, let's see:) I totally agree with the aromatic influence!:)

  31. splendid, Meeta! I can smell your mom's cakes too as I see your pictures and read the story... now should I add that we too look forward to the ginger cake, banana torte, lemon-coconut cake;)

  32. Meeta, It's beautiful! I must try this recipe. I love orange cake and I'm always disappointed with commercial versions. It's exactly what I need, a simple home baked layer with lots of flavor.

    It's funny you talked about having access to all the "fancy" cakes from your father's work and yet you loved the simple. I'm the daughter of a cake decorator so we had and saw fancy birthday cakes in our house all the time too when I was growing up so each of my brothers and sister and I only wanted simple pastries for our birthdays, much to my mom's disappointment! LOL! So I relate. I always wanted banana bread for my birthday.

  33. I should get meself that zester. Very photogenic.

  34. I'm holding back the urge to lick my screen. Mmm.. that looks tasty.

  35. it is simply beautiful cake, and I can only imagine the delicious flavors, meeta.

  36. hi meeta, i have been reading wflh and the daily tiffin for a long time now (arnd 2 years i think). i even commented sometime early on. but then switched to silent reading...

    anyway your orange cake sounds heavenly and i wanted clarifications, so de-lurking...

    1. could you help me with a substitute for vanilla pudding powder (i live in bangalore, india)
    2. is confectioners sugar the same as icing sugar?

    thanks a ton... am hoping you will reply so i can make this real soon. i also made a real simple butterfly shaped cake with pink frosting and topped with mand ms for my daughters today - for your readers - the butterfly shape is easy - just bake a round cake, cut it in three parts - 2 semicircles on either side and one thin long strip in the centre. then simply pick up the 2 semi circles and arrange them facing out on either side of the thin centre strip. see my picture if my directions are'nt clear enough...

  37. That'e the kind of cake I grew up on and that I still favor to this day. I like the idea of some cream cheese on the buttercream...decadent!

  38. The cake looks and sounds wonderful. I loved your story of coming home and having to guess the cake from the aroma. Nothing beats a slice of homemade cake.

  39. I would love to try this. Is there a substitute for vanilla pudding powder?

    And http://chefatwork.blogspot.com/2008/03/ginger-pear-muffins-and-announcing-afam.html is something I would like you to see. :-)

    I can't find coloured sprinkles here... have to hunt.

  40. i'd eat only that icing it looks sooo good!

  41. Meeta,
    I really really enjoyed reading your post, and imagining biting in your delicious cake.. as well as playing the guessing game.. Thank you so much for sharing, and for participating to this month's event! Hopefully the roundup will be up soon :)

  42. Meeta that cake looks fabulous- I can almost smell it!

  43. HI Meeta:

    The funny thing is that I have been thinking about making an orange cake as well - it is my mother's recipe. She usually makes them on Sundays - it was always a wonderful surprise when I came home from dance class.
    This just makes me even more homesick..

    You have a wonderful site Meeeta! Keep up the great job!

  44. I went to Nigeria to visit my sis who is a missionary there last November and was surprised to see a green orange! Didn't realize most oranges are colored/died. Beautiful cake!

  45. Hi,

    I just stuumbled on your blog from someother recipe site. I love baking and so really like what I see here. I have one very basic Q about icing the cake. Whenever I attempt creaming, I can distinctly taste the ingridients, butter or creamcheese. What do I do so the butter/cream cheese flavor is not so SCREAMING LOUD. Your pic looks fantastic and I feel like it tastes perfect. I am wondering if you can describe more about how you made that.


  46. Hi Meeta, I baked this wonderfully aromatic cake today for a easter-painting session:) I didn't plan my time well so the frosting had to be left out:( but most of the kids liked it with plain whipped cream.. i mean in the age group of 3-5, 8 out of 10 finished their slice without putting the fork down. I was really happy!

    One question I have is my cake didn't have the light colour with that beautiful orange specks.. it was bright yellow (i used Dr.Oetker's) and also dense. Your product looks porous and that lovely colour... where do you think i slipped up?

  47. Thanks everyone for your great comments. The great thing is that we all seem to share the same tastes and memories - lovely.

    D, sorry for the late reply: 1. could you help me with a substitute for vanilla pudding powder (i live in bangalore, india)

    Do you get vanilla mixes in India? They normally come in powder form and all you need to do is mix some milk and heat it up. If you do you can use the powder in this. If not then try substituting the powder with additional flour and adding a few drops of vanilla extract. I have never tried this but I think it might do the trick.
    2. is confectioners sugar the same as icing sugar?
    Yes it's the exact thing!

    Raaga, do the same as I mentioned above.

    MP, add a flavor to it. Here it was orange, but you can use anything - lemon, cinnamon. It could be that you are going easy on the flavoring so that is why you are getting that buttery taste. But on the whole there should be a hint of a buttery or cream cheese flavor.

    Latha, what kind of flour did you use. I normally use organic cake flour or organic all-purpose flour Type 550. I am normally really happy with the results of my cakes when I use this flour.

    I got a few email asking me to give out the recipes of the other cakes I mentioned in this post - so stay tuned!

  48. Hi Meeta, Thanks for your reply! I used Demeter weizenmehl type 550. May be i should just try it again:) i thought that sometimes even the oranges are different. I buy the same sweet, saftig ones from bio-shop but each time the juice tastes a wee bit different. I would attribute the texture to this. I'll give you feedback when I bake this again:)

  49. thank you for your reply meeta. i went ahead and tried the cake with 'vanilla custard powder'. for the icing i used hung curd. it was lovely. but the cake itself (though it tasted great and was overall nice) was like latha's - dense, not light and soft. i kind of got the feeling that it might have been from too much orange juice (somehow the 250 ml looked like a lot more liquid than i usually use in a cake batter) and also the baking powder was way more than i usually use. (i followed your recipe and used what you said though). maybe its the different types of flour and baking powder we use? i wonder what to do about it?

  50. I am a long-time lurker - first time poster! I have loved your reading your blog. This cake was absolutely delicious! I made it last night to bring to a Spring party at work and I had to sneak a taste last night - too good to be true. I am more of a chocolate cake person but the freshness of this cake is unbelievable. Thanks so much for sharing!

  51. Meeta,I really love ur website. Lovely writeups and lovely pictures.
    I am also passionate about baking so I often check ur website for mouthwatering recipes.


  52. Hi Meeta, I made this cake last friday for a barbecue party. I poured the batter in one 9 inch pan and I was able to see that it was too much. I was lazy to line another 9 inch pan and transfer half the batter into it. And as I knew it would happen, the 1/4 of the batter ended up in the sheet pan I kept below to catch the excess :) So, anyway, long story short, I had to cut the cake out. Inspite of my laziness, the cake was ust amazing. It was light and very flavourful. All our friends love it. Thanks for the great recipe!

  53. Hi Meeta, You have a lovely blog with awesome pics. I wanted to make this cake this weekend for a friend's birthday. I have a doubt in the recipe. You had mentioned 250ml of orange juice. So did you mean 250 ml of undiluted, freshly squeezed orange juice? Waiting for your answer so that I can try out this recipe.

  54. Once again thank you to everyone for all your comments and feedback. I am so glad everyone is enjoying this recipe. I am sure my mum will be flattered.

    Sarah, thanks for the compliment. I mean 100 % orange juice. I did use fresh orange juice with I strained so that there were no bits in it. But you can use 100% orange juice - store bought too. Please do come back and tell me how you and your guests liked the recipe!

  55. Hey Meeta, I was always terrible at baking; last time I made a cake, my husband ate it happily thinking it was a cookie :( but I tried your Orange cake and it turned out wonderfully !!! Everyone in my family loved it. Thanks for the recipe..

  56. Kiran! Thanks for letting me know this. I am so glad you and your family enjoyed this cake. You've put a smile on my face!

  57. Baked this cake today and it was very tasty! The edges got burnt (may be its coz of my cake pan) but the rest of the cake was great in texture. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

  58. Hi Meeta,

    This was my first time baking !I made this cake yesterday and it turned out good (not as great looking as urs obviously) !The crust is amazing ! However i am getting some raw flour taste. What could have gone wrong ? Please thank your mom, love this simple recipe..

  59. Can I please use your Image of the Orange in order to show it o my FB friends.
    Thank you and congratulations.
    Manel Martins - Portugal

  60. It's 2024 and I still come back here for this recipe. My family's favorite orange cake recipe. This recipe has been used since I found your blog in 2009. Much love and God bless.


Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

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