Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Valencia orange cake

That's Valencia, Spain. On the weekend before Christmas, Ken and I were invited to some friends' house for Sunday lunch. Our hosts made a terrific meal with a Spanish theme as a kind of counterpoint to all of the French goodies we would be eating during the holiday week. Everything they made was delicious. For dessert, they served a cake infused with the essence of oranges.

My version of the cake soaking up its imbibing liquid. That's Triple Sec orange liqueur in back.

The cake was richly dense, imbibed with orange flavor, and topped with a thick and sticky orange glaze. It was a very sensual cake and perfect for the winter holidays when oranges from Spain and North Africa are in season. Naturally, I asked for the recipe and decided to try it out myself for Christmas day. It turned out very nice and I'm encouraged to try it again.

The finished cake topped with orange caramel glaze.

The cake's intense orange flavor comes from the combination of orange juice, orange zest, orange liqueur, and sugar which is reduced and poured onto the cake and allowed to soak in over several hours. The glaze is the same mixture, reduced even further to a near caramel stage before being spread on top.

*****UPDATE: A few of you asked for the recipe, so here it is.

Orange Cake

Beat together until pale yellow:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar

Beat in:

  • 1 cup milk (or milk and orange juice to make 1 cup)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • Zest of 1 orange

Sift together:

  • 1 ¾ cup flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt

Add the sifted flour mixture a little at a time to wet ingredients until well blended. Pour batter into an 8” cake pan that has been buttered and dusted with flour and sugar. Bake in a pre-heated 375º oven for 30-45 minutes or until an inserted wooden skewer comes out clean. Turn the oven down to 350º halfway through the baking if it seems to be going too fast. Cool on a wire rack.

To make the sauce, combine:

  • 1 ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • A shot of orange liqueur (Grand Marnier or Triple Sec)

Heat in a sauce pan and simmer for approximately 30 minutes. Using a wooden skewer, poke holes in the cooled cake. Pour HALF the sauce onto to cake to imbibe it. You can thin the sauce with a little more liqueur if you like. Allow it to imbibe for at least an hour.

For the final glaze, simmer the remaining half of the sauce until it reduces to a few tablespoons. Spread it on the cake with a spatula. Decorate with strips of fresh orange zest if desired.


  1. Looks terrific. Recipe would be welcome.

  2. Do you know the cake where you boil up whole oranges then puree them with almond meal? It's Viennese I think (and good for coeliacs, because no flour).

  3. I second CHM's request.

  4. Fondue, tater tots and cake. I think I just gained a pound reading your blog. Looks delish!

  5. My sister in Vermont made (and sent to us in our Christmas box) a lovely clementine cake loaf. It must be very similar to this. It was also soaked with an orange syrup, and was very rich and dense tasting.

    Quite nice :)


  6. And with precisely the same sentiment as yesterday's little potato yummies, I say YES PLEASE.

  7. Walt, please post the recipe! You had me at the word "caramel."

  8. With a cup of tea, it must be delicious!

  9. We made the same cake that Susan describes, a huge hit at GF PATISSERIE.
    Because indeed it's gluten free.

  10. chm, you got it!

    susan, I've not had that, but it sounds great. Does it have a name? I'll see what I can find on the internet.

    sheila, kristi, carolyn, I'll update the post with the recipe.

    rick, not all at the same time! ;)

    judy, I though about doing it with clémentines.

    alewis, stop on over! Just get the captain to make a detour to France.

    nadege, or with red wine!

    hpeter, cool. I'd like to try it.

  11. Can't wait to try that orange cake ourselves. Right now, all things Spanish look great. But this cake... Thanks!

  12. I can't remember what it is called, but it is very easy. It is traditionally covered with chocolate fondant, but is nice without too. I have a recipe for it, but it's in one of our boxes in the graineterie.

  13. I'm in a gourmet club and we tried your recipe for the Valencia Orange Cake. It was delicious!

    I have just posted a photo of it on my blog (offoodandart.blogspot.com). Do you mind if I put a link of the recipe from your blog?

    Thanks so much. We really enjoyed the cake.

  14. food and art, your cake looks delicious (as does the rest of the meal)! Glad it worked. Feel free to post a link if you'd like. :)


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