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Sicilian Whole Orange Cake

5 from 4 votes
A dense cake, this Sicilian Whole Orange Cake recipe uses an entire orange for a taste and texture that goes perfectly with a cup of tea!
A whole orange cake with a slice removed.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

If you’re a fan of orange flavor, you have to give this homemade whole orange cake a go. It’s so rich, moist, and super fruity. The smell when baking in the oven is out of this world — and it tastes even better! 

As the weather gets cooler, that means it’s orange season (keep this recipe in your pocket over the holidays, too) , and this bright cake will wash away any winter blues. This cake earns its name because you use a whole orange to make it, juice, peel, and pulp! 

This is a very humble cake. My homemade recipe uses very minimum ingredients because I really want the oranges to be the star of the show. I finish mine off with a simple glaze, but I imagine it would taste heavenly with a little drizzle of homemade ganache too! 

A whole orange cake topped with flours.

What Is Sicilian Whole Orange Cake?

This cake originates in the Siciliy region of Italy. Oranges, especially the red blood varieties, are plentiful in the wintertime there, and this is a wonderful way to use up an entire one! The conditions are perfect for making delicious, juicy, vitamin-rich, red oranges; they’re considered the “red gold of Sicily.”

The texture itself is not like a typical American cake. It is very dense, but I find that texture makes it a perfect companion with a cup of tea. 

What You Need To Make Sicilian Whole Orange Cake

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • 9-inch (23cm) round cake pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Food processor
  • Mixing bowls

How To Make Sicilian Whole Orange Cake

This cake is so simple and so satisfying. Here is how you make whole orange cake (get the measurements below):

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and butter and line a 9-inch (23cm) round cake pan with parchment.
  2. Zest the oranges and place the zest in the bowl of your food processor. Cut away all the white pith and discard along with any seeds. Place the skin in the food processor and process until the oranges are finely ground.
  3. Add the butter, sugar, and eggs to the food processor. Process until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as you go.
  4. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Then pour this into the orange mixture and process until the batter is just combined.
  5. Spread the batter evenly into your cake pan and bake for 45-50 minutes. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes before releasing it from the pan. Then, let it cool completely before topping with glaze.
  6. To make the glaze combine the powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk, and vanilla extract. If the glaze is too thick, add another tablespoon of milk. Drizzle over the cake and let it set before serving.

A slice of whole orange Sicilian cake.

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips For Making Sicilian Whole Orange Cake

  • Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature for even mixing and best rise.
  • This cake traditionally uses the entire orange, including the pith, but it could make the cake too bitter. If your oranges have very thin skin, experiment with leaving the pith in, but I recommend tossing it if the skin is thick. 
  • Try using different varieties of oranges in the same amount if that is what you have on hand. Any kind will work.
  • This cake also works well baked in a loaf pan.
  • A simple powdered sugar glaze is all this cake needs, but you could also make it a little fancy with a drizzle of homemade ganache.

How Do I Store Sicilian Whole Orange Cake?

You can store the leftover cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Get More Cake Recipes:

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Full (and printable) recipe below!

Sicilian Whole Orange Cake

5 from 4 votes
A dense cake, this Sicilian Whole Orange Cake recipe uses an entire orange for a taste and texture that goes perfectly with a cup of tea!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 10 people
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
A dense cake, this Sicilian Whole Orange Cake recipe uses an entire orange for a taste and texture that goes perfectly with a cup of tea!
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 10 people

Ingredients

  • 2 large (about 12oz/340g) navel oranges
  • ¾ cups (6oz/170g) butter (softened)
  • 1 ¼ cups (10oz/282g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 2 cups (10oz/284g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Glaze

  • 1 cup (4oz/115g) powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and butter and line with parchment a 9-inch (23cm) round cake pan.
  • Zest the oranges and place the zest in the bowl of a food processor. Cut away all of the white pith and discard along with any seeds from the flesh. Place the flesh in the food processor. Process the oranges until finely ground.
  • To the bowl of the food processor, add the butter, sugar, and eggs and process until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and then pour the orange mixture into the flour. Process together until the batter is just combined.
  • Spread the batter evenly into the prepared cake pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before releasing the sides of the pan to let cool completely.
  • Once the cake is cooled, make the glaze: combine the powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk, and vanilla extract. If the glaze is too thick, add the other tablespoon of milk. Drizzle over the cake. Let set before serving.
  • Serve with some whipped cream. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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Melodie Telfer
Melodie Telfer
10 months ago

Made this today to serve for my birthday tomorrow. I added 1/4 c of chopped dried cranberries. It’s the second time I’ve made it, and it is hands down my favourite citrus cake. Would it work with lemons too?

Barbara
Barbara
7 months ago

I made an error ? and used 24 oz of mandarin oranges….and it looks and smells finished in 40 minutes! ( one navel was 12 oz almost and recipe read 2, hence my using 12 mandarins weighed out) Was it really an error? It tastes great! It’s beautiful!

Nigella
Nigella
7 months ago

If your glaze contains milk, shouldn’t it be stored in the fridge? Simple food safety!

GitteK
GitteK
8 months ago

Dear Gemma
Happy New Year!
This cake came out hands down as THE most delicious cake I have ever baked! Wow!
I was a bit worried about all that liquid from the blended oranges, but it worked like a dream! I added lumps of almond paste to the food processor (we have good quality of that here, containing 65% almonds) – so I added just a little more orange, egg and butter. It did the cake no harm 😋
This recipe is a lifetime keep!

Allfy
Allfy
11 months ago

I made this cake today and it was indeed delicious and perfect for tea time. Everyone loved it! I serve it even without the glaze. Thanks once again Gemma for sharing your love of baking with us.

Best wishes,
Allfy.

June Richetts
June Richetts
11 months ago

This cake is amazing! So flavorful, but not overly sweet. I’m glad you included the word “dense” in the description. I was afraid that mine hadn’t risen enough.

Indewant
Indewant
1 year ago

Hi Gemma instead of using eggs is there anything else we can substitute.

Mar
Mar
1 year ago

Love the light orange and nicely wet sweetness of this cake!!

Barbara Sweet
Barbara Sweet
1 year ago

When you print the recipe the image nis checked but never appears. A small glitch I’m sure.

subba
subba
1 year ago

With Step 2 – will you get orange juice or will you get a pulp?

This Recipe Made By Bold Bakers

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About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

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