A delicious moist and fluffy orange blossom cake made with plenty of orange flavor and a hint of orange blossom water, this is one comforting and easy cake!
Why should I make this cake?
It’s DELICIOUS. It’s adapted from a Lebanese food blogger I hugely admire, Mrs. Clueless, and it’s actually a recipe passed down to her from her Teta (grandma) which means you know it’s legit. You could say it’s a Lebanese orange cake and the orange blossom helps enhance that!
The cake is moist but still airy and fluffy due to a very clever use of ingredients, which we’ll discuss further in the ingredient section.
It’s easy to make, and doesn’t required any layering, frostings, or anything too complicated. It’s a simple coffee/loaf style of cake.
There’s plenty of orange flavor that’s enhanced with the orange blossom water. Pairs so well with coffee or tea!
It’s nostalgic and homey and will be popular with adults and kids alike!
What is orange blossom water?
Orange blossom water is a very commonly used flavor in Middle Eastern desserts. Orange blossom water is water distilled with the essence of the flowers from orange trees. You can see why it’ll pair so naturally with citrus desserts! It’s similar to rose water in a way, and commonly used alongside rose water, but it has a distinctive floral/citrus flavor.
Where can I find orange blossom water?
Check online or in Middle Eastern supermarkets! Any good one should carry it, and you use so little that a bottle will last you a very long time.
What ingredients do I need to make orange blossom cake?
Orange zest and orange juice: A method I employed was to rub the orange zest into the sugar, which gives you wonderfully fragrant orange scented sugar and really helps release the oils in the zest for more flavor.
Orange juice is another major moistening and flavor carrying agent in this cake. I highly recommend using fresh squeezed orange juice.
Orange blossom water: you can use 1-2 teaspoons of orange blossom water, the result will be subtle regardless. If you are a little worried baking with it for the first time try adding just 1 tsp.
Vegetable Oil and Butter: This is the best of both worlds! Butter gives that wonderful flavor, and oil gives unbeatable moistness.
Flour All purpose works great.
Baking Powder: to lift the cake and give it some rise
Eggs, separated: This is a great technique where the egg whites are whipped separately and folded into the cake batter giving such beautiful fluffiness to the cake. It’ll make it light and airy!
How do I make this cake?
- Rub the orange zest into the sugar. Use your fingertips, and work in the orange zest so that the sugar becomes moist, fragrant and orange scented. Lovely!
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the egg yolks and this orange sugar, as well as the vanilla extract and orange blossom water. Mix on medium high speed for a few minutes until paler, thick and fluffy.
- Add in the oil and butter, making sure the butter is well softened so it incorporates smoothly. Mix until combined.
- Add the flour and baking powder, mix until combined.
- Mix in the orange juice until combined. The batter will be a little thick.
- It’s time for the egg whites! Whisk the egg whites until fluffy, thick peaks form. They’ll be sturdy enough to hold their shape if you lift some up with a spatula. This is much easier to do with an electric mixer, so if you have a separate electric hand mixer use that. Otherwise, remove the cake batter from the existing stand mixer bowl into another large bowl, clean it and dry the stand mixer bowl thoroughly, and whip the egg whites with the same stand mixer you were using.
- Fold the egg whites into the cake batter gently with a rubber spatula. The aim is to keep the structure of the egg whites, without deflating them so they can lift up the cake. I like to do this in three different additions to make it easier to mix in.
- Pour finished cake batter into a prepared pan and bake at 350 F (180C) until done.
How do I know when the cake is done?
The top will be golden brown, the sides might be pulling away from the cake pan, and the top will be springy to the touch. Most importantly, a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean without any moist batter.
If the top is browning too quickly while the inside is still raw, loosely tent a sheet of aluminum foil over the top of the cake.
Tips and tricks for cake success:
Make sure the butter is soft. Take it out a good 30 minutes before starting with the recipe. It’ll be hard to incorporate it if it isn’t at room temperature, especially since it isn’t being creamed directly with the sugar.
Don’t over mix once you add the dry ingredients. This will overdevelop the gluten in the flour which could leave to a tougher cake.
To make sure egg whites whip properly, it’s very important to whisk them in a clean, dry bowl. Any grease in the bowl will interfere with the whipping process and they won’t form stiff peaks.
Make sure you are folding in the whipped egg whites very gently. You want to maintain the fluffiness of the egg whites which will in turn lead to a fluffy cake.
What to serve with an orange cake:
This is beautiful as is, but you could dust some icing sugar on top. You could also serve with berries like I did for even more fruity impact.
Another option is a little sweetened whipped cream on the side. You can also try a thin orange marmalade glaze on top like the one used in this gluten free orange cake, or a chocolate ganache like the one in this chocolate orange cake.
Storing leftover orange cake
Leftover cake will last tightly wrapped at room temperature or in the fridge (if it’s too humid or hot) 4-5 days. I prefer letting my slice come to room temperature before eating. This cake would freeze beautifully too for up to 2 months tightly wrapped.
If you liked this recipe, you might like:
Orange Blossom Cake
- 4 eggs, room temperature and separated (yolk from white)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar 300 g
- 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 tsp orange blossom water
- zest of 2 oranges
- 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1/2 cup room temperature butter 113 g
- 2.5 cups all purpose flour 312 g
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- Preheat oven to 350 F (180C) and prepare your cake pan by lightly greasing and lining with parchment paper or flouring. I used a 9 inch springform pan, you can also use a bundt cake.
- Using your fingertips, work the orange zest into the sugar until the sugar has moistened and turned fragrant and changed into a pale yellow/orange color.
- In the bowl of a mixer fitted with paddle or whisk attachment, mix the egg yolks, orange zest scented sugar, vanilla, and orange blossom water on medium high speed for 2-3 minutes or until pale yellow and fluffy.
- Add the oil and the butter and mix until well combined.
- Add the flour and baking powder and mix until just combined, then add the juice and mix until combined.
- In a separate bowl (either with a handheld mixer, or transfer the cake batter to another bowl and thoroughly wash and dry the mixer bowl) use an electric whisk to whisk the egg whites on medium high speed for 2-4 minutes until they form peaks that hold their shape.
- Fold the egg whites into the cake batter with a rubber spatula, I like to do this in three additions. Take care not to deflate the egg whites.
- Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. If the outside of the cake is browning too rapidly and the inside still isn't cook, cover loosely with foil for the remainder of the baking time. Start checking at 40 minutes, every oven is different.
- Cool before unmolding from the pan and serve plain, dusted with powdered sugar, or with whipped cream and berries. Delicious!
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