Passover

Esmae's Orange & Almond Cake

December  9, 2014
7 Ratings
Photo by myrosha dziuk
Author Notes

My mother in-law Esmae served me this cake the first time I had dinner with them in their home in Sydney, Australia. It is deliciously bold, immensely moist cake made with almonds and whole oranges. After dinner she handed me a hand written recipe - which I still have! I recently discovered that this is a traditional Sephardic Jewish passover recipe. It has become one of my most treasured recipes. —eva @myfrontburner

  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Serves 10-12
Ingredients
  • 2 cara cara oranges or other naval oranges
  • Unsalted butter for greasing the pan
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) packed ground almond meal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Place oranges in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and simmer gently until oranges are very soft, about 1 1/2 hours. Drain and set oranges aside to cool. When cool, cut into quarters and remove any seeds if necessary.
  2. Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch spring form pan. Pulse oranges in food processor until pureed but still slightly chunky and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the ground almonds, baking powder and salt; set aside. Whisk sugar and eggs together in a large mixing bowl until combined, about 1 minute. Stir in orange puree and almond mixture and pour batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake has browned evenly on the surface (if the cake has browned only around the edges, it is probably not completely cooked), about 55-60 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack. After 15 minutes, run a small spatula or paring knife around edge to loosen cake; let cool completely.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Debbi DiMaggio
    Debbi DiMaggio
  • Alice Campanella
    Alice Campanella
  • Hallie
    Hallie
  • luvcookbooks
    luvcookbooks

12 Reviews

TM May 30, 2021
This cake was a success! Very simple to make. Simmering the oranges for 1 and a half hours worked perfectly to completely soften them greatly reduce the bitterness associated with the peel and pith. To answer someone's question in a previous review comment, yes you do NOT peel or cut up the oranges before hand. The oranges crushed up easily and quickly in the food processor. I think you could also pulse in a blender or with an emersion blender if you don't have a food processor. I used cara cara oranges because that's what I had on hand. Between the natural sweetness of the oranges and the amount of sugar called for the cake turned out a little sweeter than I normally like. Next time I will use less sugar and perhaps had a bit of fresh lemon juice to counteract that sweetness, or maybe try blood oranges. I like the idea of serving it with a plain yogurt (as someone suggested in a previous review) or perhaps creme fraiche. The texture of the cake is moist yet hearty but not overly dense. The size could easily serve 10 people given the satisfying nature of a small slice. It goes well with a nice stronger cup of tea or coffee. But I could also see it pairing well with a dry not sweet glass of wine. I'm enjoying the orange-almond flavor of the cake, neither of which is overwhelming but well balanced. And, you get the added bonus of your stove area having a lightly sweet-orange scent as the oranges simmer in the water to prep them for crushing up. I will definitely be making again. Oh yes, another thing I may try next time is using a larger crystal light brown colored sugar like turbinado or demerara (excuse any misspellings there) to play with the cake surface texture and get a different kind of sweetness. Has anyone else made this recipe with one of those two kinds of sugars yet?
 
Debbi D. May 6, 2020
I assume I don't peel the oranges? Seems odd, but I hope that is right?
 
ThelmaEveSa November 28, 2018
Absolutely delicious cake. Simple to make, simple ingredients, huge hit. I served mine with tart yogurt whipped creme and orange zest. Was the most popular item on the Thanksgiving table.
 
Alice C. November 22, 2015
I found the cake to be bitter. It looked fabulous and was nice and moist BUT.....
Maybe the oranges were too bitter.....not sure what kind I used.
 
Ann F. November 14, 2015
I made exactly as written and the cake was burning on top after 40 minutes (glad I looked). I took it out and it was moist and tasted great. Will try again with a lower temp!
 
simonv3379 May 2, 2020
If the top is browning too quickly tenting some foil over the top will keep it good.
 
Curry L. May 8, 2015
This was simply wonderful! As done by a previous comment, I reduced the sugar to closer to 1 cup as the oranges were very sweet.

For the next go (two days later!), I replaced the oranges with two large lemons that I boiled the day before and cooled in the fridge (about 1 1/4 cups puree). I kept the 1 1/2 cups sugar, but used 5 eggs. After 50min + 15 more minutes covered in foil, it was PERFECT.

Thank you - this one is a keeper!
 
M.Dumont May 2, 2015
I made the cake last night.It looked very nice and is very moist but we were quite disappointed with the taste. I love orange cakes as well as almond cakes but this one left us indifferent.I will not make it again.
 
Hallie April 20, 2015
Loved the way this turned out! Impossibly moist for a cake that has no oil or butter. I reduced the sugar by 1/2 c and added a bit of sea salt. Feels healthy — a breakfast-worthy cake!
 
LRM April 5, 2015
I assume the oranges are boiled with the skin on?
 
TM May 30, 2021
yes
 
luvcookbooks December 12, 2014
This looks delicious! I love orange flavors in baked/cooked desserts! So simple, too.