Esmae's Orange & Almond Cake

December 9, 2014

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

Serves: 10-12
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 2 hrs 30 min


  • 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


  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.

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Reviews (8) Questions (1)

8 Reviews

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!
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?
luvcookbooks December 12, 2014
This looks delicious! I love orange flavors in baked/cooked desserts! So simple, too.