Orange Cake

Oranges are a Palestinian national treasure, a staple on our tables, and most definitely in our desserts. Orange cake makes an appearance on birthday tables, and with afternoon coffee and tea. We have all grown up eating orange cake, some are made with semolina and drenched with kater (qater) , others made with flour and decorated with a sugar based glaze. The recipe below is adapted from vibrant book of Palestine on a Plate and have been changed in many ways to reflect my style and love for baking and cake decorating. It is one of my attempts to make Palestinian orange cake into a layered cake.


3-4 oranges (depending on size)

115 g butter

115 g olive oil

250 g sugar

6 egg whites

437 g flour

3 Tbsp Baking Powder

5 drops vanilla flavoring or 2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Butter Cream

340 g Butter

680 g powdered sugar sifted

40-60 mL whole milk

2 tsp vanilla extract or 5 drops vanilla flavoring (whatever is available).

Edible Gold Dust for dusting.

To Make The Cake

  1. Boil the three oranges for 30 minutes in turning water, let cool for a while, until you are able to handle them. Then cut up, remove seeds and puree in a food processor.
  2. Sift flour, and measure baking powder.
  3. In a bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, whip the olive oil and the butter together for a minute, add the sugar and continue whipping until mixture is light and airy. Slowly add the egg whites, and continue whipping at medium speed. The mixture should become more fluffy and soft.
  4. Add baking powder to orange pure and stir, the mixture will start to bubble.
  5. Switch from whisk to paddle attachment on your stand mixer and alternate adding the flour and the orange-baking powder puree. Once all are incorporated, add the vanilla.
  6. Allow the batter to rest while you grease and line three 9 inch round pans. Preheat over to 170 C.
  7. Divide the batter into the three pans, and bake each layer around 16-20 minutes, depending on your oven. Check with a toothpick, if center comes out clean, remove immediately.
  8. Allow to cool, then turn over and remove parchment paper from the bottom.

To Make The Butter Cream:

1. Sift 680 g of powdered sugar.

Place 340 g of butter into the bowl of a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat the butter for a minute. Add the lemon juice and vanilla (if you are adding any) and continue beating. I like to add my flavors to the butter first before adding the sugar.


2. Start adding the sugar 1/4 cup at a time. Please be sure to add slowly and allow the sugar to incorporate so that you continue to have a smooth buttercream and avoid graininess.


3. Halfway through adding the sugar, add 60 mL of room temperature-warm milk. Whisk well then continue to add the sugar.

To Decorate a Regular Cake:

  1. I made a chocolate butter cream along with the vanilla butter cream for the filling, in addition to the ingredients for the butter cream above add 4 Tbsp chocolate powder.
  2. Once the chocolate butter cream is ready, place one layer on the turn table and apply a generous layer of chocolate butter cream, place the second cake, make sure it is level. Here you want to get in there really, and make sure everything is sitting right. Add the final layer.
  3. Add a crumb coat and smooth it out. Refrigerate for thirty minutes.
  4. Add another butter cream layer and smooth out for a final look

For the Crescent Cake:

  1. Carve out the shape of a large Crescent. You can find templates on the internet, just print them in the size that you need and use it to guide your carving. I eyeballed it and it worked well.
  2. Apply crumb coat to the crescent, refrigerate for thirty minutes.
  3. Apply a final coat in the color you prefer, and decorate as you wish. I used star cut out and dusted them edible gold dust to capture the Ramadan Spirit at the time.

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