• Valencia Orange Cake


    Valencia Orange Cake

    Orange cake goes back centuries. It originates from the traditional Spanish sponge cake that uses Valencia oranges (or other oranges). It is thought that the best oranges are produced in Valencia, Spain. This reminds me that the best clementines I’ve ever had were from Spain, but they are hard to find here in the United States. But not Valencia oranges – they are grown here as well. So you shouldn’t have a problem finding some sweet, organic Valencia oranges.

    I highly recommend organic oranges for this recipe because you are eating the entire orange (and pesticides tend to be highly concentrated in the skin), and you’re only buying two of them.

    This cake has a sweet, tangy, orange flavor, and it is very moist. It is great on its own, or it goes well with crème frâiche, whipped cream, or a scoop of ice cream. This recipe has been worked over by me, but my original references are from a website by Elana Amsterdam, and these two recommended cookbooks: The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York and Outstanding in the Field: A Farm to Table Cookbook.

    Posted in Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free, Paleo, SCD, Vegetarian  |  82 Comments

    82 Responses to Valencia Orange Cake

    1. This sounds delicious. Can I use regular oranges? I am not sure if my local supermarket carries Valencia oranges. And also would Maple Syrup work instead of honey? Unfortunately, honey is one of a few ingredients that I can’t eat.

    2. Erica says:

      I think it would be fine to use maple syrup but I haven’t tried it – let me know how it goes. Valencia can be somewhat seasonal – so any orange can be used. Valencia oranges are a bit on the big size, about the size of naval oranges, so if you use a smaller orange, you may need 3 or 4 of them. Hope that helps.

    3. Thank you very much. I’m hoping to make this cake in the next couple of weeks if nothing changes.

    4. Anon says:

      I think Starbucks copied this recipe for their gluten free Valencia orange cake. 🙂

    5. Jeanine says:

      What a fantastic looking cake! Love the orange colour too. Great job!

    6. Kelli says:

      This looks so absolutely delicious. I love moist cakes and with the orange spin, yummy!

    7. Karen says:

      I just discovered you blog and wanted to say it is lovely. The photos are especially nice. Thanks for all the great recipes, I can’t wait to try donuts, curry chicken salad, lemon freeze pie and cheesecake!

    8. Beth says:

      Thanks for the recipe! Starbucks has that new gluten free valencia orange cake, too!

    9. Erica says:

      I guess I need to go to Starbucks and check it out. I haven’t been there in a while – sounds like they’re getting gluten-free, maybe?

    10. Steven says:

      Do you peel the oranges at any point?

    11. Erica says:

      The whole orange goes into the pot. I don’t peel it at all. But if you did peel it I imagine the cake would taste a bit milder in flavor since the orange peel contains quite a bit of flavor.

    12. Heather says:

      I just made this and it is fantastic. It came out of the oven about 10 minutes ago and I’ve already eaten a hefty piece.
      I used about 1/3 cup of Splenda instead of the honey and it turned out plenty sweet enough for my taste.
      Thanks for the recipe, your blog is great.

    13. Erica says:

      Great to know. Thanks for sharing this! I’ve never used Splenda, so I’m glad it worked out.

    14. Can Eat! says:

      What a wonderful Recipe! Now that Starbucks have discontinued their Valencia Orange Cake I’ll be using this recipe to get my fix! Thanks! Oh and I love your blog – I’ve added you to my blog roll at Can Eat! http://www.can-eat.blogspot.com 🙂

    15. Erica says:

      I wonder why Starbucks discontinued it. I guess I’ll never found out how it tastes.
      I’m extremely flattered when anyone adds me to their blog roll or links to me – thanks for the kudos!

    16. Erica says:

      oops, I meant “find out”…

    17. Karen Mallaber says:

      Thanks for the recipe. I have almond flour and have been unable to find a recipe for it using regular ingredients. I’m looking forward to it as I love orange.

    18. susan robinson says:

      Is almond flour anything different then ground blanched almonds?

    19. Erica says:

      Blanched almonds have had their skins removed, usually almond flour is made by grinding up blanched almonds. Almond meal has the skins on before it is ground up. So if the flour is white then it is blanched almond flour. If it has brown flecks in it, it’s almond meal. See this post for more on almond flour: https://comfybelly.com/2009/01/the-scoop-on-almond-flour.html

    20. susan robinson says:

      Thanks. Another question for anyone who has made this cake: I need to do a lot of cooking for a big Spanish themed event, and want to do some in advance. Has anyone had any experience freezing it?

    21. Oh my goodness that looks utterly gorgeous. I’ve always put off making that cake but you’ve inspired me.

    22. ana says:

      this batter tastes and smells awful! and why arent the salt and baking soda in the instuctions??

    23. Erica says:

      Ana, thanks for pointing that out. I somehow left out the point at which to add the dry ingredients (no editor on staff :). So that’s fixed. Really though, it doesn’t matter when you add the dry ingredients if you’re blending everything well. One thing that works well is to blend all the dry ingredients together and then add the dry ingredients to the wet, blended ingredients.
      Not sure why your batter smells – bad oranges? It’s usually pretty aromatic from my perspective, given the orange oil action in the batter.

    24. lilly flower says:

      csn i mske it with orange juice instead? telll me how much ishould use?

    25. Erica says:

      Lilly, I don’t think OJ will work, but I haven’t tried it. The boiled oranges are a thick concentrate of pulp and juice, which is different than just orange juice. But let us know if you try it.

    26. Robert says:

      I was very excited to try this recipe for two reasons: almond flour and boiled whole orange. The result, however, was rather disappointing, and this is due solely to the boiled orange. What you cannot avoid is that pith from any orange is incredibly bitter and this very unpleasant bitterness ruined the relatively expensive honey and flour.
      Once the Valencia season is back I’d like to try this again but this time zesting the oranges then cutting out the supremes (orange segments without membranes). This will reduce the simmering time of the orange and I would keep the water to a minimum as I will want to use all of the resulting product.

    27. Erica says:

      Robert, sorry to hear you had these results. I haven’t experienced this problem, but I can understand that a bitter orange might cause a problem.

    28. funcindi says:

      Beautiful & yummy cake. I separated the eggs..stirred yolks with honey, whipped the whites until soft peaks and folded them in at the end. Tried baking in a bundt pan, but didn’t cook all the way through before the sides started to get too brown. Instead bake in 2 (parchment lined) 9″ pans.

    29. Erica says:

      thanks funcindi – you can set the oven temp. lower if it’s burning on the sides and bake slightly longer. Everyone’s oven is a bit different and altitudes affect baking time as well.

    30. LUcyRic says:

      Just to let you know, the recipe still does not include the baking soda and salt. It sounds great, but please revise the recipe for all to see in the future. I definitely plan on making this, I will look for the oranges.
      I see that you are making a paste, but I wonder if I would have difficulty digestng the orange peel with Crohns.

    31. LG says:

      Looks great – has anyone tried just orange juice for this yet? or plain flour?

    32. Tracey says:

      I made this cake today and it is fabulous! I used 3 tangelos instead of Valencia oranges since that’s what I had on hand. Also, I replaced the honey with 1 cup of Splenda for baking since I’m watching my sugar intake.
      Erica, all the recipes on your web site look fantastic. I can’t wait to try the almond flour crust deep dish pizza. Yum!

    33. Erica says:

      Thanks Tracey – good to hear other kinds of oranges work!

    34. This looks delicious. I like the garnish… I really like any type of cake that has fruit in it. Except for the season fruit cake.. that’s disgusting. I want to try this for my daughters birthday this weekend!

    35. Foodfellow says:

      For those of you that are using Splenda you may like to know that “raw honey” is a pre-digested food, it will absorb into the system without causing distress to the digestive system. Splenda is an artifical product that will only mess with the digestive system.

    36. DrG says:

      I made this cake with half almond flour and half walnut flour, and I used 3/4 of a cup of stevia instead of honey. It came out awesome! I left it cooling on the counter and came back in to find a quarter of the cake gone!!! Guess that’s a good sign!

    37. Karen says:

      Thank you, thank you! I’ve made this recipe twice, to rave reviews, with the exception of my mom, who drooled Tantalus-like, but couldn’t partake. She’s allergic to both agave and honey (picture a dog after it’s eaten peanut butter, and add to that a phantom flea in its ear, only multiply that by hours — endless entertainment for my family; not so much for her). So for her, for the holidays coming up, I’d need to sub sugar. But I’d also like to add about 1/3 cup Grand Marnier, which is GF. Does anyone have any helpful suggestions as to how to go about this? Thank you!

    38. Erica says:

      Karen, I’ll take a stab at this but I’m sure other readers have more experience than I do. Many folks who don’t eat sugar, honey, agave, use glycerin with stevia. PS 1/3 cup of Grand Marnier sounds like a lot of liquid – you might want to offset that by reducing the amount of liquid elsewhere in the recipe. Good luck!

    39. Nissa Madrigal says:

      I forgot to remove the stem. is all lost? start over? That is what happens when you multi-task, lol.

    40. Nissa Madrigal says:

      Started over and followed directions exactly, it turned out amazing! We love this cake. Thank you 🙂

    41. Joy K says:

      I am looking forward to making this cake for our small group meeting next week, but I have one question before I go ahead. What size pan do you use? I have 9″ pans, and am wondering if the cake will come out tall enough. I would really appreciate your feedback on this.

      Your banana bread recipe using both almond and coconut flour is really good! Thanks for your blog, which is truly great!!

      • Erica says:

        I used a 9 inch spring-form pan (well buttered or parchment paper on the bottom). It’s not tall with a 9 inch pan, but it’s tall enough, and the almond flour will bake through well.

    42. Zirah says:

      Wow, glad to have found this and the cake looks and sounds delicious AND healthy (yea!). Enjoyed reading the various comments, too.

    43. Melissa says:

      I love this recipe. I boiled the oranges last night, and then just stuck them in the fridge…and then made the cake tonight. I tripled the recipe to make three cakes, and it came out great. Delicious!

    44. cam says:

      wow! and more wows! this was totally amazing! I used 2 organic navel oranges and whipped the egg whites as suggested. it was moist and light and it smelled totally awesome! the entire family loved it.

      my only issue is now my husband is on a low oxalate diet and so almond flour is a new no no 🙁
      has anyone tried this incredible cake using coconut flour?
      thank you!

    45. Chanel McCoy says:

      Mine is in the oven as we speak. The batter tastes good 🙂 I’m a little concerned because, after reading this, I looked at my ‘almond flour’ and it says it’s almond meal/flour from blanched almonds. Guess we’ll see how it comes out.

      One comment to Robert above: If you use a less pithy citrus, like satsumas or clementines, maybe you’d have a better result? I used 3 clementines rather than valencias as I prefer satsumas and clementines. I used 3/4 c of honey and the batter didn’t taste bitter at all, but very nice. Not too sweet, nicely orangey. 🙂

    46. Chanel McCoy says:

      @ Cam, egg whites are drier and yolks add moisture, so maybe you could leave one of the whites out or add an extra yolk since coconut flour sucks up the moisture? I don’t know if this works – just a suggestion. I’ve tried it in traditional recipes that I’ve decreased the sugar in as sugar adds moisture, too.

    47. LydiaF says:

      This was delicious. We made it last fall. Now I’m going to make it again using clementines. I love the moist, dense texture…perfect with a cup of tea.

    48. Rachel says:

      This came out amazing! I used almond milk and added some almond extract. Also, I agree that 1 cup of honey is overkill. I used 3/4 and it was very sweet to my taste. My DH thought it was perfect. I whipped the egg whites and I got a nice fluffy cake because I did not grease the aides o the springform pan.

    49. Jocelyne says:

      has anyone tried this cake by substituting the eggs? I’m allergic to eggs as well as being gluten intolerant so it’s quite difficult to find baking recipes that actually turn out well.

    50. EM-MV says:

      I made this yesterday following another recipe that called for an orange juice glaze on top. I love the simplicity of this cake and so I’m still looking at recipes. Next time I make it I will try this one. My question: if you wanted to amp up the citrus flavor, how would you proceed with a sauce? The one I made started with orange zest boiled for 5 minutes, drained, then add the juice from one orange + 3/4 cup sugar…which was way too sweet. Not much orange flavor, only sweet.
      Very glad to have found your website. Also planning on trying your cherry pie & crust recipe soon.

      • Erica says:

        Yes, you could add more fresh orange zest to the batter before baking. Great idea.

        • EM-MV says:

          My question wasn’t clear: I was wondering how you would make a citrus sauce for this cake (and I told you about the one I made for this cake, which sounds similar to how these cakes start, by boiling an orange). So…citrus sauce?

          • Erica says:

            Sorry, I think I didn’t read it clearly. For the sauce, which I haven’t made, I would try using concentrated orange juice instead of regular. Or, you could boil down quite a bit of orange juice with the zest in order to concentrate it. Until I try it though I won’t know. I find this cake so sweet that I don’t use a citrus glaze, but if I did I think I would try a glaze like the one I make for the lemon ginger scones on this site. Hope that helps.

    51. EM-MV says:

      I found the scone recipe by searching (I couldn’t see it in the recipe list) and the glaze is perfect! Thanks, I will definitely try that. In fact I will probably make the scones, and I have signed up for your recipes by email. The preface that went with the scone recipe took me back to a year ago when my son was also heading off for college. I hope your son is having a good year.

    52. Christa Jeanne says:

      I just returned from Spain, where I fell in LOVE with orange cake, and can’t wait to whip this up!!! Valencia oranges are on sale at a local market, so I’m wondering – would the orange puree freeze well? I’m guessing so but wanted to pick your brain – thinking I might stock up. Also, would the boiling time need adjustment if I tripled or quadrupled the recipe at that stage? Thanks for your help, Erica! Love your blog!

    53. Shari says:

      Has anyone tried leaving out sugar/honey altogether? I know it won’t be as sweet, but will the consistency of the cake be ok?

    54. anne douglas says:

      Thank you – just made this with lemons instead and if the cake turns out as good as the mixed ingredients tasted I will love love love it – and a nice easy recipe too

    55. Tali says:

      hi, when you say cool the oranges and blend, is that wigg the water they boiled in? Or do I blend only the oranges?

    56. Erin says:

      Could you tell me the measurement for the oranges once puréed? I used three small Valencia oranges and had over 1 cup as a result. Thanks!

    57. Catherine says:

      I’ve made this cake twice now and love the texture and ingredients. However, it tastes very bitter, so much so that it is almost inedible. How do I remedy this?

    58. joanne says:

      I just made this recipe and it came out great. I love how easy it is to make with the so few ingredients. I used 3/4 cup maple syrup instead of honey, but I could have used a little less as it was a bit on the sweet side. I followed the directions to beat the whites separately and fold into the mix, so the texture was very light. What is the best way to store the left over cake to keep the longest? Can it be frozen in pieces? Thanks!

    59. mary says:

      Can the Valencia Orange cake be made in a sheet pan. I plan to make it for a large group. Any change to amounts of ingredients. The spring form version was a big hit.

    60. mary says:

      can this cake be done in sheet cake format for a large group?

    61. Archie says:

      This is by far my favourite of any cakes anywhere. And it’s guilt-free, except the honey, which I keep to just enough to canel out the bitterness of the orange skins.

      So moist, one can only help but want more more more. One cake is never enough. I’ve gone to three oranges, 4 eggs, and a little more almond meal to get more leverage out of it.

      I wonder if there’s a similar cake for lemon, my favourite in the citrus family?

      • Erica says:

        good to know about the additions rising it – the eggs make sense for sure. I’ve been thinking about trying with lemon for a while. I ended up creating a lemon pound cake instead which went into my first cookbook (the SCD cookbook) in order to achieve a more “polenta” style cake. But you have me intrigued to try the lemon. Maybe when Meyer lemons start appearing again.

    62. Yvette says:

      Wow! Made this cake for Christmas (citrus plays an important historical role in the holidays at our house) and now this chocolate lover has found a new birthday cake! A few alterations:
      – Used Cara Cara oranges for their sweet juiciness. Test your oranges by biting into them whole. If you can enjoy eating the whole orange raw, it will work in this cake.
      – Steamed the oranges in a small amount of water in a microwave steamer to prevent losing the orange oil to waste water.
      – Used a tart pan with removable bottom for a lovely shape and thinner cake that didn’t need extra baking time.
      – Sprinkled the cooled cake with Grand Marnier (because holidays, and I need to use up the bottle). Almond glaze added another dimension of flavor and called out the almond flour in the cake.

      Easy, fun, always have the ingredients on hand. This cake is way too elegant for the effort it takes!

      • Erica says:

        Thanks for all the great tips! Steaming is a great alternative – keeps more of the flavor in the oranges. Love the addition of Grand Marnier too. Yes, I’ve been meaning to post a glaze. Want to share yours? Cheers!

    63. Holly says:

      I am unable to eat almond flour at the moment…could someone please provide the coconut flour substitutiion plus any extra wet ingredients to add? I wouldn’t greatly appreciate it because this cake looks so good!

      • Erica says:

        That won’t be a simple task – replacing almond with coconut flour. That would require a new recipe. Thanks for letting me know though! 🙂

    64. Holly says:

      Sorry…autocorrect….that should have said I WOULD really like to try this 🙂

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