Sicilian Orange cake is a very soft, fragrant and easy to make cake. It’s perfect for any occasion, but is a real treat with a cup of tea or coffee.
You can make Sicilian orange cake all year round, but in the fall and winter, when oranges are at their best, it tastes even better.
This Italian dessert recipe has its roots in the Sicilian tradition. In Sicily they call this cake “Pan d’Arancio“. Oranges are one of the main products of Sicily and are present in many Sicilian recipes both sweet and savory.
The quality of Sicilian oranges is famous all over the world and the oranges are a real richness for this region.
The peculiarity of this Orange Cake is the use of the WHOLE ORANGE: juice, pulp and peel. This gives the cake its particular soft, moist texture and its characteristic bitter note.
Another feature of this traditional Sicilian recipe, besides the use of whole oranges, is the presence of ALMOND FLOUR which makes the cake even softer.
Finally, another important aspect: this cake is made with NO MILK and NO BUTTER. This makes it light and perfect even for vegetarians or lactose intolerant people.
Sicilian Orange Cake is soft, fragrant, light, with a moist-melting texture that will win you over at the first bite!
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Sicilian Orange Cake Recipe
- Prep Time: 10 Min
- Cook Time:40 Min
- Yields: 8
Doses for a 22 cm (9 inch) cake pan
- 3 medium eggs at room temperature
- 200 g (1 cup) of granulated sugar
- 100 ml (8 tablespoons) of seed oil such as Grapeseed oil
- 1 big orange (or 2 small), about 300 g (10 oz), better if Organic
- 200 g (1¼ cups) of “00” flour
- 100 g (1 cup) of almond flour
- 16 g (3⅓ teaspoons) of baking powder
- icing sugar for decoration
Kitchen Tools and Equipment
To make this Sicilian Orange Cake recipe we opted for an electric stand mixer which is really a great help for a perfect Orange cake. We recommend KitchenAid, but there are other really great brands. In this recipe, it’s essential to add the ingredients while always stirring to mix them quickly.
You can also make Sicilian orange cake with an electric hand mixer.
A Peeler can also be very useful if you decide to peel the orange to remove the bitter white part.
An electric food processor is handy for this recipe to blend the orange.
We used a round cake pan with a removable bottom of about 22 cm (9 inch) in diameter. But of course you can use whatever shape you like. A mold for bundt or a loaf/plum cake pan for example.
Finally, very convenient for preserving the softness of this cake, is a Cake Stand with Dome.
Step 1) – Wash the orange really carefully. If you’re not sure if it’s an organic orange, we recommend rubbing the peel with baking soda and then rinsing.
Cut the orange with the peel into pieces, removing any seeds. Put in a food processor and blend everything until smooth and set aside.
PLEASE NOTE: As we have said, a little bitter note is characteristic of this cake. We will follow the procedure of the traditional recipe which involves blending all the whole orange. But we recommend to use a thin-skinned orange that have little white part. Otherwise, we suggest removing the orange zest with a potato peeler, then removing the bitter white part, finally blending the pulp with just the orange zest.
This process is a bit more time consuming but necessary for the success of the cake which otherwise may be too bitter!
Step 2) – Put the eggs with the sugar in the mixer. Mix well for about 5 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Then add the seed oil a little at a time.
Step 3) – Now add then the orange puree, mixing well on medium speed without turning off the mixer. Add the sifted “00” flour a little at a time and continue to work with the mixer. Finally add the almond flour and the baking powder.
Step 4) – Pour the mixture into a round springform pan with a diameter of 22 cm (9 inch) covered with parchment paper.
Step 5) – Place in a preheated oven at 180°C (350 ° F) for about 40 minutes. Check the cooking with a toothpick. Remove from the oven and let it cool. Decorate with icing sugar.
Pan d ‘Arancio Cake can be kept soft for 3/4 days in a cake stand with dome or in an airtight container.
You can also freeze this Sicilian orange cake, preferably already cut into convenient single portions, stored in freezer bags.
Sicilian Orange Cake: Tips and Variations
The preparation of Sicilian “Pan d’ Arancio” is really easy. However, for the success of this cake, it’s essential to follow some precautions.
What Type of Oranges Should I use to Make Orange Cake?
It’s certainly better to use organic oranges with edible peel since you use whole oranges with all the peel in this recipe.
If you are not sure of the edibility of the peel, wash the orange more carefully by rubbing it with baking soda or vinegar and then rinse it very well.
Cooking also helps neutralize some substances that may be on the peel but not all. So it’s definitely better to use organic oranges.
Any quality of orange is good for making this dessert. According to your tastes, you can choose more or less sour or sweet oranges with a more or less intense color.
Why is my Whole Orange Cake Bitter?
The bitter taste of orange cake is given by the use of the whole orange: juice, pulp and peel.
Specifically, the bitterness comes from the white part of the peel. A trick to not get a whole orange cake too bitter, is to discard the white part and use only the colored zest (read step 1).
Better still would be to find oranges with a thin peel, therefore poor in the bitter white part.
What is the Substitute of Almond Flour?
In addition to the use of whole oranges, the authentic Sicilian orange cake recipe also calls for the use of almond flour, which makes the orange cake moist and very soft.
Alternatively, if you have problems with intolerances or do not have almond flour, you can replace it with the same amount of potato starch or corn starch. You will still get an orange cake that is as soft and light as a cloud!
Chocolate Orange Cake
It’s well known that orange and chocolate are a perfect match.
For a more delicious version, you can replace 30 g (2 tablespoons) of “00” flour with the same amount of unsweetened cocoa powder or add 2 tablespoons of dark chocolate chips for a mouth-watering orange chocolate cake.
Tips for the Final Decoration
In addition to sprinkling the top of the Sicilian whole orange cake with icing sugar, you can do other types of decoration.
It’s very common to cover this “Pan d’Arancia” cake with a GLAZE made with orange juice and powdered sugar. Here how to do it!
In a bowl, mix about 120 grams (1 cup) of powdered sugar and 6 tablespoons of orange juice. It must result in a dense and full-bodied cream. Spread it on the cold cake and your orange cake is ready to be enjoyed.
You can also decorate the cake with candied orange peel or with chopped pistachios both widely used in the Sicilian tradition.
6 thoughts on “Sicilian Orange Cake | “Pan d’Arancio””
I have the opposite problem. I can eat all the almond flour I want, but I have coeliac disease and I can absolutely not eat wheat flour.
What should I do?
I just made this but made muffins instead. My only question is the about of Baking Powder called for in the recipe. I started weighing my baking power and realized 16 grams is more than 3-1/3 teaspoons. Can you clarify which is correct because 3-1/2 t equals a little more than 11 grams.
Thank you for the recipe. So easy to make and delicious.
Thank you Karen! 😀
Recipe looks fabulous! When you say seed oil, can you explain what that is? Thank you
Thank you for your comment!
Seed oil is a vegetable oil such as Canola oil, Sunflower oil or Grapeseed oil. For more accuracy I added one of them to the ingredients.