This Portuguese orange cake is moist and fragrant, with the most alluring bright orange flavour.
Portuguese Orange Cake

This Portuguese Orange Cake recipe is authentic.

It was shared with my by my friend Cherie who is married to a Portuguese man with a major penchant for the orange cake of his country. I realize it hasn’t even been a week since I posted a Lemon Pound Cake recipe, but I don’t often hear anyone complain about too much cake. Cherie bakes it regularly and it’s a treat I look forward to when I pop by for play dates – our sons were born on the same day in the same hospital!

Portuguese Orange Cake is moist and fragrant, with the most alluring bright flavour.

It leans slightly more toward bitterness than the tartness you might expect from citrus desserts – this is owing to the lashings of zest beaten into the batter. Don’t worry, it’s not bitter-bitter, just enough to be intriguing.

Portuguese Orange Cake

It’s a sponge cake of sorts, with egg whites folded in at the last minute to lighten the batter, but with more moisture than the airy sponge cakes you may have had. Both the zest and juice of three oranges are involved, so it is wonderfully orange-y.

Portuguese Orange Cake

Make sure to bring all of your ingredients to room temperature before you bake – cold eggs or oranges will cause the butter to seize up.

Serve with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar, a fluffy dollop of whipped cream, or a scoop of softened vanilla ice cream. Leftovers freeze well!

 

Portuguese Orange Cake

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Servings 9
Dessert
Portuguese

Ingredients
  

  • 2/3 cup 150 grams butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups 250 grams granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs separated, room temperature
  • 3 large oranges room temperature
  • 2 cups 9 oz/250 grams all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Grease an 8x8" baking dish or line with parchment paper.
  • Beat butter and sugar on medium speed of electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each. With mixer on low speed, add the zest and juice from all three oranges. The mixture will appear curdled at first - that's ok. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat until it comes together, pausing to scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk flour and baking powder. With mixer speed on low, gradually beat into the butter mixture until just incorporated.
  • In another bowl, whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into the cake batter to lighten it up, then gently fold in the rest. (Use a light hand so you don't deflate the whites.) Scrape batter into prepared baking pan and bake for 35-45 minutes, until top feels springy when gently pressed and tester inserted in centre comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs.

 

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Tanya Mills
Tanya Mills
2 years ago

Hi! I’d love to try this cake out. 🙂 Just wondering how much zest to add. All the zest from the 3 oranges? Thanks!

Dan Melendez
Dan Melendez
2 years ago

Just a thought, what do you mean by fold the egg whites after being whipped?

Maggie
Maggie
2 years ago

Can you freeze this recipe

Oktavia
Oktavia
2 years ago

Delicious !, I love the orange flavor is coming through very well. I made in a cake form size 8,5‘x8,5‘ and it was to small. I would recommend 1-2inches bigger size than I’m using. I also just add only 200g of sugar and it’s still was to sweet. Next time i will just add only 150g should
Be enough. Because the orange I had was sweets already. Anyway So fluffy and delicious… yum yum yum ! ?

Andrea
Andrea
1 year ago

3 stars
Can this be doubled? I need a bigger cake

maria
maria
1 year ago

5 stars
best orange recipe ever! have made this 3 times and everything is perfect. light, fluffy, full of flavour and such an easy recipe compared to others which use sooo many ingredients or sour cream or buttermilk…so glad you shared this!

Colleen
Colleen
1 year ago

So delicious & easy. Everyone loved it the orange flavour was amazing. Could I make this with lemons…..please say yes & let me know how many lemons!

Aleks
Aleks
1 year ago

Amazing recipe ,cake turned out to be moist fragnant and delicious , thx for sharing !

FlutterGrrrl
FlutterGrrrl
11 months ago

5 stars
Easy to follow and bloomin gorgeous recipe. Thank you.

Gina
Gina
11 months ago

Just wondering how much juice you expect from the three large oranges, in terms of cups so I can be sure that I am adding enough liquid.

BECKY
BECKY
1 month ago
Reply to  Gina

The juice of 3 oranges was a lot of liquid and for me, it made the bottom of the cake soggy. Delicious but soggy. Im trying again today with less juice to see if that helps!

Kev
Kev
11 months ago

5 stars
Made this soft moist beautifully orangey , will be making again very soon

Chrys
Chrys
10 months ago

I’m Portuguese and since my dad really likes orange cake, I am super excited to try out this recipe! 🙂

Zurica
Zurica
3 months ago

5 stars
Everyone LOVED the cake. It felt so Christmassy and light at the same time.

catanea
catanea
3 months ago

This is very similar to the Portuguese Orange Cake in the UNICEF Childrens’ Cookbook which I cannot find, so I was looking for the same recipe online. The difference is, that rather than putting the orange juice & half the sugar into the batter, they are made into a syrup…& after the cake which only contains the zest, is baked, it is pricked all over, & the syrup slowly poured on in small increments…with long pauses. All of it will be absorbed eventually, & the cake will be amazing. Now I’m going to do it.

Rufus Dufus
Rufus Dufus
3 months ago

3 stars
The portuguese usually use olive oil for this, not butter. Also, they tend to use a ring cake tin and not a square baking disk.

BECKY
BECKY
2 months ago

5 stars
This is so so blummin’ tasty!! However, I put it in the oven for the full 45minutes and the top was coloured nicely but when I cut into it, it was under baked. I feel that if I’d left it in much longer, the top would have started to burn 🤔 Any ideas or tips?

Bodhi
Bodhi
1 month ago

Next time you make it, could you measure how much orange juice your oranges provide? My tree has big oranges, and I’d also like to try out making this as a pink grapefruit cake if the orange version works.

Alivia Colleen Conner
Alivia Colleen Conner
1 month ago
Reply to  Bodhi

that sounds amazing 🙂

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