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!

Moist Orange Cake

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

Adding in the egg yolks and orange zest to the batter

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.

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.

whip egg whites until stiff peaks form

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.

Mixing the meringue and batter for the Portuguese Orange Cake
The batter prior to baking

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
This from scratch, yet simple, Portuguese orange cake recipe is moist and fragrant, with the most unreal bright orange flavour. It's definitely one of the best cake recipes I've got. Similar texture to a sponge cake, but with more moisture than even the best airy cakes you may have had. Both the zest and juice of three oranges are involved, so it is wonderfully orange-y and citrus-y.

Portuguese Orange Cake

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 9
Keyword Orange Cake, Portuguese Orange Cake


  • cup 150 grams butter, softened
  • 1 ¼ 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)


  • Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Grease an 8×8″ 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.



Calories: 382kcalCarbohydrates: 55gProtein: 6gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 185mgPotassium: 141mgFiber: 2gSugar: 32gVitamin A: 631IUVitamin C: 23mgCalcium: 63mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Orange Cake, Portuguese Orange Cake

Last Updated on April 27, 2023 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD

3.7 15 votes
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3 years ago

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

3 years ago

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

3 years 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.

3 years ago

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

3 years ago

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

4 years 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!

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