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Whole Orange – (Non) Poppy Seed Cake

October 3, 2009
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A cake with a whole orange in it?  Interesting.

Nate has often commented on my over-use of the word “interesting.”  There’s good-interesting and there’s bad-interesting.  And sometimes there’s just interesting-interesting, where I don’t really know because I haven’t formulated an opinion yet (I will always form an opinion, it just takes some time and thought).

My host mom in Moldova also said I described all her food as “interesting.”  This partially because the only food adjectives I knew were “good,” “bad,” and “interesting.”  A lot of the time I didn’t think the food was all that good, but it wasn’t bad either.  There were times when I told her what I really thought if I absolutely couldn’t eat another bite, but usually I just used “interesting.”  Oh, the joys of being an adult and having the speech capability of 3-year-old.


The first step in making this cake was to grind up an entire orange with some sugar in the food processor.  Thanks to Nate’s parents, we actually have a food processor.  Otherwise I would have been out of luck right from the beginning.


Take my advice:  don’t lick the bowl after you grind up the orange.  It’ll look like runny orange marmalade and be oh-so-tempting, but, unless you really (and I mean really) like oranges, don’t do it.  There’s a lot of ground up rind in there, and it’s not very tasty and overly orangey.

My opinion of this cake is that it is very good.  It’s moist, sweet but not too sweet and I bet it would be even better if you had poppy seeds 🙂


Whole Orange – Poppy Seed Cake

(Adapted from The Washington Post)

For the cake

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the loaf pan
  • 1 1/2 cups flour, plus more for the loaf pan
  • 1 medium Valencia or navel orange, washed well (do not use a juice orange)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

For the glaze

  • Juice of 1/2 orange (2 tablespoons)
  • Juice from 1 lemon (2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup sugar

For the cake: Preheat the oven 350 degrees. Use butter to lightly grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, then dust with flour, shaking out any excess (or spray with bakers’ spray).

Use a sharp knife to de-stem the orange, then cut the fruit (skin-on) into 8 equal sections. Place them in the bowl of a food processor, along with 1/2 cup of the sugar. Puree until fairly smooth; stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Whisk together the eggs and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl, until smooth, then add the orange pulp mixture and melted butter; whisk to combine.

Whisk together the 1 1/2 cups of flour, the baking powder, salt and poppy seeds in a separate bowl; sprinkle over the orange mixture and use a flexible spatula to fold in the dry ingredients until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan; bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Transfer to a wire rack (in the pan) and cool for 20 minutes before removing from the pan. Place the cake on the rack for glazing; set a rimmed baking sheet or large plate directly under cake on the rack.

While the cake is baking, make the glaze: Combine the citrus juices and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. After the mixture starts to bubble at the edges, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, or until the mixture has reduced by half. Remove from the heat.

Use a pastry brush to spread the glaze all over the warm cake. Cool the cake completely before slicing or storing.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Kirsten permalink
    October 9, 2009 11:57 am

    I’m making this this weekend (minus the poppy seeds since I don’t know where to get them) and I hope it looks as yummy as yours! I’ll keep you posted….

    • October 9, 2009 12:52 pm

      You’ll love this cake– it’s so good! I made it because Molly was visiting and she really liked it too. Good luck! And thanks for commenting 🙂

  2. Kirsten permalink
    October 11, 2009 5:43 pm

    we made it today – SO super yummy! we shared it with lots of friends and it was a big hit all around! =)

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