An orange grove in bloom is one of the most divine and intoxicating places on earth. Next in line is an orange grove nearing its harvest, and in third place—if you don’t have access to the first two—is a cake made with the sweet and tangy fruit.
Here is a recipe from a land where oranges grow along the roads and whose people have a deep love of spices. The cardamom and cinnamon give character to this cake, and the slow-baked oranges put the proverbial cherry on top!
Enjoy it with a fresh mint tea—in a glass, like the Moroccans serve it—or a cup of Turkish coffee.
Active time: 1 hour 15 minutes (excludes slow baked oranges and cooling time)
You’ll need a 9½-in (24-cm) Bundt pan.
|1 ½ oranges, cut into ¼-in (0.6-cm) half-moons||
1 Tablespoon (0.48 oz/13 g) fair- trade white sugar
Preheat oven to 240°F (115°C)
Place orange slices on a sheet tray and bake until dry, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Set aside. Note: You will have a few extra slices to garnish dessert plates. Slow-baked oranges can be prepared a day or more in advance and will keep well in an airtight container in a dry place.
¼ cup aquafaba (water from cooking chickpeas or
white beans, or from canned)
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
2 ¼ cups (9.5 oz/269 g) all-purpose or (10.8 oz/
306 g) pastry flour or (10.8 oz/306 g) gluten-free
all-purpose baking flour, plus more for pan
1 ¾ teaspoons cardamom (2 teaspoons for gluten-
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder (3 teaspoons for gluten-
½ teaspoon baking soda ? cup plus
2 Tablespoons (6.12 oz/173 g) fair-trade
¼ teaspoon Himalayan salt
2 organic oranges washed and dried
¾ cup avocado oil or melted vegan butter
(6oz/170 g) (use one made with healthy oils),
plus more for pan
2 teaspoons orange blossom water
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
? cup (2.8 oz/78 g) unsweetened apple sauce
(for gluten-free version only)
3 Tablespoons orange juice
(for gluten-free version only
Note: Cream of tartar helps the aquafaba whip up faster and with firmer results.
1 ? Tablespoons orange zest (reserved from above
2 ½ cups (1 ¼ lb plus 0.75 oz/588 g) thick coconut
yogurt (consistency of Greek yogurt)
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons (2.1 oz/59 g)
1 ½ teaspoons guar gum, plus 1 teaspoon if needed
Note: Guar gum is a powder made out of a root and used as a thickener. It has no taste, works even in tiny amounts, and is easy to handle.
Make the cake: preheat oven to 350°F (176°C). Thoroughly grease and flour the Bundt cake pan.
Whip aquafaba with cream of tartar in a small food processor or stand mixer with the whisk attachment on high speed, until soft peaks form, about 10 minutes.
Sift flour, cardamom, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda together into a bowl. Add sugar and salt (dry ingredients).
Zest the 2 oranges to make 2 ½ Tablespoons orange zest for the cake and 1 ? Tablespoons for the frosting (reserve this amount) with a fine grater, or use a sharp knife to pare peel (avoiding the bitter white pith) and chop very fine. (The latter method is my favorite because of its vibrancy.)
Remove any remaining peel from one of the oranges and put the orange in the food processor; blend to a pulp. Discard any hard parts that the food processor was not able to blend. You’ll use the second orange to juice if making the gluten-free version or for other purposes.
Whisk oil (or melted butter), orange essence, orange pulp, orange zest together in a large bowl (wet ingredients). Add applesauce and orange juice if you’re making the gluten-free version.
Gently combine dry and wet ingredients with a silicone spatula; do not overmix. Incorporate vinegar into the batter (it acts as a leavener). Just before baking, fold in whipped aquafaba (fluff-inducing agent) with a silicone spatula.
Pour into prepared Bundt pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cake cool for 10 to 15 minutes, then invert to unmold. Cool completely before filling and frosting.
Cut the cake horizontally to form two equal layers. Set aside.
Make the frosting: Combine yogurt and confectioners’ sugar. Sift guar gum over the mixture and mix thoroughly (if the yogurt is runny, add an extra 1 teaspoon guar gum). Guar gum thickens immediately, so move quickly. If it’s lumpy, put frosting through a fine-mesh sieve. Stir until smooth, then stir in 1 ? Tablespoons orange zest.
Spread a bit more than a third of the frosting on the bottom layer. Place top layer over filling and continue frosting all around. Arrange the dried orange slices (1 half-moon per portion) on top and use extras for garnish. (Alternatively, slice 1 fresh orange into 10 thin slices, make a cut in each of them from the center through the peel, and twist.)