Updated: Apr 8
Once upon a time, Jaffa oranges were an icon that was widely associated with Israel. This citrus, named after the historic port city, was first cultivated in the mid-19th century by Arabic farmers. It gained popularity for its sweetness, juiciness, almost seedless inside, and firm skin, and it was a major export industry for almost two centuries.
The booming citrus industry became a local pride and inspired by a biblical psalm, the entire family of citrus was named “Hadar”, which means glorious in Hebrew. Trees loaded with oranges, clementine, and grapefruit (the latter were super bitter) grew in every yard, and people shared the abundance of fruit with their neighbors. Pound cake made with fresh orange juice became a staple in every household during this time, and for many Israelis, up until this day, a citrus cake is a throwback to their childhood.
The recipe we share here is an elevated version of the classic, old-school glorious orange cake. We incorporated whole chopped oranges into the batter and arranged orange slices along the pan's sides before pouring in the mixture. The result is a bit more interesting and festive cake; however, it still stays true to its humble charm.
Makes 1 cake (use a 12” loaf pan)
2 large oranges, unpeeled, washed, and cut into ¼ “slices.
1 large orange, unpeeled, washed, and finely chopped (use an electric chopper or a good knife)
1 cup (200 gr) cane sugar
½ cup (120 gr) water
1 cup (140 gr) unbleached all-purpose flour in
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup (70 gr) almond meal
Pinch (1/8 tsp) salt
2/3 cup (160 gr) freshly squeezed or concentrated orange juice
½ cup (120 gr) olive oil
3 large eggs
1 ¼ cup (250 gr) cane sugar
In a small saucepan, bring the 1 cups of sugar and ½ cup of water to boil, until sugar is dissolved, and then add the ¼” orange slices. Cook for 10 minutes, flipping the slices occasionally to make sure both sides are cooked equally.
Preheat the oven to 360℉ and grease the pan with olive oil or line with parchment paper.
Drain the cooked oranges, get rid of the seeds, and arrange the slices on the bottom and sides of the pan.
In a mixer bowl with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs with the 1 ¼ cup sugar for 4-5 minutes, until it is pale and fluffy. Reduce the speed and add in the olive oil and orange juice.
In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, almond meal, and salt.
Fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, add the chopped orange and blend until just incorporated. DO NOT OVERWORK THE BATTER. it would make the cake tough, instead of airy and spongy. YOU CAN ACTUALLY REMOVE THE BOWL FROM THE MIXER AND CONTINUE TO MIX MANUALLY UNTIL WELL INCORPORATED.
Slowly pour the mixture into the pan, making sure the orange slices you placed on the pan’s sides stay still.
Bake for 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry with a few crumbs.
Let the cake cool for 10 minutes and then release it from the pan (with a help of a knife that circles around the cake, if needed). Place a plate on top of the pan and flip transfer it to a serving dish.