Sicilian Orange Cake (Pan d’Arancio)

Cyrus loves orange cake more than anything and we came across a wonderful orange cake in a simple café in Berlin the other day. It had a consistency which was rather different from the typical pound cake and I immediately starting scouring recipes at home to figure our how they actually did it. I ultimately came across this recipe for a Sicilian orange cake which I painstakingly translated through various internet tools from an Italian website being intrigued by the use of a whole – pureed – orange. As it figured, I did not quite yet arrive at the consistency that I had in mind, but I certainly ended up with an incredibly delicious cake.





For the cake:

  • 250 grams of icing sugar
  • 100 grams of butter (room temperature)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 whole organic juicing oranges (e.g. Powell)
  • 100 grams of Greek yoghurt
  • 1 shot of Italian orange liqueur, e.g. Rosolio di Arancia or Villa Massa Liquore di Arance (alternatively Grand Marnier)
  • 250 grams of cake flour (German type 405)
  • 1 package of baking powder (3 teaspoons)

For the syrup:

  • juice of 1 juicing orange
  • 100 grams of sugar
  • 1 shot of Italian orange liqueur, e.g. Rosolio di Arancia or Villa Massa Liquore di Arance (alternatively Grand Marnier)
  • optional: zest of 1 orange



  1. Beat the butter into a pommade (cf. Bourdaloue Tart with Frangipane (Tarte Bourdaloue à la Frangipane)). The vigorously beat with 100 grams of the sugar until very creamy and white. Set aside.
  2. Beat the eggs with an electric mixer on high until very creamy. Beat in the sugar and mix well until very light and fluffy.
  3. Pass the flour and baking powder through a fine sieve and fold into the egg and sugar mix in 2 to 3 batches.
  4. Fold in the butter, the yoghurt and the orange liqueur as well and stir until you obtain a smooth batter.
  5. Wash the orange under warm water and rub well with a clean towel, then puree the whole orange (skin and pulp) in a food processor.
  6. Fold into the batter.
  7. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
  8. Butter a round cake pan (approximately 28 cm Ø, alternatively, anything from a smaller pan (to obtain a thicker cake), a loaf or a bundt pan work as well).
  9. Fill the batter into the pan and bake for approximately 35 to 40 minutes until a tester comes out clean.
  10. Let cool down.
  11. In the meantime, prepare the syrup: Pour the orange juice into a saucepan, add the sugar, the orange liqueur, and then heat up and let simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
  12. Optionally, blanche the zest of the orange in boiling water three times for approximately 3 minutes and rinse under cold water in-between. Add to the syrup.
  13. When both cake and syrup are cooled down, brush the cake with the syrup. Let the syrup soak in before adding another layer of syrup until well soaked. – Enjoy!



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