I made these some time ago, while I was studying for my exams. This will be the first of my many backlog posts, because I baked like a mad woman while I was studying – baking de-stresses me really well, especially if I’m making bread. I find that the repetitive motions of creaming butter with sugar, and mixing flour into the batter soothing and helpful for emptying thoughts.

I first saw this Sicilian Orange Cake from Jess, who got it from Ellie. Since I’m particularly fond of citrus fruits, I bookmarked the recipe right away and have been waiting for the right time to make this widely-raved-about cake. The right time came about when I was craving orange cake one day for tea and I badly needed some time out from studying. The original recipe makes for a 22-cm cake, and required 45 minutes of baking, but since I was too impatient to wait that long to sink my teeth into the cake (tea time was fast approaching!) I decided to halve the recipe, and make cupcakes instead!

I have to admit that this cake almost turned into a flop for me. Why? Well because as usual, I didn’t have my mise en place since it was a spur-of-the-moment decision and I needed a quick fix, so I basically took out the ingredients one at a time from their spots in the kitchen while weighing and mixing them into the bowl. This meant that I had to cheat by placing the butter in the microwave for a little while to soften it. It also meant that while I was busy zesting the orange, the yolk mixture curdled rather horribly and I had to beat the batter like a mad woman to get rid of those curds. Also, I mentally halved the recipe instead of writing down the halved proportions, and this of course, is a recipe for disaster! As it turns out, I remembered to halve all my ingredients, except for the orange juice, and worse still, I had added a little more orange juice because I’d wanted a moister cake – this meant that there was 100 ml of juice in the batter when I should have only added 43 ml of it! =X And I only realized this after I’d placed the cupcakes into the oven and going over my recipe notes, so I immediately plonked myself in front of the oven, fervently praying that the oven gods would make my cake rise. It turned out into a beautiful disaster =] The structure from the flour and eggs were indeed strong enough to support all that liquid in the cupcake and the cupcake turned out to be superbly moist and orangey!

Sicilian Orange Cupcakes
Makes about 12 cupcakes
125 g     unsalted butter, softened
100 g     caster sugar 
2           eggs
1 tsp      orange zest
1 tsp      salt
125 g     self-raising flour
100 ml   freshly squeezed orange juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. 
  2. Using a wooden spoon, cream the butter and sugar together for 5 minutes, until pale and fluffy. 
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, making sure that it is fully incorporated after each egg. Add a tablespoon of flour after the last egg to prevent the batter from curdling.
  4. Beat in the flour all at once, mixing the batter well. 
  5. Finally, pour in the orange juice and mix well. 
  6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cupcake liners and bake on the middle shelf for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer, inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. 
  7. Remove the cupcakes from the oven when done, and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before consumption. 
Janine’s jots: 
  • Taste: I loved how orangey the cake tasted, and for those which I added cranberries, the contrast between the textures and tastes of the cranberry and orange cake was sublime. I’d probably add in some lemon zest to get an extra tanginess in the future. Be sure also to use good butter, because it’s a major flavor contributor in this recipe. 
  • Texture: The crumb was really really moist – I was surprised the cake could actually hold that much orange juice. The only drawback was that the centre of some of the cupcakes were a little moist to touch even after baking, so I would probably dial down the amount of juice by 10% the next time. 
  • Modifications: I reduced the amount of sugar in the recipe and still found the cake rather sweet. The amount of orange zest was increased, and so was the orange juice, so please do follow the original recipe if you don’t like an overly orange taste. I lowered the baking temperature to 160°C, because I knew that with that much liquid in the cake, I had to make sure that the cake rose slowly so that it could support the liquid and not sink afterwards. The method worked :]
  • Storage: The cake keeps well at room temperature for about 2 days but I’ll advise storing it in the fridge. The cupcake will be denser after keeping it in the fridge, so do give it some time to warm up to room temperature before consumption.  
  • Would I make this again?: This will be my to-go-to orange cake recipe from now on :] The many raves from many blogs are not wrong – this really is a delicious cake!

Photos are taken with the iPhone, so the noise level is rather high for some pictures. 
Notice the cranberries peeping out of some of the cupcakes? ;p
The cupcakes are not as yellow in real life – I think I overdid the brightness level here. See below for the more accurate representation!
I know I said that the recipe makes 12 – but 3 cupcakes were consumed (just in time for tea) before I took photographs,  so only 9 were left for these photos >.<
As usual, I forgot to take a proper picture of the inside, so this is one that I took while having my breakfast the next day. You can see my laptop in the background – I was hard at work! :p Btw, the funny looking moist bits and holes are actually remnants of the cranberries. As you can see, overall, the crumb is really tight and moist. 
Oh, and Happy Labour Day weekend guys :] I hope you’re enjoying the long weekend, because I know I am – at this time, I should already be at my aunt’s place in Malaysia, enjoying a rural weekend and eating all the yummylicious kuihs I can stomach!


  1. Anncoo says:

    Very beautiful 🙂 I love cakes with citrus flavour, just made some for my doggie’s birthday.

    Happy Labour Day!

  2. Xiaolu says:

    Mmm orange and cranberry are a great combination. This look so delicious!

  3. Alice says:

    its been in my to do list for long too…guess its time to try
    looks so delish! 🙂

  4. they look very invitingly orange to me for sure! and i agree with xiaolu, the orange and cranberry combi is so wonderful. Brilliant adaptation to the original orange sicilian cake recipe!

  5. Janine says:

    @anncoo: thanks 🙂 and i saw your orange curd cupcakes – the curd loves lovely!

    @xiaolu: thanks 🙂 I do love this combination a lot!

    @alice: yup do try! I’m glad i finally did 🙂

    @alan: thanks 🙂

  6. A beautiful cake.Is it, dried cranberries?

  7. Janine says:

    @yummylittlecooks: yes I used dried cranberries!

  8. Happy to see this sicilian orange cake is well loved by everyone! Thanks for the mention 🙂

  9. These look cute and yummy. Will try this out, yes, make into cupcakes.

  10. Janine says:

    @ellie: no problem, it’s all thanks to you 🙂

    @cheah: do try it in cupcakes – easier to consume and they bake faster too!

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