There Were Sour Oranges

“Want tiny sour oranges?”, texted Lena late one afternoon. “Of course!”, I texted back. Who would have thought she was going to become my best produce supplier this winter. “Where did you get them?”, I asked. I was curious to know who had this sour orange tree. Even though they are indigenous, it is hard to find them these days. They came from one of her friends’ tree down in Boca Raton and they had more than what they knew what to do with.

“I will take them all!”

I have been working non-stop on the draft of the first chapter of the book. I finally turned it in this weekend and I am anxious to hear what my editor has to say. I am not going to lie, I doubt myself every time I have to decide what makes it into the book and what doesn’t. It can be quite a lonely process. A rewarding one, of course, but lonely nonetheless.

So in between testing recipes and shooting, I decided to take a break and stop by Lena’s to pick up the sour oranges. They were so tiny and fragrant. Very, very sour indeed.

I came home and started talking to my mom about what to make with them. “Marmalade”, she said. Of course she said marmalade. She is the largest consumer of marmalade I know. But I wanted something different to share with Lena and her family. I opted for a classic almond cake and I took it to her the following day. I think they enjoyed it.

“I feel like something with a pudding-like texture”, my mom suggested Sunday morning as she was looking at the sour oranges we had left on the counter. I remembered last year’s tangerine and pistachio cake. The tangerines were cooked whole in water until tender and then pureed into a paste. I thought I could use that same technique with the sour orange and make a quick cake with it.

We planned to go to the farmers’ market so I decided to cook the sour oranges before heading out the door and finish it afterwards.

We came back from the farmers’ market with spinach, turnips, leeks and many more of our usuals. Mom made a quick soup with the spinach, turnips, leeks, carrots and potatoes and in the meantime, I baked these cakes with the sour orange puree, coconut and almond flour, coconut oil and the eggs from Farriss farm. A one bowl recipe. So quick and delicious. It has a very light, moist texture. A cross between a cake and a pudding.

After lunch, we sipped mint and tarragon tea and nibbled on the glazed tea cakes. A quick nap and then an afternoon stroll with M. while J. and C. had a boys day out.

And so, that was our Sunday. Easy.

Glazed Sour Orange and Coconut Pudding Cakes

Makes 2 dozen canneles or 1 8.5″x4.5″ loaf pan

1 lb (450 gram)s small sour oranges or kumquats
3 eggs
1 cup (200 grams) natural cane sugar
1/2 cup (150 grams) coconut oil, melted
1 vanilla beans, split
1/2 cup (60 grams) coconut flour
1/2 cup (50 grams) almond flour
3 Tbs (30 grams) tapioca flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Place the sour oranges in a medium pot and cover them with water. Cook them covered for an hour or until tender. Drain the water and place the oranges in a large bowl. When cool enough to handle, open them with your fingers and remove and seeds. Transfer the juice and the flesh to a food processor or blender and puree to a fine paste.

Measure 1 cup (300 grams) of puree into a bowl. Add the eggs, sugar, vanilla and melted coconut oil. Whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients and fold.

Scoop into a greased loaf pan or into individual molds. Bake at 350F for about 18-20 minutes for small molds and 45-50 minutes for the loaf pan. Insert a clean toothpick in the center to see if it comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool in the pan for a few minutes before unmolding.

Orange glaze

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup orange juice

Whisk them until it forms a fluid glaze. Pour over warm cakes.

you may also like…

104 Responses to “There Were Sour Oranges”

  1. Those pudding cakes look divine! And your clicks are so refreshing.

    Happy Valentine’s Day!



  2. gorgeous and delicious sounding, as always. Excited to try these.

  3. Melissa says:

    Stunning. Beautiful little cakes, such a lovely colour.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  4. kickpleat says:

    It is the season for sour oranges! I’ve seen seville’s in the markets and I always pick up a few for baking. These look so good and I love the idea of a pudding-y cake!

  5. whisk-kid says:

    I love reading your blog because your writing style is so mellow and pleasant. I almost always come away feeling happier than I was when I began reading, so thanks for that!

    Your photos are beautiful, as always. I love the blue and orange scheme. Very nice!

  6. beautiful, as always!
    Your blog is still as inspiring today as it was the first time I discovered it 2 years ago.

  7. Tina says:

    Gorgeous photos, as always.

    Where can one buy coconut flour? I heard and used dessicated coconut have yet to encounter coconut flour.

    Thank you!

  8. Gorgeous deep orange colour! I’m really intrigued to use coconut flour and have been meaning to buy it so many times! These are beautiful Aran!

  9. Penny- that makes my day. i know i’m like a broken record but i’m so happy to call you a friend. i miss you!

    Tina- I get mine at whole foods or even my regular grocery store sells it. you can definitely order it online from several places like

    I have been trying to eat less grains so using coconut and almond flours is great. you should try it. always remember than when you use coconut flour, you must add about 20% additional liquid to the recipe as it is very dry and soaks up a lot more than other regular flours.

    Thanks all!

  10. i love this post, i can smell the oranges, love al the color and it feels like spring/summer month. i am going to try these they look so pretty!

  11. Gorgeous, as always!! I just can’t get enough kumquats…am obsessed with mini slices floating around in anything I’m drinking at the mo…

  12. Looks delicious!
    Love for everybody!

  13. so so pretty :)
    thank you for sharing your lovely sunday with us, and the resulting lovely recipe! HAPPY VALENTINES <3

  14. Shelby says:

    What an ideal Sunday spent in good company and exciting flavors…. I love the idea of a pudding/cake marriage of texture, with what I can imagine would the perfect ‘bite’ of tang from the sour oranges… Thank you for sharing! p.s. your tea recipe reminded me of one I was just introduced to: Steep a tablespoon or so of whole fennel with boiling water, it’s a lovely licorice-type calming flavor for tea. Enjoy!

  15. Your blog posts are always such a treat. It’s a package full of surprises, beautiful and touching surprises. I cannot wait to read your book.

  16. Elisa says:

    You make it all seem so easy! the photography, the cooking and baking!
    congratulations on the book! as I was reading your post and you spoke of your Mom, I was wondering how that was possible, because I thought your Mom was overseas, but when I went back to read your previous post about the book, it all made sense!

    Again so happy for you!

  17. Juliejann says:

    Your posts bring happiness to my day. Lovely, beautiful and so sweet; I can’t wait for your book to come out…i’m waiting!

    Thank you for your hard work….and hard work blogging, food photography and being so creative! :)

    founder, food photographer

  18. I wish we had sour oranges here in Boston. Though I am thinking your pudding cakes would look striking with blood oranges, though not native to Boston either they are certainly available … and have been so delcious lately.

  19. Brandon says:

    These look so beautiful and delicious.

    Thanks and Happy Valentine’s Day!

  20. Nadia- hope you make it and let me know!

    Shelby- that sounds lovely. i love fennel seeds. will try it soon. thanks for the idea!

    Elisa- yes, my parents live overseas but as you noticed, they are here visiting and helping me with the kids and everything in general while I work on the book. Wouldn’t be easy without them! :)

    A PLum by Any Other Name- yes, i think blood oranges would be lovely. Make sure you cook them longer though, perhaps 2 hours as they are thicker. The skin in these sour oranges was so thin that there was a bit of bitterness but not terrible.

    Thank you all!

  21. These little cakes sound wonderful! Will need to hunt down all these different flours you use to make them!

  22. caroline says:

    That adorable green serving dish, where did you get it?

  23. Caroline- that is from Fish Eddy’s in NYC.


  24. Lauren says:

    That looks delicious – thanks for posting! :)


  25. kcline says:

    Absolutely beautiful :) Sounds scrumptious as well!

  26. Roberta says:

    Hi! I am sure the first chapter will receive a positive, enthusiastic feedback! The cakes looks really gorgeus and the photos are superb…
    anyway tell your mother she is not the only ‘largest marmelade consumer’!

    Roberta@the wise asparagus

  27. The colors in your photos remind me of the sunshine we’re not seeing at my house this time of year. Orange juice and powdered sugar makes such a good glaze for almost anything ;)

  28. Deliciously delicious… Absolutely gorgeous!!!

  29. missmarc says:

    my mouth sort of fell open when I saw these. it was 74 outside today which is a miracle for this part of the South. I want to make these so badly, especially since I found a tea cake pan at Williams&Sonoma! thanks for being amazing<3

  30. Lovely post! Can’t wait to try the beautiful cakes. Do you mind sharing your mint tarragon tea recipe as well? Sounds like the perfect drink for a relaxed Sunday.

  31. Jas. says:

    wow – look at the colour of those sweet little cakes – how stunning!

  32. Those little cakelets look great and your sunday sounded very relaxing.

  33. Anna says:

    Even though I am not writing a book, I am quite familiar with the loneliness of creating. Not always, of course it can be very rewarding but it can be hard to believe in yourself when working all alone. I hope your continued work on the book goes well, if it is anything like your blog I am sure it will be gorgeous.

  34. elle marie says:

    Delish… looks gorgeous! Sorry I’ve missed a ton of your posts… I’ve been working on my own personal site, and my mother has been ill so I’ve been so preoccupied, between work… gesh I missed enjoying what I love doing… hope you’ll come by and say hello sometime.

    Do you use the silicon baking molds?

  35. Katie says:

    They sound delicious and the little moulds you used are so cute! I love that pudding cake texture

  36. Manderley says:

    Fantásticas fotos, fántasticos pastelitos, para comérselos!


  37. The ones shaped like roses are so pretty! I have just recently baked a cake with whole boiled oranges (skin and all) and i find it so theurepeutic to be blitzing them on the food processor!

  38. Cava Kale Cream- the tea is simple. Dried peppermint leaves, tarragon and lemon peel steeped in water. You can add honey but I don’t sweeten mine. Simple.

    Elle Marie- yes, both the roses and the canneles are silicon molds although I do have them in metal as well. I have sooo many molds…

    Crustabakes- yes i love being able to use the entire fruit and adds great texture as well.

    Thanks all!

  39. I love the color and texture of these cakes!! Not sure I can find sour oranges here, but definitely kumquats!!

  40. Your posts and your photos are always so refreshing to read. Thank you for sharing.

  41. Me says:

    … just read this in Publishers Weekly – “A popular blog, meanwhile, may be the next best thing to a TV show. Although it isn’t coming out until October 2012, Aran Goyoaga’s Cannelle et Vanille: Everyday Small Plates from a Basque Kitchen (That Just Happen to Be Naturally Gluten-Free), from Little, Brown, has strong foreign rights potential. Goyoaga grew up in Spain’s Basque country, lives in Florida, and maintains a blog, “Cannelle et Vanille,” which gets more than 3.8 million visitors a year.”
    … can’t wait for the book!

  42. I was sold when you said “pudding” and “cake” in the same sentence. What a delightful recipe, thanks for sharing!

  43. Me- thank you for letting me know. i had no idea. i’m so honored.

    thank you!

  44. I love the conversation between you and your mom and the description of her cooking and then the pictures of your little girl. The cake/pudding looks perfect, almost as good as your relationship with your sweet family.

  45. Kits says:

    Sounds utterly delightful

  46. Lael says:

    For as long as I have been faithfully following your blog, I have been a horrible commenter! I so enjoy each and every post and have baked quite a number of your recipes. As for these orange cakes, I have followed similar recipes before and loved the results. Would love to give your version a go, especially molded into those beautiful rose forms! Lovely through and through.

  47. Anonymous says:


    The photos are lovely! Makes me want to try (I am a horrible baker). I believe those sour oranges look like ripened calamondin.


  48. Those little orange cakes look fabulous. I live in France and a friend makes canneles, the tiny ones. I love them and have to stop myself from being greedy and eating more than my fair share. I collect molds too, but have no canneles, I am going to buy both sizes now so that I can make your cakes. I love Basque food and luckily for me a new Basque restaurant is about to open in my local town – St Antonin-Noble-Val, in the Tarn & Garonne (82).

  49. The little cakes look so moist, Aran! I love anything citrus. Yum!

    Beautiful, breathtaking photos, as usual.


  50. We fell in love with your blog!

  51. What great styling! I am a prop stylist and I LOVE LOVE LOVE working on cookbooks, my absolute fave work day as we usually shoot at my house.

    Those little oranges remind me of the box of meyer lemons my good friend sent me from her tree a couple weeks ago. I cherish those petit jewels as if they were yellow sapphires. well not exactly but you get my drift. Delicious when I fried the slices and served with my chicken paillard. yum! trade you some of mine for some of yours ;^)

  52. Great shots! The sweets I would love to sample too!

  53. vincent says:


    We bumped into your blog and we really liked it – great recipes YUM YUM.
    We would like to add it to the

    We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
    enjoy your recipes.

    Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
    and benefit from their exposure on

    To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use or just go to and click on “Add your site”

    Best regards,


  54. they turned out beautifully, even more lovely when placed on that darling little cake stand.

  55. liat says:

    Melting in the mouth looks excellent

  56. jason says:

    Yum, I’ve never made or even heard of a cake before now, but anything with oats in it has to be nice

  57. Hi Aran,
    those sour oranges cakes look divine. We make an almond orange cake here at the coffee shop that is a top seller. A few times I´ve tried not making to give way to something new and I´m always told off by customers, so it has to always be available.
    Aran, I have a favour to ask. I own a gluten-free bakery in Mataró-Barcelona, and I´m making more and more cupcakes and muffins now. The thing is I don´t find easily beatiful cupcake cases like the ones I see on american blogs, yours specially. I´m looking to buy in bulk, and I wonder whether you could tell me where I could find pretty ones. Many thanks and congratulations on your book. We are all waiting for it! Best regards, Manoli.

  58. Manoli- no se exactamente donde puedes comprarlos al por mayor pero yo los compro de Bake It Pretty y de King Arthur Flour (tienen tiendas online). Un abrazo!

    Thanks all!

  59. Anonymous says:


    Esan Txomineri ikusi dogula bere argazkia The Times periodikuen Obamaren golfere jolasten.


    ana uriarte

  60. a. maren says:

    these really do look amazing! looking at the photos i feel like i can taste them already. thank you for the recipe and the good idea! there is a citrus fest going on at a market near my house, now i have some idea of what to do with it :)

  61. Ana- eskerrik asko!!! hemen dau txomin, zera baino hobeto. Golfean, ilobak zaintzen eta Nekanegaz pasioan. Ederto baten gabiz. Mosu bet!

    Thanks all!

  62. Hola Aran,
    Zure urtebetetze eguna da? irakurri dot bateron batek zoriondu egin dotsula, holan bada gure partez be “Zorionak”, bestela be “Zorionak” egiten dozun lanagatik. Ondo segi,

    Miren Bego

  63. Miren Bego- eskerrik asko. Bai, Geur da nire urtegune. 37. Zelan pasetan dan denporea ezta? Zuek be laster honantza ezta? Itsaso desietan egongo da seguru. Ondo ibili ta laster arte!

  64. Anonymous says:

    Zorionak Arantzazu. Moxu haundi bat


  65. Passiflora says:

    your blog is amazing! love it! :)

  66. cindy* says:

    aran, these are so lovely! i have been wanting to try my hand at gluten free baking, but I’m scared…I may just have to try this recipe out. I just recently bought some coconut oil and have been searching for something i want to bake with it.

    what a wonderful sunday!

  67. Ishita S. says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while, but this is my first comment — thanks so much for your posts! They’re always so lovely and your photos brighten my day.

    I’d love to make this with blood oranges, but I’m very much averse to coconuts. Could I swap out the coconut flour and coconut oil for all almond flour and perhaps grapeseed oil? Would I need to change anything else?

  68. Manya says:

    Your blog is truly amazing! I have a major question to ask. Since I live in Greece and I don’t think that coconut oil, flour or almond flour exist here, how can I substitute all these? I love oranges and anything that has to do with orange. Ayudame por favor!

  69. Ishita- yes you could but you will have to add another flour to the almond flour that is 20% of the weight of coconut flour in my recipe.

    Manya- you can use olive oil instead of the coconut oil. For the almond flour, you can make your own by finely grinding blanched almonds. You can use any other flour you like in place of the coconut flour but increase by 20%.


  70. kvyoung07 says:

    Great photos and I love the use of local ingredients! I wish we could use citrus like that but here in Minnesota, the best seasonal food is maple syrup.
    It takes a bit of work but is definitely worth it!
    Happy cooking!

  71. Kit says:

    Aran- thoughts on using a mix of orange and lemon if you can’t find sour oranges?
    also, I’m a southern girl living in basque country; I’ve traded places with you for a while! Anyway, I love love love your blog, your food photos have an incredible calm look to them.

  72. I adore kumquats and enjoy eating them freshly picked off a tree. These little cakes look refreshing and delightful.

  73. Sini says:

    It was just a few weeks ago when I read about the “cook whole and puree” -technique in Donna Hay’s wonderful book “Seasons” the first time. I was so excited about it! Haven’t had time to make it yet but hope to do so asap.

  74. I have to say I’ve never seen sour oranges, but they make for a lovely petite cake! The color is just gorgeous!


  75. Juana says:

    Un blog maravilloso, que guardo ahora mismo para volver a menudo!

  76. Lesley says:

    Every time I look at your blog the photos and especially the colours blow me away – and that’s before I even begin to look at the food. Thanks for the inspiration – I think my partner is fed up with me pointing out your amazing photos and styling. He’s the amateur photographer and maybe he thinks I expect him to meet your standard!

  77. Curra says:

    Durante tres días seguido he llegado hasta aquí para deleitarme mirando esta maravilla.

  78. Olga says:

    So magical photos! Mnay thanks for such beautiful little moments!

  79. What beautiful puddings! I love the ingredients used (the puree and the almond and coconut flour), they must taste absolutely divine. It sounds like you enjoyed a simply lovely Sunday.
    Heidi xo

  80. Susan says:

    How very southern! Your photography really captured the vibrant orange color of these tea cakes.

  81. Love your posts, like always…sigh. wish I could learn from you. Thank you for inspiring me everyday!

  82. Anonymous says:

    Your sour oranges are Calamondins. They’re wonderful – work well as a lime substitute in key lime recipes.

  83. I always thought my mother was the foremost authority on marmalade. She and my Dad eat it like it’s going out of style (wait, was it ever in style?). Love to get lemon ginger marmalade at my local farm market.

  84. Lauren says:

    A little late here, but I’m just catching up on my Google Reader! These look amazing. My sister-in-law is French, and the tiny tea cakes in sweet shapes remind me of her fantastic desserts.

  85. Oh my! This whole blog entry makes me swoon. For spring. For tangy spring and summer citrusy foods. For orange and yellow flowery things. For tea served in old fashioned tea cups. For a sunny window looking out to a green backyard bordered by tulip beds. I want to bake these beautiful little cakes and serve them on a depression green glass cake platter on a table set with bubble glass bowls, sterling flatware, and flowery pastel cloth napkins. My daughter tried this recipe; the cakes came out a little tough. Maybe the eggs need to be larger? Or maybe silicon molds perform better than muffin tins? I’m attempting them this weekend for a post-yoga potluck. but I really wanted to say thank you for the tea recipe! I was going through the comments to find it because it really sounds like a perfect blend of herbs. thanks for this beautiful blog! Heidi

  86. Heidi- did she use the same flours? and yes, using silicon molds definitely affects the outcome. they do not brown as much.

    Thank you!

  87. Just took the first batch out of the oven. All worked beautifully. I found honey tangerines at the market – the grocer said they were the most sour. Lot of seeds and yes, sour! The silicon molds I found at William Sonoma, though not decorative, worked perfectly. First taste of warm cakes was just as I had expected – spring sunshine on the taste buds! Oh yes. Can’t wait for the yoga girls -several whom are gluten-intolerant – to try. Thanks! Heidi

  88. What I wouldn’t do to try these! What a perfect day!

  89. Honey says:

    Silly question – am I reading this right? You puree the peels and all? Whole orange? Just want to be sure before I try this and mess it up! :)

  90. Honey- yes, you cook them whole, then remove seeds and puree the whole thing. But you must use oranges that have very thin skin, not navels. tangerines also work.


  91. Meridan says:


    Today I have made the cake, but it was a bit thin (it’s also a bit too sweet). I’ve included a photo:
    I want to make it next time with baking powder instead of baking soda. Do you think that would help?


  92. Meridian- did you bake it in a baking sheet? Did you feel it was dense or just not tall enough. The recipe is not made for larger baking sheets. I also used silicone molds which doesn’t turn the cake as dark. Using valid powder will change the texture. This is supposed to be a moist pudding like cake.

  93. You are so thoughtful to allow me to be one of those to benefit from your helpful information. Please recognize how great I appreciate it.

  94. Christine says:

    I made these and brought them into work as a treat – they were such a hit! A few people asked for the recipe and I directed them to your blog (which has become my favourite)

    Thanks for such a lovely recipe!

  95. Geetha says:

    I finally made these and they are wonderful! I love the flavors and texture. It was interesting how the batter was so light and fluffy. The only change we made was adding a dusting of cocoa powder just before serving…this was at the suggestion of my husband who it obsessed with chocolate but it turned out to be a good suggestion. Thanks for another great fun and interesting recipe.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.