For the Love of Cake: Bolo de Laranja

In Portugal they serve cake for breakfast. At least they did at the hotel we stayed in the last time we were there. Not only did the hotel serve cake but they also served champagne at the breakfast buffet. I know. My kind of hotel. It was delicious homemade cake that changed from chocolate one day to orange the next. It was lovely with fresh fruit and coffee.

Anyway, it seems that hotel isn’t the only place that serves cake for breakfast in Portugal. In The New Portuguese Table , David Leite includes a recipe for Orange Cake (Bolo de Laranja) based on a cake he ate for breakfast at a restaurant in Lisbon. Seriously, I’m starting to love Portugal more and more. I thought I might as well try baking this orange ‘breakfast’ cake. It uses the juice and zest of four fresh oranges so really it could count towards one of your five a day.


This recipe is from an American cookbook so the ingredients are measured by cups. I have provided the measurements in grams and millilitres.

I baked the cake twice. My first attempt ended up a bit burnt and I thought it needed a little more orange flavour. So with my second attempt I used the zest of 4 oranges. The recipe only calls for the zest of 3. I think the oranges in Portugal are probably much more fresh than what I can buy here in Ireland, so a little more orange was needed to get a fuller flavour.

This cake is dense and moist and gets better with age, so the cookbook recommends not having a slice until at least the day after you bake it, if not the day after that.

Bolo de Laranja (Orange Cake)
Bolo de Laranja (Orange Cake)


450g plain flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
5 large eggs
600g sugar
350ml mild olive oil
350ml fresh orange juice (4 to 5 large navel oranges squeezed and strained)
zest of 4 oranges


1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and butter a bundt tin.

2. Sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside.

3. Beat the eggs until well combined then slowly add the sugar and continue beating until thick and pale yellow.

4. Add both the flour mixture and oil, alternating between each until combined.

5. Pour in the orange juice and orange zest, mixing until combined.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. (Put the cake on the lowest rack in your oven to ensure the top doesn’t burn.)

5. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and cool. Cover the cake and leave it overnight. To serve, dust with confectioner’s sugar.

A Slice of Orange Cake
A Slice of Orange Cake


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