Orange Cake, Ancona Style

Marcella Hazan Orange CakeIn a delightful tribute to Marcella Hazan in the New York Times magazine, Mark Bittman recalls fondly how Marcella taught him “to interpret Child’s (Julia) work in a way that felt contemporary.”    He rightfully concludes “. . . we can drink to the woman who was largely responsible – however unintentionally – for bringing real Italian food to the United States.”

I am pleased to reproduce below one of Marcella’s few dessert recipes that was printed in Bittman’s New York Times article:

Orange Cake, Ancona-Style


  • 2 cups plus 2 Tbs all-purpose flour, plus flour for dusting the pan
  • 3 eggs
  • Grated peel of 3 oranges
  • 4 Tbs ( 1/2 a stick) butter, softened to room temperature, plus butter for greasing the pan
  • 1 cup plus 3 Tbs sugar
  • 2 Tbs of ouzo (Pernod is OK as substitute)
  • 1 Tbs whole milk
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice with 3 Tbs sugar dissolved in it.


  1. Heat the oven to 350º
  2. Put the flour, eggs, orange peel, 4 Tbs softened butter, sugar and ouzo in a food processor and run until all the ingredients are evenly amalgamated.
  3. Add the milk and baking powder, and process again to incorporate into the mixture
  4. Thickly smear a tube pan with butter, and dust with flour.  Put the cake mixture in the pan (It won’t fill it up all the way), and place the pan in the preheated oven.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the top of the cake becomes a rich gold color.
  5. When the cake is done, place the bottom of the pan over a bumbler or tall mug, using pot holders and push down to raise the loose bottom.  Take the tube with cake out of hoop, work the cake loose from the bottom with a knife and lift it away from the tube.  Place it on a plate with a slight raised rim.
  6. While the cake is still warm, poke many holes in it using a chopstick or any similar narrow tool.  Into each of the holes, slowly pour some of the orange juice.  At first the hole fills to the brim with juice, bus this will subsequently – in about an hour – be absorbed by the cake
  7. Serve an room temperature, with more orange juice drizzle over each slice.

Yep.  It is as good as it sounds.

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