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Categories Moroccan Desserts

Moroccan Orange Cake Recipe – Meskouta with Oranges

This easy-to-make orange cake is sure to become a family favorite. No icing needed since its great citrus flavor and moist texture make it delicious all on its own.

Moroccan orange cake. Photo: Safiyah Benlafquih | Taste of Maroc

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This easy Moroccan orange cake is a moist, sweet cake that can be served as a snack, for dessert or tea time, or even for breakfast or to break the fast in Ramadan.

Not only is it an easy recipe, it also packs a deliciously sweet citrus flavor that’s good enough to be served without icing. Fresh oranges are key to the cake’s great flavor.

You only need one or two oranges to get the amount of juice and zest required for this recipe. Make sure to wash and zest the oranges before juicing. You can use a fine side of a box grater or a citrus zester to make the zest.

Meskouta Cake with Oranges

Moroccan orange cake is a variation of meskouta, a popular Moroccan cake with a texture similar to a sponge cake. There are different types of meskouta cakes based on flavors like lemon or vanilla.

Sliced Moroccan orange cake.
Meskouta orange cake is super easy to make and delicious without frosting. Photo: Safiyah Benlafquih | Taste of Maroc

Sometimes Moroccan cooks will beat the egg whites separately and fold them into the batter for a lighter texture, but there’s really no need to take that step for this or other meskouta recipes.

Although a round tube or bundt pan is most often used to make meskouta, some cooks prefer to use a loaf pan. Adjust baking time according to the size and shape of your own pan.

Using Bowls and Tea Glasses as Measures

Traditionally, Moroccans measure their ingredients using bowls and Moroccan tea glasses. Although many Moroccan cooks are shifting to scales or measuring cups when baking, I’ve included the traditional measures for meskouta in the Recipe Notes just for fun.

Children enjoy using nonformal methods for measuring ingredients, so you might like to try that method if you’re baking this cake with them. Take note that the average Moroccan tea glass amounts to about 6 to 8 ounces of liquid and a soup bowl about 12 ounces or 1 1/2 cups.

How Much Baking Powder to Use

The traditional Moroccan recipe calls for 2 sachets (7 g each) of baking powder which is equivalent to 4 teaspoons. However, I’ve updated the recipe to reduce the amount of measured baking powder from 4 teaspoons to 3 teaspoons.

This is in response to comments I’ve found on other sites which raise concern that the larger amount of baking powder might cause a bitter flavor or too rapid rising (then sinking) of the middle of the cake. 

Although I’ve made this cake many times over the years and never had either problem, I tested the recipe recently using 3 teaspoons baking powder and again with 4 teaspoons. Both cakes came out great, so I opted to list the smaller amount in the conventional ingredients list.

Serving and Storing

The orange cake is truly delicious all on its own, but you can certainly top it with a dusting of powdered sugar or a simple icing if you like. Orange jam and coconut icing also make a nice finishing touch, as do garnishes of crushed nuts.

Properly covered or wrapped, the cake will stay fresh for a few days at room temp or for several months in the freezer.

For another easy Moroccan dessert that uses oranges, try this simple Moroccan Orange and Cinnamon Dessert Salad.

orange bundt cake

Moroccan Orange Cake Recipe

Christine Benlafquih | Taste of Maroc
This Moroccan orange cake is a variation of Moroccan meskouta cake. It's easy to make from scratch and is sweet enough to be served without icing.
Fresh oranges are key to this cake's great flavor. You'll need one or two oranges to yield the 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice called for in the recipe.
For fun, I've included traditional Moroccan measures with tea glasses and bowls in the Notes below.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Moroccan
Yield 12 servings
Calories 279 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

Conventional Measures (see notes for baking with the Traditional Measures)

  • ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice - (from 1 or 2 oranges)
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 4 large eggs
  • cups sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder - (see Notes)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C)
  • Grease and flour a bundt or tube cake pan. Wash and zest the oranges, then juice them.
  • Using an electric mixer or whisker, beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until pale and thick. Add the oil gradually and beat until well combined.
  • Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate medium bowl. Add it to the eggs and sugar mixture and stir lightly to combine.
  • Pour in the orange juice and beat until smooth. Mix in the vanilla and orange zest.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake in the oven for approximately 40 minutes, or until the sides of the cake pull away from the pan and the cake tests done. You can test by inserting a toothpick into the center. If it comes out dry, your cake is done.
  • Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool for 7 to 10 minutes. Carefully remove the cake from the pan and place it on a rack to finish cooling.

Notes

This recipe has been updated to use 3 teaspoons of baking powder. My original recipe called for 4 teaspoons.
Tips and Variations
  • You can top with orange jam and coconut sprinkles
  • Strawberry jam can also be used.
  • Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar for special occasions
  • Chopped almonds make a nutritious topping
  • You can also sprinkle the top with a little orange zest
 
Using Traditional Measures
Tea glasses and bowls are the traditional baking measures in Morocco. You might want to try using them just for fun, especially if baking with kids.
The average Moroccan tea glass holds about 6 to 8 ounces of liquid (or 1/3 to 1/2 cup) while a soup bowl holds about 1 1/2 cups in volume.
  • 1 tea glass of freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Zest of 1 or 2 oranges
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 level soup bowl of sugar
  • 1 tea glass of vegetable oil
  • 1 heaping soup bowl of flour
  • 2 sachets of baking powder (equivalent to 4 tsp; can use 3 tsp instead)
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 sachet vanilla sugar (equivalent to 1 tsp liquid flavoring or extract)

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 279kcalCarbohydrates: 43gProtein: 4gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 119mgPotassium: 166mgFiber: 1gSugar: 26gVitamin A: 101IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 57mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is only an estimate obtained from online calculators. Optional ingredients may not be included in the nutritional information.

Tried this recipe? We’d love to know!Leave a Comment | Mention @tasteofmaroc | tag #tasteofmaroc
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About The Author

Christine Benlafquih is Founding Editor at Taste of Maroc and owner of Taste of Casablanca, a food tour and culinary activity business in Casablanca. A long time resident of Morocco, she's written extensively about Moroccan cuisine and culture. She was the Moroccan Food Expert for The Spruce Eats (formerly About.com) from 2008 to 2016.
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