Fresh Tangerine Layer Cake

My family uses the Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts for most celebratory cakes. Their orange layer cake is especially vibrant, with fresh juice and zest in both the cake batter and frosting. It has become a leading favorite for birthdays. When tangerines are in season, I use them instead of oranges for this cake. Tangerines offer a more complex and assertive citrus flavor. I buy a flat of tangerines, using some for the cake, and keeping the rest of the cuties around for snacks.

This seemed like the perfect cake for Easter this weekend. I highly recommend pairing it with dark chocolate ice cream.




2 2/3 cups unbleached white flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

4 eggs, separated

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon pure orange extract, or 1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate

1 tablespoon freshly grated tangerine peel

1 cup freshly squeezed tangerine juice


1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

3 cups powdered sugar

3-4 tablespoons freshly squeezed tangerine juice

1 tablespoon freshly grated tangerine peel


Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly oil the cake pans and dust them with flour.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until smooth and light. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla, orange extract, and grated tangerine peel and beat well. Beat in the flour and tangerine juice alternately in thirds. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gently fold them into the batter.

Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the edges pull away from the sides of the pan and the top springs back when touched. Cool the cake in the pans on a rack for 5-10 minutes. Run a knife around the outer edges of the cakes and invert them onto a rack to cool completely.

To prepare the frosting, beat the butter until light. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the tangerine juice and grated tangerine peel and beat well. If the frosting is too stiff, beat in more tangerine juice. If it’s too soft or if it curdles, beat in more sugar.

Frost the cake when it is completely cool.


Leave a Reply