Very Tangerine (or Orange) Poppy Seed Cake

January 21, 2010 · 19 comments

filed in: Bakery,Desserts,Fruit

Very Tangerine (or Orange) Poppy Seed Cake

Recipes sometimes stem from not having enough of a good thing; money is often the missing ingredient that can spur creativity in the kitchen. At other times, we find ourselves with too much of a particular ingredient and must look for new ways to use it. This cake recipe falls into the latter category and involves tangerines, lots of tangerines.

Our tangerine trees have pulled out all the stops this season. We have eaten, given away, and begged others to take bushels (carloads! tons!) of this delicious fruit, but still it keeps coming. I’m beginning to suspect that a tangerine fairy adds new fruit to our trees every night while we’re sleeping. So now we are juicing the balance of the harvest, converting the juice to a concentrate, and storing it in our freezer for later use.

In this poppy seed cake recipe, I experimented with using some of this fresh tangerine concentrate (1 cup concentrate equals 3 cups fresh juice). We loved the results: an intensely citrusy and flavorful glazed cake, which you may also enjoy. For readers less blessed with citrus trees, store-bought, frozen tangerine or orange juice concentrate may be substituted, with no other modification of the recipe. See the notes below the recipe if you prefer to make your own fresh juice concentrate.


For the cake:

1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups unbleached flour, unsifted
3 1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 fluid ounces) fresh or frozen tangerine (or orange) juice concentrate, at room temperature
2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon lemon or lime zest
2 tablespoons poppy seed

For the optional glaze:

3 tablespoons tangerine (or orange) juice concentrate
1/2 cup powdered sugar
(optional) 1 teaspoon Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur


  1. Generously oil a bundt pan or 10″ x 13″ cake pan. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until smooth. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar. Add the eggs, one by one, beating for approximately one minute after each addition until the mixture is fluffy and light.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Alternately add one-third of the flour mixture and one-third of the juice concentrate to the batter, beating lightly after each addition. Stir in the lemon juice, zest, and poppy seeds. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 40-55 minutes (depending on the type of cake pan used) and cool the cake to room temperature.
  6. If using the optional glaze, heat the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan until bubbly and drizzle over the cake.

To make your own fresh citrus juice concentrate, which may be made in any quantity and frozen for later use: Measure the liquid volume of the fresh juice being used and then boil the juice until it is reduced to one-third of its original volume.

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Leave a Comment

{ 19 them below or add one }

Christine July 8, 2013 at 9:38 am

Hi! Can you tell me how much tangerine juice I have to start with in order to get 1 cup concentrate if I’m making it myself? Thanks!


Barbara July 8, 2013 at 11:10 am

You’ll want to start with 3 cups of tangerine juice and boil it down until you have 1 cup of juice concentrate. Then cool the concentrate to room temperature before using in this recipe.


Jaime {sophistimom} March 1, 2011 at 2:11 am

Yep, I’m jealous of your tangerine tree, too. Or at least I’m jealous of your neighbors who have been getting all these bushels of tangerines. Beautiful cake. I bet you were ecstatic when it came out of the pan so perfectly!


Barbara March 1, 2011 at 9:46 am

Yes, it always feels like a victory when bundt cakes come out of the pan in one piece, doesn’t it! So often one gets a crumbled mess instead.


Cookin' Canuck February 25, 2011 at 11:24 pm

I am a tad bit envious of your tangerine tree. This recipe is a wonderful way to use the sweet fruit.


Jackie December 4, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Hi Barbara

By adding the Grand Marnier to the glaze sauce, do it taste boozy.


Barbara December 4, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Frankly, not very much. If you want to dispense with the alcohol, it’s fine to substitute just a bit more orange juice.


Lana @ Never Enough Thyme April 2, 2010 at 3:52 pm

I really love tangerines. I think they’re one of the more overlooked citrus fruits, but such wonderful flavor! Your beautiful cake sounds delicious. Definitely a must-try.


Ciaochowlinda March 10, 2010 at 2:47 pm

O how lucky you are to be blessed with this abundance of tangerines. The cake looks like a great recipe for some of them.


Barbara February 24, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Many thanks to all for your generous comments. I look forward to trying Maria’s and Chocolate Shavings’ cakes.


Almost Slowfood February 24, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Cake looks wonderful and would love to know how to make concentrate!


megan February 24, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Such a pretty cake. I love the orange flavors!


deeba February 24, 2010 at 12:08 am

This is certainly a cake celebration…gorgeous! Citrus is right up my street Barbara, I love this! Beautiful picture too!


Amanda February 23, 2010 at 10:28 pm

That’s gorgeous! Love the pan mold. I made an orange poppy seed pound cake once and it was awesome. Will have to try this.


deana@lostpastremembered January 22, 2010 at 7:42 pm

That’s a great mold… what a wonderful photo!


DianaHayes January 21, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Lovely way to store for later, I’m a big believer in that. I like the cake too.


Maria January 21, 2010 at 1:28 pm

This reminds me of my favorite cake! I like adding a touch (1 Tbsp) of orange blossom water to the dough because it makes it unusual and aromatic. It is irresistible!


chocolate shavings January 21, 2010 at 9:45 am

I just posted an orange cake recipe too. Orange must be in the air!


MaryMoh January 21, 2010 at 8:08 am

This cake must be very moist & delicious. I love the lemon and orange smell. I wish I am your neighbour to enjoy such an abundance of tangerines, my favourite.


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