Orange Coconut Cake

Jump to Recipe

orange coconut cake

My maternal grandmother (Teta) made an incredible orange coconut cake. Sweet, moist, and fluffy, the old recipe sitting in my mother’s tattered red leather bound book, brought back nostalgic memories to my mother as she touched its pages. She read through the fading blue ink to make out the ingredients she must’ve frantically jotted down when she prepared to fly off to America with nothing but her mother’s recipes to awaken the Egyptian flavors she was leaving behind in Alexandria.

orange coconut cake

We recently came across this recipe as we were recreating the orange cake of my Egyptian aunts and grandmother for my last orange cranberry muffin recipe. I knew I had to remake this cake for my mother, who was very fondly reminiscing the flavors of the orange coconut cake.  The hand-written recipe was quite washed-out, but we were able to test several recipes to document the exact recipe which had faded overtime. With my mother’s help, I revived and baked this cake for my family’s Thanksgiving gathering, and it was a very special treat to enjoy. 

fresh orange juice

orange zest
A fragrant zest is critical. Use the clean skin of an organic orange for best results. Zest the skin of the oranges with a sharp zester or grater, such as Microplane.

Fresh squeezed orange juice, fragrant orange zest, and finely shredded coconut flakes go into this cake along with coconut oil and olive oil.

bruschetta-orangecakesugarandgarlic2016-12 bruschetta-orangecakesugarandgarlic2016-20

It is really important to generously grease and flour the bundt pan, as the cake can easily get stuck. 

orange caramel orange caramel glaze

The caramel glaze is easy enough. Water, sugar, and orange juice simmer until thickened. Some zest and heavy cream take the caramel glaze to the next level and is something really scrumptious to drench this cake in.

The glaze is an optional extra to dress up this lovely moist citrus cake. But either way, be sure to top the cake with some lightly cooked oranges; its so beautiful, fragrant, and festive! Sometimes I simply press in some orange slices on the top of the cake halfway into the bake time, if I cook it in a round or loaf pan as a tea cake. They take on beautiful color in the oven.

orange coconut cake with glaze

orange cake slice

You may need:

*commissionable links. Thank you!

Orange Coconut cake

From the archives of my Egyptian grandmother, this is a moist orange cake with hints of coconut, made with olive oil instead of butter, and topped with an orange caramel glaze.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Cooling 10 minutes
Total Time 1 minute
Course Dessert
Cuisine egyptian, French


For the cake:

  • 2 .5 c flour
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1.5 tbsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1.5 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 3/4 c sugar
  • 1/4 c coconut oil
  • 3/4 c olive oil
  • 1 c orange juice fresh squeezed is best
  • 1 c shredded coconut unsweetened, plus more for garnish
  • optional: orange slices to garnish

For the orange caramel glaze:

  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp orange juice
  • 1/4 c heavy cream


For the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (f).
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and cornstarch.
  • In another bowl, combine the sugar and orange zest. Rub the zest into the sugar with your fingers to release the fragrant oils.
  • Add the eggs with vanilla extract. Whisk until incorporated.
  • Add the oils and orange juice and mix well.
  • Slowly stir in the flour mixture.
  • Gently fold in the coconut.
  • Pour the batter into a well greased bundt pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes on a rack moved right above the center rack.

For the orange caramel glaze:

  • Over medium heat, simmer the white sugar and water until it begins to boil, and the sugar has dissolved.
  • Reduce heat to medium- low, then add the orange zest and orange juice.
  • Stir in the brown sugar and reduce heat down to low. Slowly whisk in the heavy cream; simmer for another 2-3 minutes until thickened.
  • Simmer a few of the orange slices in the glaze for a minute to flavor the sauce and gently soften the oranges, then remove them quickly before they break apart.
  • Remove the pot from heat.
  • Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes at room temperature before pouring over the cooled cake.
  • After the cake has cooled, flip it onto a serving platter. Place the orange slices on top of and around the cake, and pour the glaze all over.


**You may also brown the orange slices in some butter; this browned and crisped orange peel looks beautifully rustic and tastes delicious.
Keyword cake, coconut, dairy free, orange

Related Posts

Magic Chocolate Chip Cookies (lactation cookies!)

Magic Chocolate Chip Cookies (lactation cookies!)

  These delicious magic cookies are chewy, soft, and full of chocolate and coconut! This special recipe supports nursing mothers to boost milk supply!  These cookies are simply delicious, and unlike many other recipes for “lactation cookies” these do not use brewers yeast and still […]

Whining and Dining in Chicago (where to eat with kids, and where not to!)

Whining and Dining in Chicago (where to eat with kids, and where not to!)

“Whining” and Dining in Chicago! Chicago has some of the BEST dining options in the country, and this fact alone was one big attraction to us when we were deciding where to settle and live. Chicago is rich in cultural diversity which is reflected quite […]