Natalia’s mom lived in California for many years before moving back to Portugal.  While mom was in California she had oranges and lemon trees at her home.  Every year when she harvested the oranges and lemons she would package a huge box and ship it to Natalia in Rhode Island for her and her family to enjoy.  And then in March, for Natalia’s birthday, mom would ship Natalia her sunny California orange cake! Natalia loves this cake and it makes her think of mom and all these years receiving the box of citrus and then her birthday cake from mom! 

Mom’s version of this cake is very complicated.  She uses several bowls to mix dry ingredients and then the wet ingredients before combining.  Mom also does not use a conventional measuring cup….she uses whatever she has handy – a mixing bowl or a coffee cup to measure her “cup” with.  So Natalia has taken mom’s recipe and simplified it so that it is easy to make in one bowl and shares measuring in a recipe that you can follow at home.

Natalia does say that you can use either butter or olive oil – whichever you prefer.  Natalia uses olive oil for her cake while her mom uses butter.
Whenever Natalia makes this cake it makes her think of mom and all those beautiful oranges and lemons she would receive each year along with her Mom’s California Orange Cake for her birthday! Natalia and the whole family love this cake!


1 1/2 flour 
1 1/2 sugar
1/4 tsp. Baking soda
1/4 tsp. Baking powder 
Pinch of salt 
2 large eggs or 3 small eggs 
3 oranges zested and juiced
1/2 cup olive oil or butter melted 

Butter and flour in a cake pan
Preheat oven to 375 

Zest all 3 oranges into a bowl
Then juice the oranges also add to a bowl
In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Add the eggs, orange juice and zest
Wish just to combine finally add olive oil/butter whisk to combine ( do not overwork )
Pour into cake pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean about 35-45 minutes 
Top with powdered sugar