Moroccan Meskouta Orange Cake

Moroccan Orange Cake. Photo © Christine Benlafquih
  • 50 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yield: 10 to 12 Servings
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There are several types of meskouta, homemade Moroccan cake, including yogurt and citrus varieties. This traditional Moroccan orange cake recipe is quick and easy to make from scratch, and so moist that it is rarely served with frosting. One very large orange (or two medium oranges) should yield the half cup of orange juice used in the recipe. It takes just minutes to get into the oven, and will keep fresh for several days—in the unlikely event it lasts that long!

The recipe works equally well with either a tube or loaf pan, however, a round tube pan can look more formal and festive for a celebration. For an even more formal presentation, feel free to sprinkle powdered sugar on top for a festive touch. Serve the orange cake for tea time, breakfast, Ramadan ftour (evening meal following the Ramadan fast) or snack time.

Be sure to zest the oranges prior to juicing them. The full oranges will be much easier to zest. Once the oranges are juiced, it can be very difficult to yield enough zest for this recipe. For best results, wash the orange first and use a citrus grater, or microplane, for the finest zest. A fine cheese grater is a good substitute for a citrus grater. 

What You'll Need

  • 1/2 cup/120ml freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Zest of 1 or 2 oranges
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups/300 g. sugar
  • 1/2 cup/120 ml. vegetable oil
  • 2 cups/250 g. flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Grease and lightly flour a tube pan or loaf pan.
  2. Zest the oranges and then juice them. 
  3. With an electric mixer or by hand, beat together the eggs and sugar until thick. Gradually beat in the oil.
  4. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt, and then the orange juice. Beat until smooth, and then mix in the zest and vanilla.
  5. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the cake tests done. 
  1. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 7 to 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling.


Traditional Morrocan Cooking

Measuring cups are not the norm in Morocco, so just for fun, the traditional measures used in Morocco when making meskouta are listed below the standard ingredients. You might want to follow that method if you are baking with kids as they may enjoy the less formal means of measuring ingredients. Please note that Moroccan tea glasses usually hold 6 to 8 ounces of liquid. 

Traditional Moroccan Measures

  • 1 tea glass of freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Zest of 1 or 2 oranges
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 level soup bowl of sugar
  • 1 tea glass of vegetable oil
  • 1 heaping soup bowl of flour
  • 2 sachets of baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 sachet of vanilla sugar

Using the traditional Moroccan measures, continue with the same recipe steps listed above. 

This dessert provides an easy sweet treat at the end of a traditional, and flavorful, Moroccan meal. For other variations on Meskouta, try a traditional yogurt or lemon Morrocan cake