California Vitamin C Packed Orange Cake

Paradise kindly provided the candied fruit for this post. All opinions are mine.

Once upon a time, during the Showa Period of Japan when the now retired Emperor and Empress ruled the land…There lived a towheaded Ninja Baker who loved visiting the corner sweets shop. During the unruly humid Tokyo summers, she loved the cool treat of ice cream in a mikan (mandarin orange) bowl. After plunking down 3 ten-yen coins, a divine sweet citrus ice cream would slither down her throat. The auntie who owned the shop always smiled. She knew that the girl would return soon.

As fate would have it, the mini–Ninja Baker moved to LA to attend UCLA at age 18. California is where yours truly now resides. When the Paradise package arrived on my doorstep, memories of the summertime treat rushed in.

Still a sweet tooth but a tad more health conscious, I replicated my childhood treat with a few tweaks. Instead of a mandarin, I carved out the insides of California oranges. With grownup fortitude, plain yogurt filling was chosen. For a tiny boost of sweet, Paradise candied orange was sprinkled on top.  (The balance of the slightly bitter peel and the sugar syrup of Paradise candied fruit strikes a perfect harmony.)

California living has also made me conscious about using all parts of produce. Sooo, I blended the scooped-out insides of the oranges along with left over yogurt. Yes, a beautiful smoothie was poured…which I substituted for milk when making cake! (My adult no sugar policy can prevail only for so long.) Must say, the orange smoothie cake made for a magnificently moist sponge. Cream cheese icing was topped with Paradise candied orange peel.

Later I made Martha Stewart’s No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake filling. For some I used store-bought mini graham cracker crusts. I also tried chocolate cookies in hollowed out oranges (instead of crust.) The California orange certainly is a colorful and fun way to serve dessert.Of course, Martha’s recipe was brilliant. The candied lemon peel from Paradise – which served as decoration on the mini cheesecakes - was also divine!

California Orange Paradise Cake

Orange Cake California

California oranges and yogurt contribute moisture (and nutrition!) to a cake mix. The sparkling Paradise Candied Orange Peels sprinkled on top of the cream cheese frosting add Hollywood star power.


1 Box Yellow Cake Mix (I prefer Duncan Hines)
3 large eggs, lightly whisked with a fork or chopsticks
3 large fresh oranges
1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
1/3 cup coconut oil
Coconut oil cooking spray
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 container Paradise Candied Orange Peel


1. Line a 13 x 9 pan with parchment paper. Spray with coconut oil cooking spray.
2. Zest 1 orange. Set aside.
3. Peel all the oranges and place the fresh fruit into a blender with the 1 cup of yogurt. (Yes, you are making a smoothie!)
4. Blend well. Pour 1 cup of the orange smoothie. Set aside. (The rest of the smoothie is yours to enjoy…with a few Paradise Candied Orange Peels as topping.)
5. In a large kitchen stand mixer bowl, empty the contents of the cake mix. Sprinkle in the orange zest.  Add the eggs, coconut oil and 1 cup of orange smoothie.
6. Mix well. (Start on slow so the contents of the bowl do not take flight.) In a stand mixer, allow about 2 minutes on medium speed. If mixing with a handheld mixer approximately 5 minutes. (One of the secrets to lovely cakes is avoiding overmixing. You do however want a smooth batter.)
7. Pour the batter into the prepared 13x9 pan.
8. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for approximately 28 minutes. Turn the pan mid-bake. (Adjust baking times accordingly.  Each oven has their own temperament.)
9. Once a toothpick inserted in several spots comes out clean, remove the orange cake from the oven. Cool completely on a wire rack.
10. Frost with cream cheese frosting. Decorate with Paradise Candied Orange Peel.


The Ninja Baker

© ™ Watkinson 2012

The Ninja Baker has guest blogged and contributed recipes to numerous food sites. These additional recipes can be found here.



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