Orange cake

The zest of citrus and a hint of whisky gives this cake a wonderful fragrance. Served for afternoon tea, it’s sure to become a staple in your household. 
Slice of Orange cake.

Rose Seidler orange cake. Photo © Sydney Living Museums


225g butter, room temperature 
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup milk 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
2 teaspoons whisky
340g self-raising flour 
170g plain flour 
grated zest of 1 orange
grated zest of 1 lemon 

Serves 6-8


Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease a 25cm round cake tin and line it with baking paper. 

Using electric beaters, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale and light. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk until well combined, stir in the vanilla and whisky, then add to the butter mixture. Beat until combined, scraping into the batter any butter mixture from the sides of the bowl with a spatula. 

Sift the flour into a large bowl, combine well and then mix in the zest. Using a large spoon, gently fold the flour mixture into the batter until fully incorporated. The batter will be fairly thick. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin, smoothing it to the edges. 

Bake for 1½ hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes then transfer to a cake rack. Do not slice the cake until it has cooled completely. The cake can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days. 

Original recipe

Handwritten recipe for orange cake from Rose Seidler’s collection, on page 1 of the folio of sweet recipes, under the Apfel im Schlafrock (see image).

The cake is one of three variations of orange cake added in English to this folio.

No cooking instructions are provided in the original. 

Gift of Penelope Seidler AM. Photo © Jamie North for Sydney Living Museums

About the author

Jacqui Newling wearing a red top and glasses

Dr Jacqui Newling

Assistant curator

Jacqui brings over ten years of ‘visitor first’ interpretation experience to her role as a curator at SLM. She specialises in place-based social history and heritage, bringing meaningful stories from our past to contemporary audiences through various forms of media, from exhibitions to interactive opportunities for visitors in our museums. 

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