Queque seco de naranja: Costa Rican orange pound cake

I like to bake. Love to bake, actually. I find it therapeutic; creaming and mixing and folding in flour.

But baking for an occasion, and particularly for people other than close friends and family, can turn up the stress factor a little bit. This bake was one of those, it was for work colleagues and visitors we had from overseas. Including Costa Rica! No pressure then.

This cake was surprisingly straightforward though, and delicious. The citrus hit it brings is refreshingly emboldening on a cold winter day and its stripey appearance is reminiscent of garden parties and long, lazy days in the sunshine. It’s a winner on several counts, and I’ll definitely be making it again.

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You will need:

  • 3 cups of self-raising flour
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 3/4 cup of buttermilk
  • 2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup of orange juice, plus extra for the glaze
  • Zest of 4 oranges
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 3 heaped tbsp. of icing sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 175C. Grease bundt tin and line the inner ring to prevent sticking.
  2. Mix together the buttermilk, orange zest and orange juice in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking powder.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer or food processor until pale and fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating in between [this will prevent the mixture from splitting].
  6. Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, alternate between adding the buttermilk and flour mixes. Again, beat in between.
  7. Pour the finished mixture into the bundt tin, leaving around 3-4cm of space at the top for it to rise without over-flowing [adjust according to size of bundt tin].
  8. Bake for around 50 minutes, until it springs back if you push gently on the top.
  9. Leave until almost cool in the tin then flip out onto a wire rack to cool completely [try and avoid running a knife around the outside to get it out if at all possible – it won’t look as pretty when finished!].
  10. Add orange juice to the icing sugar to bring it to a smooth, fairly thick consistency.
  11. Use a piping bag or tube with a thin nozzle to pipe the icing along the lines of the fluting [if your tin was not fluted, just pipe straight lines from top to bottom].
  12. Sprinkle some flaked almonds or grated/crystallised orange zest on the top for decoration.
  13. Cut a big slice and enjoy!


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Does this inspire you to try some international recipes? What is your go-to bake on drizzly winter days?


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